With deficits and the prospect of a double-dip recession weighing on voters' minds, Democrats and Republicans are debating whether it's appropriate to extend George W. Bush's tax cuts, scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The GOP says Democrats will be putting the economy at risk if they let the cuts expire, as President Obama promised during his campaign, because that would amount to a massive tax hike at a time when Americans desperately need more money in their pockets. Democrats say Republicans are showing their true colors by protecting budget-busting tax breaks for the rich while oppposing an extension of benefits for the unemployed: (Watch a Fox report about the fight over Bush tax cuts)
The Republicans are being reckless: It's ridiculous for the GOP to try selling this as a $3.8 trillion "Democratic tax hike," says Ezra Klein in The Washington Post. Republicans controlled Congress and the White House when they passed the Bush tax cuts, and they're the ones who set the expiration date. So let's have a reality check: Democrats aren't calling for a massive tax hike — Republicans "are calling for the largest increase in the deficit in memory."
"Republicans now blaming Democrats for Bush tax cuts"
Democrats would rather soak the rich than stimulate the economy: Even a liberal economist like Paul Krugman will tell you the reason FDR's New Deal didn't end the Great Depression, says Veronique de Rugy at National Review, was that all that stimulus spending was nearly canceled out by tax increases. If Democrats really believe that putting more money into the hands of the people is the way to save the economy, they should be "opposing the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and asking the president to give up on his planned tax increases."
"More on job creation and stimulus"
So end all tax cuts, not just those for the rich: With our trillion-dollar deficits, "those tax cuts have to go," says Megan McArdle in The Atlantic. And, unless Congress offsets the costs with deep spending cuts, that means letting the tax cuts expire for the wealthy and middle-class alike, instead of extending the cuts for people making less than $250,000, as some Democrats want. Both sides are playing politics — and both sides should cut it out.
"Just say no to extending the Bush Tax cuts"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The U.S. government is actually trouncing Ebola. When will it get credit?
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- Why America needs more billionaires
- Why 2014 may be as good as it gets for the Republican Party
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
Subscribe to the Week