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GOP Congressman Won’t Extend Middle Class Tax Cuts To Avoid Giving ‘Control’ To Democrats

Igor Volsky
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Sunday 9 December 2012
Republican leadership continues to insist on extending tax cuts for all Americans, while President Obama said he would only sign legislation that would maintain reductions for individuals who earn $200,000 or less and couples who make $250,000 or less.
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Earlier this week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sought to overcome the GOP’s resistance to voting on a Senate-passed measure that would extend Bush-era tax cuts to middle class Americans by introducing a discharge petition that, if signed by 218 members, could force the House to take-up the measure. Some Republicans, weary of the overwhelming public support for raising rates on the richest two percent of Americans, have urged the GOP leadership to allow the vote, but have yet to formally sign Pelosi’s discharge. Republican leadership continues to insist on extending tax cuts for all Americans, while President Obama said he would only sign legislation that would maintain reductions for individuals who earn $200,000 or less and couples who make $250,000 or less.

But in a recent photo-op with constituents, Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) explained why Republicans are refusing to give in. The Tennessee Republican admitted that he won’t vote to extend tax cuts to 98 percent of Americans because doing so would cede control to Democrats:

CONSTITUENT 1: Are you going to sign the discharge petition?

DUNCAN: Ummm…Oh no, I’m not. No Ma’am. I’m not about to sign the discharge petition.

CONSTITUENT 2: Well if you sign the discharge petition, you’ll immediately etend the tax cuts for the middle class.

CONSTITUENT 1: Yea, why would you not want to do that? [...]

DUNCAN: It would take too long to explain that. I’m not going to give control of the floor to the Democrats.

Watch it:

If Congress does not act before the end of the year, taxes will increase for all Americans. Polls show that “nearly half” of Americans believe tax cuts “for people earning more than $250,000 should expire while they should continue for those earning less, while 32 percent said the tax cuts should continue for everyone.”

It's not clear that the

It's not clear that the middle class understands our situation. This generation grew accustomed to taking money out of poverty relief (welfare) to pay for other things (primarily, war, and to "make up the difference" for the trillions of dollars of tax cuts handed to the rich). We still hear people calling for cutting welfare (which has been gone since 1996). The poor have been drained. Now, the rich are doing to the middle class what the middle class did to the poor.

. . . As they talk about

. . . As they talk about raising the age requirements for SOCIAL SECURITY and MEDICARE.... they are trying to ignore the differences in the life-spans between the workers and the politicians.... They have a golden healthcare system paid for by the people while the deny any coverage to the people... frank Lautenburg is now 88.....isn't stepping down - - - has he been collecting Social Security for the last 23 years..( ages 65 to age 88) How many workers don't even live long enough to collect anything..
The G.O.P. is scrambling.....Republican House Speaker John Boehner didn't even deliver his home state of OHIO ( going to be a landslide) Karl Rove said FLORIDA is a shoe-in ( what happened??) All the money the SUPER PACS SPENT ?? Romney/Ryan ticket ?? president - - NO vice president - - NO - SENATOR RYAN ( guess he saw the writing on the wall.......will discuss his budget plans after the election???)
The BUSH Tax Cuts EXPIRE...and nothing they can do will stop that....any bets on how happy the Koch Bros are ?? PaPa John's is advertising ?? He said he will cut the workers pay and hours to stop them from getting healthcare.... The Republican backers don't sound happy. . . . . follow the money. . . . . OHIO -no.....FLORIDA -no...the ELECTION - no.....cost $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ How many people could retire on what was spent??? FOR NOTHING
The Republican Bailout ( without any accountability) the Republican FORECLOSURES..........Wall Street and the Banks - - Bundled Mortgages sold to Europe / Diveratives and A U S T E R I T Y ??? today?? reverse mortgages ??
Two Wars based on lies......with WAR CRIMES included........we have over 800 military installations around the world.......increase military spending without any accounting.....
Defense Secretary Panetta said he would give the people an accounting of waste at the pentagon and Afghanistan / Iraq............DON'T WORRY - HE'S RETIRING
ARE YOU SAFER - - TODAY ?? The attack of 9/11 according to Dick Cheney was because they hate us.....
?? I don't know if they hated us on 9-11 but after.... torture - illegal renditions - and the rest ....I'm pretty sure they hate us today...Georege Bush's WAR CRIMES....and General Petriaus WAR CRIMES....... drones killing civilians....BlackWater killing civilians.....
I KEEP SAYING WITHDRAW......AND NOW I QUESTION IF THAT IS EVEN POSSIBLE....FOREIGN AID ( to 2024???) ?.? FOREIGN POLICY ?? and at home the gridlock by the Republican Party - the attacks on worker's rights....women's healthcare....
AND THESE PEOPLE WANT TO START ANOTHER WAR.....IRAN ( our peacock throne wasn't enough???).....
illegal wiretaps ( like rupert muldoch's) here in the u;s;a = immunity for the teleconm execs....
homeland security and homegrown terrorists......
G.O.P. ghastly offensive purpose

Fiscal Cliff??!! OMG. The US

Fiscal Cliff??!! OMG. The US is awesome at manufacturing fear. What a bunch of nonsense. There just always has to be a boogeyman somewhere on the horizon! Will personally track down and punch Wolf Blitzer if I see his fat face on TV saying the words "fiscal" and "cliff" in the same sentence!

