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Republican Priorities Out of Whack on Tax Cuts

A look at why advocating for permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans makes no sense.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on a Joint Committee on Taxation study of “President Obama’s proposal to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy but to extend them for everyone else.” 

The study found that “taxpayers with income of more than $1 million for 2011 would still receive on average a tax cut of about $6,300” from those in effect during the Clinton Administration, while those “with taxable income of $500,000 to $1 million would still get on average a tax cut of $6,700.”  

You would think that rolling the Bush tax cuts back to these levels would be universally accepted---especially given the long term fiscal challenges our country is facing.

Not so fast…

Republicans in Congress are arguing that we have no choice but to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest, despite the fact that extension would cost upwards of 700 billion for ten years and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office makes clear that tax cuts for the wealthiest rank at the bottom of the list of best ways to stimulate the economy. 

Let’s not forget that this same group of Republicans blocked the extension of unemployment insurance for Americans who needed it most and voted against the Making Work Pay tax cut—that gave a tax break to 95% of working Americans.

And just last week the same group blocked a bill that would provide essential assistance to small businesses, the drivers of Main Street economies across the country.

Let me get this straight.

Republicans are arguing that for the wealthiest Americans—those making more than $250,000 per year— it is not enough that they receive a $6,300 tax cut relative to what they paid in the 1990s, they need to maintain the entire Bush tax cut. But at a pivotal time in economic recovery, they are refusing to provide necessary assistance to small  businesses including zero capital gains, bonus depreciation and a small business lending facility that will help small businesses get the access to credit they need.

Talk about out of whack priorities.

Jen Psaki is Deputy Communications Director