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Our First Priority Is Upper-Class Tax Cuts. Our Second Priority Is That There Is No Other Priority.

[ 39 ] February 26, 2013 |

I think Chait gets the lay of the land right here. What matters to congressional Republicans is low taxes for the wealthy, period. They’ll take cuts to spending for the poor, and they’ll accept cuts to middle class programs if they can blame Democrats for them, but given the choice they would much rather have upper-class tax cuts than cuts to Social Security and Medicare. And Republicans have a “plan” to reduce tax loopholes in the same sense that the Heritage Foundation had a “health care reform” plan.

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  1. And Republicans have a “plan” to reduce tax loopholes in the same sense that the Heritage Foundation had a “health care reform” plan.

    I’ve already seen people complain that White House proposals to actually close tax loopholes on the wealthy amounts to “adopting Mitt Romney’s plan.”

    It’s as if the entire argument about Mitt Romney’s low effective tax rate, the discussion about Warren Buffet paying a lower tax rate than his secretary, and the proposals to get rid of tax breaks for oil companies and off-shoring jobs never existed. Nope, closing tax loopholes that benefit the rich and ultra-rich is now a Republican idea, and those Democrats who propose to do so are sellouts.

  2. Data Tutashkhia says:

    Nah, discipling the lower orders by cutting their safety net is also a priority. Luckily, they are two complimenting priorities.

    • NonyNony says:

      Not a priority. A nice thing if you can get it, but not a priority.

      Let’s put it this way – if the Republicans were given these choices:

      A) A modest increase in the income tax rate on the wealthy and massive slashing of social security and medicare

      OR

      B) A tax cut for the wealthiest 1% and a mild increase in spending on social security and medicare

      They would pick B every time. It’s a no-brainer for them, while a group that had a priority on cutting the safety net to the bone would take A with the assumption that in post-Reagan America tax increases are easy to roll back while new spending is hard to allocate. So live with A for a year and then start agitating for more tax cuts.

      • JKTHs says:

        This absolutely. A lot easier to give shit away and disguise it as helping the middle class than hurt the poors.

      • Data Tutashkhia says:

        Social security and medicare are old-age programs; cutting them will do little to discipline the lower orders.

        The only reason to cut social security is to produce again a FICA tax surplus, that is then used to cut taxes on the job-creators.

        If I were them, I’d go after the things like minimum wage, medicaid, unemployment insurance. More H1B visas. Stuff like that.

  3. Joshua says:

    The fact that the GOP doesn’t have a plan is patently obvious, from Boehner’s “Plan B” all the way back to the plan he hashed out with Obama on the golf course.

    The GOP’s stance from day one is to reject whatever Obama offers, and then whine about how Obama isn’t working with them or giving them a good plan.

    The thing is – look at the Fournier piece we mocked yesterday. It works! The pundit class thinks/propagandizes that Obama isn’t cutting the bullshit enough. The end result – Republicans don’t need to take any hits from trying to sell their shitty, massively unpopular ideas.

  4. howard says:

    you know, 32 years ago, there was actually a semblance of an argument that marginal tax rates were too high and that cutting them would be beneficial to the economy overall.

    i’m not saying it was a great argument, but at least there was something to it.

    but now there is no argument at all beyond not hurting the feelings of job creators who might sulk if their taxes go up a little and stop creating jobs.

    of all the signs of epistemic closure in the gop, i would say “low taxes for the high income” is the brightest: they no longer even feel like they have to mount a cogent argument.

    • Loud Liberal says:

      you know, 32 years ago, there was actually a semblance of an argument that marginal tax rates were too high and that cutting them would be beneficial to the economy overall.

      No! There was no such economically competent argument.

      i’m not saying it was a great argument, but at least there was something to it.

      No! There was no economic justification for it.

      • howard says:

        32 years ago, we didn’t have the work of picketty and saez to suggest that even at 70% it’s hard to find a disincentive effect, so yes, there was an adequate argument economically.

