Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Opposing Parties Pursue Identical Tax Strategies

Strange as it may seem, Senate Democrats and House Republicans are pursuing identical strategies respecting tax reform legislation this session: put forth legislation that has absolutely no change of passing both houses, then blame the opposing party for gridlock over declining federal revenues.  In the face of desperate needs for increased revenue to keep the federal government afloat, and to reduce ever burgeoning federal deficits, leaders of each political party have purposely devised legislation that they know is doomed to failure, so they can manufacture election campaign talking points against the opposition.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats introduced legislation embodying the so called “Buffett Rule,” which would impose a minimum 30% tax rate for Americans earning more than $1 million per year, but cloture failed on a party line vote of 51- 45, and the bill fell into filibuster oblivion. Thursday, the House is scheduled to vote on a Republican measure cutting business taxes by 20% for all firms with 500 or fewer employees. Neither bill will ever pass this gridlocked Congress, and no one in leadership in either party expects the measure initiated by their side of the aisle to reach President Obama’s desk.

Rather, Democrats want to be able to say that Republicans blocked a measure taxing the wealthiest Americans at effective rates as high as those paid by the middle class, while Republicans want to blame Democrats for blocking a bill they say would increase revenue by encouraging job creation. Meanwhile, economists who have looked into both proposed laws say neither one would make any substantial dent in federal deficits, now or later.

Shame on both sides for putting the reelection of their own members ahead of any effort to solve our country’s problems.

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