James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Who is right on tax deal, Paul Ryan or Jim DeMint?

December 8, 2010

OK, I’ve already laid out the expanded Jim DeMint argument for voting against the Obama-GOP tax compromise.  So how does the GOP leadership see things? If I was John Boehner or Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor or some other top GOPer,  I might counter with something like this:

Jimmy P.,

Your column appears to start from a false premise that this is the Republican stimulus package.  Who is arguing that? We are arguing for a prevention of tax increases, which is what we have the opportunity to do while Pelosi, Reid and Obama still run Washington after running against the very Bush tax cuts they are set to extend.

We will have far more power when the next Congress is sworn in — at which point we can take more significant steps to advance a pro-growth agenda.  It is fine to make comments publicly about preference for permanence, but it is difficult to see the upside in playing chicken as the clock keeps ticking toward New Year’s Day.  It is difficult to imagine a better bill that will need the support of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid — and signed by President Obama — all before across-the-board tax hikes hit on January 1.  Obama has already done tremendous damage to his tax-and-spend policy preferences, and he continues to inflict more damage to his credibility with his bizarre press push (his hostile hostage logic is beyond twisted and the tired class warfare rhetoric beyond flat).

We are not advancing temporary sugar-high economics as our own stimulus package. we’re making the case against further economic damage from this Congress and this Administration.

Do I buy this? I dunno about the politics but the clock is definitely ticking. It is key that the Bush tax cuts get extended. But I also think it is important that supporters of pro-growth tax cuts make it clear which parts of the package are helpful and which are not. All tax cuts are not alike. Some are better than others. Clarity is required.

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •