Republicans Open New Fronts In Their War On The Poor & Middle Class


To the old adage that the only things certain in life are death and taxes can now be added a third certainty: That the Republican Party always manages to outdo itself when it comes to crazy, out-of-the mainstream ideas.

How else to explain that influential members of the anti-tax party are now proposing to:

* Tax the poor because, you know, they’re a bunch of loafers and need to pay their fair share, too.

* Increase payroll taxes for middle-class families earning $50,000 or more. No family making more than $106,000 would pay higher taxes

Tax cuts for the wealthy, of course, remain on the table.

The new taxes and tax increases would kick in on January 1 and replace the 4.2 percent payroll tax decrease that President Obama wants to extend for another year in an effort to keep the economy from contracting further.

The latest GOP salvo is another exercise on moving deck chairs on their Titantic, since both proposals will not play well on Main Street and among the independent voters the party must attract in droves if it has any chance of retaking the White House and Senate.

The proposals also are a slap in the kisser for Grover Norquist, whose demands that no taxes be raised evah are sadly representative of a party for whom ideological purity and ultimatums have replaced governance.

Asked by a reporter to comment on the proposals, the head of Americans For Tax Reform made a face and turned tail.

The proposals also presumably would be anathema for Rick Perry, the current darling of the right-wing presidential wannabe field.

The Texas governor wrote in Fed Up! that making income tax constitutional through the Sixteenth Amendment has lead America on a “road to serfdom“ and the amendment should be repealed and replaced with a national sales tax or what he terms a “fair tax,” which would abolish all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, and self-employment taxes and replaces them with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax administered primarily by the states.

Oh, and Social Security and Medicare would be abolished.

45 Comments

  1. Interesting, still no call for real tax reform. Eliminating deductions is better way to raise taxes than just increasing the rates.

    On top of that, the current spending is wasteful (100 billion annually was found in redundancy alone) and provably unsustainable, but there’s no one wanting to fix that either. What level-headed sanity! What loving moderation!

    Maybe if people were willing to fix things BEFORE they collapse in violent heap, there wouldn’t be so many who would want them to be shut down.

  2. Prof:

    Closing loopholes and eliminating deductions would be a smart way to start nibbling away at tax reform, but the GOP is steadfastly against closing loopholes and eliminating most deductions that would impact on the rich.

    And so it’s back to square one.

  3. Yeah the GOP appears to be getting more and more desperate every day. Thus the hard line on everything just to stay in the media lens.

  4. This could also be called the temporary tax cut the Democrats like and call a stimulus. It is interesting how the traditional roles of both parties have switched in this case. Social Security is now being characterized as a tax on the poor? Will Medicare be next?

  5. @Shaun and Allen
    Oh yes, everything is the fault of those evil Republicans. The Democrats have bombarded them with tax reform after reform and they keep shooting them down. Why not list the real tax reforms that they’ve proposed this year, so that we can discuss them.

    I’ll wait patiently.

  6. Prof:

    You’ll have a long wait because the Republican reform proposals are flapdoodle. They are flapdoodle for the well documented reason that they do not impact fairly on all segments and income levels of society. As in the rich and corporations get free passes.

    You’re welcome to throw a pity party for the GOP but its wounds are not only entirely self inflicted, it’s like the party has become some sort of self-flagellation cult. The Democrats, mind you, are only somewhat better, but at least they’re looking out for my interests.

  7. “The Democrats, mind you, are only somewhat better, but at least they’re looking out for my interests.”
    If they aren’t proposing real reforms (and they aren’t), then no, they’re only looking out for their donors. Unless, of course, you’re one of those rich using loopholes to avoid paying taxes, which would undermine your “poor and middle class” bit.

  8. And they’ve got all of us pointing fingers at one another instead of at them… They’re still winning.

  9. If by “they” you mean those conniving dolphins that are setting up all of humanity for a giant economic fall so that they can both increase their population and then take over the world I agree Steve!

    **Sorry I love playing the general “they” game.

  10. All this talk of “war” with regards to domestic policy.

    When progressives disagree with conservative fiscal/economic policies, they label such policies as “class warfare” or “war on the poor.”

    When conservatives disagree with liberals on issues of secularism, they label such policies as “war against Christianity” or “war against religion.”

    It all seems very hyperbolic when you consider that in some countries, people are waging actual war–complete with civilian deaths–against one another.

