Back in the 1970s, National Lampoon released an edition of their parody magazine with a picture of (presumably) a man holding a gun to a dog’s head. The headline read, “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine We’ll Kill This Dog.”
The implication, clearly, was one of extortion. Of course, the threat, made by the editors of National Lampoon, was based in dark comedy. The same cannot be said of the recent threat made by US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), regarding the expiration of the so-called “Bush Tax Cuts.” Where National Lampoon was promoting comedy, Murray and her fellow Democrats are serious. They are trying to extort congressional Republicans to pass tax increases on those individuals making over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000 annually, or they will preside over a gigantic tax increase for all… all for political gain.
On July 16, 2012, the number three Democrat in the Senate, Sen. Murray took to the podium at The Brookings Institute and said:
If we can’t get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle-class families under the bus…
The “balanced deal” that Ms. Murray alludes to is a deal that would achieve progressives’ ultimate goal, expanding the gulf of the tax burden between what is perceived to be the Lower and Middle Classes and the Upper-Middle and Upper Classes. And while this move is little more than a class warfare political tactic meant to advance division among the American people – and a tactic that both sides, at their cores, don’t believe will be affective – it does showcase to what extent the progressive movement is willing to go to achieve their agenda goals.
Simply put, progressives and Democrats are saying they are willing to, for all practical purposes, impose an enormous tax increase on each and every American subject to federal income tax rather than allow the total of the “Bush Tax Cuts” to be extended.
The reasons I say that they are doing this for political gain are twofold.
First, the revenue gleaned from eliminating the “Bush Tax Cuts” is negligible. According to Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University:
Using data from the president’s FY2013 budget, this chart places the revenue effects of this expiration into proper perspective. According to Office of Management and Budget data, letting the income tax measures expire for top earners will raise revenue by a projected $850 billion over the next 10 years. With the restoration of the estate, gift, and generational-skipping transfer tax parameters (also part of the Bush-tax cuts that affect high earners), revenue is projected to increase about $967 billion over the next 10 years.
When you do the math, that means that the total of the revenue gleaned by bowing to the political extortion being perpetrated by Murray and her progressive cohorts would fall well short of being able to fund the federal government for… ten days. To wit, the “taxmageddon” tactic being floated by Ms. Murray and her comrades is less about fixing the debt, deficit, and economic woes our country faces and more about political posturing for the November elections.
I qualify this statement by offering up the fact that congressional Republicans – from both houses – have been offering up comprehensive tax reform since 2006 when the Progressive Caucus of the Democrat Party took over the House. In fact, FOX News reports:
…many people predict that the most likely outcome is for the warring parties to pass temporary legislation to punt the issue into next year to let the new Congress and whoever controls the White House to sort it out.
Republicans are confident that Democrats — just as they did two years ago — will agree to extend all of the tax cuts during a post-election lame duck session. For starters, both sides are calling for just a short-term extension of the Bush tax cuts anyway in order to buy time for lawmakers to do a complete rewrite of the tax code.
Yet, Murray insists, “There is absolutely no reason… that we need to extend the tax cuts for the rich as a precondition for reforming the tax code.”
And there you have it. Presented with the prospect of executing comprehensive tax reform, tax reform that would create an equitable tax code while eliminating crony loopholes created and instituted by the opportunistic political class, Democrats would rather obstruct meaningful and vitally needed tax reform to further their election year agenda of affecting class warfare amongst the American people. Ms. Murray’s “taxmageddon” declaration is nothing more than disingenuous Chicago-style scare politics.
In 2009, President Obama, when queried about the expiration of the “Bush Tax Cuts,” held back on letting any of those tax rates expire during the height of the recession, saying that doing so would be “the last thing you want to do” because it would “take more demand out of the economy.” He then negotiated with congressional Republicans and responsible Democrats in 2010 to extend the rates for another two years.
Today, the economy is almost just as dismal as it was in 2009, when Mr. Obama said – with intent and purpose – that raising taxes on anyone would be “the last thing you want to do.” Which leads to this question: if it was the wrong thing to do then, why is it acceptable to play politics with tax increases today?
The answer – again – is two-fold: 1) It’s an election year, and 2) progressives will do anything to win, including dividing the citizenry and throwing American taxpayer under the bus.
Nice group of people, huh?