Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 4:17 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

When is a tax cut really a tax hike?

By Greg Sargent

With House Dems set to hold a high-stakes vote tomorrow on extending just the middle class tax cuts, Republicans are fanning out to denounce the move as a tax hike. The idea is that a plan to extend just the low end tax cuts would mean that the high end ones would expire at the end of the year. Presto: Tomorrow's vote is a vote for a tax hike.

But Dems have their pushback at the ready: They will point out that some House Republicans themselves said a few months ago that they would vote to extend just the middle class tax cuts, if given just that option.

For instance: Today, House GOP Rep. Dave Camp, one of the top GOP negotiators in the standoff over the Bush tax cuts, denounced the Dem plan for a vote today as a "push to raise taxes."

But back in July, when another such vote was being mulled by Dems, Camp said he might support it:

Camp said it would be difficult to block a bill extending middle class tax cuts, even if it doesn't stop tax rates from increasing for high earners.

"I'll probably vote for it myself," Camp said.

Similarly, John Boehner also said back in September he would support an extension of just the middle class tax cuts if that were his only option, before reversing himself.

With Republicans certain to widely denounce tomorrow's vote as a tax hike on small businesses, expect Dems to point to these previous GOP quotes to argue that even Republicans have acknowledged that a vote to extend middle class tax cuts is, well, just a vote to extend middle class tax cuts.

By Greg Sargent  | December 1, 2010; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, taxes  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Dems too quick to internalize that losing feeling
Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

The Democrats counter argument is just plain stupid.

Basically they are saying that people in congress can never, ever, change their minds.

I guess that explains why they kept Ms Pelosi in charge even after a devasting electoral rebuke. Democrats are prohibited from changing their minds. I guess that assume that this self imposed rule should apply to everyone everywhere.

Just.
Plain.
Stupid.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 1, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Like Boehner held on after two romps in the House.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 1, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

As a small Portland business owner myself, I hope that the tax cuts for the very richest remain in place. It seems obvious that as these individuals spend their money in the Caymans or in Florence or at some of the better Ferrari dealerships in Manhattan, that money will quickly flow to my boutique here thus enabling me to take on new staff.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Semantic games and meaningless votes are two of the reasons the American people are fed up and voted to split power in congress. The House knows this vote isn't going anywhere in the Senate, Obama knows it - just wasting time.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 1, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

This will pass the House - so why won't the House Republicans pass this, knowing full well that McConnell and crew will block the bill???


Problem solved, and the democrats are caught being partisan again.

_________________________________


Greg wrote earlier:

At risk of overgeneralizing, the problem isn't that Dems aren't capable of winning an argument. It's that they don't think they're capable of winning a protracted political standoff, even on an issue where the public is on their side


_____________________________


Not really - remember the democrats in Washington have all been bought off by the special interests time and time again


Greg - you still believe that these guys represent the poor and the innercities?


it's that liberal rube thing again

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans are fanning out to denounce the move as a tax hike."

Yes, it has become their mantra -
tax hike, tax hike, tax hike -
and the chin dribblers in the P.T. Barnum crowd of the American public eats it up. There is no such thing as a Dem push back. The GOP owns the media megaphone. Having Bernie Sanders on the Rachel Maddow Show is about as much of a pushback as one can expect. I like Bernie, but he's spitting in the wind.
These next two years will be torture, metaphorical for most of us, and literal for more of us than I care to think about, but in the words of John Mellencamp - "ain't that America."

Posted by: filmnoia | December 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Laughing @ Bernie. Sometimes a quick quip can shoot down an argument faster than a lecture.

If Obama was smart, he'd just let them expire. The world wouldn't end and the Republicans would suddenly have to put up or shut up. I'm not going to miss $500 a year in payroll tax breaks (Divide it by 24 and that's what I see on my check). If that means wealthy people will have to pitch in $100,000 a year to reduce the deficit, so be it.

I can sacrifice, will the upper classes? I doubt it.

Posted by: Alex3 | December 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Greg

A tax hike is a tax hike when I'M PAYING FOR IT.


I suppose, to you, a tax hike is not a tax hike when someone else is paying for it.


Another case from the Liberal Rubes


Case closed.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't think its a waste of time at all.

Yes, it burns me that Dems have all but announced that this is a symbolic vote rather than something they realistically hope to be policy. But lets not forget that Republicans are terrified of the separation of the tax cuts because it clearly puts them in the position of holding middle class cuts hostage for rich people. The campaign ads write themselves.

Contrary to the atmosphere on cable news in which any whiff of class-warfare is considered the definition of crassness, "soak the rich" is a very popular policy option.

Posted by: jbossch | December 1, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

a better example of the liberal need to be philanthropic with other people's money can scarcely be imagined:
=======
If that means wealthy people will have to pitch in $100,000 a year to reduce the deficit, so be it.

I can sacrifice, will the upper classes? I doubt it.

