Posted tagged ‘Tax nonsense’

Sitting Republican Senators Who Voted to “Raise” Taxes for Next Year

July 21, 2010

I started this post yesterday, put it aside to listen to some very loud, very find jazz last night, and got up this morning to find that Paul Krugman got there first (as usual).

But just to amplify the point:

As you listen to Republican officeholders and their co-conspirators  complain that allowing the middle-to-rich-redistributive Bush tax cuts to lapse on schedule amounts to an Obama/Democratic tax increase, please remember those current members of the Grand Old Party’s delegation in the United States Senate who voted in favor of this “increase.”

They are:

Lamar Alexander, TN

Robert Bennett, UT

Kit Bond, MO

Sam Brownback, KS

Jim Bunning, KY

Saxby Chambliss, GA

Thad Cochran, MS

Susan Collins, ME

John Coryn, TX

Mike Crapo, ID

John Ensign, NV

Mike Enzi, WY

Lindsay Graham, NC

Chuck Grassley, IA

Judd Gregg, NH

Orrin Hatch, UT

Kay Bailey Hutchinson, TX

Jim Inhofe, OK

Jon Kyl, AZ

Richard Lugar, IN

Mitch McConnell, KY

Lisa Murkowski, AK

Pat Roberts, KS

Jeff Sessions, AL

Richard Shelby, AL

Olympia Snowe, ME

Arlen Spector then R, now D-PA

George Voinovich, OH

Twenty eight of the 50 “aye” votes on H.R. 2, the Bush tax death warrant on the Federal budget, remain in the US Senate.  27 of them are still Republicans, including all six of the current Republican leadership team. You will hear repeatedly over the next few days and weeks from them about the horrors of “increasing taxes” in a recession — and how once again it is the Democratic party seeking to worsen the tax burden Americans must bear.

But never forget:  each one of them voted for a bill that said very clearly that the Bush era tax reductions were temporary, by law set to expire this year.  Not one Democrat then, and only one new Democrat, Arlen Spector, voted for that tax “increase.”  The Republicans did.  Every last one of them sitting in the Senate that year.  It’s their fault, and their responsibility.

Of course, as Ezra Klein points out, the real issue is that the GOP then was doing what the GOP does a lot these days.  Lying about what they are doing, lying about fiscal matters, lying about the implications and the consequences of their actions.  There was never any intention to allow these taxes to lapse.  The expiration date made it into the bill to reduce the apparent cost of this enormous transfer of wealth from the American middle and working classes to the rich. If the tax rate changes had been made permanent, the pricetag would –might — have been too much even for the habitual economical recklessness that defines the contemporary Republican party.

There was an assumption hidden within all that, of course, which was that the GOP was on its way to building a lasting majority, however precarious it may have been in that 50-50 divided Senate.  But it didn’t work out that way, in large part because the Republican elite has shown itself to be hugely successful as an opposition force, but a disaster as a governing body. So now faced with the blunt fact that the exact bill they voted for is in fact the law of the land, they do the only thing they know how to do:  pretend it didn’t turn out as badly as it did, and blame the Democrats for trying to address the reality of the situation.

Makes for great Fox soundbites and Serious People™ appearances on NPR.  But to get there you have to lie, distort your own complicity, and, along the way, double down on a policy whose failure is obvious now even to some of its former architects.

All this is a long winded way of saying that the deceptive GOP debating tactics on the fate of the Bush tax cuts is just one more reminder of why these people cannot be trusted with actual power, certainly no more of it than they already abuse.

Image:  Marinus Claesz van Reymerswaele, “Two Tax Collectors,” c. 1540