Republicans Say Raise Taxes On The Middle Class

Republicans Say Raise Taxes On The Middle Class

Even as the White House looks at raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations, GOP looks to hike them on people making under $106,000.

The fiscal fiasco continues this week as House Republicans turn their position 180 degrees on tax increases. Over the summer many House and Senate Republicans considered any tax increase, even closing corporate tax loopholes or letting tax cuts expire, to be a "tax increase". Now, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said that he would support letting the current 2% payroll tax cut expire, which would effectively increase middle-class taxes by 50% for American workers making less than $106,000 a year. He's also come out against President Obama's proposed "Buffet Plan", which would limit the deductions that individuals making over $250,000 a year can take, and would close loopholes in the corporate tax code, saying, "Class warfare might make for good politics, but it makes for rotten economics."

Unfortunately, a rotten economy is what we have right now, with a record number of people in the country paying no taxes, inequity within the tax code for the wealthy and the poor, and loopholes and subsidies for businesses that amount to corporate welfare. This also flies directly in the face of their position the last several months in budget talks, which would not even consider anything that contained tax increases. As Ryan himself said, "whether it's letting a tax cut expire, or proactively raising taxes, it's still a tax increase." Anyway you cut it, this is the Republican leaders in Washington increasing taxes on the middle-class while protecting the wealthy and corporate special interests. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has come out citing something that Obama said in 2010, insisting that tax hikes in a down economy will hurt small business. "I think what he said then still applies," McConnell said. Of the Buffet Plan, McConnell remarks off-handedly that if he's feeling guilty, "he should send us a check." Unfortunately, McConnell's snide take on the matter doesn't address the problem of tax inequity, which is exactly what the Buffet Plan is aimed at addressing.

One of the issues in looking at tax hikes and deficit reduction is that there's already a Joint super committee working on deficit reduction, and will also be at least considering possible tax increases (whether in closing loopholes and deductions or in proactively raising them). Obama has already advocated for a further 2% payroll deduction apart from whatever the super committee decides. He also announced today that he'll push for a $1.5 trillion in new revenues from tax increases that will result from letting the Bush Era tax cuts expire (at least $800 billion in new revenues from that alone), as well as limiting deductions for the wealthy and subsidies for businesses and corporations. " Obama expects nearly $3 trillion more in new revenues over the course of 10 years. "We can't simply cut ourselves out of this hole," the President announced, countering the GOP push for austerity cuts to federal spending rather than increasing taxes. The President has also promised to veto any plan that comes out of the Joint Committee that includes cuts to entitlement spending, but no increase in tax revenue for the wealthy or private sector.