This is what not doing things the right way gets you

I received the following e-mail from Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

    Dear NRSC eMember,

    Congressional Democrats unveiled their first budget since taking control of Congress in last year’s elections. In it, they propose the single biggest tax increase in American history — over $730 billion, raising taxes on every single American — all in the name of increasing federal spending.

    The “Tax and Spend” Democrats have returned!

    It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, married or single, retired or working, rich or poor — the Democrats have set in motion a tax increase that will affect you personally.

    You can help counter the Democrats’ tax-and-spend agenda today by supporting the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). Please join me in supporting the NRSC today by making a contribution of $25, $50, $75, $100 or even $250.

    If the Democrats succeed in turning back President Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax relief, millions of American families will face punishing tax increases. Families with the lowest incomes will experience the largest increases to help pay for the Democrats’ budget-busting spending.

    In addition to burdening families, the failure to extend the tax relief will also have a crippling effect on our economy. Since August 2003, thanks to President Bush’s historic tax relief, our economy has created more than 7.5 million new jobs and unemployment has fallen.

    Meanwhile, last year, the deficit dropped to less than two percent of gross domestic product (GDP), which is well below the historic average for budget deficits. The deficit will continue shrinking until it disappears entirely in less than five years if we keep our economy growing, reject the Democrats’ tax increases, and keep government spending under control.

    In the lead-up to last year’s elections, Democrats talked a lot about their commitment to fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget, but their budget proposal this year demonstrates that they’re still committed to the same old tax-and-spend policies.

    Help us fight back. Support the NRSC today and you will help expose the Democrats’ budget and stop the largest tax increase in American history. I ask that you make a contribution of $25, $50, $75, $100 or even $250 to the NRSC today.

    Thank you,

    Jon Kyl

This is what comes from passing “temporary” tax cuts, tax cuts which are scheduled to expire.

In 2001, the Republicans held the barest of majorities in the Senate, a 50-50 tie, with Vice President Cheney’s tie-breaking vote providing the majority. And with then-Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT) about to commit treason switch to an independent, and give the Democrats control of the Senate, the best the Republicans could do was a “sunsetted” tax cut.

But the Republicans did very well in the 2002 elections, and had a 55-44-1 advantage starting in 2003 — yet they still did not make the tax cuts permanent. This does two things:

  1. It means that the Democrats do not have to do anything to raise taxes; if they simply do nothing at all, tax rates will rise automatically; and
  2. It provides the psychological notion that the pre-tax cut tax rates are somehow the “normal” or “natural” rates of taxation, and that the tax rates during the Bush Administration were some sort of abnormality.

In the end, if the Democrats simply hold the line on spending just a little bit (which is more than the Republicans did), and allow the automatic tax increases to take effect, they’ll be able to say two things:

  1. The Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility, their evidence being that the budget was last balanced under President Clinton (something they already say), and that the budget was balanced again, the good of which makes the pain of the regrettable but necessary relinquishing of the abnormal Bush tax cuts both bearable and responsible; and
  2. Since we now have a surplus, we can do those things for the people that the Republicans neglected to do during their tenure in control.

The Democrats will be able to play to their base, with increased social spending, and appeal to the fiscal conservatives who might not like increased taxes but will applaud a balanced budget, without ever paying the price of having a recorded vote to raise taxes!

What conservatives wanted with a Republican Congress and a Republican President was the cutting of both taxes (which we got) and spending (which we did not, rather spectacularly). By not being fiscally responsible in 2003 and 2004 and 2005 and 2006, the Republicans have surrendered the real advantage that they had claimed, that they were not the “tax and spend” Democrats. Rather than become the “tax less and spend less” Republicans, which would have guaranteed their control over suburban taxpayer votes for a quarter-century, they became the “borrow and spend” Republicans, something which appeals to voters no more than the “tax and spend” policies of the Democrats.

Hence the GOP political theme of the 2006 elections: “Vote for us, ’cause we don’t suck as bad as the Democrats.” We all saw just how well that worked. The Democrats threw in some of what Art Downs calls “pseudo-con” candidates, and we now have the abominable Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.

