Yesterday, I wrote about Senator Tom Coburn saying that “if we wanted to do new tax cuts, I think we ought to cut spending to pay for them” but it really wasn’t necessary to cut spending to pay for extending Bush‘s tax cuts.
Since his original statement wasn’t entirely clear, yesterday on C-SPAN, he returned to the subject, and helpfully spelled out his reasoning:
Continuing the [Bush] tax cuts isn’t a cost, if you added new taxes, new tax cuts, I would agree that’s a cost. It’s not a cost. That’s where we are today. That’s the baseline. It doesn’t score anything to continue them. It costs money if we increase, which I would be willing to do. I think we ought to cut corporate taxes.
This should really be a song, I think. “Old costs are no costs, but new costs are true costs.”
I understand that, today, Coburn will hold a press conference to announce that we essentially enjoy a tax-free existence here in the US of A. Because we haven’t been asked to pay any new taxes for years. All we pay are the old taxes the government continues to levy. Now new taxes, they would be a real cost. But the old taxes are just the baseline, it doesn’t cost anything to continue paying them. Sure, it costs Americans money if taxes are increased. But how does it cost anything, pray, if we just continue to pay the same old taxes that we are oh-so-used to paying that they don’t even count any more?
Then, tomorrow, the man will realize that if continuing the Bush tax cuts isn’t a cost, then letting them expire can’t have any consequences either, can it? If they have no effect by continuing to exist, they can’t have any effect by ceasing to exist. This will torment him no end, but he’ll manfully hold it in his heart, and betray no outer signs of his deep inner turmoil.
On Saturday, it will dawn on him that, if existing taxes are not a real cost, and don’t count at all, then it can’t make any sense to call for tax cuts, can it? You don’t get any real saving by cutting that which isn’t a real cost. He will now sink into a deep depression. All the faith-healing efforts of his C Street House cohorts will have no effect. Bobby Jindal will try to exorcise his economic demons, but fail. Coburn’s life will cease to have all meaning. To the point that he will not only stop shaving and brushing his teeth, he will totally forget to continue to put holds on every other bill that comes up in the Senate.
He will take to hanging around the National Press Club’s Reliable Source bar at all hours of the day, and grabbing journalism interns — journalism may be dying, but journalism interns are apparently still alive and well — and going: “Taxesh. Let me tell you about taxesh. Nobody undershtandsh the first thing about taxesh. I didn’t used to either…”