Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Tax Plan

Here's a good breakdown of the bill that is likely to hit the Senate floor soon: a proposal to extend the middle classes payroll tax holiday another year, and balancing it against a small tax increase on the wealthy. Chris Weigant makes an excellent point that the GOP has put themselves in a very difficult position. Either they vote on the entire bill, thereby supporting a tax increase, they vote against the whole bill whereby the vote against a tax cut, or they submit their own proposal that is all tax break extensions but that then has to be balanced with massive spending cuts immediately. Those are the options put forward by the article.

But I believe there is a fourth option, and one that is much more likely. First, Republicans will refuse to vote on the bills as-is and demand it be broken into two parts: the tax cut extension and the tax increase on the wealthy. Then, they will pass the first part and stop the second. They will take credit and pat themselves on the back for extending the tax holiday, and then attack Dems for proposing a tax increase. They will also say it's the Dems fault that they now have to cut billions of dollars, and as such the Dems should give the GOP all the cuts they want.

I think that the tax plan as proposed by the Dems is great because it not only helps the middle class by continuing a needed tax break, but it is in line with what the majority of Americans say they support: higher taxes on the wealthy. And, really, the tax increase proposed is fairly small. It's nowhere near the size that Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan would have hiked taxes on the poor. And the wealthy millionaires will not be out on the streets over this. The other important piece to the plan are the tax incentives that are meant to spur on hiring by small businesses. These incentive alone should be enough to lure any congressperson to vote for it, but you know that ideological one-sidedness will likely prevail. It'll be a pre-"Christmas break" miracle to see this pass as it stands now.

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