Steve Everley

Last week Congress had the opportunity to prevent tax increases. Unfortunately, liberals in Congress only want tax cuts for some people and want to raise taxes on the rest. They also refuse to even consider any plan that extends relief to small businesses and other people who actually create jobs. And because the Obama-Pelosi-Reid team couldn’t find enough support for their Class Warfare Act of 2010 (which was never an actual bill, just a dream), they threw a hissy fit and adjourned the Congress.

On January 1, 2011, when the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire, new higher tax rates will take effect for every income bracket, including the middle class. As the party in power, the Democrats have the ability to stop this looming tax increase by renewing temporarily (or, preferably, permanently extending) the current rates.

But they aren’t interested in doing that. Instead, they would rather raise taxes on small businesses and jeopardize any semblance of economic recovery through a radical redistribution of income.

“I've yet to meet a broad base of people who are anxious to pay higher taxes,” said Barack Obama recently . It’s an interesting statement for a President who not only championed higher taxes as a part of his signature legislative achievement (ObamaCare), but also for someone who stood idly by as Congress skipped town without preventing an automatic tax hike.

Predictably, the Democrats are blaming the whole thing on Republicans for holding middle class tax cuts “hostage” in order to get across-the-board relief. This is an excuse, and a poor one at that. As the minority party, the GOP doesn’t set the agenda in Congress; Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi do. Additionally, the Democrats never even drafted a bill for consideration, much less something that could be “held hostage.” The only legislation proposed was actually a bill to stop all tax hikes, which enjoyed bipartisan support.

Clearly the ones holding tax relief “hostage” are the ones who refused to vote on anything and then walked away from their responsibility.

Of course, as with ObamaCare and the $800 billion stimulus, the President and the Pelosi-Reid Congress never really wanted bipartisanship (though to be fair, Nancy Pelosi does believe something can be bipartisan even if it isn’t.) They want to increase taxes, and they are completely uninterested in any plan that doesn’t raise rates.

They are interested, however, in using demagoguery and phony sound bytes about how cutting taxes is a “giveaway” to the rich. To be clear, tax cuts are only giveaways in the Land of Liberalism, where every dollar earned is automatically the property of the government. Income is not the fruit of one’s labor in this redistributionist paradise; it is the product of the government merely loaning it to the masses.

In reality -- where the rest of America lives -- a tax cut means the government is taking less of the people’s hard-earned money. It is a forced withdrawal of the Leviathan’s tentacle from the taxpayers’ pockets, not a gesture of charity from the state.

Regardless of how one labels tax relief, it would be difficult to argue credibly that congressional consideration of such cuts isn’t important. But instead of tackling an important issue, the President and Congress ran from it and deferred all consideration to the lame-duck session, where members who just lost re-election can safely vote to raise taxes without being held accountable.

This whole spectacle is a classic case of playground politics wholly befitting of a truly unserious Congress. Because they refused to accept a plan that prevented tax increases, Reid and Pelosi have now taken their ball and headed home. But not before playing a game of kick the can first.


Steve Everley

Steve Everley is Manager of Policy Research at American Solutions.