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Save the Bush Tax Cuts

It's a rare thing when good policy and good politics come together to benefit the American people.

by
J. Robert Smith

Bio

June 28, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Thus, usually verbally challenged Republicans need to find simple words to make simple but powerful explanations to busy voters about the Democrats’ rich people tall tale.  More often than not, commonsense voters will get the argument in favor of lowering taxes or keeping them low over wanting to kick and gut-punch the nation’s producers — many of whom operate on Main Street near their neighborhoods.

One other important consideration for the GOP is that this year’s election is an off-year affair, which means the party of the president usually loses seats (that means Democrats, to connect the dots for RINOs).

Given the shape of the nation, this off-year election is showing all the signs of being a whopper of an opportunity for Republicans to rack up impressive gains in Congress, particularly in the House. State primary turnout results thus far indicate that the Democratic base is mighty depressed (see Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina). In other words, flocks of liberal-loving Democrats may choose not to visit the polls the first Tuesday in November.

The key for Republicans isn’t to fear Democratic turnout but to rev-up their base voters and persuade disillusioned independents to touch screens for GOP candidates. Pushing retention of the Bush tax rates is one critical way of doing so.

The other fear that Republicans harbor is that aggressive talk about keeping Mr. Bush’s tax rates — or pushing for even broader tax cuts — will open the door to Democrats’ claims that high debts and deficits mean Washington can’t afford a drop in revenues. Time to balance ledgers and clean up the nation’s messy finances, Democrats will argue — this as President Obama calls for another $50 billion in “stimulus” spending (aka, pork barrel spending to boost Democrats’ election hopes).

Call this argument for fiscal sanity by Democrats the Audacity of the Big Lie, the formula of which Democrats happily apply to just about anything of consequence. Even those of us riding in the backs of turnip trucks know that the Democrats have shot the nation’s debt and deficits so full of steroids as to make the GOP debt and deficits of the middle decade look scrawny by comparison. Given Mr. Obama’s and congressional Democrats’ spending rampage, any Democrat who makes an argument for fiscal responsibility should be mocked and hooted — by his or her GOP opponent, for starters.

Having said that, otherwise wobbly Republicans need to brush up on the fact-based teachings of the esteemed Arthur Laffer and the superior results of the Reagan and Bush tax rate reductions (keeping a Reagan talisman in GOP candidates’ pockets might help bolster their resolve).

For slow-on-the-uptake Republicans, let’s quickly revisit the facts about tax rate cuts. Regardless of the Democrats’ propaganda, the problem with the national government — and too many state and local governments –  hasn’t been too little tax revenue; it’s been too much spending. That’s as true for the first decade of the 21st century as it was for 1980s. Year in and year out, tax rate cuts have proven a bonanza to government coffers — that’s not an opinion, but cold, hard fact.

As Professor Laffer points out frequently, tax rates that are too high reduce government revenues, just as tax rates that are too low fail to generate needed revenue. In terms of Washington, the sweet-spot for tax rate levels are most certainly lower than is currently the case. Keeping the Bush tax rates are only modest steps in the right direction.

But under any circumstance, tax revenues simply aren’t going to keep pace with the Democrats Gone Wild spending and debt accumulation happening in Washington. For Republicans, it’s critical to push less taxes and furiously fight for less spending.  The GOP needs to press for a fiscal diet that would astonish Jenny Craig.

So, Republican candidates, repeat after me: “Extend the Bush tax rate cuts!” The more you say it, the easier it becomes — and the more you say it, the more votes you’ll win in November.

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J. Robert Smith is a contributor to American Thinker. He is a public affairs consultant with a practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
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