Wednesday Word of the Week, August 24

24 Aug

The smaller you are, the bigger your burden.

This week’s word is: INCREASE

to make something become larger in amount or number

Specifically an increase in TAX

an amount of money that you have to pay to the government that it uses to provide public services and pay for government institutions.


The modern Republican party, especially filtered through the Great Tea Bag, maintains that its members are adamantly opposed to any increases in taxes. This apparently simple fact has motivated two of the biggest political fights of the past year.

Last December, the Obama administration largely capitulated to anti-tax purists even before the House of Representatives moved to Teabagistan. In order to maintain unemployment benefits, Congress and the White House perpetuated the odious Bush tax cuts. Earlier this month, as part of the debt ceiling debacle, GOP leaders in Congress again refused to entertain any increases in revenue – especially tax rates – as part of any deal.

Seems like a pretty clear position, doesn’t it? Except that now, when the payroll tax deductions that were included in the December Nightmare are set to expire, GOP leaders refuse to discuss an extension. Take a look at this simple math: if a 2% reduction in taxes expires, then taxes go up by 2%. That is, by any reasonable definition, a tax increase.

What say the Republicans?

“We don’t need short-term gestures. We need long-term fundamental changes in our tax structure and our regulatory structure that people who create jobs can rely on,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., when asked about the payroll tax matter.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., “has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy,” said spokesman Brad Dayspring.

Except, of course, that both men voted for a short-term measure last December. What is the biggest difference between the two issues? The Bush tax cut extension primarily benefits the very wealthy. The payroll tax cut primarily benefits the middle class.

Tea Party members can bloviate all they like about keeping taxes low, government small, and Americans empowered. At the end of the day, however, the party they support only really seems to care about keeping taxes low for corporations and the super-rich. Everyone else can just pay up.

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