More Democrats Joining Republicans to Fight Obama Administration’s Planned Tax Increase

We’ve done it. We’ve finally achieved a measure of bipartisan agreement on something. More and more Democrats are embracing the idea that the Bush era tax cuts should be extended for all Americans.  Does this mean something will actually get done to prevent the tax increase? No. At least not if party leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama have anything to say about it.

As Politico reported today, House Democrats have sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Stendy Hoyer encouraging them to reconsider their opposition to the planned tax hikes.

“We believe in times of economic recovery it makes good sense to maintain things as they are in the short term, to provide families and businesses the certainty required to plan and make sound budget decisions.”

The letter isn’t the only sign of wavering support from Democrats on the issue of taxes. Last week Democrat Representative Gary Peters said that extending the tax cuts “is the right thing to do, as anything less jeopardizes economic recovery. Other Democrats who have clearly come out against President Obama’s plan for ending tax breaks include:

  • Jim Himes (D-CT): “The economy has by no means fully recovered, so my bias is that those high-end tax cuts should be extended”
  • Bobby Bright: “Party leaders are not my directors or my boss. My boss is my constituents, and I’ve heard from a vast majority of my constituents that they don’t believe in tax increases on anybody at this point in time.”
  • Ron Klein (D-FL): “As we work to rebuild the economy, I support a one-year extension of the so-called Bush tax cuts”
  • Gerry Connolly (D-VA) “I think the recovery is sufficiently fragile that we ought to leave tax rates where they are
  • Kent Conrad (D-ND)  “My reaction would be don’t cut spending, don’t raise taxes and that would mean on anyone”
  • Harry Mitchell (D-AZ) “I strongly believe that this is the wrong time to let key tax cuts expire. We need to encourage investment, not discourage it by letting these cuts expire”
  • Zack Space (D-VA) equated raising taxes on the wealthy during the current economy to “adding gasoline to a raging fire.”  “We need to keep cutting taxes to spur our economy,

Undeterred by the arguments against raising taxes in a recession, Nancy Pelosi is doing the best she can to make sure the tax cuts do not get extended. And she’s calling in the big guns to attempt to win some votes. Pelosi invited well known pollster Stan Greenberg to explain how raising taxes on the upper class and many small businesses is actually a winning position as they head into the campaign stretch.

This desperate move just goes to show how clueless top Democrats are about the realities of our economic situation. Republicans and moderate Democrats aren’t fighting against the hikes solely to appeal to votes in the short term. They are doing it because it makes long term sense to get our economy back on track. And getting the economy humming will be a bulletpoint on their resume for rest of their political career.

They are exactly right. Raising taxes on anyone doesn’t make sense given the economic realities of today. As moderate Democrats letter to Speaker Pelosi explains,

“While those in the highest income brackets comprise only two to three percent of American taxpayers, economists estimate that they are responsible for 25 percent of national consumer spending. As 70 percent of our economy is driven by consumer spending, this is not the time to jeopardize further growth.”

But. But. But. It won’t hurt you in the elections. Whooosh! That was the sound of the point flying right over Nancy Pelosi’s head. This issue isn’t about winning elections, it’s about ensuring that we do everything necessary to get the economy going. Something Nancy Pelosi and President Obama know very little about.

by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee