Republican Tax Cut Hypocrisy

It’s not exactly a newsflash, but the Republicans are blatantly hypocritical when it comes to their no taxes pledge.  They now want to let the payroll tax cut expire at the end of the year, adding about $1,000 a year to working Americans’ tax bills.  The same Republicans who were willing to let America default are now willing to endorse what amounts to a $120 billion tax increase.

Ezra Klein looks at this today:

One possible answer is that a large tax increase in an election year is good for them because it’s bad for President Obama and the economy. But that’s a pretty cynical explanation. Another is that they care more about tax rates on the rich than they do about tax rates on the poor. But they resist that argument. The real answer, Republicans says, is that they just don’t like temporary tax cuts.

”We don’t need short-term gestures,” explained Sen. Lamar Alexander. “Temporary tax rebates don’t work to create economic growth,” said Rep. Paul Ryan. Brad Dayspring, the spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, says his boss “has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy.”

But as Jon Chait noted, Republicans proposed and passed temporary tax cuts in 2001 and 2008. Ryan voted for both packages. So did Cantor. And Alexander. So the GOP seemed to believe in temporary tax cuts when George W. Bush was president.


In other words, Republicans have frequently fought for temporary tax cuts. When offered the choice between a larger temporary tax cut and a smaller permanent tax cut, as happened in 2001 and 2003 and 2010, they have opted for the temporary tax cut. Now that Obama has come to endorse a temporary tax cut, they have stopped supporting it — a pattern we’ve seen on many other issues, as well. But the idea that the party has had some steady, policy-based objection to temporary tax cuts just doesn’t fit the record.

I’ll take the cynical views that Ezra mentions in his post.  Mitch McConnell’s stated goal was to keep President Obama to one term.  That’s pretty bold honesty from a politician.  To me, it looks like two things.  The Republicans are willing to screw the working poor and middle class to protect the rich.  The Republicans are also completely unwilling to do anything that President Obama wants to do, whether it’s good for the country or not.

During the budget ceiling and deficit reduction debate, Republicans were unwilling to consider any new revenues at all.  Let’s leave aside the obvious lie from Sen. Alexander (of course temporary measures help – all stimulus programs are temporary).  We need stimulus for this economy.  Some economists believe that the US economy is already in recession.  Again.  And all they’re doing in Washington is blathering on about the need for deficit reduction. 

We don’t need deficit reduction at all.  What we need is a robust jobs program.  We need to help the long term unemployed.  They face a real human catastrophe.  We need to get those people back to work.  The deficit will be reduced just by people working again and paying taxes again.  Keynes was right.  Government needs to step in during times when the economy is weak.  Republicans either forgot that, or don’t care.

The Republicans have forgotten – or again, don’t care – that they need to govern.  And that means doing what’s right, not trying to stack the deck with a weak economy so that Obama’s reelection chances are lessened.  A poor economy could benefit the Republicans weak presidential field in 2012.  So they do what they can to keep the economy weak and the working poor and middle class continue to suffer, and the Republicans rich friends keep getting richer.

  1. Alan said:

    You cannot reason with a cult member, and that is what the tea party is, a cult within the republican party. It was born of hatred, and racism. It really has nothing to do with deficits, taxes, or the budget. It has everything to do with being anti-Obama. Too bad Obama didn’t realize at the beginning that under no circumstances would the opposition ever give in. He should have blown in there, and did what he wanted just as Bush did.

  2. Deanna said:

    Well, McConnell said that their goal was to make Obama a one-term president. He came right out and said it.

    I don’t know if calling the tea party a cult is quite right. There is something of that, though; you’re right about that,

    • Alan said:


      a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

      I think it fits.

      • Deanna said:

        Ok … you’re right. I tend to think of cults as something like the Moonies or the Branch Davidians.

  3. andy torok said:

    Obama tried his hand at bipartisanship when he took office. That’s what hurt him. Republicans only know the term when it favors them. What is it about the term “temporary” that the Republicans don’t understand? The Bush tax cuts were supposed to be temporary. Reinstating the previous tax rates doesn’t raise taxes. If giving the rich tax cuts helps the poor using trickle down theory, just how richdo they have to become to get it to work? By definition, they are already rich.

    • Deanna said:

      Well, to me, the Republicans seem to have the mentality of a three year old. If you get an inch, why not go ahead and take that whole mile. No one will complain, and the president will let us do it. Obama finally seems to have grown a spine and has realized that the Republicans really don’t want to work with him, that McConnell’s stated goal of keeping him (Obama) to a single term has been the only strategy that the Republicans are following. His presser today was pretty interesting in that regard. I’m working on a post about that now.

      Thanks for commenting!

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