==================

I just love the blithe dismissal of the confiscation of other people's property. What a country! where ordinary folks like alex here can spout off about the need for someone else to pony up money he wants to to spend.

A perfect example. Just pitch perfect. I'll keep this one on file for the next time some liberal blow hard wants to thunder on about how this isn't spending other people's money.

Thanks alex.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 1, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

a vote for keeping a tax cut is a tax increase when you're a walking talking idiot.

case closed.

Posted by: newagent99 | December 1, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Clinton Temporary Surcharge


What the democrats are really voting on is bringing back the Clinton Temporary Surcharge.


When is something Temporary really not Temporary ???


When, after eight years of something being long gone, the democrats bring back the Temporary, and try to make it Permanent.


Liberal Rubes - they keep trying to parse words when they really have little idea about the substance of what they are talking about.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Watching with a hand covering my eyes, fingers splayed a little.

Will the Democrats collapse into a heap and start blaming each other? Or will they fold like a cheap tent and start blaming each other? The suspense is killing me.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Shrink

The democrats never had the votes - even on their own side

The democrats are hearing from their own contributors who - despite Obama's rhetoric - don't want the tax increase in the middle of a recession.


The democrats are hearing from their own ranks

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"What we've observed these past two years is a political party that knows nothing but scorched earth tactics, cannot begin to see any merits in the other party's arguments, refuses to compromise one inch on anything, and has sought from the very beginning to do nothing but destroy the Obama presidency. I see no other coherent message or strategy since 2008. Just opposition to everything, zero support for a president grappling with a recession their own party did much to precipitate, and facing a fiscal crisis the GOP alone made far worse with their spending in the Bush-Cheney years. There is not a scintilla of responsibility for their past; not a sliver of good will for a duly elected president. Worse, figures like Cantor and McCain actively seek to back foreign governments against the duly elected president of their own country, and seek to repeal the signature policy achievement of Obama's first two years, universal healthcare.

I know it is the opposition's role to oppose. But the sheer scale and absolutism of the opposition, and its continuation in the lame duck session, even over such small but integral reforms such as the new START and DADT repeal, is remarkable. The two parties are evenly spread in this 50-50 country, but only one can brook no compromise in its accelerating rush to the far right. And that is what it seems we have to contemplate for the next two years - total paralysis in the face of urgent problems as part of a game of cynical partisan brinkmanship. They simply cannot bear that another party might actually have a role to play in government.

*This is not conservatism, properly understood, a disposition that respects the institutions and traditions of government, that can give as well as take, that seeks the national interest before partisan concerns, and that respects both the other branches of government and seeks to work with them. These people are not conservatives in this core civilized sense; they are partisan vandals.*"

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/12/the-dickishness-of-the-gop.html

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what the Democrats arguments are on this, the Republicans have the will to stick together on this issue and will win. The Democrats do not.

The Republicans aren't afraid of the tax cuts expiring at the end of the year because they'll just retroactively enact them in January, 2011.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 1, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

A prayer: Please God, free me from the pain of having to see Andrew Sullivan quoted on this blog incessantly.

(reply with witty liberal retort)

Posted by: sbj3 | December 1, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@jbossch

"Yes, it burns me that Dems have all but announced that this is a symbolic vote rather than something they realistically hope to be policy. But lets not forget that Republicans are terrified of the separation of the tax cuts because it clearly puts them in the position of holding middle class cuts hostage for rich people. The campaign ads write themselves. "

That was a fine argument for holding the vote prior to the election. It's too late now. Given that the Republicans won major gains on being the party of No and obstruction of Obama's agenda, they certainly aren't "terrified" now of the Democratic leadership demonizing them as supporters of the rich.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 1, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

There is no point to a symbolic vote -

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

Thanks for the Sullivan link. I agree with him completely. As I like to say:

Today's GOP: Putting the Con in Conservatism!

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Mike Duncan, running to replace Michael Steele as RNC chair said:

"DUNCAN: Money is the mother’s milk of politics. There is not too much money in politics, there is not enough money. When you consider that we spend $7 billion in this county a year on potato chips. We spend $4 billion, a little over $4 billion, according to the National Retailer Association on Halloween — on costumes and candies."

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/12/01/duncan-more-money-politics/

Money is also the "mother's milk" of international terrorist operations, the drug trade, child prostitution and nuclear weapons proliferation. Then look at what the world's citizens spend on food!

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Bernie has started his shift - his thread bombing will begin now

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

@sbj - Your wish won't be granted because the very last thing your modern movement and party needs is further isolation from conservatives who have a solid grounding in the history of conservativism.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh, Dr. Sullivan OBGYN, spouting emotion. He seems so offended that those evil, Trig's mother conspiring Republicans, would try and block their opponents agenda. And then, horror, campaigning on and winning elections, on repealing the very agenda they opposed. Next you'll tell me they ran a candidate against Barry? Pshaw, I say.

