It Is NOT a Tax Cut
By Rich Galen
The "Bush Era Tax Cuts" are no longer "Tax Cuts."
In 2001 and 2003 the Congress approved a reduction in tax rates to spur the economy. The deal was, they would expire at the end of 2010 unless they were affirmatively extended. Let's go to the calendar: 2001 was nearly 10 years ago. 2003 was almost eight years ago.
The tax rates which are currently in place are the … tax rates which are currently in place.
Republicans have allowed the Left to categorize the argument as "extending the Bush Era Tax Cuts." That's flat wrong. What President Obama and most of the remaining Democrats in Congress want to do is to RAISE TAXES.
If all of the Bush Era Tax Cuts are extended, no one, not one single person of the more than 310 million in the United States will have their taxes cut. Their tax rates will remain the same.
If, on the other hand, Nancy Pelosi and her Liberal colleagues in the House want to change those rates, they will not be reversing a tax cut.
They will be RAISING TAXES.
More language weirdness.
Associated Press reporter Jim Kuhnhenn, in his piece about the White House meeting between Obama and the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional leadership wrote that all parties,
"vowed after their first formal meeting since the elections to work harder on a more cooperative approach."
That statement about it being the "first formal meeting since the elections" is technically true, but I believe it is also the first time Obama has hosted a meeting including all of the leaders of the House and the Senate since he took office.
If I'm wrong, I apologize, but even at that there have not been regular meetings of the Article I and Article II branches of government.
In fact, Obama made a big show of only meeting with the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. When pressed at one point, Nancy Pelosi said there would be plenty of times when Republicans and Democrats would meet on important issues.
She lied. Republicans have not only been refused a seat at the table over the course of the 111th Congress, they weren't even allowed in the room.
At any point over the past 22 months, Obama could have called a bipartisan meeting at the White House, but because Obama truly believed what he said when he said, in January 2009, to Republican Whip (and soon to be House Majority Leader) Eric Cantor "I won," so he didn't have to deal with Republicans.
I got a call from CNN asking if I would come on the air and discuss the meeting and what I thought "Republicans would demand."
I said to the booker that Republicans wouldn't be "demanding" anything. They ran, and won, on a platform of no tax increases and cutting federal spending. They don't have to "demand" anything. They were elected on those principles.
What about extending unemployment benefits?
I said the Democrats had a responsibility to demonstrate how they were going to pay for what the Liberal "Daily Kos" put at the "$56.4 billion cost of the 13-month-long benefits extension."
I said I thought, if the Democrats (who are still in control of all the levers of power in the Congress and the White House) wanted to obey the will of the American people, they'd find the money from other Federal programs to pay for it.
As usual, the Senators nearly broke their arms patting themselves on the back for passing a new food safety bill - no matter how necessary that might have been - while the deadline to renew unemployment benefits at midnight last night was looming.
You don't have to be a scholar of Congressional finagling to figure out that the unemployment benefit extension will somehow be tied to retaining the current tax rates and both sides will get what they want.
Sixty-three Democrats in the House may be taking a new look at those unemployment benefits. In just 33 days they, too, will be unemployed having lost their bids for reelection.
In the end I got bumped because the meeting at the WH ran over, which was too bad because I knew what the issues were and what I wanted to say.
I was going to say "Obama is urging a tax increase, in the teeth of 9.6 percent unemployment and a functional - if not classically defined - recession."
Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com