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Letting The Payroll Tax Cut Expire Will Expose More GOP Hypocrisy
There are few human traits that are as despicable as hypocrisy, and very few groups as guilty of practicing it as Republicans. If there is one thing Americans can count on from Republicans, it is that cutting taxes is the solution to every problem facing the country. In fact, the GOP’s answer to Democratic proposals to help the economy and create jobs is to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy they say will encourage the so-called job creators to begin hiring. They even propose cutting taxes to reduce the nation’s deficit even though every major economist has said increasing revenue coupled with budget cuts is the only reasonable way to bring the deficit under control. However, in typical hypocritical fashion, it turns out Republicans are only interested in cutting taxes for the wealthy elite and their corporations despite increasing the deficit.
The GOP’s adherence to Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge should have meant extending the payroll tax cut was a foregone conclusion because allowing the cuts to expire would mean a tax increase on the middle class and working poor, but Norquist has proven himself to be every bit a hypocrite as his Republican subjects by claiming allowing the payroll tax cut to expire is not a tax hike.
For the past three years, Republicans opposed allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy to expire because they claim it is tantamount to a tax increase. Their argument, if consistent, would be believable if they applied the ridiculous philosophy across the board, but in their drive to favor the wealthy over 99% of Americans who would benefit from the payroll tax extension, they shifted their position in typical hypocritical fashion. Norquist’s new stance is beyond hypocrisy; it is a simple case of applying one standard for the peasant class and a different one for the rich.
President Obama took advantage of the Republican’s belief that an expiration of tax cuts is the same as raising taxes when he spoke at a rally in Pennsylvania and told members of Congress, “Don’t be a Grinch. Don’t vote to raise taxes on working Americans during the holiday.” The anti-tax campaigner, Norquist, disagreed with the President and told a group of Republicans, “For the president to run around and say not continuing a temporary tax cut is an increase is inaccurate.” For the record, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were not permanent and were set to expire after ten years, so the notion that allowing them to expire on schedule was the same as a tax increase must apply to all temporary tax cuts.
Extending the payroll tax cut has had a positive impact on the economy and job creation regardless that some Republicans claim otherwise. The recent report that unemployment figures declined supports the idea that putting money into Americans’ pockets that they spend immediately are what business owners have said would encourage them to hire for the past two years. House Speaker John Boehner even agreed that the payroll tax cuts were beneficial to the economy and he thought there was common ground to extend the cuts even though the methods to pay for the cuts between Republicans and Democrats are wildly different. Boehner said, “I don’t think there’s any question that the payroll tax relief, in fact, helps the economy by allowing working Americans to keep more of their wages.” Republicans propose paying for the payroll tax cuts by freezing federal employee’s salaries and killing hundreds-of-thousands of government jobs. Democrats proposed a 3.25% surcharge on income over $1 million. Obviously, Republicans are opposed to any tax increase on the wealthy and if it means letting payroll tax cuts expire, then it is not an increase as long as it only affects working Americans.
As Boehner said, the cuts for working Americans has helped the economy and the Labor Department’s report that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6%, the lowest level in two-and-a-half years, proves the cuts helped. The Labor Department also reported that employers added 120,000 new jobs in November and that job growth for the previous two months was better than previously reported. Despite the Labor Department’s report, there are some recalcitrant Republicans who claim the payroll tax cuts were useless. The perpetual moron, Michele Bachmann, said she will fight any effort to extend the cuts because she claimed the President only proposed the cuts to create jobs and that it failed. Other Republicans will only go along with the extension if there are significant spending cuts to pay for the extensions and if it means killing over 200,000 government jobs, so be it.
Republicans have to make a decision on what constitutes a tax increase and they better make the right decision. They have shown no inclination to allow the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire because they claim it is a tax increase, but it is not an increase if tax cuts for the middle class expire. Their dilemma now is that Americans are aware that Republicans are firmly entrenched in the wealthy’s camp and that they are firmly against 99% of the population. The Occupy movement has helped bring Republicans’ loyalty to the wealthy into the population’s consciousness and if the GOP continues their rank hypocrisy and double-standard on taxes, they will have cut their own throats. There is good news that some Republicans are having doubts and buyer’s remorse at signing Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, but he has given them a way out by declaring allowing the payroll tax cuts to expire is not really an increase. However, Norquist is not an elected official and will not face an angry electorate next November when Americans will certainly remember which party raised their taxes.
If Republicans would consider, for a change, working for all Americans and not just the wealthy, their decision to extend the payroll tax cut would be easy and adding a meager 3.25% surcharge on income over $1 million to pay for it would give them some political capital with the 99%. Unfortunately, they only work for the wealthy and now that Americans have grasped the truth that Republicans will do anything to favor the richest 1% of Americans, their allegiance to corporations and the wealthy appears to be catching up to them.
The good news is that President Obama and Democrats have helped create jobs and grow the economy without giving more tax cuts to the wealthy that makes Republicans’ job-creator myth what it really is; a blatant lie. More than anything, Republicans, led by Grover Norquist have shown themselves to be as hypocritical as ever and if there is one thing Americans hate, it is hypocrisy; especially when the hypocrisy is in the form of a double standard that favors the ultra-wealthy and punishes working Americans. With the mood of the country leaning towards supporting the 99% and the Occupy movement, by next November, the Republicans and their hypocritical tax-cut ideology may finally come to an end.