    Having said that, Republicans seemed to have backed themselves into a corner on this one. If allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire were considered by Republicans to be tax increases, then allowing the payrole tax cuts to expire would–by their own logic–also be tax increases.

  11. Nick-Any discussion of raising taxes on the wealthy or even upper classes is also termed “class warfare” by the GOP. In fact I have heard the term “class warfare” used more by the GOP than the Dems over the last decade by around a multiple of ten.

  12. More war talk by angry and disappointed Dems. No wonder: Having a standard bearer that has no plans but plenty of platitudes and scolding campaign rhetoric, all the while ignoring Simpson-Bowles and the Gang of Six proposals. No wonder they want to go to war. Perhaps THEY can get NATO to lead, so Obama can follow.

  13. dduck-Well I for one am sure glad the GOP will soon come to the rescue with a plan to increase DOD spending and cut taxes. I mean sure it is the plan that got us here but hey…it is a plan!

    I mean the GOP will not allow anything to pass that threatens that multi-decade plan so we may as well give up on anything else and go for the plan that has yet to work but it can at least pass.

    The funny part is though many may laugh at this even the Ryan Plan does just what I said above all while adding 6t to the debt over the next decade. It is not that Obama lacks plans dude, its that the GOP will block anything that threatens the above plan and have continually used every parliamentary trick in the book to ensure nothing moves. They refuse to compromise which has given the Dems zero reason to compromise and O can talk all he wants but no one will make either party compromise if the other side flat refuses to.

    Also Obama was working toward what the Gang of Six plan was(much to the horror of dems), yet Boehner walked. Both Dem and GOP Reps freaked out over Bowles Simpson as well, but sure it is all the guy trying to make the deals fault. Also on the NATO comment, are we bitter that he has now knocked off 3 big baddies in the space of time it took Bush just to find Saddam or is it something else?

    Pick on Dems all you want but throwing mud at the guy that has been trying to make this crap work and has so far been the best foreign policy POTUS we have had in decades sounds a bit humorous if nothing else.

  14. Two word answer to your fine debating points, above: Simpson-Bowles.

  15. Sorry Duck I just remembered it took us 9 months to get Saddam and in that period of time we have gotten Bin Laden Mubarak and Ghaddafi so I had to make a crack.

  16. Man I want that plan to make a comeback.

  17. Who’s we? Do you have a mouse in your pocket or is we the Dems.

  18. We/us as in the nation. Regardless of who is in charge and gets the blame/credit in reality it always remains we/us for better or worse. Sink or swim only the ducks survive!

  19. Spoken like a moderate.

  20. Shaun,

    Can you explain your two points and provide a citation for them?

    * Tax the poor because, you know, they’re a bunch of loafers and need to pay their fair share, too.

    So what specific proposal have you seen to raise taxes on “the poor”? Last I checked, the Republicans were opposing every tax increase with the exception of, potentially, letting the temporary payroll tax cut expire on schedule. But I’m sure, having made this claim, you have more specific information that I’m not privy to.

    * Increase payroll taxes for middle-class families earning $50,000 or more. No family making more than $106,000 would pay higher taxes

    I can only assume by this that you are referring to the selfsame change in the payroll tax. I guess you now believe that allowing a tax change to expire on schedule constitutes an increase. This is I think correct but represents an evolution of your thinking since the Fall of 2010. Now as to your contention that families making more than $106,800 would not pay higher taxes, you are of course incorrect in a whole lot of ways.

    Families making above that number that have two wage earners will in fact pay taxes on amounts over $106,800 since both earners pay payroll taxes. Furthermore, a family making $106,800 would pay an extra $2160 in FICA taxes were the temporary change to expire on schedule. Is it somehow your contention that $2160 more would not be a tax increase?

    Now, in anticipation of the fact that you will reply that it is unfair that the amount over $106,800 is not taxed, please allow me to direct you to the following report from the CBO. On table 15 http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/123.....ctions.pdf, you’ll find the payout ratios adjusted for inflation for different groups of Americans by income and age. You’ll quickly notice that the wealthy are already getting a hugely raw deal on SS, receiving between 30 and 60 cents per dollar of contributions. Now I guess you must think that taking their FICA taxes up and pushing their payout ratios even lower is somehow fair.

    Or maybe you are talking about something entirely different, but somehow I doubt it.

  21. TheMagicalSkyFather said:

    dduck-Well I for one am sure glad the GOP will soon come to the rescue with a plan to increase DOD spending and cut taxes.

