by Linda Beale
GOP two-step approach problematic
Discussion continued apace yesterday about the “supercommittee” and the idea of agreeing to agree someday on some revenue increases while going ahead with cuts.
This approach is a terrible one since it gives the obstructionist GOP members just another setting in which to refuse to go ahead with tax increases and to “negotiate” yet again over just what counts as a revenue increase. Like the gimmicks that became so overused in the 2001, 2003, 2004 Bush tax bills, this “deal” is just another gimmick for the radical right to get its way–cuts to Social Security and Medicare, cuts to all programs intended to help the vulnerable, no cuts to military programs, and no tax increases–especially not for the rich.
Republicans on the right are already arguing for applying “dynamic analysis” which tends, in their versions, to be rosy scenarios of increased growth due to tax cuts: this is a cop-out way to claim revenue increases that won’t materialize while making actual cuts to much needed social programs. They are also arguing for dramatic changes in the way the earned benefits programs work–such as means-testing for recipients–as first steps in working towards outright elimination of those programs. You get comments like those of Jim Jordan (Republican of Ohio) who wrote in an op-ed in USA Today that taxes “should not punish success to satisfy some false definition of balance.” See Rubin, Debt Accord May be Two-Step Process, Hensarling Says, Bloomberg (Nov. 14, 2011).
Meanwhile, Jim Jordan (Republican of Ohio) said in a USA Today piece that taxes should not be raised because they “should not punish success to satisfy some false definition of balance.” Id.
This is a wrongheaded view of taxes. The radical right uses language about taxes “punishing success” because they see defending the rich from taxation as their mission. The rich are defined as “successful”–even if the wealth is merely built on top of inherited wealth and position, and even if the rich did nothing at all to earn the wealth. Taxes do not punish success. Taxes are the way that we cooperate together to fund important government programs that serve all of us. Even when they act as transfer programs that transfer resources to the poor and elderly, they are serving all of us by making our society work better.
originally published at ataxingmatter