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Friday, December 02, 2011

In Payroll Tax Cut Debate, GOP War on Facts Marches On

There are a lot of things to dislike about the modern Republican Party. There's the attitude they have toward what they consider "the other" -- i.e., gays, lesbians, non-Christians, etc. -- that casts nearly every person who doesn't look like they just stepped out of Normal Rockwell print as an obvious enemy of America. There's the authoritarian bent that would control who you love and what you say, that would listen in on your phone calls and torture you pretty much at whim, that would have even minor offenders in prison and loves the death penalty, and would mark every miscarried pregnancy as a potential murder scene and force women to give birth against their will. But the biggest problem with the Republican Party -- in fact, the problem from which almost all of the other problems stem -- is their hostility to plain, provable fact.

From climate to evolution to economics, we see Republicans believing what they'd like to be true, rather than what is true. When Michele Bachmann said that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (which reduces cervical cancer in women by preventing a very common STD) caused "mental retardation," it wasn't because she had any evidence of it, but because she wanted it to be true. Social conservatives oppose the HPV vaccine because they believe that protection increases sexual activity among teens. Not surprisingly, this isn't true either, for the exact same reason that airbags don't increase car crashes. But Bachmann believes whatever it is she wants to believe, because that's just what Republicans do.

Case in point:


In late-night votes, the Senate, as expected, defeated a Democratic plan that would have extended and expanded the payroll tax cut that is scheduled to expire on December 31.


Republicans particularly objected to a new tax on the wealthy to cover the $110 billion in projected lost revenues from continuing the temporary tax cut.

OK, so no surprise there. Republicans don't want to raise taxes on the "job creators" (more BS, by the way. Consumers create jobs, not employers). But then things get weird.

After the Democratic legislation was defeated, the Senate promptly killed an alternative Republican plan. It too would have extended the tax cut for a year. But it did not embrace the Democrats' proposal to reduce the worker tax even further and to also cut an employer-paid payroll tax.

Republican ambivalence toward any extension of the payroll tax cut was evident in the Senate as a majority of the party's 47 senators voted against the Republican plan.

Here's the kicker; "The White House, investment banks and some economists have warned in recent days that U.S. economic growth could suffer in 2012 if the tax cut for workers is allowed to expire..." Reuters reports. "Many Republican lawmakers are skeptical that extending the tax cut beyond this year will help job creation and say it will have only a temporary effect on the economy."

See, that right there's your problem; a factual appeal to reason. That's never going to work. In order to get Republicans on board, you have to make up some complete horsecrap argument about how letting the tax cuts expire will increase abortions or create more Muslims or something. That, they'd buy.

But "experts" with their "numbers" and "math" and fancypants "historical data?" Ivory tower elitist claptrap! Take your economic forecasts elsewhere, Poindexter. Here in America, we legislate from the gut. And the fact that our gut only tells us what we want to hear is just coincidence. And in this case, Republican guts tell them that everything Barack Obama says is always wrong -- without exception.

Reuters says that the defeat of both bills clears the way "for negotiations on compromise legislation that could boost the economy next year." If history is any guide, that ought to work our great.


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