    Not everyone in the GOP wants to increase defense spending. In fact, contrary to my cynical expectations, there are actually a significant number of elected Tea Party Republicans who want to cut defense spending.

    Still, making cuts to defense spending is not particularly popular among the establishment wing of the GOP. And in his latest book, Fed Up, Texas Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry declares that, as president, he would fight to increase defense spending, demonstrating that he is not really serious about cutting federal spending.

    So, yeah, the GOP hasn’t quite wised up to the idea that returning to fiscal sanity requires defense spending cuts, but there are some who have pledged to do this, with Ron Paul and a handful of Tea Party freshman leading the way.

  22. MSF,

    Obama has presented only one plan. It would have increased the debt by $9.5 trillion over the next decade which, last time I checked, is a fair sight more than $6 trillion.

  23. Nick, you had me until that last sentence. Ron Paul, who sees no danger from Iran, puhleez don’t make him the poster old fart for defense spending.

  24. SteveinCH-Are we playing the game again where we ignore that he and Boehner were working towards a deal that would have cut that down greatly and dove tailed with the gang of six plan?

    If so will we again have the debate over how the Ryan plan is the only valid option though the People’s Budget cuts the deficit much more and much faster? You know what the Peoples Budget and the Ryan plan have in common with O’s budget, none of the above can pass both the House and Senate…drum roll please. Now back in reality O tried to make a deal and the GOP refused to raise taxes or close loopholes if it raised revenue, unless that can be done on the backs of the middle and lower class apparently and then it seems to be mighty fine by them.

    Now you know me SteveinCh, I would support nuking all the tax cuts AND closing them loopholes but how do you defend the GOP supporting just an increase that hits the middle and lower while refusing to budge an inch on the upper? Isn’t that the same thing you were so annoyed with the Dems about when they wanted to just end the tax cuts for top wage earners? We can game it all we want but payroll taxes are not paid by top earners, they get hit with income tax. Payroll taxes do hit some in the ~150k region but primarily it is spread among those in the lower ranks and since it is capped at 106k where as they will pay those taxes on 106k they will not on anything above that.

  25. dduck-Well in fairness they are on the other side of the planet and lack any delivery system that can touch us.

    I am fairly hawkey but if RP got the nod I would actually switch sides in a heart beat to vote for him and that is the only Rep I can say that about…since roughly W.’s daddy.

  26. Akk forgot I would have crossed for McCain in 2000,he annoyed me so much in 2008 I almost erased my adoration of him in 2000 from my memory banks.

  27. SteveinCH-Are we playing the game again where we ignore that he and Boehner were working towards a deal that would have cut that down greatly and dove tailed with the gang of six plan?

    How much credit should we grant for “working towards,” MSF?

    I’ll tend to grant more credit to representatives putting their careers on the line by introducing specific but unpopular legislation that acknowledges the elephant in the room. Ryan did that with his budget in a way that Obama hasn’t. Had one of the progressive caucus taken a similar risky stand with the so-called people’s budget, I’d give them props too.

  28. dduck said:

    Nick, you had me until that last sentence. Ron Paul, who sees no danger from Iran, puhleez don’t make him the poster old fart for defense spending.

    I don’t believe Iran represents an immediate threat to the United States, though I concede that could very well change if the Iranian government manages to attain a nuclear bomb.

    The question you have to ask yourself is, Would you do what George W. Bush did and start a pre-emptive war in the Middle East on the suspicion that a country might be working towards developing a nuclear bomb? That turned out very badly for us in Iraq, a country of 34 million, people and would turn out even worse if employed in Iran, a country of 75 million people.

    I’ve long realized that the Democratic Party has been a joke when it comes to federal spending, but with the GOP’s constant saber-rattling at Iran, I have to wonder where the GOP thinks the money will come from to pay for another trillion-dollar war.

    I disagree with Ron Paul on plenty of things, but when it comes to foreign policy, I’ll take his stance over the Bush Doctrine any day of the week.

  29. I’m with Nick. If we invade them because they got nukes, don’t we also have to invade N Korea again? Other invasion(s) just don’t sound so appetizing right now.

  30. Of course Iran is going to get a nuclear bomb. The notion that we can somehow threaten or bribe the nuclear genie back into the bottle seems both naive and expensive.

  31. “How much credit should we grant for “working towards,” MSF?”

