The Congressional Super Committee has just over a week to present its deficit reduction plan. Incredibly, it appears any illusion of finding a proposal with ?shared sacrifices? or a ?balanced approach is just that?an illusion. So far, the only agreement that has support from members of both parties is that middle-class Americans will face benefit cuts immediately. When it comes to tax loopholes for corporations and tax breaks for the wealthy it appears some on the super committee would rather pass that buck on to yet another committee(s) to worry about sometime next year. Simply put?the middle-class sacrifices again. The wealthy are let off the hook again.
With a little over a week left to reach a deal, members of the Congressional deficit reduction panel are looking for an escape hatch that would let them strike an accord on revenue levels but delay until next year tough decisions about exactly how to raise taxes. ?There could be a two-step process that would hopefully give us pro-growth tax reform,? Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the top Republican on the panel, said Sunday on the CNN program ?State of the Union.? Deficit Panel Seeks to Defer Details on Raising Taxes- New York Times
What are those ?pro-growth? tax reforms Super Committee members want the tax writing committees in Congress to consider, next year? A permanent tax cut for the wealthy, even below the Bush tax cut rate, higher taxes for low- and middle-income taxpayers, and taking revenues off the table for future deficit reduction.
?the Republican proposal would significantly shift tax burdens from high-income to lower- and middle-income taxpayers. High-income taxpayers would benefit enormously from the proposed cut in tax rates, while lower- and middle-income taxpayers would suffer disproportionately from the proposed reductions in tax expenditures, since the plan shields the main tax expenditure for the highest-income Americans ? the highly preferential treatment of capital gains and dividend income. Not a First Step Toward Balanced Deficit Reduction- Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
This Super Committee sleight of hand would guarantee even more sacrifice will made by those who can least afford it yet any possible sacrifice by the nation?s wealthiest is deferred, and in this political climate, likely ignored. If you have any doubt about the chances that true tax reform would even be considered next year, rest assured, those chances are virtually nil. You don?t have to believe us. Even the author of the no tax pledge isn?t worried:
Grover G. Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, whose antitax pledge has been signed by most Republicans in Congress, said in an interview, ?I am not losing any sleep? over the Republicans? latest proposal. Mr. Norquist said he was confident that, ?at the end of the day, the Republican House will not pass a tax increase.” ?As a face-saving measure,? Mr. Norquist said, the deficit reduction panel ?could give lots of instructions to the tax-writing committees.? In complying with those instructions, he said, the House and the Senate could pass very different bills.
?Some members of the Congressional Super Committee apparently believe they?ve found a way to dodge their full responsibilities and continue Washington?s failed fiscal policies by passing more benefit cuts for the middle class this year but delaying tax reform until next year. Super Committee members of both parties appear eager to cut billions from Medicare, and change the COLA formula to cut Social Security benefits for all current and future beneficiaries. Yet, incredibly, some on the Super Committee are still looking for ways to protect the wealthy from paying their fair share toward deficit reduction. If the Super Committee employs this escape hatch political strategy then their mythology of ?shared sacrifice? and ?balanced approached? will finally be laid bare for all to see. America?s middle class will be offered up as sacrificial lambs at the altar of deficit reduction. This Super Committee sleight of hand would guarantee that wealth and politics will trump the income and health security of America?s seniors, both now and in the future. Outside of the Beltway, the debate is over. Over 70% of the American people of all ages and political stripes soundly rejected the idea that cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should be part of a deficit reduction package and these citizens have said they?ll hold Congress accountable for policies which continue to target the middle-class and poor.?Max Richtman, President/CEO