By Tom Quiner

The heat is on.

The liberal power structure is screaming for Republicans to go along with tax increases on the rich.

There are two practical reasons they should demur:

1. George H.W. Bush.

2. Higher deficits.

Recall President Bush I. The essence of his first campaign in 1988 was “Read my lips, no new taxes.” In other words, this is a fundamental principle of being a Republican, he suggested. Of course, Mr. Bush famously caved and lost his re-election bid.

The first practical lesson for Republicans to oppose tax increases is because it undermines their credibility. They have run for years as the party of low taxes. Why would current Republicans fare any better than Bush I? A hypocrite is a hypocrite.

There is an even more compelling reason to oppose an increase in the tax rate on America’s most productive workers. Tax increases lead to increases in spending, which is exactly what we do NOT need in light of unsustainable deficits and debt.

The consequence of tax increases was carefully studied by Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder. Mr. Moore is the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal opinion page. Mr. Vedder is an economics professor at the Ohio University and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Their findings:

“Using standard statistical analyses that introduce variables to control for business-cycle fluctuations, wars and inflation, we found that over the entire post World War II era through 2009 each dollar of new tax revenue was associated with $1.17 of new spending. Politicians spend the money as fast as it comes in—and a little bit more.”

Democrats who want to increase taxes on America’s top producers are once again trying to con us. Their history is abysmal. If we give them more money, they will simply go out and spend even more than we gave them. The numbers presented above are damning.

Even more, a tax increase in a weak economy is a prescription for a recession, as Barack Obama himself admitted just two years ago. If the Obama tax increases occur, they would only fund the government for 8.5 days.

That’s it. The president has to stop playing politics and become a team player to help cure the structural problems in our big government.

For the sake of their party and the economic well-being of America, Republicans should stick to their guns and avoid increasing tax rates on the productive.

On the other hand, they should champion tax simplification which involves lower rates and eliminating deductions. This can be done in a revenue-neutral fashion and actually help stimulate the economy.

4 Comments

  1. illero on November 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    It occurs to me, though, that the conversation has reached a kind of “short form” communication that often burns Republicans. In this case, we are referring to the rich as the “productive” and the “top producers”. This is one of those “47%”-type comments that can be used to rile up the voting public. “How dare those elitist Republicans claim that the rich are more productive than the middle class? We’ve seen how productive the rich are – they sit on their butts in offices all day saying ‘Do this’, ‘Do that’, and ‘cut 1000 jobs here’. Let them try MY job for a week – I’ll show them what productivity is really all about . . . . .” I can hear it now.

    • quinersdiner on November 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      It can’t be any worse than the word “rich.” Rich, in the minds of many are people who have a lot of money who didn’t earn it themselves. At least the word “productive” suggests achievement. For the record, I am not financially rich, but have no grudge against anyone with substantial assets. Same goes with the poor with few assets.

      • illero on November 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm

        You are right — certainly, it can be no worse than “rich”. But it’s bad in a different way. People know when they aren’t rich. But “everyone” wants to be thought of as productive – to imply that someone is non-productive, or even not AS productive, is to invite a fight.. How about “the financially successful”?

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