Cut (kut): v. To reduce the size, extent, or duration of; curtail or shorten

When I cut my lawn, it gets shorter.  If I don’t cut my lawn, it remains the same height.  When I cut my hair, it gets shorter.  If I don’t have my hair cut, it remains the same length.  For the sake of those I’ve heard talking over the past few days, I’ll explain it even simpler:  if you have something and you act to make sure that there is less of that something, you’ve made a “cut.”

When it comes to the matter of taxes in America, if a given tax rate is lower tomorrow than it was today, that tax rate was cut.  If the tax rate tomorrow is the same as it was today, there has been no such cut.  And, by that very same logic–maybe some of the aforementioned geniuses would like to sit down for this one–if the tax rate tomorrow is higher than it was today, then there has been a tax increase.

Groundbreaking?  Hardly.  And yet so many politicians and pundits on the left and the right continue to throw around this idea that Democrats would be cutting taxes by merely extending the Bush tax cuts.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, for example, originally told CBS’ Face the Nation that “if the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for it.”  Other Republicans have followed suit, characterizing any extension of the Bush Tax Cuts as a tax cut by the Democrats.  Even the brilliant Charles Krauthammer, in advocating on Special Report with Bret Baier a unified Republican front against the increase of any taxes for anyone during the course of this recession, insinuated once last night that the Democrats would be cutting taxes if they renewed the tax cuts passed in 2001 by the Bush administration.  And, of course, President Barack Obama has been traveling the country, explaining how he desperately wants to provide the middle class with a tax cut, without mentioning that extending the Bush tax cuts either partially or in their entirety would merely be avoiding a tax increase for those to whom any extension applied.

The left has always been fantastic at changing the American lexicon.  If you disagree with Al Gore and his flunkies on the threat posed by global warming, for example, you’re a “denier.”  Here, Barack Obama and the Democrats have been successful, only 49 days outside the mid-term election, in so far convincing a great deal of the American people that should they vote to extend the Bush tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 per year, they would actually be responsible for actively cutting the taxes for middle class Americans.  In reality, even if a vote does go through, all that would be done is maintaining the status quo.

Some Democrats, however, have refused to engage in the semantics.  Oddly enough, these are also the eleven House Democrats currently breaking with the administration and supporting the extension of the Bush tax cuts across the board.

In a letter to Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats Melissa Bean (IL), James Matheson (UT), Glenn Nye (VA), Gary Peters (MI) explained to the House Speaker that, “[i]n recent weeks, we have heard from a diverse spectrum of economists, small business owners, and families who have voiced concerns that raising any taxes right now could negatively impact economic growth. Given the continued fragility of our economy and slow pace of recovery, we share their concerns.”

Florida Congressman Ron Klein, staring down the barrel of a hard-charging Republican challenger (the fantastic Allen West), told a crowd in Delray Beach, Florida that extending the Bush tax cuts was the right thing to do.  “Every day, I hear from families that are still struggling with bills and people who can’t find a job no matter how hard they try, so I believe right now, our top economic priority has to be job creation,” Klein said.  “In order to achieve that, we need tax credits for small businesses that will help create new American jobs, while also promoting investment and growth. As we work to rebuild the economy, I support a one-year extension of the so-called Bush tax cuts.”

Bobby Bright, an Alabama Democrat and Auburn University Alum who has been one of several Democrats to break from party leadership in both high-profile votes and campaign ads, came out strongly against the party line, stating: “I don’t care if it’s the wealthiest of the wealthy, you don’t raise their taxes.  In a recession, you don’t tax, burden and restrict. The economy is like a ship, and if you sink the ship, all the good you might do goes down with it.”  With the ship analogy, I also think he might have been channeling Ron Burgundy.

Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, actually went so far as to acknowledge not only that his party leadership is actively looking to raise taxes on Americans but also that the Democrats’ policies would be damaging to the American economy, noting in a statement that “[w]e are managing a very fragile economy, and now is not the time to raise taxes on anyone.”  Right now, the congressman maintains, “we should not do anything at this juncture that could jeopardize or slow the nation’s economic growth.”

Similar messages came from Connecticut Democrat Jim Himes, Michigan Democrat Gary Peters, Arizona Democrat Harry Mitchell, New York Democrat Michael McMahon, and Indiana Democrat Brad Ellsworth.  The latter even made a point to acknowledge that it is those very people so often vilified by the left–those evil rich and successful people–who “indeed … are the ones that make investments, that start businesses investing in companies.”

