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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

GOP not fighting for middle class voters in debt ceiling crisis

With the government’s borrowing capacity set to reach its limit on Aug. 2, Congress and the White House are scrambling to hammer out a budget compromise. They will have to clear the way for a federal debt ceiling increase.

Congressional Republicans have demanded trillions of dollars in spending cuts and have threatened to derail the negotiation process if their demands aren’t met. Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl walked out of ongoing budget talks. Both condemned Democrats for wanting to include a progressive tax increase as part of a possible deal.

Republicans can’t honestly believe they can cut their way to a balanced budget. A deficit crisis is best addressed with a combination of spending cuts and increased tax revenue. Asking the country’s highest earners to pay more in taxes isn’t an unreasonable request. The top tax rate is at its lowest in three decades. The richest 1 percent in America receives 80 percent of all income, yet the middle class has been carrying the majority of the tax burden. More maddening is that rather than trying to solve this problem, Republicans have sought to justify it with a voodoo economic theory. They will claim, “”We can’t raise taxes on the people who create jobs and reinvest in our economy.”” But if cutting taxes for the wealthy truly “”creates jobs,”” why is unemployment still hovering at 9 percent? If the rich “”reinvest”” their excess income in the economy, why has the economic recovery been so anemic?

When Kyl and Cantor abandoned last week’s budget negotiations in protest of tax increases for the wealthy, they did more than pledge their allegiance to the Republican Party’s rich donors. These two elected officials walked out on middle-class Americans. The most saddening part is that the blue-collar workers that thoughtlessly vote Republican in election after election are the ones who will suffer the most. Take a gander at the latest Washington Post/ABC poll if you need proof. When asked whether the national debt should be reduced with a combination of tax increases and spending cuts, 71 percent of self-identified Republicans favored more spending cuts as opposed to the combination solution. These favored cuts will disproportionately burden the middle class.

Tea Party members and other Republican voters that represent the middle class of America should wake up and realize that their ideology does not serve their best interest and the party they support is not fighting on their behalf.

— Nyles Kendall is a political science senior. He can be contacted at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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