Last week Senate Democrats thought that they had put their Republican counterparts into a box from which they could not escape. They passed a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone’s first $250,000 in income, but no more, in effect voting to raise the rates on income over $250,000 back to the draconian rates that crushed innovation and growth during the Clinton years. Not only did Senate Democrats see this move as good policy, they saw it as forcing the GOP to defend the higher rates for the wealthy in an election year.
Not so fast, Democrats. The Republican Party was prepared this time and fired off a few rhetorical rounds in response to the vote. The GOP deftly accused the opportunistic Democrats of using the tragedy of taxes for political gain.
“Taking the tragedy of tax payments and using it to advance a partisan agenda is unseemly, and frankly, Americans should be sickened by it,” pronounced Romney spokesperson Hattie Ceegar.
“Now is not the time to debate this issue and propose even more laws. Now is the time to grieve for the wealthy victims who will not have their tax rate extended. Have they no compassion particularly at this sensitive time when these innocent job creators might be preparing their quarterly estimated tax payments?”
Mitt Romney was even more direct in his rebuttal to the Bush tax cut partial extension.
“Once again, the Obama administration and the Democrats will do anything to divert attention away from their failed policies. Middle class tax rates are nothing but a distraction, and the goal is simple. The plan is to divide Americans into two competing groups – those who work hard to earn their living, and liberals. It didn’t work for Jimmy Carter and it won’t work for Barack Obama.”
The campaign insisted that this election is a referendum on the President’s performance over his first term, and any attempts to distract the voters with cheap political tricks like passing tax legislation disguised as “helpful” to the majority of the public will be rejected by the American public.
It’s too soon to talk about this issue. The proper grieving period after filing a quarterly return, according to leaders in the GOP, won’t end until November 6th.