"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Conservatives, Business Leaders Support Tax Deal; Gallup: 66% Of Americans Favor The Two Key Provisions

December 9th, 2010 by sclemons · No Comments

As more people have an opportunity to analyze the framework for the deal on preventing tax hikes worked out between the White House and Republicans in Congress, more recommendations of support are coming, especially from conservatives and business leaders.

To begin with, Gallup writes today that “[t]wo-thirds of Americans (66%) favor extending the 2001/2003 tax cuts for all Americans for two years.” Further, “[a]ccording to Gallup polling conducted Dec. 3-6, the slight majority of Democrats, as well as most independents and Republicans, would vote for a two-year extension of the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003.”

The National Review Online editors conclude the deal is “worth taking” and add, “Acting now reduces both uncertainty and volatility. Republicans can now spend the next two years advancing spending cuts and long-term tax reform.”

In a post at The Heritage Foundation’s blog, The Foundry, on Monday, Heritage’s Alison Acosta Fraser and J.D. Foster wrote, “If the details bear out, this is a compromise worth embracing.”

Today, a coalition of business groups including Americans for Tax Reform, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Federation of Independent Business wrote a letter to senators urging enactment of the tax deal. And in its own press release, the U.S. Chamber said yesterday, “Enacting this bipartisan framework forged by the President and Congress is one of the best steps Washington can take to eliminate the uncertainty that is preventing our employers from hiring, investing, and growing their businesses.”

Considering the deal in an editorial today, The Wall Street Journal writes, “[T]his deal is superior to anything we could have imagined six months ago. Much credit goes to Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans for holding together against the class war attacks of Chuck Schumer and other Democrats. By holding firm, they divided the opposition. This proves again that Republicans win the economic debate when they make the case for lower taxes for everyone in the name of faster growth and job creation.”

As Kevin Hassett, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, said on Fox Business this morning, “I think this is a big win for Republicans.” In fact, in a piece explaining how the deal came together, The New York Times notes that the agreed-upon estate tax provisions are policies that Republicans had been unable to secure for years. “[T]hey saw the talks as a golden opportunity to win an estate-tax agreement that had eluded them even when they controlled Congress and the White House.”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, praised the estate tax provisions to National Review Online’s Andrew Stiles Monday. “Norquist says Republicans should be especially pleased with the proposal to reestablish the estate tax at a rate of 35 percent (for two years), given Democrats’ desire to return to a permanent rate of 55 percent after going all of 2010 without any estate tax whatsoever. ‘Think about how badly Democrats wanted [a return to a 55 percent rate],’ he says. . . . Now 35 percent becomes the new baseline, and Democrats are fighting a losing battle.”

Importantly, The Wall Street Journal editorial analyzes the other implications of President Obama’s acquiescence in extending all the tax cuts and agreeing to other Republican provisions. “In accepting the deal to cut payroll and business taxes and extend all of the Bush-era tax rates through 2012, Mr. Obama has implicitly admitted that his economic strategy has flopped. He is acknowledging that tax rates matter to growth, that treating business like robber barons has hurt investment and hiring, and that tax cuts are superior to spending as stimulus. It took 9.8% unemployment and a loss of 63 House seats for this education to sink in, but the country will benefit.” Kevin Hassett agreed, telling Fox Business’ Stuart Varney, “They are now admitting that if they increase tax rates during a recession then that’s really bad because it’s going to hurt the economy.”

“In this sense,” the WSJ editors explain, “the political symbolism is as important as the policy. Mr. Obama is signaling that businesses must be encouraged to make profits again so they can hire more workers, that ‘the rich’ he so maligns should be able to keep more of what they earn, and even that wealth built up over a lifetime shouldn’t be confiscated wholesale at death. In policy if not in Presidential rhetoric, class war and income redistribution are taking a two-year holiday.”

As Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander pointed out to reporters yesterday, “[W]e believe our number-one goal is to make it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs. And the best thing we can do right now to make it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs is not to raise taxes on people who create jobs and on the American working people in the middle of an economic downturn. That’s why the right thing for our country is to support the tax agreement.”

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