Friday, September 3, 2010

Republicans: budget cutters or hypocrites?

The Associated Press reports that election-year politics is preventing Democrats from repealing any of the Bush tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire in January.

According to the AP, "Worried about the fragile economy and their own upcoming elections, a growing number of Democrats are joining the rock-solid Republican opposition to President Barack Obama's plans to let some of the Bush administration's tax cuts expire."

President Obama wants to make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent and allow the tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000 to expire.

In response to a new jobs report, Obama said this morning that "we need to take further steps to create jobs and keep the economy growing including extending tax cuts for the middle class and investing in the areas of our economy where the potential for job growth is greatest."

As the charts above clearly show, the Bush tax cuts will become the biggest contributor to the Federal budget deficit. Clearly, we have some reason to allow them to expire. However, tax cuts probably stimulate the economy somewhat, and so we have reason to keep them in this slow economic recovery. (Interestingly enough, the tax cuts Obama has been calling for may be among the most stimulative. Naturally, the GOP opposes them.) Obama's position on the issue is moderate and reasonable: allow some of the tax cuts to expire, and ask those who are best able to afford increased taxes to shoulder them. (For more on the second chart, read Ezra Klein's "Your Deficit in Charts." For more on the first chart, read the corresponding Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report.)

According to the AP, the increased tax burden on middle-class families would be significant:
Taxpayers making between $40,000 and $50,000 a year would get hit with an average income tax increase of $923 next year. Those making between $50,000 and $75,000 would face an average increase of $1,126, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. 
As the AP reports, Republicans would rather "make all the tax cuts permanent, adding nearly $4 trillion to the national debt over the next decade."

Are these the same Republicans who have been complaining about the deficit?

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All right, Republicans. Here's how it works: if you want to cut the deficit, you must either raise revenues, or cut spending. So, this is my question: what are you going to cut from the budget, Republicans? Or is it that you're simply hypocrites?

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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---W.K. Clifford

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. ---Thomas Jefferson