The Democrats must be ordering a lot of makeup these days — along with wigs, masks, and camouflage gear. You see, they will have to keep a lot of the Bush tax cuts and will need to disguise this.
They have to keep them because to let them expire is to stuff sleeping pills into the economy’s maw.
They have to know why small businesses are not investing in expansion. They have to know why our jobs machine, once so dependable, sputters today. They must know why investors have stashed so many trillions on the sidelines.
It is the uncertainty of future taxes and regulations. Who wants to invest in his business when he does not know what his taxes will be and when he knows big tax increases currently lie ahead.
The Democrats must know $75 billion in new taxes next year (and $1.4 trillion over 10 years, according to Michael Boskin in the Wall Street Journal) could push the economy into a coma. It could certainly stifle job growth.
The Congressional Budget Office agrees. In fact, it nearly doubles down on the figures. It estimates $115 billion next year and $2.6 trillion by 2020.
Now, they may not read the bills they pass. But the Democrats must be aware that the CBO predicts big damage if they let the tax cuts expire.
They need the makeup and disguises in order to finesse what they must do. They must keep all or most of the Bush tax cuts or they must replace them with other tax cuts. They cannot afford to drug the economy with tax increases at this stage.
How do they pull this off?
They can’t very well say Bush was right — not after attacking his cuts for years. Karl Rove will feast on them.
They can hardly admit their opponents were right — the critics who called for tax cuts 18 months ago, not to mention those who months ago called for Congress and the president to announce they would extend the Bush cuts.