Let the games begin. Now we shall see if Republicans, who ran in the recent election as “deficit hawks,” are simply pigs with gossamer wings pretending they can fly. The George W. Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 are set to expire. These tax cuts were passed by Republican majorities in both the House and Senate with an expiration date of January, 2011. The 2003 version was passed via reconciliation in the Senate on a 50/50 vote. (There was no Democratic filibuster). The tie breaking vote was cast by Vice- President Dick Cheney. These unfunded mandates, along with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are what turned a budget surplus into an economy crushing deficit.
What is the new Republican plan of “fiscal responsibility” to reverse this trend? It’s to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans at a deficit-exploding cost of $700 billion over the next ten years. Their rationale is the old “trickle down” bromide that it will create jobs. An interesting theory, but contradicted by historical fact. Bush’s tax cuts have been in place for nearly a decade, and our economy has lost jobs every year since their enactment. More jobs were lost during George W. Bush’s terms in office than during the previous Clinton administration. (Source: the employment and consulting firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas.)
Is it possible to cut taxes, fight a global war on terrorism, and reduce the deficit at the same time? As Rep. John Boehner (R)-Ohio said when challenging Democrats’ lack of transparency in the struggle to pass health care reform, “Hell no, you can’t!”