    More credit than I give to people that walk away and/or refuse to compromise in a manner that can find the votes to pass both Houses. This means Obama gets more credit than those that walked away from the table and the Progs and the TP that refused to budge and instead screamed bloody murder that they were not getting their way 100%.

    Instead we got the version that the GOP wanted 95% and our economy has been on a roller coaster ever since and we got our credit rating downgraded. So yea I give him credit for staying at the table and acting like a grown up.

    The constant argument I hear coming from the right is “no deal was ever discussed” or “it was a mirage” or a thousand other excuses trying to ignore that their guys walked away from a 4 to 1 deal they are unlikely to ever see the likes of again. Reports oand details of the negotiations were constantly leaked by both sides. It was well documented. Members of the Dems and the GOP commented on it and constantly gave the POTUS props for trying until Boehner spiked the ball and called the game at which point suddenly we moved to an alternate reality where none of that happened though we have the paper trail ladies and gents.

    Also the Peoples Budget did have someone put it on the line, his name is attached to it and deserves equal credit for everything except it wasnt allowed a vote and Ryans passed the House.

    So we can keep play acting like it was all a game that those on the right seem to have rationalized it into to allow themselves to not feel burned by the House GOP or we can accept that yes, O tried to make a deal a GOOD one and if you just still want to vote GOP regardless of that reality say so instead of hiding behind conspiracy theory and alternate history theories.

  32. Reports oand details of the negotiations were constantly leaked by both sides. It was well documented. Members of the Dems and the GOP commented on it and constantly gave the POTUS props for trying until Boehner spiked the ball and called the game at which point suddenly we moved to an alternate reality where none of that happened though we have the paper trail ladies and gents.

    I think the GOP was too intransigent as well, because taxes need to go up. But at the end of the day I don’t think resolutions about spending less five years from now mean very much, and the negotiations to arrive at them mean even less.

  33. I know that I’ve managed to drag this comment thread off course, but I’d like to address a logical fallacy (offering a false choice) that I may have made in my above comment.

    Rejecting Ron Paul’s foreign policy prescription is obviously not the same as supporting the Bush Doctrine. However, given that TheMagicalSkyFather and I were both addressing the foreign policy stance of the GOP, I would argue that current and potential Republican presidential candidates have sort of drifted into two camps. Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are firmly in the non-interventionist camp while the remaining candidates are pretty firmly in an interventionist camp in the mold of the Bush Doctrine. Newt Gingrich essentially endorsed the Bush Doctrine in an interview he gave with Judge Napolitano on Fox News while Sarah Palin essentially endorsed the Bush Doctrine in the speech she made at the notorious Tea Party Nation Convention in February of 2010. Other GOP contenders who supported the Iraq War have been less forthright about where they stand, though none of them have outright rejected the Bush Doctrine.

    So if one rejects both Ron Paul’s stance and the Bush Doctrine, there really isn’t anywhere else could go within the current slate of GOP presidential candidates. And if one rejects Obama’s foreign policy (as I suspect dduck does, based upon his above comments), I have to wonder where else one would turn.

  34. Prof-Yet conflicting accounts exist on that one AND he was back the very next day unlike when Cantor and Boehner walked out…maybe just maybe the GOP was trying hard to spin something to look like they were not alone in their walking out fetish ya think?

    Also in all accounts other than Cantor’s it was the end of the meeting and wrapping up, Cantor was being a jerk and Obama got short and left, and as I noted unlike them came back the next day.

    If I sit at a table and insult and interrupt you and you finally walk out and come back the next day did you quit or just go to cool off?

    If you announce to reporters that you are done and talks are dead isnt that the sign of walking out of negotiations? If so Obama never did that but both Cantor and Boehner did.

  35. Just to be clear.

    Reagan “tried” to cut spending failed and “tried” to cut the national debt and failed.

    Bush II “tried” to keep us safe but failed on 911 and a few other incidents.

    JFK didnt even try to push through civil rights legislation and still gets credit for it.

    In short in this nation we tend to give credit for trying especially if we view the other side or group as difficult to impossible to allow that to happen.

  36. @TMSF
    We’re both speculating what happened behind closed doors. In fact, we’re speculating over degrees of stubbornness. There’s a hundred and one ways that you can remove yourself from the conversation without leaving. For that matter, it might have all been conversation about kids and sports, with an agreement over what they would tell the press that day.

  37. In short in this nation we tend to give credit for trying especially if we view the other side or group as difficult to impossible to allow that to happen.

