Anybody betting the congressional supercommittee will reach an agreement to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal budget should get ready for a haircut. Most Americans want federal spending and debt cut dramatically because they fear failure to do so now will mean their children and grandchildren will suffer lowered standards of living tomorrow.
But over and over, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have proposed tax increases. The most recent illustration of this came last week when Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and her Democratic colleagues on the supercommittee reportedly demanded $1.3 trillion in higher levies as part of any final deal with the panel’s six GOP members.
Most Americans oppose tax increases because they’ve seen this show too many times in the past. When Washington Democrats demand tax increases, more spending, not less, always follows. That’s what happened after President Bill Clinton raised taxes in 1993, just as it did after Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan before him agreed to demands from Democratic congressional majorities for higher taxes.
Even when Democrats agree to spending cuts in return for tax hikes — as they did with Reagan — federal expenditures grow ever bigger. Fortunately, House Speaker John Boehner knows this history too, so this week he warned Obama, Reid and Murray that House Republicans are “opposed to tax hikes because we believe that tax hikes will hurt our economy and put Americans out of work.”
Washington, D.C., Democrats constantly demand tax increases because they are addicted to big government. How else to account for Obama’s repeated declarations that “we can’t wait” for Congress to pass another $449 billion economic stimulus jobs program, even though Obama’s previous one poured $757 billion down a rathole without putting a dent in America’s near-Depression levels of unemployment.
The latest Democratic jobs program would be “paid for” with a surtax on upper-income individuals, most of whom are business owners and entrepreneurs. But even the Congressional Budget Office is unimpressed, saying it will have virtually no immediate impact because less than 10 percent of the funds would be spent in the next year. And half the funds would still be unspent by 2015. Such facts didn’t, however, prevent Reid from claiming earlier this week that “millions of jobs” have been lost because Republicans oppose Obama’s proposal.
Reid’s outlandish claim didn’t persuade a coalition representing 1.8 million businesses, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Association of Manufacturers. The coalition told Senate leaders of both parties this week that “the Senate legislation would pay for this new stimulus spending bill by raising tax rates on hundreds of thousands of business owners.” Such an approach amounts to nothing more than “a job-killing punitive tax hike,” they said.
The business leaders also pointed out that Obama’s “own data demonstrates that four out of five of the taxpayers who will face this surtax are business owners.” Barring a complete GOP collapse, it looks like deadlock till Election Day 2012.