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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

How the Dem's Tax Obsession Killed the Super Committee

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James Pethokoukis:


The spectacular failure of the much-hyped, congressional debt-reduction panel completes the devolution of the Democratic Party back to its pre-Clintonion state: unabashed champion of the high-tax welfare state. And America is worse for it.

It’s like the 1990s never happened and the 1970s never stopped happening for the Washington Obamacrats. The U.S. economy faces two screamingly obvious problems: historically slow growth and historically high government spending leading to massive budget deficits. In this way, American is already frighteningly like Greece and Italy.

Yet Democrats used the SuperCommittee to push a trillion-dollar tax hike and block fundamental entitlement reform. As one GOP aide told Politico, “If they were willing to go a little further on entitlements, we’d see what we can do on revenues. That was the way it would have to work. What we found was, they needed a trillion-plus in revenues, and weren’t willing to do anywhere near that on entitlements.”

It’s been an underappreciated fact just how far left Democrats have moved on taxes in recent years. But it should now be blindingly clear. The SuperCommittee Democrats are perfectly happy to let the top tax rate soar to nearly 45 percent in 2013 (including both income taxes and Medicare taxes) on small business and entrepreneurs and investors. This, even though the exploding eurozone debt crisis threatens to push the U.S. economy from sputter speed to stall. And even if financial contagion doesn’t wash up on our shores, few economists see growth fast enough to substantially reduce unemployment and boost incomes any year soon.

Yet Democrats seem unconcerned or even eager for taxes to rise, thanks in part to the work of liberal economists advocating taxes rates as high as 80 percent. It will also take dramatically higher tax revenue to fund what Democrats argue is an unavoidable surge in government spending due to a) the aging of the population and — as they see it — b) trillions in needed public “investment” catch-up after years of Republican stinginess.

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