Listening to Republicans on the Sunday shows was nearly enough to curl me into a fetal position demanding a bag of Cheetos, a dark room and a dirty bathrobe.
Predictably, the question of how to pay for the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts came up, specifically to Rep. Mike Pense. Stumbling and fumbling would be a fair representation! Boys and Girls, you have to actually be ready for a question that only you did not expect. The media has been batting the question around for weeks including dozens of columns. The Republican strategy of attempting to live in a safe zone as the other side self destructs should come to an immediate end. You want people to trust you guys again, get off your intellectual butts and be prepared to make specific proposals. In some corners they call that leadership!
The answers to “how will you pay for the Bush Tax Cut” are not that tough. Republicans, please attempt to follow the bouncing ball and sing along.
Item One: “Paying” for a circumstance that already exists is intellectually dishonest. Federal revenues are dropping with the tax cuts in place. This circumstance is based on failed economic policy not tax rates. The only thing a tax rate increase can do is make it worse.
Item Two: “But what about the Presidents projections that anticipate the lapse of the tax cuts?” Answer; “the President’s projections have been an abysmal failure and there is not a single bit of evidence that they bear any semblance to reality or fundamental competence. The unemployment projection is nearly 20% off, as are projections for Federal revenues.
Item Three: The dominant opinion, including studies done by the Chairperson of the Presidents Board of Economic Advisors, Ms. Romer, says that for every 1% of GDP increase in taxes we’re looking at three years of negative impact on economic growth.
Item Four: In nearly historical every case, raising taxes inhibits economic growth and reduces revenues to the Federal government. The reverse occurs when tax rates are cut; Kennedy, Regan and Bush being the three most recent examples. It did not occur under Clinton’s tax hike, however, much of the support for economic growth came from industries that collapsed late in his administration resulting in the commencement of a mild recession. Anyone remember “dot com?”
Item Five: The lapse in tax cuts will hurt small business based on capital gains and marginal tax rates. Seniors will be hurt based on the dramatic increase in tax rates on dividends. Small business revenues already hurt by the recession will be further consumed by increased tax rates. How exactly does even a small degree of common sense generate the idea that job growth is going to occur under that set of circumstances? The investor class, simply…….. won’t!
Item Six: The definition of insanity; let’s keep doing what we’re doing and hope for a different result. The past and proposed stimulus spending has not and will not stimulate the economy because it’s not economic it’s political; it’s money spent to hold the current horrific status quo. Is that the plan, maintain the status quo? Continuing federal support for irresponsible state governments simply empowers those states to delay doing what they already know they have to do.
When pressed for specifics, Mr. Pence had that deer in the headlights look about him. Why are Republicans reluctant to say what they will do or explain their policy stance clearly? The fundamental question regarding Republicans is how they will govern in the majority. Come on folks, what’s the plan, where are the ideas, where are bold policy statements? The manner of response present on Sunday will leave people with that same old, “politics as usual” feeling. That feeling in the electorate is the worst thing that could happen to Republicans and WILL inhibit the current momentum.
Yea, yea we know when the other guy is in the process of self destruction, shut up and get out of his way. However, every strategy has a life expectancy and this one is nearly dead; or should be!
At least Leader Boehner put the retirement age issue on the table. But the dribble of ideas is not what the folks are looking for. Nor are they looking for “safe” rhetoric.
Remember boys and girls, the absence of a thing can say as much as the presence of a thing!