The Political Theater of "Plan B"

All eyes are on Speaker of the House John Boehner to see if he has control of his Republican Party. Today, Boehner will try to bring his "Plan B" to the floor for a vote – a proposal that will extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans who earn less than a million dollars a year, while allowing the tax cuts for millionaires to expire at the end of the year. Today’s vote is merely political theatre, since the Senate has promised to defeat the legislation. The White House, which has offered to keep the Bush tax cuts in place for Americans earning less than $400,000 a year, has also promised a veto.

The hypocrisy here is stunning, as Republicans for four years have argued that it would be disastrous to raise taxes on millionaires – who they call “job creators” – and now Republicans are planning to do just that – raise taxes on the rich. And even millionaire lobbyist Grover Norquist has signed off on the plan, saying it won’t violate his tax pledge. But secretly – Boehner’s plan is a giant tax hike on working Americans – and another tax cut for the super-rich. “Plan B” allows key tax credits for the middle class to expire, which will mean higher tax bills for 20 million Americans families.

At the same time, “Plan B” keeps in place huge tax breaks for the rich by permanently extending the Bush tax cuts on capital gains, dividends, and estates, which are only paid by the wealthiest Americans. But in the end, even this sweet deal for the oligarchs may not pass the Tea Party-controlled House as Boehner can only afford 24 Republicans defectors for the bill to pass. And already, at least a dozen Republicans have voiced their opposition to the plan. Keep an eye on this.

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