Come boys, let's get real.

Come boys, let's get real. As Paul Krugman explained recently, the Fiscal cliff is nothing but a con game. There are several factors at work here and there seems to be little understanding of any of them. If Congress makes no changes and we "go over the cliff" the immidiate result will be a big yawn. The administration will instruct the IRS to leave the "withholding rates" unchanged, at least for the first quarter. The payroll tax holiday will be reinstituted as was done when it began. Federal spending will not change at first, only the issuing of new contracts and start of new programs will have to wait. The real loosers will be the long term unemployed as their unemployment benefits will cease. With the new Congress in place and the Bush tax rates expired, Congress will act.
Of course, if you are invested in the stock market, hang on to your hat, it will be a bumpy ride. But now it's time to get a few things straight, once and forall. There is not a spending problem, there is a revenue problem. Social Security does not contribute one dime to the deficit. In fact, Social Security Trust Fund is the largest creditor the Treasury has. And for all the righties tuned in here, those US Government bonds which SS holds are the same bonds the rest of the world keeps beating a path to our door to get their hands on. That's because the world agrees that they are the safest investment in the world.
Let us not forget history -that would be real history, not the revised version that the GOP keeps trying to sell - when the economy retracts, the way back to prosperity is government spending. The government becomes the consumer of last resort. Borrowing the money is just fine. (particuarly when rates are as low as they are now). Then when the economy booms, it is time to pay back the debt acquired during the recession. But remember that Mr. Bush decided to give a large tax cut to everyone when he inherited a budget surplus rather than follow the game plan and pay down the debt with the surplus.
Final thought for today: those who deny the reality of science are not likely to accept the reality of much else.

Prior to 1983 Social Security

Prior to 1983 Social Security was a pure pay as you go system, where the working generation paid for the benefits of the previous generation - but since the reform of Social Security under Reagan in 1983 which took into consideration longer life expectancies and the size of the baby boom generation, the Social Security trust fund has built up a surplus of over 2.5 trillion dollars, all of which has been borrowed and spent by the rest of the government with no plan in place to pay it back when it will be needed to pay benefits. What the Republicans and some Democrats want to do is to avoid ever having to pay back this money without technically defaulting on the government bonds in the trust fund. Anybody who things that Social Security is safe because the bonds in the trust fund are entitled to the full faith and credit of the government is whistling past the graveyard. Here is how the plan will work:

Step 1 - Convince the public that Social Security is going broke because of longer life expectancies, and the size of the baby boom generation - and that nothing will be left for the next generation, unless benefits are cut.

Step 2 - Cut benefits in ways that people won't notice too much, such as changing the cost of living formula, or slowly raising the retirement age, so like a frog being slowly boiled in water that is being heated, the public puts up with it.

Step 3 Continue to collect payroll taxes at the rates that were in effect before the president's temporary payroll tax cut, so that Social Security continues to run at a surplus which can be "borrowed" and spent on other things. (Republicans have announce that they want this tax cut to expire.)

Step 4 - Announce to the public that Social Security is now secure for 75 years.

Step 5 - When the Social Security starts to need to redeem some of its bonds - say 20 years from now when the trust fund has grown to 4 or 5 trillion dollars on paper - announce that life expectancies have again increased, or the next generation of workers' is too small to support the system, or some other excuse for cutting benefits and repeat the process.

A valuable lesson can be learned from the Social Security reforms under Reagan: Namely, that Social Security can't be "pre-fund" by collecting extra payroll taxes from workers over and above what is necessary to pay current benefits - because the government will just spend the extra money, or cut income taxes, rather than using it to pay down the national debt- Pre-funding with extra payroll taxes just creates a new unfunded liability. So long as congress controls the benefits, the bonds in the trust fund are worthless. We have been fooled once and shouldn't allow ourselves to be fooled again.

Nancy Pelosi's proposal to

Nancy Pelosi's proposal to make all the Bush income tax cuts PERMANENT for couples making under $250,000 and individuals making under $200,000 is extremely irresponsible. President Obama has said that after President Clinton balanced the budget, "we lost our way" when congress enacted the Bush tax cuts, and then got involved in two wars and an unfunded medicare drug benefit paid for on credit. The top 2% represent only about 1/3 of the cost of the Bush tax cuts - Because of the state of the economy, it might make sense to extend most of the middle class Bush tax cuts for a year or two - but if we make them permanent, the only way to get on a firm financial footing will be to gut entitlement programs - while continuing to collect the taxes that support them so that it can be "borrowed" and spent on other things. - Even now there is no good reason for extending the 15% Capital gains rate for anybody.

