They just plain refuse to do their job, as Greg Sargent makes clear this morning. They're all talk and no action.
I spoke this morning to an official familiar with the fiscal cliff talks. He tells me that ever since Republicans rejected the first White House fiscal offer, White House negotiators have been asking Republicans to detail both the spending cuts they want and the loopholes and deductions they would close to raise revenues while avoiding a hike in tax rates for the rich.
According to the official, Republicans continue to refuse to answer.
“No answer ever since the Geithner meeting,” the official said. “To date they have been unwilling or able to identify a list of specific cuts or changes they would like or a single loophole they are willing to close.”
Check out the latest Bloomberg poll.
Kevin Drum makes a really good point (or two, or three)...
... If liberals want to retain the option to enact new programs in the future, the best thing working in their favor is a strong economy. That's more likely to lead to a Democrat winning the presidency in 2016 and it provides an environment far more conducive to spending more money. So the question is: what policy is most likely to lead to medium-term economy recovery? On that score, the answer is the same as always: higher spending now and lower deficits in the future. The exact composition of the deficit reduction is probably a second-order issue here. ...Kevin Drum, MoJo
The problem here is the deficit and what the Republicans have done with it. They created it and they're using it as a bludgeon. While trying to look like responsible fiscal managers, they're papering over their responsibility for the heavy spending during the 8 years of Bush (see wars, see Department of Homeland Security, see oil subsidies, and on and on). And they're using the deficit scare to slow down economic growth during a Democratic administration with the goal of preventing the Democrats from sweeping them out of the 2016 election. Everything they're doing right now -- from "right to work" legislation to "fiscal cliff" -- is about shoring up their diminishing base and kicking the Dems out in 2016.