    Then you’ll surely grant Mr. Ryan some credit as well.

  38. There is no reason to offer a budget unless you have a supermajority against reublicans. They will reject any budget that isn’t to the right of their median voter.

  39. Yes, just as Nancy Pelosi kept Republican health care reform proposals in committee. But that’s part of the point. It’s pretty low risk for the minority party to write a proposal that will never see the light of day.

    And so with the “people’s budget.” If it made it to the floor, its breathtaking tax increases, its optimistic projections, and its authors would be savaged by–in turn–the GOP, the media, the blogosphere, the CBO, and the voters. But it might force the GOP to face reality on tax increases, the way Ryan’s proposal forced the Democrats to face reality on the deficit. But the “people’s budget” has generated little heat and less light, so it’s hard to give its authors–whoever they are–much credit.

  40. DrJ-I give Ryan and the Peoples Budget guy equal credit for putting together a partisan wish list that they knew would never pass both chambers and be signed by the POTUS. That is not a lot of credit but they could put together a list!

    “It’s pretty low risk for the minority party to write a proposal that will never see the light of day.”

    It is equally low risk to pass something in a single chamber that you know will be blocked in the other. The Ryan plan and a Public Option both have this fatal flaw, they are about show and not reality. Also the difference between the Peoples Budget and the Ryan plan is that the media covered the Ryan plan and called him “brave” while the Peoples Budget was utterly ignored and still is by the “liberal media.” Note they still say the left has offered nothing which is a bald faced lie. They havent offered anything valid but for that matter neither has the GOP.

  41. “We’re both speculating what happened behind closed doors. In fact, we’re speculating over degrees of stubbornness. There’s a hundred and one ways that you can remove yourself from the conversation without leaving. For that matter, it might have all been conversation about kids and sports, with an agreement over what they would tell the press that day.”

    True but I was speaking of walking out on negotiations which by definition is different than walking out of a room on a single instance. I would also note that it is in no way in the job description of POTUS to never get angry, in fact the opposite is true.

  42. Also the difference between the Peoples Budget and the Ryan plan is that the media covered the Ryan plan and called him “brave” while the Peoples Budget was utterly ignored and still is by the “liberal media.” Note they still say the left has offered nothing which is a bald faced lie.

    Kind of like the “Republicans have proposed nothing on health care” lie we were repeatedly treated to a few years ago. Anyway, Ryan got more press, Ryan took more heat, and Ryan deserves more credit because his proposal made it through one more chamber than the progressives did. That has everything to do with being in the majority versus the minority, of course, but the point is there’s more risk when you’re in the majority.

  43. This thread has more speculations than a Dutch tulip auction, with the kitchen sink thrown in.
    So, one more won’t hurt. Boehner left because he ran out of cigs and O left because they wouldn’t give him one. Who knows, both sides failed to get a good deal.
    Now, back to defense. NICK, said: “Rejecting Ron Paul’s foreign policy prescription is obviously not the same as supporting the Bush Doctrine” I agree, but my original point was that RP if you extrapolate what he has said in the past, would roll back defense severely with little thought that Iran and others could ignite a war- over there. Of course Iran and NK can’t reach us with their missiles, but they can reach other countries up to a thousand miles away. We would be dragged into and under a nuclear cloud and war with weakened defenses if RP were president. And painting all of the Rep candidates with the Bush brush is good alliterative rhetoric but little else. BTW:I’m a believer in trimming all the budgets including the defense budget and closing loop holes and subsidies and broadening the tax base and everything else.
    IMHO: RP would NOT be a good president or VP until his feet reach the ground.

  44. This is why I hate the “eh either way it didnt work so who cares” meme. First it gives zero incentive to make deals and compromise since at worst it will result in a pox on both houses. Second it tars those trying to make deals and do the business of the nation with the same brush that those that do nothing but torpedo things get.

    To me this is rationalization by those predisposed to favor the side that is most likely in the wrong in that scenario since they have zero issue pointing blame when they do not like results(for instance do those in the equal pox school blame both sides equally for the ACA’s flaws). Either way you are making an effective argument for doing nothing, not cutting, not growing, not fixing, not tinkering not anything. The reason is because regardless of what you are doing and how honest/dishonest you will be it will still result in a “pox on both houses” meme so who cares what anyone does, says or votes for.

    We can just all vote for our tribe and give up on those things called news facts and history, those are for those that cant make up their mind prior to hearing or learning anything!

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