Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash
A top Senate Democrat warned Monday that, if Republicans don’t relent, her caucus is willing to let all the Bush-era tax rates expire at the end of the year – in effect threatening to let the country fall off what many in Washington call the “fiscal cliff.”
That cliff is approaching at the start of 2013, when the Bush tax cuts are set to expire and billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts — spawned by last summer’s debt-ceiling debate — are set to take effect. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are hoping to shift around those spending cuts to spare key areas like defense, and to temporarily extend the Bush tax rates for at least some Americans. Some have warned a failure to do so could send the nation back into recession.
But Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., indicated Democrats are willing to let the deadline pass in order to better their negotiating position.
“So if we can’t get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle-class families under the bus,” she said in prepared remarks for a speech she plans to give Monday afternoon at the Brookings Institution. Murray is head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the campaign arm for Senate Democrats.
“….throws middle-class families under the bus.” That’s a fascinating choice of words. And, it is a demonstrable lie. Republicans are all in favor of keeping the middle class tax rates set by Bush. In fact, they’re for keeping the rates for everyone exactly the same. What Republicans understand is that it is spending that’s out of control. So much so, that no amount of tax increases for anyone would possibly do anything of any significance towards the deficit spending.
Here is what reasonable people should do. They should extend the tax rates to some time after the election. We should have a national discussion about what is reasonable and what is not reasonable for our taxes, what the purpose of taxes are, and how best to apply them. But, we’re not going to have that discussion during the election season. So, the best thing to do for our nation’s leader, be it the continuation of Obama’s presidency or Romney is to let them address it in the manner they wish, without the constraints of an election year cycle. If we make anything permanent now, it will be from sound bite punditry instead of thoughtful dialogue. Kick it to June of next year.
Still, if Murray thinks she can win this game, let her have at it. It would be cute watching the Dems go up in flames for raising taxes on the middle class.