Sunday, August 21, 2011

Republicans, inexplicably, want payroll tax cut to expire

Last December, Congress passed a bill that reduced the workers' portion of the payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2% for one year. There is naturally a partisan disagreement in Congress over whether to renew the tax cut or let it expire. Some are arguing that the tax increase would hurt workers and the economy overall, while others are saying that the revenue is needed to balance the budget.

Surprisingly, however, the Republicans are the party that wants the tax cut to expire--a tax increase by their definition. This makes absolutely no sense to me. The GOP is fresh off a tense budget battle in which they fought vigorously to avoid any tax increases whatsoever. And now they are changing their tune?

Apparently so. According to the Associated Press (see above link), Republican congressman David Camp opposes extending the tax cuts because of the deficit, and Eric Cantor "has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy."

Wait a minute. I thought the Republicans believed that tax cuts were the BEST way to grow the economy. If they oppose "temporary" tax relief, then make it last 10 years instead of 1.

Mitt Romney did not come out for or against extending the tax cut, but said he would rather have the cut on the employer's side to spur job growth. I agree. However, why not cut both sides of the payroll tax? Better yet, why not eliminate the payroll tax altogether and replace the lost revenue by closing loopholes or raising the capital gains tax. The payroll tax discourages hiring and hits both employers and low-wage earners fairly hard.

I am completely baffled as to why many Republicans suddenly want to increase taxes on all working Americans. It almost seems to validate the progressives' claim that Republicans only care about rich people and corporations.

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