Reviewing this morning's TV/Radio chatter, news sites, and the more important twitter activity, it's clear that Republicans are generally happy this morning regarding the tax deal President Obama announced last night. As best as I can tell the happiness stems mainly from the fact that the Democrats are furious with Obama for "caving in" to the Republicans. If Dems are spittin' mad, the center-right should be happy I guess.
That seems like a pretty poor line of reasoning. I admit it's fun to see the party of the left ripping apart, but that doesn't mean we should be excited about the "deal" as it has been portrayed.
Here are a few reasons why I think this way...
1. The idea that the current tax rates are being extended for two years promotes the ridiculous notion that there are some normal tax rates and that those normal rates are higher than the current rates. In my lifetime I can't count how many different federal tax rates have existed. The "correct" rate is the lowest possible, paid by everyone at an equal percentage, that covers the legitimate revenue needs of Washington DC. I assure you, the rates that are being extended aren't "correct". Not even close.
2. Currently there is no federal estate tax. Rather than leave this as it is the Republicans have apparently agreed to a return of the death tax, albeit at rates better than what they would have been January 1st if no action was taken. This misses the point entirely-- a federal estate tax is immoral. Bringing this immorality back at any rate is simply wrong. By what right does any government raid the purse of a dead woman or man? To applaud that it will tax every penny beyond $5M at a 35% rate rather than every penny beyond $1M at a 55% rate is just sick. What happened to "No Taxation Without Respiration" ?
3. The language has been a disaster from the very beginning for the right. Even the supposedly conservative FOX News has consistently portrayed this as an "extension of the Bush tax cuts." Republicans seldom corrected this misnomer. In fact when one pointed out to Clueless Bob on "Face The Nation" this past Sunday that there was no tax cutting on the table it actually became news. But the horrible language issue for Republicans didn't stop there. R's stood on the Senate floor arguing forcefully one after another that when the economy is struggling it's no time to allow tax rates to go up. Of course this assumes that when unemployment is under 5% and GDP is growing at 4% annually it's A-OK to jack up tax rates. Republicans really need to get their language straight.
Now I know that Republicans got something done here despite the fact that Dems control the House, Senate, and White House. My point is that if they think this dog's breakfast of a deal is something to throw a parade over they will be leaving DC in January of 2013 by the carload.