The Republicans played the Democrats’ game, and tried to buy the electorate with more and more government spending, but they can never beat the Democrats at the Democrats’ own game. As long as the Congress is about who can spend more money, it will always be a game which favors liberals.

For those of you who just finished doing your taxes, enjoy them while you can; it won’t be long before you’ll look back on Income Tax Day of 2007 fondly. Come April 15, 2010, you’ll be cursing the Republicans for not doing the job they said they would do.
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Cross posted on Red State.

7 Comments

  1. Pingback: This is what the Republicans get for not doing things the right way | Redstate

  2. Congressional Democrats unveiled their first budget since taking control of Congress in last year’s elections. In it, they propose the single biggest tax increase in American history — over $730 billion, raising taxes on every single American — all in the name of increasing federal spending.

    Going to write back to Kyl and tell him not to lie to you?

    It’s not, after all, the Democratic party who are raising taxes. That’s a lie.

    It’s the Republicans who fudged the figures (well, we could call that lying) by setting these tax cuts for the rich to expire, so that they wouldn’t need to deal with their long-term impact on the budget.

    The Democratic Party are simply following through: for the sake of future budgets, these tax cuts were due to expire, and now they are expiring. The party of fiscal responsibility is now in power in Congress, even if the party of spend, spend, spend! is still in the White House.

  3. It’s the Republicans who fudged the figures (well, we could call that lying) by setting these tax cuts for the rich to expire, so that they wouldn’t need to deal with their long-term impact on the budget.

    Yup, Pinocchio is right. This was explicitly bought up when the tax cuts (helping the richest disproportionately, naturally) were introduced. The Democrats stood up and said “this will explode the deficit” and the Bush Administration said “no it won’t” pointing at figures built on the assumption that the expiry date would take effect.

    I quote from Paul Krugman “Bad Heir Day”, written in goddamned May 30, 2001:

    “The Bush tax plan was always peculiar: in order to hide the true budget impact, its authers delayed many of the biggest tax cuts until late in the 10-year planning period; repeal of the estate tax, in particular, was put off to 2010. But even that left the books insufficiently cooked, so last week the conferees added a ‘sunset’ clause, officially causing the whole bill to expire, and tax rates to bounce back to 2000 levels, at the beginning of 2011.”

    It was a scam from the start, it was labelled as a scam from the start, the Republicans successfully shouted down the label. And now that the Nigerians are busy using sending faxes around with your bank details on them, you’re finally waking up to the idea something isn’t kosher?

    Question for the right-wing here: how many of you supported Bush’s tax bill back in 2001?

  4. We know the party that long followed the rule “Tax and spend, elect and elect”

    It reached a point where top marginal income tax rates reached 92%. Sweden beat this with a 101% rate.

    Such rates were tolerable during Word War II but they continued through the Eisenhower years. It took JFK to see the light and cut the top rates. He was opposed in this by a young Bob Dole. Revenues increased. Under the Carter Maladministration, interest and inflation rates went into the double digit range and unemployment numbers were not that far behind.

    Carter was unceremoneously dumped by the electorate and we got another tax cutter. With a decent man who had the misfortune to come from a ‘silk stocking’ background sucker punched into raising taxes. Clinton got the job. Clinton was clever with his ‘triangulation’ that co-opted many traditional Republican presidents. Efforts to impose a bureaucracy-laden ‘health system’ on the nation triggered a revolution of sorts. Eventually, those job-killing ‘luxury taxes’ were cut back.

    Now it seems as if some would like to go back to the bad old days. Radicals such as Kucinich may seem to be little more than mouthy back-benchers but the spirit of the politics of envy is not dead. It just smells that way.

  5. Pingback: Liberal Quicksand » Blog Archive » Happy Tax Week!!! – The Liberal’s Only True Holiday – Part 3

  6. Phoe asked:

    Question for the right-wing here: how many of you supported Bush’s tax bill back in 2001?

    Other than the “sunset” provisions, I did. The tax rates set in the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts should have been set as permanent rates, requiring an act of Congress to change them. It was the Republicans greatest failure that they didn’t get this part done.

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