LAMBRO: Capitol capitulation

Democrats cave where it counts - restarting the economy

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The voters spoke loud and clear Nov. 2 that they want Congress to change course and cut the size and cost of government, reduce the tax burden on working Americans, and pass incentives to spur stronger economic growth and new job creation.

The president’s bipartisan deficit commission’s report earlier this month proposed a number of cost-cutting measures and tax-cutting plans that would do this. One of its most promising proposals would broaden the income-tax base by eliminating a variety of tax breaks and loopholes that would allow much lower tax rates, including a top 28 percent marginal tax rate for individuals and businesses.

That idea is drawing support from conservative lawmakers and even Mr. Obama, who seems to be talking a lot more about “tax reduction” and “economic growth” since the elections.

Clearly, class warfare against “millionaires and billionaires” wasn’t working in an economy where 17 percent of the nation’s labor force was either unemployed or underemployed.

The two-year tax-cut extension that Mr. Obama signed into law is a good beginning to get this economy back on its feet, but a lot more incentives will be needed to push the gross domestic product growth rate to 4 percent or higher if we are to bring unemployment down to 4 percent to 5 percent. A 35 percent top tax rate is still too high to make that happen.

Permanent pro-growth tax cuts are needed next year and are a virtual certainty if the 10 percent unemployment rate shows no signs of significant decline.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist.

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