Distorting the Question

There they go again.

Senator Dick Durbin (D, IL) suggests that the Republicans are being a tad disingenuous with their reluctance to extend the payroll tax “cut” of two per centage points on employee payrolls.  Pretending to not understand the reluctance, Durbin asserts

The Republican position is they’d raise the payroll tax on working families.  That just defies logic.  What we should do is to help these working families struggle through.

What defies logic, though, as Durbin understands full well, is the concept of reducing the payroll tax in the first place.  Regardless of what we might think of the present structure of Social Security and Medicare, the fact is both of these programs are within just a very few election cycles of being utterly bankrupt, and the payroll tax is the only way—by design—of funding these programs.  Reducing that funding only hastens those failures.

Americans aren’t as dumb as Progressives like Durbin would have it, either, and so we’re fully capable of seeing the foolishness of a payroll tax cut, and we’re fully capable of not confusing such a cut with an income tax cut.  Indeed, far from the jobs stimulus the Progressives claimed this would be when President Obama proposed the cut, most Americans promptly saved those few extra bucks, or used them to pay down personal debt.  Of course, since businesses had no such cuts to their payroll expenses, they received no incentive to hire, and the missing “cut” spending potentiated that lack.

Aside from this, though, the Durbin claim is little more than a Progressive distortion of the opposition party’s tax position.  To use the payroll tax reluctance in this way—as a “demonstration” that Republicans want to raise taxes in the middle of this deep recession—is to isolate one irrelevant position, payroll taxes that have nothing to do with jobs and everything to do with the way Social Security and Medicare are funded, and to ignore the whole position: that lower income and business tax rates are themselves job creators and further that they increase tax revenue through increased economic activity—producing, selling, hiring—which leads to additional hiring in a virtuous circle.  Which “help[s] these working families struggle through.”

Further, Republicans have been advocating for some time closing tax loopholes and ending subsidies as an additional means of raising revenues, another aspect of their composite tax position that Durbin carefully elides.  And his distortion ignores the fact  that the Progressives themselves insist on outright tax rate increases—to the tune of $1 trillion, as Obama threw in at  the last second to blow up an already tentatively agreed deal during the debt limit increase talks last summer, and which the six Progressives on the recently deceased Supercommittee used to blow up that group’s chances of fulfilling its mandate.

Then Durbin added a wholly irrelevant canard to explain Obama’s absence from the just concluded Supercommittee charade:

This was a congressional undertaking. And the Republicans made it clear that if President Obama weighed in, it would become another presidential issue.

Really?  In what way?  Durbin chooses to offer no facts to support his assertion.  He does choose to ignore, though, the fact that Obama has repeatedly refused Republican invitations to talk about any economic matter, preferring instead to hit the campaign trail and to dally in Bali for East Asia summit talks.

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