Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who co-chaired the super committee, explained that the major sticking point during negotiations with the GOP was what to do with the Bush tax cuts. With that in mind, the National Priorities Project points out that those tax cuts this year will give the richest 1 percent of Americans a bigger tax cut than the other 99 percent will receive in average income:
The average Bush tax cut in 2011 for a taxpayer in the richest one percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent ($66,384 compared to $58,506).
“The super committee failed to grapple with the extraordinarily costly Bush tax cuts for the richest—tax policies that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, cost more in added federal debt than they add in additional economic activity,” explained Jo Comerford, NPP’s Executive Director. Frank Knapp, vice chairman of the American Sustainable Business Council, added in a statement yesterday, “the high-end Bush tax cuts are a big part of the problem – not the solution…It’s obscene to keep slashing infrastructure and services for everybody on Main Street to keep up tax giveaways for millionaires and multinational corporations.”
The single biggest thing we could do if we were truly worried about the Deficit Monster is to let the Bush tax cuts expire. It was true when the GOP insisted we extend them the last time, and it's just as true now. Hooray, we'd save the defense budget from super-scary cuts! Hooray, we wouldn't have to gut social services!
Nope. A total non-starter, on the Republican side. As much as they whine about military cuts, as much as they whine about the deficit and how it's going to doom us all, nearly to a person they agree that they'd rather have both those things happen than drop the stupid, pointless, heavily-tilted-towards-the-rich, already-supposed-to-expire tax cuts. If you were to actually believe their tripe, they're saying that they'd rather "endanger the country" than tax rich people. That's the choice they themselves have said they're making.
We all know that deficits aren't a motivating factor for Republicans, because we heard all about how unconcerned they were about deficits when they were racking them up. A bigger motivation is simply to slash government, and in the right ways, which to supposed family-value conservatives means killing social programs, killing aid to the poor, the sick, and the elderly. Even that has been fairly inconsistent, though (heaven knows they tried here and there, during the Bush years, but not nearly to the shut-down-government levels they've made into standard fare, during Obama's presidency.) The only thing they've consistently done, whether in power or out of power, is cut taxes on the rich. That is their only governing philosophy; it is the single thing they will go to bat for, even if it means directly harming the nation's economy, government, or debt status.
So the Bush tax cuts alone provide more income to individuals in the top 1% than the average income of the entire rest of the country. And we can't possibly ever be rid of them, because returning to pre-Bush rates would be "socialism."
Top Comments for today are here.