Who's the GOP Fighting for on the Cliff?

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Who's the GOP Fighting for on the Cliff?
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Who's the GOP Fighting for on the Cliff?

A newly released poll from The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center shows that the 53 percent of Americans would blame Republicans in Congress if a fiscal cliff agreement isn't reached. Obviously, that's more than the 1 percent they're fighting for. The poll and its results including the 53 percent can be found here, and as the WaPo's Chris Cilizza, Aaron Blake, and Sean Sullivan write, "Those numbers are largely unchanged from a Post-Pew survey conducted three weeks ago and suggest that for all of the back and forth in Washington on the fiscal cliff, there has been little movement in public perception." And as President Obama would like to remind you, those numbers aren't all that different from the results of the general election, either. 

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And it isn't a clear split. Only 27 percent would blame Obama if the country goes over the cliff. Add to that 64 percent who believe the fiscal cliff will have a "major" effect on the US economy, with 60 percent think that effect will be negative. 

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But let's think about it like this for a second: If the American public wants to blame Republicans for a lack of agreement — and the repercussions therein (credit downgrade, anyone?) — then what, exactly, are Republicans fighting for? Well, it's not for the majority of Americans. As Speaker Boehner has been countering, he's fighting for the "top 2 percent" who he says are actually small business owners: "[R]aising taxes on the so-called top 2 percent—half of those taxpayers are small-business owners that pay their taxes through their personal income tax filing every year...  It'll hurt small businesses; it'll hurt our economy," Boehner said on November 28, echoing the all-too-familiar Republican counter to why Obama's plan of raising taxes on those making $250,000 and more is a bad idea.

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You'll recall from the presidential and vice presidential debates that this small business talk was a point of contention. And that, yes, hedge funds totally fit into the Republicans' definition of a small business. "A $600-million-a-year hedge fund would indeed qualify as a 'small business' by [Paul] Ryan’s misleading definition," reports FactCheck.org. And regardless of the "small business" description, that still puts them in the 1 percent, which is less than the majority of Americans who aren't impressed by the job Republicans are doing.

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