Former Tennessee Republican Sen. Fred Thompson is working with the League of American Voters to extend the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.
Taxes next year will revert to the rates in place before the cuts unless Congress acts. President Obama has proposed preserving the tax reductions for those with income of less than $200,000 but letting them lapse for everyone above.
Thompson and the League of American Voters have launched a campaign, including ads and a petition drive, to sustain the tax cuts for everyone.
“We’re asking people to sign up [at renewthetaxcuts.com] to let people in Congress know that we’re insisting that tax cuts be renewed,” the 2008 presidential candidate told Newsmax.TV.
“We face perilous times in our country now. The economy is down, and we can’t move totally in the wrong direction, which is what allowing the tax cuts to expire would constitute.”
Dropping the cuts would depress the economy further, which is why Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke support keeping them, Thompson says.
“You don’t raise taxes in a recession.”
Much of the problem lies with Obama, he says. “The president has an ideological intensity about him that’s unprecedented. That’s what these tax increases are about.”
The administration knows that no reputable economist would support the idea of raising taxes in a down economy, Thompson says.
“Yet they would hope to further divide the American people, play into people’s envy and anger against 2-3 percent of the people,” Thompson said referring to the wealthy people that would be hit with a tax increase.
“So we cut off our nose to spite our face.”
That’s because many of those who would pay higher taxes are successful small business people.
“Only an ideologue would force something like that through at a time like this,” Thompson said. That ideology is displayed throughout administration policy, such as healthcare and financial regulation reform.
The new healthcare reform law is unconstitutional, he says. “For the first time in the history of our country, the federal government is requiring people to purchase a service [health insurance] from a private individual,” Thompson said.
He scoffed at the White House’s attempt to label the mandatory purchase of health insurance as a tax.
“The president said he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class, but now he’s trying to claim it’s tax to make it constitutional, because they don’t think the commerce clause will carry it through the courts.” The constitution gives the federal government power over interstate commerce.
The Democrats’ policy moves give the Republicans a good chance to regain control of the House and perhaps even the Senate in November’s elections, Thompson says.
And Obama may well end up a one-term president.
“His idea is to let Congress take its lumps,” Thompson said. “Even if he loses both houses, the pattern will be to follow Bill Clinton, who lost Congress but came back and got re-elected.”
But Clinton succeeded by moderating his views and working with Republicans on balancing the budget and passing welfare reform.
“I don’t see that it’s in Obama to do that. I don’t see that his left wing will allow him to do that. They’re upset as can be now about him not being far enough to the left.”
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