Hey Carl- that thing about

Hey Carl- that thing about "people who succeeded without help from our government" - yea - try researching "Marc Singer" - - add up how much of the tarp money he gleaned with Delphi - then fired everyone, shipped the jobs overseas and then refused to pay the company retirement to folks who'd worked there for 20-30 years - throwing them into the gov't safety net which pays them WAY less. Obama's admin went to Singer to try & get him to at least pay their retirement, given his huge profiting from the taxpayers tarp monies. Singer told them to get screwed. When u finish researching him, try the robber-Barron's like the Rockellers, Melons, et al. Those people made their massive fortunes doing the same things-huge risks with govt guarantees & bail outs. That's not political fantasy - it's historical fact. Try a little history education on the big money folks this nation has produced-few made it without huge "favors" & "safety nets" provided them by our government - with our tax dollars...

Fox "News" don't do no

Fox "News" don't do no history.

We need a Congress that has

We need a Congress that has the Balls to "Tax Em Like 1938". In 1938 we had 33 Tax Brackets from 3% for income up to $64K(adjusted for inflation) all the way up to 79% for income over $79Million. Now that's "Fair and Balanced". This little change would help solve the inequality problem, balance the budget, pay down the debt, and put millions to work. God Bless the Middle Class, because the Republicans certainly don't give a Damn about them.

The health care costs have

The health care costs have more to do with the profiteering of the health care industry than with the Affordable Health Care act (which will for the first time force insurance companies to certify that 80% of member premiums go to pay for care - vs marketing, acquisitions, exec pay and the like). In the meantime, the firms are gouging us to the max before those constraints are enacted.

It is a shame that the machismo in Congress has become more important than thoughtful governance.

If this behavior continues the 2014 elections will be most interesting.

It is low grade moron's in

It is low grade moron's in both parties that have created our spending habit. Only those who refuse to submit to this crumby administration policy to penalize those who have succeeded in our economy despite Government intervention have a chance to institute change in OUR policy of spending. I am personally looking forward to the "cliff" and expect the Congress collectively will then go about the difficult task of correcting the problem. It is possible those unwilling to work or create wealth will go somewhere like Cuba or Venezuala where the Government promises to provide for those unwilling to provide for themselves. What kind of tax increase do you suspect will effect you if you don't pay taxes now? I suggest you look at the costs of Obamacare that are currently costing you increased premium and will continue to increase daily.

Carl, you bought into the

Carl, you bought into the propaganda. Have you even considered the possibility that what Fox "News" has been telling you could be wrong?

Fox was wrong on the election. They were wrong on the 2008 election too. And they were completely wrong about the Iraq War. They are wrong about everything. Doesn't that make them suspect when they tell you Obamacare is increasing premiums, contrary to what the CBO says?

And Carl, spending has been way down under Obama. Once again, contrary to what you hear from Fox "News".

So, you're saying that you

So, you're saying that you want the economy to crash? And it wouldn't be penalizing anybody, not in any real sense. The income tax rate in the 50s was something like 70% on the highest bracket, and the economy boomed. Also, you seem to be ignoring the CBO studies showing how health care reform will decrease government spending in the long term. As far as premiums going up, that was a trend that started long before Obama was even elected.

Duncan's Dad would "turn over

Duncan's Dad would "turn over in his grave" if he knew about how much 'his' party (and his son) had changed from when he was living.... I knew the father when he was Mayor of Knoxville and he was a fine man!!! Can't say the same about his son who is just another GOP 'party first with no regard for the country' politician!!!!!

Clyde, they started to

Clyde, they started to believe their own propaganda. You can see it on their faces, you can hear their words. In the face of all evidence to the contrary, they now believe that cutting taxes increases revenue. This is a sign of collective insanity.

They must abandon the extremists or perish.

The GOP seem hell bent to

The GOP seem hell bent to prove that all their politicians have IQ's under 65. I do agree with Robert Smiley that they do seem to have some sort of political death wish, and it will happen, if they don't stop being low grade morons, and pay attention to the Public. "We the People" did prove who still runs this country in the last election cycle, and it strikes me as sheer kindness that the Repubs wern't totally thrashed then. HOWEVER, if it's the complete and total anhilation of the Republican Party the 'Greedy Old Pigs' (GOP) seek, then it shall come to pass. I shall not shed a tear.

Thje GOP have a death wish

Thje GOP have a death wish and it's going to come true in 2014. If they don't maintain tax reductions for the middle class they are toast!

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