When it comes to the extension of the Bush tax cuts, I certainly appreciate the efforts being made by Republicans to unify behind an all-or-nothing approach by the Democrats.  The Democrats are the majority party — let them deal with the fallout if Americans begin to see adverse effects like those mentioned on Monday by the Christian Science Monitor:

What is scheduled to expire at the end of this year, unless Congress acts?

  • The 10, 25, 28, 33, and 35 percent rates would all rise. The new tax rates would be 15, 28, 31, 36, and 39.6 percent. This would cost taxpayers about $157 billion per year.
  • The indexing of the alternative minimum tax for inflation would end. The AMT, which provides $66 billion in annual relief for taxpayers, attempts to ensure that individuals who benefit from itemized deductions or credits pay a separately calculated minimum tax.
  • Taxes on capital gains and dividends would rise, meaning that investors could potentially pay about $35 billion more.
  • Married couples would go back to paying higher rates than today, at a cost to them of $32 billion per year.
  • Expanded tax credits – such as the child tax credit, which went from $500 to $1,000 – would end. This would cost families $26 billion per year. Some taxpayers would also pay an additional cumulative $1.5 billion in education costs.
  • The estate tax, which has already expired, would go back to its 2009 level, costing heirs at least $26 billion.
  • Higher-income households would see the dollar value of their personal exemptions phased out and would have a lower value for certain itemized deductions. This would cost those people – most of whom make well over $170,000 a year – about $21 billion.

It’s a fairly simple concept, and now that the political discourse has turned away from distractions like the Ground Zero Mosque and flaming Korans, ongoing discussion regarding the very concerns that Americans across the political spectrum will be carrying with them to the polls in November needs to be carefully put together by Republicans, if they wish to make the gains we all know they are capable of.

There must be no question in the minds of everyday Americans who do not pay attention to the daily comings and goings in Washington that an extension of the Bush tax cuts will not be a tax cut by the Democrats, but rather just the continuance of the status quo.  Similarly, there must be no question in the minds of everyday Americans that any Bush tax cut not renewed by the Democrats is a bona fide tax increase.  Therefore, what we do not need are folks like John Boehner and even Charles Krauthammer taking verbal easy street and going along with the left’s change in our lexicon.

Thankfully, folks like Indiana Rep. Mike Pence seem to understand the distinction.  He released a statement today in support of Boehner’s recent letter to Nancy Pelosi in which he urged leadership to engage in open debate over the Democrats’ planned tax increases:

No American taxpayer should face a tax increase on January 1, and this issue deserves a full and transparent debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. I stand with Leader Boehner and my Republican colleagues in urging Speaker Pelosi to allow the American people to express their will through their elected representatives on a matter that will affect every American taxpayer.

Raising taxes on job creators will not create jobs, especially during the worst economy in decades. The American people want Congress to act quickly to prevent the coming tax hikes. With our nation’s unemployment rate near 10 percent, it’s vital that the White House and House Democrats not play political games with the economy. I hope Democrat leaders in Congress will respond to the need to come together in a bipartisan way to stop the president’s planned tax increases.

Perhaps, on this issue, when it comes to conveying their message as strongly and succinctly as possible, Republicans should look to Mike Pence, and even to what’s being said by those Democrats currently running for their lives from the policies advanced by their president and party leadership.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    “but rather just the continuance of the status quo”

    eg Barney Frank and Charlie Rangel winning primaries.
    America is officially stupid.

  2. Randy Wills says:

    Speaking of Mike Pence, as I’ve stated before on AR, I think that he has the potential to be a winner in ’12.

    Randy

  3. Gail B. says:

    “[i]n recent weeks, we have heard from a diverse spectrum of economists, small business owners, and families who have voiced concerns that raising any taxes right now could negatively impact economic growth.

    Well, DUH! Including those who have gotten off the unemployment rolls and are still unemployed, the rate is WELL over 9.6 percent!!! So, this regime thinks it’s going to help the economy (WHOSE ECONOMY? – the government’s or the American people’s?) to raise taxes so the government can spend more!

    Oh, Jeff! You do such a wonderful job of keeping your finger on what’s going on. Thank you very much! And, keep up the great work.

    They’re talking about all this on talk radio–saying that the Bush tax cuts need to be permanent and that everybody should get a tax reduction. Otherwise, the people with the money will not create jobs, and the middle class will not spend money.

