As Congress' lame duck session gets underway, the nation is watching to see if the Democrats will attempt to capitalize on their last few weeks of hegemony before a huge shift in power occurs. Foremost on the agenda are the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts. Happily for the middle class, there appears to be universal agreement that those cuts should be extended. The real contention lies with the question of whether or not to extend tax cuts to those Americans earning over $250,000 a year.
Aside from the obvious political implications of using the lame duck session to ram through a tax increase that would undoubtedly fail if put forward under the new Congress, there are two key issues at the heart of this debate. They represent different sides of the same coin: Taxing and Spending. When it comes to taxation, the real issue is how the federal government views the earnings of the American people. With regard to those earnings, does the government have an entitlement mentality? The second involves the American people's view of government programs. Concerning such programs, do the American people have an entitlement mentality?
In discussing his opposition to an across-the-board extension of the Bush tax cuts, President Obama has repeatedly insisted that the government "can't afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." Nancy Pelosi echoed the President's position in an interview with NPR: "It's too costly. It's $700 billion. . . . That's a lot of money to give a tax cut at the high end. And I remind you that those tax cuts have been in effect for a very long time, they did not create jobs."