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The Evil Anomaly Of Republican Opposition To The Payroll Tax Cut
In American politics, there are constants that are as predictable as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, but for every constant, there are occasional anomalies that defy explanation regardless of the justification given by the anomaly’s source. Republicans can always be counted on to reject any type of tax increase except when they are aimed at working-class and poor Americans to give the wealthy and corporations tax breaks Since Republicans hate tax increases because they claim it hinders growth and prevents job creation, it seems logical that they would embrace tax cuts for working-class Americans to stimulate spending and spur job creation as well as help small and large businesses alike. In the past two weeks, President Obama has floated the idea of extending the payroll tax holiday that came with the tax cut deal in December, and instead of embracing lower taxes for workers that also affects businesses with employees, Republicans are opposing the payroll tax holiday on principle alone. The principle appears to be a recent phenomenon in American politics and it is simple, but also ridiculous and shows that Republicans will go to any lengths to avoid creating jobs or keep the economy from improving.
An extension of the payroll tax holiday makes economic sense because it reduces the overall cost of new and current employees for small and large businesses. The greatest payroll tax is the FICA tax that all employees have withheld from their paycheck that employers must match dollar for dollar. Besides giving employers less of a burden that should spur hiring and expansion, employees will have more “take-home” pay to spend in the marketplace that in turn creates more sales tax revenue for states and localities to help budget deficits and saves them from making cuts to services like education and law enforcement.
Republicans oppose the payroll tax reduction, but their reasons are not remotely related to concern for Social Security’s solvency. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said “We don’t need short term gestures, we need long term strategies that build into our system simpler taxes, lower taxes, fewer mandates, lower costs, lower energy costs, more certainty.” House Speaker John Boehner echoed Alexander’s comments saying, “The uncertainty that’s out there is not going to be overcome by, you know, another little short-term gimmick.” Boehner’s little short-term gimmick has traditionally received bipartisan support, and conventional wisdom and statistics show that putting more money into worker’s hands means they will spend the extra cash and employers will hire new workers. The opposition to President Obama’s proposal is not in the interest of long term tax reform or fundamental changes in regulatory structure; it is opposition to creating jobs, helping the economy, and Barack Obama.
On CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Bob Schieffer asked Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), “Do Republicans have any plans to do anything on the unemployment front or are you just going to let things take their course?” McConnell, a consummate liar, gave an uncharacteristically truthful answer saying, “No, I — I think — what — what we’re doing is encouraging the president to — to quit doing what he’s doing.” What the president is doing is fixing the Bush-Republican economic mess and presiding over a small economic growth that includes jobs being created in the private sector and corporate growth that rivals any period in recent memory. Although job creation is not proceeding nearly as fast as anyone likes, there are private sector jobs being created because of lower taxes for working families as well as the economic stimulus put in place by the Obama Administration.
It is obvious why McConnell and his Republican cohorts want President Obama to quit what he’s doing to stimulate job growth and help the economy and it is because his policies are working in spite of Republican efforts to stop recovery. Republicans would rather see Americans destitute, unemployed, and the economy devastated than for the president to be successful in growing the economy or creating jobs. To date, Republicans have not offered any legislation to help the economy or create jobs despite their campaign pledge of, “jobs, jobs, jobs.” The spiteful Republicans blocked job creation legislation last year before the midterm elections to garner support for their economic recovery plans that included doing absolutely nothing. There is another job creation measure coming up for a vote that Republicans have weighed down with over 100 requests for amendments that have nothing to do with creating jobs and everything to do with blocking the bill. The Republicans also blocked legislation to stop corporations from sending Americans’ jobs to foreign countries so corporations could avoid paying decent wages and taxes on profits.
There is no end to the vile tactics Republicans employ to stop job creation and economic stimulus because it is their nature to work against the American people. Whether it is a jobs bill, payroll tax reduction, or any other measure, as long as they can deprive President Obama from having any success, nothing is off-limits. The reduction in payroll taxes will help working families and businesses, but it will not help Republicans who want nothing more than to see President Obama fail at growing the economy. The GOP does not have any plans to create jobs or help the economy, but they do have plans to help big business and the wealthy. They are still pushing the ridiculous notion that the only way to help the economy is giving more tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations like they did during the Bush Administration that killed jobs and nearly collapsed the economy.
It is unfortunate that the American economy is being held hostage by a spiteful bunch of racists who cannot get past the idea that a Black man in the Oval Office is having success at creating private sector jobs when Bush-Republicans could not. In lieu of any positive contributions to helping create jobs and grow the economy, Republicans have chosen to block Democratic efforts regardless that American working families are the ones paying for their hateful games. Even when small businesses benefit from Democratic measures, Republicans are at the ready with more obstruction to positive economic stimulus that creates jobs. Opposing a payroll tax reduction is opposing American workers and businesses because they lose the opportunity to expand and hire new workers.
Regardless the ridiculous, illogical reasons Republicans give for opposing proven tactics for helping workers and the economy, the truth is they will sacrifice Americans’ jobs, well-being, and economic security for political gain and it speaks to the contempt they have for the people who pay their salaries and expect them to work for the country. But that is what the Republicans do best; they exude spite and contempt for America and its people to see that a Black president is not successful.
For his part, President Obama continues working for the American people and is deluded in thinking Republicans will ever change unless he quits doing what he’s doing. Fortunately for America, Barack Obama is not going to quit working to help the American people regardless the evil tactics Republicans use. For their part, Republicans will never quit working to destroy the American worker to enrich corporations and will never quit opposing any economic stimulus whether it is job creation, small business assistance, or reduced taxes for working Americans. It is an evil anomaly, but with Republicans, everything is evil and devastating for America.