    I am all for cutting the incentive-reducing entitlements; eliminating the Department of Education; eliminating the Department of Energy; eliminating the czars; and doing whatever it takes to bring manufacturing back to the United States!

    I still find it ironic that the Democratic National Committee’s website stated plainly that capitalism is the engine that fuels the economy. So, why are the Democrats working so hard to kill capitalism? (To promote Socialism.)

    Thanks again, Jeff.

  4. whats_up says:

    Jeff,

    While I support the tax cuts perhaps you could speak to the fact that this will do nothing but increase the deficit and the apparent hypocrasy involved in simultanously stated that you are trying to reduce the deficit yet are adding to it by keeping these tax cuts. Either deficits matter or they dont. At some point taxes will have to rise at least for awhile. While I dont agree with cutting the Dept of Education, even should that be the majorities opinion we need to continue to fund Education through the federal government in whatever form that may be. To not fund education would be a travesty. Education is the biggest empowerment tool to moving up in status and retaining your middle class. That is if you want a middle class, I am not so sure anymore that hard core conservatives want that.

  5. Jeff Schreiber says:

    I would speak to that, What’s Up, but if I did so I would be WRONG. Kennedy did it. Reagan did it. Bush did it. Each and every time, revenues were INCREASED. Post-cuts, Bush enjoyed record revenues on several occasions. Tax cuts have absolutely nothing to do with deficits, and before you point out that there was a surplus when Bush instituted the tax cuts and we have a deficit now, please remember that the surplus was merely on paper, and that we have a deficit now because Bush and Obama both lost their minds with regard to spending.

    We need to not only extend the Bush tax cuts, and we need to not only FREEZE spending like the GOP wants, but we need to FURTHER cut taxes–the corporate tax, for example, would be a great place to start in terms of facilitating economic and job growth–and FURTHER cut spending. On the latter, I would support Pence’s Spending Limit Amendment.

  6. Jordan Bell says:

    Regarding that surplus on paper, there never was a surplus when Bush took office. The national debt continued to increase during those few years that a surplus was stated.

    http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/

    Then you can click on “See the U.S. Public Debt to the Penny” http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np

    Total Public Debt Outstanding
    09/30/1997 5,413,146,011,397.34
    09/30/1998 5,526,193,008,897.62
    09/30/1999 5,656,270,901,633.43
    09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86
    09/30/2001 5,807,463,412,200.06

    There never was a budget surplus during any of the years they claimed. If there was a surplus, it would have been used to pay down the debt.

    There is a good article pertaining to this over on American Thinker.com, and I think it was linked to a different article here not too long ago.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/09/the_good_old_days.html

  7. whats_up says:

    Jeff,

    With all due respect this is innacurate information. Following Reagans tax cut in 1981, revenues did go up in 1982, but went back down in 1983 and didnt go back up until after he signed tax increases in 1983. With the Bush tax cuts of 2001, revenues dropped both in 2002 and 2003. So Revenues didnt increase each and every time a tax cut was proposed. That doesnt mean tax cuts are neccesarily bad, however we need to get away from the idea that tax cuts are the end all be all to our problems.

  8. graypanther says:

    “…doing whatever it takes to bring manufacturing back to the United States!”

    [shakes head]
    Too late. We sold our advanced technology in pursuit of short-term gain, and the world around us used it to decimate our economic base.

    In too many countries – e.g., China – too many products – e.g., cars, computers, solar panels, even aircraft – are being produced at a labor cost one-fourth to one-tenth of prevailing rates in the United States. You won’t close that gap by creating more jobs. You won’t close that gap by attacking the influence of the unions. That gap is structural and permanent, because it costs less to live in developing countries than it does here.

    A few days ago I flew from New Mexico to Texas. The airplane I was in was made by Embraer in Brazil. It was fast and comfortable and quiet, but after all, the Brazilians have been making and refining them for 20 years…

  9. John Buyon says:

    Just saying I would prefer a “paper” surplus over a real life deficit…

  10. Randy Wills says:

    “It’s too late”, by “graypanther”:

    My contention is that it’s never too late to make an attempt, but it can’t be done without a painful reduction in our standard-of-living expectations. The politicians won’t tell you the truth and the labor unions won’t allow U.S. manufacturers to achieve a competitive cost structure.