        • cpinva says:

          perhaps there was, for the 30 minutes before reagan then spent us into deficits, with his 600 ship navy, etc.

          32 years ago, we didn’t have the work of picketty and saez to suggest that even at 70% it’s hard to find a disincentive effect, so yes, there was an adequate argument economically.

          of course, it still boiled down to the obscenely rich getting the bulk of the tax savings, taking them out of circulation in the economy. add to that the slashing of rates on long-term capital gains (for which there was zero economic justification), and it was simply a tax smorgasbord for the wealthy.

          • howard says:

            As a last comment before my plane closes the doors; by and large, high income people get that way from capital gains, not straight income, which is why treating capital gains as ordinary income without special tax treatment should get much more attention than it does on the left.

    • Malaclypse says:

      you know, 32 49 years ago, there was actually a semblance of an argument that marginal tax rates were too high and that cutting them would be beneficial to the economy overall.

      Fixed.

    • howard says:

      pioneering new ideas in voter outreach!

      • olexicon says:

        Building that bridge to the 17th Century

      • Shakezula says:

        Both middle fingers extended instead of just one?

        I wonder if this came from a number of Examiner (local free neocon rag) articles that went on and on and on about how much D.C. public transit employees make on overtime.

        I can see why this might trouble a staunch Republican, as 99.9% of our transit workers are – ahem – obvious Obama supporters.

        • Warren Terra says:

          1) There are apparently already federal laws that make it possible for states (possibly also municipalities) to deny overtime pay (by instead offering comp time)

          2) This is of course being spun by the Right as a compassionate, family-friendly creation of flex-time – but money-stretched, status-poor hourly workers typically don’t want flex time, they want money (and many want the stability of a predictable work schedule); and in any case, flex time under such circumstances doesn’t mean freedom to work when you want, it means compulsion to work whatever shifts the boss pleases. And Cantor’s law apparently gives the boss a year or so to come up with the comp time, to boot …

          • VCarlson says:

            Way back, in the dim and distant past (early 80s), I was a TX State employee. That was their practice, at least for those of us on salary. Also, the lege would give us new holidays rather than pay raises. So I couldn’t afford to do much, but I had a lot of free time to not do it in.

    • Shakezula says:

      “Can Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader, redeem his party and himself?”

      [Checks dictionary]

      I don’t see any definition of redeem that means “make into bigger dickheads,” so No.

      • cpinva says:

        this, on the other hand, he’s diligently working on.

        “make into bigger dickheads,”

        i must admit, rep. cantor intrigues me. he’s jewish, in an area not well known for being tolerant of non-fundie christians. i guess they figure they got themselves a “smart jew-boy” in congress, so they won’t burn a cross on his front lawn, just yet.

    • efgoldman says:

      Cantor also croaked a compromise that Obama and Orange Satan worked out in the original debt ceiling fight, says Mr. Benen:

      http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/02/26/17105106-cantors-candid-confession?lite

    • Matt says:

      For a followup, I assume Cantor’s going to bring a Wal-Mart employee onto the floor of the house and shit on his face before lighting him on fire.

    • DrDick says:

      The true champions of the common man!

  5. djillionsmix says:

    a “plan” to reduce tax loopholes

    not enough words in phrase are in quotes

  6. Blue Meme says:

    I’m afraid I don’t agree. I think many of these guys are even more rigidly dogmatic about their aversion to the New Deal part of government than they are attached to their own immediate self interest in lower rates.

    But it would be awfully easy to find out for sure: The Dems could propose a deal that included a 1% cap gains cut while preserving Social Security and Medicare benefits. If you are right, they would jump at it. It would increase the deficit (by their worldview), but if they don’t care about anything but taxes, so what?

  7. [...] The Republicans would really like much deeper cuts to non-defense spending. But, truth be told, there is only one thing Republicans care about deeply. [...]

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