GOP Must Beat Dems at Own Game: Actually Cut Middle-Class Taxes Rather Than Keep Current Rates

A month ago I detailed a plan that I believed congressional Republicans should adopt for the next four years: complete compliance with the Democrats. If conservatism and the Republican Party at large are to be saved, the alternative must be seen clearly as disastrous and unacceptable.

Of course, complying with Democrats will cause a lot of economic hardships for the country and financial burdens to be placed on the backs of Americans of all income levels, so the chance of Republicans agreeing not to put up a fight was, I feared, slim to none.

But last week, Ann Coulter, who has national recognition and what must surely be at least a million readers, wrote a column in which she essentially proposed the very same plan for Republicans. In short, she says, Republicans need to say, “We think this is a bad idea, but Obama won the election and the media are poised to blame us for whatever happens next, so let’s give his plan a whirl and see how the country likes it.”

Her plan–not caving on all of the Democrats’ wishes, but at least on taxes–is a more realistic plan than mine, though of course I still think mine is ideal; however, idealism never got us anywhere. Though perhaps there is an even more realistic plan than both mine and Coulter’s.

Understand, first, that this whole “fiscal cliff” scenario–the current tax rate, known as the “Bush tax cuts,” expiring–is precisely what Democrats originally wanted to happen. Democrats hated the Bush tax cuts. They did not want them to exist in the first place, and when they were set to expire in 2010–in other words, when we were about to go “over the fiscal cliff”–they argued heavily in favor of that happening. Then Obama himself convinced them to extend them temporarily, to kick the can down the road, and so here we are again, with the tax rates about to expire.

Understand, too, that what the Democrats are now proposing is not to cut middle-class taxes. That’s how they are framing it, but that’s not what would in reality happen under their plan. See, they are now proposing to extend the tax cuts–that is, the current tax rate–for the middle class only and to let them expire for the wealthy. That is not a middle-class tax cut; that is merely a continuance of the middle-class tax rate. The middle class will not see their taxes cut at all, and indeed the Democrats are not advocating that they should. They are simply advocating raising taxes on the rich by letting the “Bush tax cut” (the tax rate we’ve had for the past decade) end for them. I repeat: they are not offering to cut taxes for the middle class.

So Republicans need to write a bill that actually cuts middle-class taxes severely, and which raises taxes on the rich by the amount that the Democrats are currently proposing. In other words, beat the Democrats at their own game. While Democrats are proposing to raise taxes on the rich and to keep taxes the same for the middle class, Republicans need to propose to raise taxes on the rich and actually cut taxes for the middle class.

Democrats hate cutting taxes, especially drastically, regardless of for whom they are being cut. So let it be on record that the Democrats voted against cutting taxes for the middle class, and that the Republicans, who wrote the bill cutting middle-class taxes, voted for it.