The St. Boehner's Day Massacre

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[Black Star News Editorial]

"The GOP's Payroll Tax Fiasco," is how The Wall Street Journal in an editorial yesterday characterizes the decision by Speaker John Boehner to take away $1,000 from 160 million Americans and deny continued unemployment benefits for two million people.

What an awful Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year's present.

As most Americans know by now the Senate by a vote of 89 - to 10 had approved a bill that maintained the payroll tax cuts for another two months when it expires in January. Without an extension, the rate reverts to 6.2% from 4.2%.

The bill also allows jobless benefits to continue. The Senate approval came after the House Republicans added a provision that would call on the president to make a decision within 60 days, about the oil pipeline from Canada; also known as Keystone XL.

Still, 2012 is a presidential election year. Even though Senate Republicans had joined in the payroll tax compromise bill --extending the benefits for a mere two months instead of a year-- House Republicans decided to rebel. Apparently House Republicans and Senators had not coordinated their plans.

Speaker Boehner is incapable of controlling the extreme Tea Party Right wing element that's hijacked the Republican party.

Failure to extend the payroll tax cuts and to continue unemployment benefits may come back to haunt Boehner's party next year. Already Senators John McCain and Scott Brown have denounced the obstructionist House Republicans. The House decision "is harming the Republican Party" McCain said.

But the debacle isn't surprising. Republicans are simply sticking to script, regardless of the painful consequences on the American public.

After last year's Republican victories in the mid-term elections, the party overreached, as this editorial page predicted they would. Senator Mitch McConnell declared that the Republican Party's mission was to ensure that President Obama become a one-termer.

The Republicans had the same response to several measures intended to boost the economy.

The Obama administration's call for more money for infrastructure and schools construction and repairs: No.

Money for teachers, fire fighters, police and other public employees: No.

Money for state governments to prevent massive layoffs: No.

But something magical happened along the way. The hundreds of billions of dollars that President Obama had secured, fighting tooth and nail against obstructionist Republicans, for the stimulus, had started to pay off.

The auto industry recovered and the companies started hiring again. In the meantime, even though unemployment remained intolerably high, hundreds of thousands of new jobs were being created.

Rather than trending towards 10% the unemployment rate has now plunged to 8.5%.

These signs of improvement scared Republicans. They could not afford to have any more decrease in unemployment levels. They needed something to jolt the economy; back in the opposite direction. Presumably, this will help the Republicans win The White House back.

Even if it came from the misery and suffering of millions of more unemployed Americans. That's the 2012 gift from the House Republicans and Speaker Boehner to the American people.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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