Donald Lambro

Senate Democrats voted Wednesday to raise taxes on a struggling economy at a time of rising unemployment and slowing economic growth.

Dismissing months of statistics showing the economy may be on the cusp of a double-dip recession, Democrats passed the tax bill by a thin 51 to 48 margin to show their support for President Obama's failed economic policies.

The Democrats' action represented the triumph of their party's ultra-leftist, class warfare ideology over economic common sense. Two Democrats (James Webb of Virginia and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut) voted against it. No Republican voted for it.

Think for a moment what was going on in the real world outside the clubby, high income, leather-seated Senate chamber as Democrats cast their votes.

Manufacturing and exports are weakening. Retail sales were down three months in a row. Business economists were lowering their growth forecasts to somewhere in the 1 percent range. Unemployment was stuck at 8.2 percent and will likely move higher. Wages are stagnant. Small businesses, who will be hit hard by the Democrats' tax hike, are in a survival mode. And life in Obama's America is getting progressively worse.

A survey this week reported that the poverty rate has climbed from 15.1 percent of the population in 2010 to 15.7 percent in 2011.

Former President Bill Clinton recently warned his party, and Obama, that this is the worst time to raise any taxes, urging that all the Bush tax cuts be extended at the end of this year for the time being.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony before the Congress last week, pointed out that the economy was still in a fragile, weakened state and lectured lawmakers to "do no harm" in its decisions on taxes and spending cuts.

The bill Democrats embraced would retain all of George W. Bush's income tax cuts for low and middle income Americans, but raise them on upper income earners.

This means the 28 percent tax rate would climb to 36 percent and the 35 percent top rate would soar to 39.6 percent.

They would hit individual single filers earning more than $200,000 a year and married couples earning more than $250,000 a year.

It would hit millions of small business employers who choose to file their taxes as individuals -- a major sector in the economy that creates much if not most of the jobs.

A statement issued by the White House said nothing about the puny growth and job statistics that continue to bombard the business community and millions of ordinary unemployed and underemployed Americans.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.