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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Polls: Neither Dem or GOP Debt Ceiling Plan Cleaves To Americans' Wishes

Yet another poll revealed how disconnected from ordinary Americans the Washington Beltway pols were.

A Reuters/Ipsos flash poll conducted Monday evening after President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) addressed the nation revealed 68% of Americans believed federal government debt should be addressed either with a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes, or tax hikes alone.

Yet, both surviving debt plans being haggled over in Congress addressed the problem with cuts only, a strategy favored by just 19% of the American people

Poll after poll has revealed the fevered haggling in Washington has drifted further and further from the wishes of the electorate.

While 72% of Americans wanted to raise taxes on those making $250,000 or more to save Medicare and Social Security, Republicans subverted the discussion in Washington to one about lowering taxes on those making $250,000 or more, while voucherizing Medicare and privatizing Social Security.

While 56% of Americans want to address the nation's debt with a combination of cuts and tax hikes, and 12% want to address the debt with tax hikes alone, Republicans wrestled the Washington budget discussion away from a discussion of cuts and revenue reforms, and into a discussion of the size and timing of an all-cuts scheme.

While 60% of Americans said keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they were was more important, Beltway Republicans numbered among the 32% of Americans who said reducing the deficit was more important.

Republicans making $75,000 or much, much more a year were the only demographic group that prioritized deficit reduction over maintaining Social Security and Medicare, by 68% to 28%. And, Republicans making $75,000 or much, much more a year have been controlling the discussion on Capitol Hill.

Republicans have successfully monopolized the debt ceiling conversation, making it all solely and exclusively about the amount of the tax cuts, tax breaks and tax subsidies the rich would receive. All discussion of revenue reform was banished from the table. Instead, all discussion focused on slashing vital services all Americans relied upon, so the funds for those services could be handed to the already-rich.

Republicans controlled the conversation on the strength of a great PR campaign. Republicans characteristically pulled out Madison Avenue sound-bite pledges and postures. They pulled out yet another catchy-sounding slogan, Cut, Cap and Balance, to sell their scheme for the forced voucherizing of Medicare and plundering of Social Security so they could hand a $6 trillion tax subsidy to their already-unspeakably wealthy patrons and cronies. They wrestled the Washington discussion to when, not whether, to implement Cut, Cap and Balance.

Instead of discussing tax hikes on the richest Americans, Republicans hijacked the discussion to make it about the biggest tax subsidy the rich have ever enjoyed.

It is the Republicans' mastery of the message, their sovereignty over the sound-bite, that lets them, time and again, fool the ignorant into voting them into office so they could continue their thirty-year plundering of the nation. Their policies have paupered the country, concentrating 84% of the nation's wealth in the hands of 20% of its richest residents.

The Republican mantra of more tax breaks for the rich and more service cuts for everyone else continued to fool many into believing those tax breaks and service cuts somehow helped them. Tax breaks for the rich never created jobs, lowered health care costs, or cleaned up the environment. More service cuts never improved education, or put more cops and firefighters on the street.

Some softening of support for Republicans might have revealed a softening of American gullibility.

Despite Tea Party admonitions that failing to raise the debt ceiling posed no problems, 83% of Americans said they were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about the looming Aug. 2 deadline to raise the nation's credit limit.

Despite Republican demagoguery, Reuters/Ipsos found a plurality of Americans, 31%, blamed Republicans for the debt ceiling deadlock, while 21% blamed President Obama. Just 9% blamed Congressional Democrats. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 42% would blame Republicans if debt hike negotiations failed, compared to 36% who would blame Obama.

There was some indication Americans considered Republican bravado as overreaching. Only 30% said they favored retaining their present members of Congress, while 63% said they preferred to look for someone else. Republicans might be swept out of power as quickly as they had been swept in, changing the focus of discussion on Capitol Hill to more closely match Americans' wishes.

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