A so-called ‘Grand Bargain,’ which would overhaul the tax code by lowering the corporate tax rate alongside deeper social spending cuts, has been on the docket since budget talks began late last year. A subsequent series of failed negotiations led to the ongoing budget sequester of $100 billion in across-the-board cuts per year (or until lawmakers agree on a new plan) and a series of near budget catastrophes such as the government shutdown that ended earlier this month.

Republicans have held firm against progressive tax reform pushed by lawmakers such as Warren and Sanders. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has increasingly urged support for a right-leaning bargain laced with cuts.

But as an editorial in The Nation magazine recently argued, trying to find “common ground” with the obstructionist Republican Party is exactly the wrong strategy and Obama’s consistent call for a “balanced approach” to the budget is both bad economics and bad politics. Instead, according to the editorial:

When it comes to addressing the long-term budget deficit over a short-term jobs program, said Sanders, “The president is dead wrong.” 

“It’s OK to spend trillions on a war we should never have waged in Iraq and to provide huge tax breaks for billionaires and multinational corporations,” Sanders wrote, describing the viewpoint of Republican leaders. “But in the midst of very difficult economic times, we just can’t afford to protect the most vulnerable people in our country.”

“That’s their view. I disagree,” he said.

Sanders and Warren were joined by Rhode Island Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who was quoted in the Boston Globe saying he was “fully opposed” to Obama’s chained CPI proposal. Whitehouse also serves on the budget committee.

The joint budget committee is expected to offer proposals by December 8, and a deadline for lawmakers to come to an agreement has been set for January 15.


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