Who Let the “Democrat Dogma” Out? WoofWoof
Well, I guess Republicans just plain have a hard time curbing those GOP talking points, bless their hearts . . . even when opening their pieholes means still more embarrassment for the GOP. Evidently, Sen Rob Portman (R-OH) is not buying into the “better branding for tired out ideology” school of Republican Resuscitation.
You’ll probably remember Portman in his most recent role as the Obama Stand-In for the Rmoney Master-Debater Club. You may have forgotten by now, however, that Portman served several useful purposes during the George W. Bush administration, including Budget Director (2006-2007) for the administration which presided over turning a surplus into a record-breaking deficit. Let’s not forget that Dubya was the only President in US history profligate enough to pass an unfunded Medicare Advantage bill, two tax cuts and start two wars at the same time, yelling “deficits don’t matter” all the while.
One might expect that a “serious” person with world-class fiscal silliness like that on his resume might take a seat and be quiet for a while when the subject turns to the economy. But one would be underestimating the arrogance and puffery of the GOP which refuses to retire the nonsense about tax cuts for the wealthy creating jobs . . . or the foolishness about generating revenue through tax reform.
But noooooo . . . Portman campaigned for Romney and was considered for the Vice Presidency of an administration that promised to continue and reinforce those voodoo economic policies without bothering to share with the electorate how they expected to make it work after 30 years of documented failure. Portman probably considers himself a serious contender for 2016 and he’s still a standard-bearer for that failed Romney message:
I saw Nancy Pelosi’s comments … saying you can’t get enough revenues through the itemized deductions and closing loopholes. That’s just not accurate. I mean, it’s just not accurate. You can.
You can get more revenue if you wanted to. So I don’t know where her math is coming from. It sounds to me like it’s more just a matter of Democrat dogma that they want to be sure that people’s tax rates go up.
The problem with that is, it’s going to result in more lost jobs at a time when we’ve already lost too many.
Portman is probably referring to the idea that Romney floated, late in the campaign, to cap deductions. But from Obama’s perspective, the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts is one thing and the subsequent negotiations over reducing the deficit are another. Obama comes off the election with a strong hand to play on raising tax rates on the top 2%—NOW.
Howard Gleckman, of The Tax Policy Center, explains how capping deductions might work and why it might not work for Obama:
The politics of this would still be very tough. For instance, a deduction cap would hammer charities and they are already gearing up to fight it. TPC estimates that revenues would be cut by one-third if charitable gifts are excluded from a $50,000 deduction cap.
I’m not even sure these changes would get lawmakers all the way there. But they show a compromise is possible. There are ways, crude as they are, to hike taxes on the wealthy without raising their rates as much as Obama would like.
Still, there is another important issue to keep in mind. A cap would only fill the hole left by preserving the low rates now enjoyed by the wealthy. Thus, revenues from such deduction limits would no longer be available to help reduce the long-term deficit—a job that would then be more heavily weighted to spending cuts. And that may be the real reason why Obama is reluctant to use this tool in the short run.
Meanwhile, smart people who are sincere about job creation know that the thing that drives job creation is demand for goods and services. Smart people who are interested in long-term fiscal policy and “lessons learned from history” know that concentration of wealth always results in economic contraction.
Time to move toward the light, Republicans.