Is the House Obama tax increase bill going to be voted on with regular rules? Or special rules that will prevent Republicans from proposing a motion to recommit?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 1, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

OT:

-Sen. Warner Disappointed in Coastal Drilling Decision-

http://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Blog&ContentRecord_id=e243997a-e945-413e-a793-acf54b952834

There's something really really -- I mean REALLY -- wrong with the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

bernie-

If that is the intellectual heft of a possible RNC Chair, looks like we win either way.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Money is the mothers milk of Social Security as well as the British National Health Service. Terrorist B*st*rds!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 1, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Money's the mothers milk of public transportation and green energy. Murderers!!!!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 1, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"There's something really really I mean REALLY wrong with the Democratic Party."

Really?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

As you are a trueblue Democrat maybe if you complain to someone it will make a difference. The party's dysfunction is astonishing.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Sully: "total paralysis in the face of urgent problems as part of a game of cynical partisan brinkmanship"

Totally.

Ladies and Germs, we are in the midst of the first ever Civil Cold War.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

WB, not only am I going to complain, I'm out. I am changing my registration to Indie as soon as I can. I decided today. All of this bull__t was avoidable. Dem policies are fine, but they just flat out suck at politics.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

@Chuck - I expect he had his staff dig up some stats before his presentation merely to forward this talking point. He has a trustee role in a university and had a prior admin role at another. But he's a banker. Not stupid, just trying to make others stupid.

What's so depressing about people like this guy is how intellectually dishonest they are.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Gotta be kidding me:

House Republicans have temporarily blocked legislation to feed school meals to thousands more hungry children. Republicans used a procedural maneuver Wednesday to try to amend the $4.5 billion bill, which would give more needy children the opportunity to eat free lunches at school and make those lunches healthier. First lady Michelle Obama has lobbied for the bill as part of her "Let's Move" campaign to combat childhood obesity.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/12/republicans_block_child_nutrition_bill.php

We have an over $700B defense budget, which the right demands that we expand OR ELSE! But try to feed healthy food to NEEDY CHILDREN and you get blocked. Seriously. Words fail.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

The Dems need to also clarify that the tax hike is on 2% of small businesses and not small businesses as a whole.

The Republican's want us to believe all small businesses will get a tax hike which just isn't true...

Posted by: soapm | December 1, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I have to admire (as sickening as it is) his candor. At least we *know* where he stands.
I wasn't really talking about the actual comparisons he made as much as how blithely he makes them.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/happy_hour_roundup_139.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 1, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

@Chuck - gotcha now. Thanks.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 1, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

WB, not only am I going to complain, I'm out. I am changing my registration to Indie as soon as I can. I decided today. All of this bull__t was avoidable. Dem policies are fine, but they just flat out suck at politics.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Vote with your feet. And your wallet. That's all they understand.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

And I would like to submit my answer to the riddle Greg posed in the previous post:

Q: When is a tax cut really a tax hike?

A: When the Democrats do it.

ba-doom!

O&O.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Can anybody tell me why nobody is seriously talking about passing a temporary (1-2 year) extension of all the tax cuts, followed immediately (during the lame duck session) by a vote to make the middle class cuts permanent? How would the Republicans in the Senate be able to hold all of their troops together against a permanent tax cut for the middle class if the tax cut for the rich were already extended? Isn't this a winner?

Posted by: billy_burdett | December 1, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Let all of the Bush tax cuts expire. PERMANENTLY. What a joke this is. Congress waits until the LAST MONTH of the LAST YEAR of the TEMPORARY Bush tax cuts to go all crazy and political and cutthroat under the wire. A POX on OBAMA, the DEMOCRATS, the country club REPUBLICANS and the brain-dead TEABAGGERS.

We've ALL been living the high life on borrowed money all through the Bush years and when the Wall Street "banks" brought down our economy in 08 with their dice-roll gambling and fraudulent "securities" pyramids, first Bush then Obama had to step in to save the country from utter disaster and bread lines. Taxpayers bailed out the fatcat highrollers or they would have brought us all down to paupers.

After the bailout, the economy at least is functioning on a basic level. Corporate profits are back up because they slashed employees, who are now out on the street. There's no choice but to pay people unemployment insurance (that's why it's called insurance). Too bad they'll spend 75% of it at WalMart on Chinese goods and the other 25% on oil from the Middle East.

We need STABILITY and PREDICTABILITY for business and workers. No two-year-this or 5-year-that tax policies so congress can kick the can down the road again (COWARDS, one and all). Let the party-time Bush-era tax cuts EXPIRE for everyone NOW. Let's cut spending. Let's start back on a firm track of fiscal RESPONSIBILITY and STABILITY so that businesses KNOW what taxes they'll be paying and can plan accordingly. Employed middle-income people will hardly feel the increase, and of course rich people won't even notice the rate increase because they'll stash cash abroad as they always have.

Posted by: digtlartst | December 2, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company