Our friends in the tea parties, and just about every Republican running for office, tell the voting public what is needed to fix the economy: Stop spending and cut taxes. It's a nice, simple, bumper sticker message. Of course, if you ask them where they want to cut spending they; repeat that we must stop spending; or, change the subject, say to repealing every thing the Democrats have done, ever; or, have the person who asked the question "detained" by their very own private security cops. What they don't do is answer the question.
It's easy to see why. Pretty much every dollar of government spending, at every level, has some group of citizens who think that the government funds are just fine by them. Medicare? Seniors and boomers. Money to save the spotted owl? Tree huggers. New weapons systems? The entire military industrial complex. Some one, hopefully a voter, somewhere, really wants (or needs) that government money. So it's pretty easy to see why the politicians don't want to piss off voters by saying, "yes, I will cut aid to (fill in your pet project) and damn the consequences."
The problem is that there is very little that can be cut without major societal disruption. But what about the tax side of the argument? The clear position taken by the right is that the only way to save this great nation is to cut taxes. Home sales in the crapper, cut taxes! Poverty on the rise, cut taxes. Unemployment at 9.6%, cut taxes. But, of course, first we must make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Then all will be well with the world.
But here's the rub. First, if tax cuts are the way to improve the economy and job creation, why hasn't it worked? Remember, these cuts have been in effect for 9 years for some and 7 years for the rest. On top of that the much hated Obama stimulus included $300 billion in tax cuts directed at 95% of the country. People's after tax wages went up immediately after the stimulus bill was signed into law. Where, dear tea party, are the new jobs? But, here's the thing, on the stump the tax cut candidates make the argument that making the Bush cuts permanent will help create more jobs. They speak and act as if these are new tax cuts; something we haven't seen before. They want to have it both ways. They know in their ideological hearts that all taxes are bad so they rant on about health care reform raising taxes. About, in fact, just about every plan or program put forth by Obama and the Democrats in the last 20 months. This or that program will, "RAISE OUR TAXES."
But wait a minute, claiming that one or another Democratic proposal will result in higher taxes is one thing. Claiming that not extending tax cuts already long in place is a tax increase is also, while a little disingenuous coming from the same people who passed the bill with the sunset included, is at least consistent. But you can't then try to pass off that extension of cuts as new tax cuts that are somehow going to do for the economy what they haven't done for 7 years.
So, the question I have for the Republican candidates is: Given the size of the debt and the deficit, and that extending the Bush tax cuts doesn't count as new cuts, just what the heck taxes do you plan on cutting? And while I'm at it, if you first cut programs, or even whole departments of the Federal government, as a way to help the debt and deficit, and then reduce taxes with any excess left over, how, exactly, does furloughing thousands of Federal employees and contractors lower the unemployment rate?
So, what the heck do you want to cut? I'm just askin'