Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Read Their Lips

No new taxes ever, for any reason whatsoever, except on working people and businesses looking to hire Americans.

[P]ayroll-tax cuts are the sort of tax break most likely to "get the economy moving again" during a recession. (Because they put money in the hands of people most likely to spend it and therefore boost other businesses. And on balance they lower the cost of adding new workers.) Income-tax breaks at the top end are least likely to create new demand or jobs. (Because they go to people who have a lower "marginal propensity to spend" and are more likely to park the money in the bank.)

Makes sense to me. I'd reckon that, if they made this a really big issue, Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives might start cracking the false narrative of Republican Tax Relief, kneecap support for the Bush Tax Cuts, gain some desperately needed political capital, and hammer the GOP on a fundamental economic vision for America. This situation, after all, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Barack Obama cut taxes so that working people and small businesses were the primary beneficiary. It also demonstrates that Republicans, who have literally picked "not raising taxes" as their hill to die on in the Debt Ceiling debates, are actually willing to raise taxes whenever it is politically convenient to do so.

And by "raise taxes," I'm using the GOP definition which includes: letting certain tax cuts expire, closing loopholes, ending subsidies, and the spectre of raising taxes at some future time.

So now that we've determined what kind of tax opponnents Republicans really are, all that's left is negotiating. Oh, and spreading the word to the American people before the GOP is able to work its way onto both sides of this issue as well.



Dante said...

Let's summarize the responses:

Rep. Jeb Hensarling - A net positive but not as effective as it could be.
Rep. David Camp - Cut makes it harder to find deficit cuts.
Sen. Lamar Alexander - Don't need short-term gestures.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor - Not the best way to grow the economy.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney - Prefers to see it go towards employer side.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich - Republicans don't really have a choice.

I see a lot of quotes pointing out that the tax break isn't the best break that could've been offered, but I don't see a single quote in this article confirming a position one way or the other on this issue. The closest thing we get to an outright "against" is David Camp from the conservative stronghold that is... Michigan?

This is a tax cut originated by a Democratic President and under a Democratically-controlled House and Senate. Republicans aren't going to cheer-lead for it and if they can use a tax cut as a bargaining chip to get further tax cuts or spending increases they would be foolish not to.

So no, we have not at all determined what kind of tax opponents Republicans really are. At least not yet. Personally, I don't think letting the payroll tax break expire will be particularly "politically convenient." This is a tax that everyone sees on every paycheck. And if Republicans do oppose continuing it they have to know they won't be able to hide from the well-deserved repercussions.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Oh, statements like these are OK now? Because I distinctly remember several similar statements from Democratic officials regarding the Bush Tax Cuts. I also distinctly remember hearing breathless Republicans, Tea Partiers, and Right Wingers equating such statements as being equal to tax hikes.

I think we have demonstrated what kind of tax-cut proponents Republicans are: tax-cuts that benefit their connected interests = inexpendible, tax cuts that don't benefit their connected interests = expendible.

Dante said...

Out of curiosity, what are those similar statements (and the responses)?

"I think we have demonstrated what kind of tax-cut proponents Republicans are: tax-cuts that benefit their connected interests = inexpendible, tax cuts that don't benefit their connected interests = expendible."

Then where are the votes to back up this statement?

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Oh, where to start?

A lot of Democrats wanted to sunset the Bush Cuts last year. Plenty did not. They all got hammered on the issue Republicans called a "Ticking Time Bomb" (PDF) Selling that narrative and citing that report, one Republican even called it the "largest tax hike in history."

It didn't even matter that the Bush Cuts have been a massive failure when it comes to creating jobs.

As a matter of fact, the spectre of "tax hikes" is so strong, the Democrats couldn't even raise modest revenues over the course of the manufactured debt ceiling crisis.

Of course, extending the Bush Cuts required action. They took action in 2010, and still got hammered for it. All they have to do to let the Bush Cuts expire in 2012 is take no action.

Of course, the goading continues, as the GOP now claims the extension of the Bush Cuts means nothing because of what might happen in the future. That's their "Uncertainty" narrative, as if businesses have never faced uncertainty in the free market.

In the same way, the GOP can let the Payroll Tax Cuts expire in 2012 by taking no action, just like they've constantly attributed to Democrats, if the Republicans do not take action to extend the Payroll Cuts, they are raising taxes by their own definitions of raising taxes.

Dante said...

Yeah, plenty of Democrats did not want to end the Bush tax cuts, but the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate is very public that they want to end the Bush tax cuts. I think it's very fair to say the Democratic Party wants to end them based on the response of Democratic Party leadership. What the leadership is very explicit about is that they want to let the cuts expire... except for those cuts that affect top wage earners. Sorry, but the Bush tax cuts were tax cuts across the board. What Democratic leadership is advocating is letting the Bush tax cuts expire and replacing them with a similar but different set of tax cuts. And they explicitly advocate that. Some Democrats are opposed to this plan, but right now none are in a leadership position.

That's not at all the same thing as saying Republicans want to end the payroll tax cut when not a single Republican with a vote in the matter has said so. I agree that if they let the payroll tax cut expire, it is ideologically inconsistent. However, we have no indication that is the case. The closest thing we have is a bunch of Republicans refusing to cheerlead for a tax cut they had nothing to do with.