    As it is now, we send billions of dollars per month to China and other international trading partners and they loan it back to us, at interest, of course, so that we can continue to buy more of their products so that they can ————. You get it. Eventually, the system will collapse because every time our money is recycled through this process, more of it is lost to the impedance in the system and the debt-service costs.

    At least that’s the way I see it.

    Randy

  11. Just sayin says:

    Oh to go with whats_up, or John F. Kennedy; I think I’ll go with the smart democrat Kennedy.

  12. I do (her, and her and her) says:

    Clinton’s paper surplus is worth about as much as his paper marriage certificate.

  13. Boston Blackie says:

    Actually Jeff,
    Like your hair and the lawn if we don’t cut, cut, cut then the tax rate will grow, grow, grow and so will the burden we leave for the next generations.

  14. Jon Deehr says:

    Cut? Cut? It’s bush hog time, and close to controlled burn time.

  15. John Buyon says:

    why should the incomes of the super rich which consists solely of economic rent, dividends, and capital gains be taxed at 15%

    when the incomes of the bottom 98% which are earned through labor, blood and sweat to be taxed at 25%?

    basic question for you right wing economists.
    why are you guys so illogical and unjust?
    I thought that in america if you WORKED hard the world was your oyster.
    seems to me that you guys prefer an america where

    if you short sell american companies
    offshore american jobs
    cheat on taxes owed to the AMERICAN government
    lay off AMERICAN workers and
    destroy the environment of the AMERICAN nation
    you win, and are taxed lower.

  16. Tim and Charlie says:

    “cheat on taxes owed to the AMERICAN government”,

    John, shhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  17. Anonymous says:

    John Lennon @ 11:27

    Yet a flat or fair tax is ignored by the power hungry tax code sitters.

  18. graypanther says:

    Tim and Charlie @ 8:13: ‘“cheat on taxes owed to the AMERICAN government”, John, shhhhhhhhhhhhhh’

    no, I don’t think so, because “shhhhhhhhhhhhhh” is exactly what we’ve got. Some of America’s best-endowed millionaires earned their money by helping even richer people avoid taxes. Read Perfectly Legal by David Cay Johnston. If the United States were able to collect all the taxes it is legitimately owed, our deficit issues would be an order of magnitude more manageable.

  19. graypanther says:

    Randy @ 2:47:
    we send billions of dollars per month to China and other international trading partners and they loan it back to us, at interest, of course, so that we can continue to buy more of their products…the system will collapse because every time our money is recycled through this process, more of it is lost to the impedance in the system and the debt-service costs.

    You make several very good points, Randy, and my only reservation is with your use of the phrase “impedance in the system,” since it seems to me that if we look at current aggregate volumes of electronic funds transfer, “impedance” may be exactly what we have too little of. The term I prefer to use is “line loss.”

    Now, in additional support of some of my points as well as some of yours, I submit a letter from this morning’s New York Times, from an emerita professor of economics at the University of Maryland:

    …it is obvious that workers in developed countries are now being offered a kind of competition that they never had to face before: people abroad who can do their job well enough, yet will work for wages that are a small fraction of theirs.

    Our workers are facing a substantial drop in their standard of living and continued high unemployment. The political results of such a trend could be disastrous.

    There used to be barriers against low-wage competition — namely, the inability of low-wage workers to be sufficiently productive — but these barriers now are gone. New ones have to be erected, mainly in the form of tariffs.

    You and I and the above professor are an exact agreement that America is facing a broad and substantial drop in standard of living. I can hear the grumbling from here: “It’s the fault of the unions.” Except… Less than 13% of the ENTIRE US workforce is unionized. In the private sector, which is what’s under discussion, about 7% of the US workforce is unionized. The social and political influences of the unions are other topics for another time, but their economic leverage is simply not as great as it’s cracked up to be.

    I would like to warm up to discussion by pointing the finger at a far different villain. My father, who was a wise man, said: “If you want to know how good your products are, keep track of how many people in other countries buy them.” I’ve always thought that was rock-solid advice. Now in light of that, and pardon me shouting but this is important: BETWEEN 98% AND 99% OF AMERICAN COMPANIES DO NOT EXPORT.

    Think about that. How many cars does America buy from Japan? How many does Japan buy from America? By now it would be my father’s assessment, I think, that the United States shouldn’t be making cars at all. Nobody will buy our cars but us.

