Approaching nearly 10 million words and stretching an interminable 67,000 pages, the American tax code exists today as complicated mess of pitfalls, pratfalls, and potholes – even though its central philosophy couldn’t be more straightforward: “If you want more of something, subsidize it. If you want less, tax it.”
But if that used to be a guiding principle in determining how to spend and collect the taxpayers’ money, it’s clear Democrats in Congress aren’t aware of the history. Because this past week, the majority leadership unveiled a budget plan for 2009 that raises taxes on everything from starting a family, to starting a family business. All to finance a reckless spending agenda that comes in a full $276 billion in excess of what the president has requested.
So it goes for an annual budget request that envisions the expiration and elimination of nearly every measure of pro-growth tax relief Republicans fought to pass through Congress. In its place, the bill lays a trap for the American taxpayer in the form of $683 billion in new taxes – far and away the single largest tax increase in the long and ignominious history of the code.
Of course, to achieve that level of prodigious spending, you need to do more than slash the child care tax credit in half (from $1,000 per child to $500) and resurrect the marriage tax penalty that Republicans once successfully slayed. You also need to punish low-income Americans by replacing the 10-percent tax bracket (the lowest percentage one can pay and still pay income taxes) with a new lowest rung of 15 percent; you need to dramatically increase the current 15 percent tax rate on capital gains; you need to punish small investors by raising the tax burden on dividends; you need to pave the way for the Death Tax to rise from the grave in 2011; and let’s not forget: you need to ensure that an estimated 116 million taxpayers pay an average $1,833 more to the federal government this year than they did the year before.
More than anything else, a budget request is a statement of national priorities; a clear enumeration of what our country needs to grow its economy and remain in the future the first-rate power it is today. In the case of the Democrats’ 2009 budget request, the statement of need could not have been articulated any clearer: We need more spending, historic new tax hikes, and greater control over the way American families live their lives.
As Whip, Congressman Roy Blunt is the second highest Republican in the House of Representatives and is responsible for corralling the votes necessary to advance the Republican agenda.