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

Democrats Propose New “Poll-Tested” Tax Hike “That Will Raise The Specter Of Class Warfare”

October 6th, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

The Washington Post writes today, “As they head into the 2012 campaign, Democrats are changing their definition of what it means to be rich. Forget about families making $250,000 a year. Today, the party is only interested in millionaires. In speeches across the country, President Obama has vigorously demanded that ‘millionaires and billionaires’ pay ‘their fair share’ in taxes. Last month, the White House said tax reform should ensure that billionaires such as Warren Buffett pay at least as much of their income to the Internal Revenue Service as middle-class taxpayers do.

“And on Wednesday came clear evidence of this shift: Senate Democratic leaders scrapped Obama’s proposal to cover the cost of his jobs bill by raising taxes on income over $250,000 a year, the old Democratic standard for defining the wealthy. Instead, they are proposing a 5.6 percent surtax on annual income of more than $1 million. Democrats say their new focus is intended to bolster support for Obama’s jobs package. But its more important purpose is to clarify the party’s economic agenda heading into next year’s election.”

Indeed, Roll Call points out that this new tax Democrats are proposing to pay for Obama’s latest stimulus package is based on politics. “[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid’s decision to pay for the $447 billion package with a 5.6 percent surtax on income of more than $1 million starting in 2013 gives Democrats a poll-tested package that most can run on for the next year — even though the surtax itself is dead on arrival with Republicans. Indeed, Reid appears to be setting the stage for a major floor battle that will raise the specter of ‘class warfare’ and Obama recently called himself a ‘warrior for the middle class.’”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell elaborated on Democrats’ latest partisan plan in a floor speech this morning: “What this week has shown, beyond any doubt, is that Democrats would rather talk about partisan legislation that they know won’t pass, than about actually passing legislation we know would create jobs. This week it was revealed that there wasn’t enough support within the Democrat ranks to pass the President’s so-called Jobs bill — it was simply too partisan.”

“So yesterday,” Leader McConnell said, “instead of making it less partisan, they made it more so. By adding a tax on small business owners, they made it even less attractive to job creators, rather than working with Republicans on legislation that would actually help create jobs. I mean, what’s our goal here? If the goal is to create jobs, then why are we even talking about tax hikes? The President himself has said that raising taxes is the last thing you want to do in a weak economy — even the White House predicts the unemployment rate will be high when this tax would kick in. So the real goal here for the Democrats, as far as I can tell, is entirely political — by arguing for a permanent tax hike to pay for a temporary stimulus, they essentially admitting they’re not interested in creating jobs–because proposing a partisan tax hike 13 months before an election won’t create a single job.”

And despite Democrats’ latest political posturing, it’s not clear that many Democrats will support the president’s stimulus bill, even with their new tax hike proposal. In 2009 some Democrats warned that a similar surtax would “negatively affect small businesses.” Meanwhile The Daily Caller reports that Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) “is a ‘no’ vote right now with either the surtax or offsets on the table.” And Politico’s Manu Raju reports Democrat Nebraska Senator “Ben Nelson says he’ll vote against cloture on motion to proceed to Obama jobs plan.”

As Leader McConnell said, “Republicans, along with some Democrats, have pro-growth solutions to help solve this crisis, but we will not stand for a permanent tax hike for a temporary stimulus that is largely a rehash of the same failed stimulus ideas this administration has already tried. This bill is the same wasteful spending, the same burdensome union giveaways, and the same temporary tax policy that has failed the American people the last two years.”

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