As Politico points out, “Though tax cuts have been a mainstay of their campaigns since at least Ronald Reagan, though the top marginal tax rate is now the highest since the 1980s, though the party could win control of both chambers of Congress for the first time in almost a decade, Republicans are barely mentioning reducing tax rates with voters.”
So, what’s actually going on?
Republicans will tell you the election is all about ISIS, or Obama, or maybe even Harry Reid. And to some extent, that may be true. But it isn’t as if they don’t have a say in what any election is about, or not.
Ultimately, what one finds is that to continue to reduce tax rates would force the GOP to make hard choices they’d rather avoid. And finally – and unfortunately – that also means much of the Republican talk about reducing the size of government is just that, talk, and little if anything more.
A rise in government red ink has cooled some Republicans’ ardor for old-fashioned tax cuts. Though the deficit has fallen dramatically in recent years, the debt — at 74 percent of gross domestic product — has almost doubled since 2008. And government spending is projected to soar in coming years, as waves of retiring baby boomers begin collecting Social Security and Medicare.
“You really can’t do tax cuts alone, because you still have a screwed-up tax system” and then “you just have a revenue problem when you do that,” said Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), who was first elected as part of the tea party class of 2010.
“Maybe we take a more holistic, maybe sophisticated look at the Tax Code than, perhaps, say, George Bush did in 2000,” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), another RSC member. “Just saying ‘cut taxes’ doesn’t actually encompass the challenges that we face,” he said. “Maybe it’s no longer the only message.”