    Now, aircraft are a different matter. The United States is still the world’s largest aircraft producer. The EU is second, Brazil is third, but we’re still on top. Let’s sell more airplanes to more countries! They’re expensive! And if we export to China, Japan, Korea, Germany, the dollars we send them won’t be loaned back at interest; they’ll be paid back for products. And that’s the dollar recycling we need. I’m not advocating a predominantly export-driven economy, since we certainly don’t need China’s problems on top of our own; I’m saying that aggressive exporting would consistently redress our trade balance, and we’re simply not doing it.

  20. Just some good ol boys says:

    That was Tim Geithner and Charlie Rangel, graypanther.

  21. Gail B. says:

    Have we forgotten that the more money that’s spent, the faster it’s turned over and more frequently taxed?

    I keep thinking that the Obama regime is not to boost the economy but to bankrupt America and then take over.

  22. Jordan Bell says:

    John Buyon,

    Last time I checked, its people and companies with money that do the hiring and employment. I never recall a time when I was employed by a poor person or a company that didn’t have money to spend for work on a project they wanted done.

    The people/companies with money can ride out high taxation by moving to another country and/or investing where it is to their advantage, they already have the funds to do it. The poor and middle class don’t have that luxury, so when the money and employers are taxed away, you will have less employment as there are now less job opportunities at home.

    Also, I would like for you to show me the evidence you found where the incomes of the super rich depend solely of economic rent, dividends, and capital gains. If you look at top earners around the world they founded and built up their own companies and made wise decisions with their money and investments.

    And something else some people need to get into their head, is that the money people make/earn is theirs to keep and spend at their discretion. It is their money, it does not belong to the government.

  23. Randy Wills says:

    “graypanther @ 2:44 PM:

    Good comments. Thanks, and I think that we’re pretty much in agreement. Perhaps I am giving too much weight to the effects of unions, but, particularly in the auto industry, the unions played a major role in the inability of Detroit to compete.

    Cost structures, as you know, are made up of many components, only one of which is direct labor, but if you are required to pay more for labor (and benefits) than your competitors (in this case, the Japanese), you have to make up for it by reducing costs in some other area, such as quality or features, which is exactly what the U.S. manufacturers did.

    More at my article “The Myth Surrounding Job Creation” posted earlier today.

    Randy

  24. John Buyon says:

    @ Graypanther/Randy

    you guys are taking a long time but finally are beginning to understand that the american standard of living is under attack.
    and it isn’t under attack by the government or the trade unions… that’s a load of BS. the government was much larger and trade unions much more powerful in the 1950′s, and those years at-least economically were golden.

    its alright even though it took you “conservatives” 20 years longer than liberals to understand this problem

    my question is what did you people expect?

    did you people REALLY expect a higher standard of living for average working middle class people would result if

    government regulation was scrapped…
    powerful business interests were able to spend unlimited amounts ( under the guise of “free speech”) to influence elections …
    the taxes on the top 2% were cut…
    deficits (which redistribute money from taxpayers to bondholders) got larger…
    so called free trade treaties were signed with third world dictatorships …

    you people are responsible for these, under your pseudo intellectual leaders Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman etc. you idiotic fools believed the nonsensical advice of the neo-liberal economists.
    the american right wing is so gullible that they actually believed the economic policies of a B movie actor.

    so stop this disingenuous BS about trade unions and this phantom “big government” hurting america shit, and start seeing who is really perpetrating the looting and rape of america.

    I guarantee you it isn’t AFL-CIO or ACORN

  25. Randy Wills says:

    Darn it, John, you keep suckering me. You make a comment or two that sounds like you want to have a respectful, fact-based, discussion and then you come up with something like this. Then I realize that I’ve been suckered again.

    I give up.

    Randy

  26. Decisions decisions says:

    1:51 Communists, geesh, what ya gonna do?
    Can’t live with em, Can’t kill em.

  27. So naive says:

    Yeh, let’s go to communism. There will be no greed, corruption, fraud, waste in those leaders.

  28. Told ya says:

    Randy @ 1:28

    STANDING OVATION

  29. Gail B. says:

    Randy @ 1:28 am (Sept. 20):

    I’ve said before–it’s just best to ignore What_up and John Buyon. They aren’t here to learn; they’re here to find fault and grouse.

    Told ya @ 11:02 am:

    I’M STANDING RIGHT BESIDE YOU!!!

  30. Communism reeks says:

    Gail, I tend to fault and grouse as well, it’s just that I am right, however.

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