- The Washington Times - Friday, October 1, 2010

It is entirely accurate to describe the expiration of the tax cuts as a “Republican tax increase”(“Hoyer decries ‘GOP tax increase,’” Page A3, Wednesday) - because Republicans wrote the expiration into the law.

In 2001, when President George W. Bush and congressional Republicans passed tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest Americans, they explicitly ensured that the cuts would expire after nine years. They did so in order to understate the tax cuts’ true cost, because members of both parties found the costs of Mr. Bush’s proposal too large but Republicans were not willing to make choices to scale back the proposal.

The expiration of the tax cuts is not a quirk resulting from arcane budget rules, as Republicans now claim, but rather a deliberate budget gimmick to mask the true size of the cuts. While Mr. Bush’s budgets did intend for the tax cuts to be permanent, the president’s budget is not law. The law a Republican Congress passed and a Republican president signed made the tax cuts expire this year. Furthermore, the Republicans did not make the tax cuts permanent during the subsequent years in which they controlled Congress and the White House.

With those tax cuts expiring, Democrats want to cut taxes for the middle class, including the vast majority of Americans and small-business owners. Further tax cuts for the most privileged, as advocated by Republicans, would put our children another $700 billion in debt. The Republicans’ recent Pledge to America supports those debt-financed tax cuts without a concrete plan to pay for them; that’s why conservative writer Andrew Sullivan called the pledge “the most fiscally irresponsible document ever offered by the GOP.” To paraphrase a famous Republican president - “There they go again.”

Nor would low tax rates for the wealthiest promote shared economic growth: With those rates in place, median household income fell, millions lost their jobs, and the stock market stalled. Republican tax cuts for the wealthy failed to produce the economic results that their supporters promised. Those tax rates should return to 1990s levels - the same levels that existed when we enjoyed the most prosperous economy of our lifetimes.


House majority leader


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