House Minority Whip Eric Cantor writes today that Republicans oppose extending the Bush-era tax cuts for only the middle class because they fear Democrats have allowed the U.S. to “slide” into becoming “a stagnant European-style welfare state with limited individual opportunity and entrepreneurship.” He also accusing Democrats of wanting class warfare. Cantor (R-VA) says letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy “is just one more step along the way to creating an anticompetitive new norm in this country.”
Sounding a far different note than Minority Leader John Boehner let slip last weekend, Cantor argued in a Wall Street Journal (sub. req) op-ed this morning that the GOP will “unequivocally oppose any impending tax increase.” Translation: Democrats can hold a vote on extending only middle class tax cuts but the GOP will vote no. Republicans instead want a bill to freeze tax rates at their current levels for two years.Cantor writes:
The strategy to achieve the progressive left’s endgame is simple. First comes the provocative class warfare rhetoric. Second comes the vast assumption of government control over the economy. Third comes the growth of government spending and entitlements. And alas, higher taxes on our nation’s job creators and workers.
White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki hit back early this morning, writing on the White House blog that Cantor and the Republicans are “holding hostage” every middle class family. She writes that the GOP wants to “borrow $700 billion that we can’t afford to provide an average tax cut of $100,000 to millionaires and billionaires,” a line Obama has been using on the stump in recent days.
Psaki said Cantor’s op-ed included “tired claims” about small businesses and called on him to “stop letting partisan games get in the way of giving middle class families the long-term relief they need.”
But Cantor suggests in the op-ed the Democrats want to help people “who happen to fit their description of ‘middle class.'” Obama and the Democrats want to extend the Bush cuts for the first $250,000 of income only and let the others expire.
Lest there be any doubt why we are so determined to fight–instead of going quietly and giving President Obama his way before Congress bolts for the elections–the GOP has two primary motivations. The first concerns the pain that tax increases threaten to inflict on our economy over the short term. The second is to stop the slide under our current leadership towards becoming a stagnant European-style welfare state with limited individual opportunity and entrepreneurship.
Cantor says the tax debate is “a fight to allow businesses, taxpayers and private industry to keep more of their money so that they can provide real stimulus and lasting growth to the economy.” He said the Republicans view the fight on tax cuts as part of their battle over health care reform and the 2009 economic stimulus plan.
Cantor uses the GOP argument that small businesses would be harmed, adding, “Coming from an administration heavy on officials with no business experience, this is a clear signal that the White House is determined to continue to spend recklessly and expand the entitlement net.”
Saturday morning the GOP’s weekly address focused on the tax cuts as well.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said in the address that letting the cuts expire for the wealthy “is the exact wrong thing to do” for the economy.
He pushed the GOP’s call for “nothing short of a full up-or-down vote on bills to cut spending and stop all of the looming tax hikes.”