The formerly solid wall of Republican opposition to any tax increase has now been breached and it is up to us to repair it and plug it up.
Three normally conservative senators — Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), Mike Crapo (Idaho), and Judd Gregg (New Hampshire) — have voted in favor of the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Commission's recommendations for massive tax hikes. Coburn, Crapo, and Gregg are laboring under the grand illusion that tax increases can reduce the deficit.
In fact, the record is the exact opposite. Tax increases dampen economic growth (particularly during a recession) and never bring in the revenue they are supposed to. And, because they hurt the economy, they increase mandatory entitlement spending on Medicaid, welfare, unemployment compensation, and food stamps, thereby eradicating any spending cuts that may have accompanied them.
Coburn, Crapo, and Gregg's votes endorse and send to Congress a report that calls for a nine-year tax hike of $1.3 trillion, raising the federal tax burden permanently to 21 percent of GDP as opposed to the average of 18 percent to date (source: Americans for Tax Reform).
It even eliminates congressional control over tax increases. They would become automatic after 2013 unless the commission's proposals are implemented.
The commission called for higher tax rates, reduces indexing of tax brackets for inflation, raises the capital gains tax from 15 percent to 23 percent, raises Social Security taxes by up to 50 percent for taxpayers making up to or over $150,000 a year, doubles gas taxes, and makes inheritance taxes at 45 percent permanent.
Coburn, Crapo, and Gregg had done great harm to our cause by endorsing the idea that a "centrist" approach of combining tax increases and spending cuts is the answer to our deficit. Their approach would lock in Obama's massive increase in government spending.
When Obama took office, federal, state, and local governments combined accounted for 35 percent of our economy. Now they are up to 45 percent, ahead of Britain and Germany. We must roll this back through spending cuts, not ratify it through tax increases.
Judd Gregg is retiring and Coburn and Crapo were just re-elected. Neither said anything about endorsing big tax increases as soon as the ballots were cast. They hid their true intentions from us.
Please, drown Coburn and Crapo in letters and phone calls to protest their betrayal of our cause. We must make sure that they do not back these tax increases on the floor of the Senate. And that their defection does not encourage other RINOs to break ranks.
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