Over the last week, various Republicans in Congress have distinguished themselves by arguing that the Bush tax cuts desperately need to be extended — without any effort to pay for them — because that’s what the economy oh-so-desperately needs. Forget job creation, forget any form of stimulus; the magic potion is tax cuts.
And they don’t need to be paid for because you should never have to pay for tax cuts (Jon Kyl), they pay for themselves (Carly Fiorina), continuing old tax cuts isn’t a cost (Tom Coburn), there’s no evidence whatsoever that tax cuts actually diminish revenue (Mitch McConnell), when you’re raising taxes you’re taking money out of people’s pockets (Judd Gregg).
(If you’re thinking that Judd Gregg’s statement doesn’t make any damn sense, a) that’s what he said, though, and b) shame on you; none of the other statements make any damn sense either.)
It’ll be interesting to see how these assorted Republicans (and other Republican leaders) respond to Alan Greenspan‘s surprise pronouncement that the tax cuts should just be allowed to expire:
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whose endorsement of George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts helped persuade Congress to pass them, said lawmakers should allow the cuts to expire at the end of the year.
“They should follow the law and let them lapse,” Greenspan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff,” citing a need for the tax revenue to reduce the federal budget deficit.
Greenspan’s comments, to be broadcast tomorrow and over the weekend, place him in the middle of an election-year struggle over extending trillions of dollars of tax cuts enacted under Bush.
At this point, it is probably unlikely that even Republicans pushed into a corner by intrepid reporters will try to go “Alan who?” But expect to see endless variations on the next best thing. That is to say, there will be a very large number of Republicans who will (regretfully) not be in a position to comment today because they have not yet had a chance to watch/hear/read Greenspan’s comments for themselves. (And by Monday, hopefully, something else will have taken over the news cycle.)
However, one Republican leader’s response can probably be predicted with a fair degree of confidence. John Boehner will, doubtless, call for Alan Greenspan to be repealed, since that now seems to be his standard response to anything and everything.