Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) dug into Republicans for their willingness to “wreck the economy” over the debt ceiling, pointing out that the GOP is only interested in protecting their rich allies and creating an economic crisis that would reflect poorly on President Joe Biden.
In an appearance on MSNBC, Warren said that the conservative regressive tax policies that the GOP has pushed for decades has led to the current crisis with the debt ceiling.
“If the Republicans had not pushed just two things, the Republican tax cuts that went mostly to those at the very top and the biggest corporations and hollowing out the IRS [Internal Revenue Service] specifically so they could not hold wealthy tax cheats accountable, wouldn’t be able to audit them,” she said. “If those two things had not happened, then we wouldn’t even hit the debt ceiling at any time during the first Biden administration.”
“This is a manufactured crisis. The real issue at stake here is, who’s going to pay to run this government?” the Massachusetts senator said. “The Republicans are real clear on that: not the rich folks.”
Indeed, as Warren pointed out in her op-ed published in the Boston Globe this week, the 2017 tax cuts have cost the government nearly $2 trillion, while Republicans have steadily eroded the IRS’s funding for decades, costing the government potentially trillions owed from wealthy tax cheats.
Congress has raised the debt ceiling twice under Biden, by about $3 trillion. Republicans voted three times to raise the debt ceiling under President Donald Trump, who added nearly $8 trillion to the national debt.
The U.S. hit its debt limit last week, and the Treasury Department is currently taking “extraordinary measures” in order to buy Congress time to raise the debt limit before a debt default. Lawmakers have until June to avoid a default, officials say.
“If this were really about the national debt, then there are plenty of places we could go to stitch up loopholes — like no more of these tax havens abroad — that we could get that under control. But that is not where the Republicans want to go,” Warren said.
Even though the huge deficits in government funding have been caused in large part by Republican policies, the party is using its control of the House to threaten a debt default, which would spell disaster for the economy, unless their demands are met; some Republicans are planning to use the debt ceiling to force through cuts to crucial programs like Social Security, for instance.
Meanwhile, Republicans made it clear in their first few weeks with House control that their top priority is to protect corporations and the wealthy. The first bill they passed was to revoke billions of dollars pegged for the IRS to go after wealthy tax cheats, which analyses say would more than pay for itself.
And recently, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy lined up a vote on an extremist bill that would abolish the IRS and federal income taxes and implement a 30 percent sales tax, which would have hugely disproportionate effects on the working class while handing a colossal tax break for corporations and the rich.
Warren said that Republicans don’t care about the ramifications of their political gamesmanship. Rather, they want to cause chaos and destruction in order to win political points, she said.
“If there are cuts to Social Security that they can turn around then and blame on the Democrats, if the economy goes over a cliff, if the worldwide economy blows up,” said Warren. “There are Republicans, particularly in the House, who think, ‘Hey, that’s going to make it easier to get our guy back in the White House.’”
“And so long as that’s their mindset, that’s not a position of negotiating to try to make things better, safer in this country, to make this country work better for hardworking families,” she continued.
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