Larry Kudlow made the case for avoiding any Supercommittee tax hikes in his Daily Caller column this morning, but because he is such a gentleman, he let Senator Toomey and Representative Hensarling, the GOP voices calling for “increased revenue,” off the hook by allowing their argument that “tax hikes on some offset by tax cuts for others doesn’t equal tax hikes,” a specious argument for which the GOP ought to be ashamed and pilloried. Certainly that argument will fail on the stump when angry voters return to the town halls and demand an explanation why the GOP got the majority they asked for and promptly raised taxes even as NPR, the Departments of Education, Energy and EPA and a thousand other reminders of the vastness of the federal government seem to be as fully funded as ever.
The Toomey-Hensarling plan promises greater revenues by picking a different set of winners and losers, but no Republican ran on such a platform in 2010. Lower marginal rates would be great, but not in a big deal for deduction caps which shatter expectations and years of financial planning, the operational abilities of hundreds of thousands of not-for-profits and the bottom line of every American living in a high tax state.
This is the hard fact of what the Supercommittee’s two Republican tax raisers want to do: They want to substitute their vision of the tax-code supported good society for the one built up over years –the one that favors home ownership and not-for-profits– and to do so without an honest and open debate with the American people. The plan might be the best in the world, but the GOP didn’t run on it and the people didn’t ask for it. They demanded deep spending cuts, not new revenue.
Republicans who embrace the Toomey-Hensarling tax hike proposal –if it ever emerges from the Supercommittee where hopefully it will die unloved and unwanted– will never be able to explain how they pulled this from the Pledge to America, on which every Representative campaigned. Senator Toomey will also be hard pressed to ever explain from what speech we might have gained a clue that his mission in D.C. would be to cap deductions so that wealthier people paid more taxes even as he further destabilized the housing market and dealt the not-for-profit sector a shattering blow.
My invitation to both the senator and congressman to appear on the show on which they have often appeared in the past remains open, but I sense not only reluctance on their part to defend these proposals outside the Beltway but also growing recognition among the GOP electeds that this political disaster should be avoided, even though it means a long fight over the disastrous Department of Defense sequestration. Every dollar of “new revenue” is a tax hike, and the GOP did not win the 2010 election promising tax hikes, but rather deep spending cuts which they have thus far not been able to deliver.
Now a political note: Redistricting now underway is going to alter the Congressional district boundaries of every incumbent. How stupid would they have to be to enter new terrain carrying a ripped up Pledge to America and arguing that the bottom line tax hike each of the voters will be paying is actually good news for those taxpayers?
How will they choose to campaign among home owners whose investment was just further impaired by a Republican Congress in love with an idea that home-ownership ought not to be subsidized when generation after generation of American applauded home ownership and still does.
How are they going to run in a district where the soup kitchen, the college and every church and synagogue got hammered by the Toomey-Hensarling tax hike?
The GOP had better be praying the Democrats are stupid enough to say no to the tax hikes on the table thus giving the GOP a chance to walk away and never, ever agree again to a committee where the enthusiasms of one or two Republicans can carry the entire party far from its core beliefs.