The Politics of the Bush Tax Cuts
July 27th, 2007
In today’s LA Times, I’m quoted – accurately and fairly – commenting on the Bush tax cuts and saying that the big challenge for Democrats in explaining why they don’t want to extend the cuts is to respond to the charge that they support the biggest tax increase in history.
I do believe that this is the challenge facing Democrats. Republicans only have one dusty old playbook, and on page one is their equivalent of the run off-tackle: charge the Democrats with engineering “the biggest tax increase in history.” It’s an easy play to run, and it often yields big results with little risk. With the Bush tax cuts set to expire in 2010, you don’t have to be Heath Shuler to know that play is coming.
But just to be clear: I view this as a challenge that Democrats must find a way to meet. The Bush tax cuts were ruinous and grossly irresponsible, and they must be repealed in significant part.
The way to meet the challenge is to put the question in values terms: “It’s quite simple – Republicans believe that the rich are the engines of the economy, and so they believe that making the rich a lot richer drives economic growth. Democrats believe that the middle class is the engine of the economy. If anyone should get tax relief, it’s the middle class.”
To torture the metaphor further, I am hoping that the Democrats will respond to the Republican play with a very large linebacker who will fill the gap.