Tax-rate class warfare backfiring on Democrats?

posted at 2:15 pm on September 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats hoped to drive a wedge in the electorate with some class-warfare rhetoric on tax hikes coming at the end of the year, painting the GOP as the party of the rich and themselves as the defenders of the middle class.  The Boston Globe reports that the strategy has begun to backfire, thanks to Democrats breaking ranks and the lack of any action at all before the House recess.  Instead of looking like class warriors for the average Joe, they look instead like a pack of incompetents:

President Obama’s urgent call for Congress to immediately extend tax breaks for the middle class was supposed to create a defining Democratic issue and cast Republicans as defenders of the rich on the eve of crucial midterm elections. Now, three weeks later, Democrats are further divided and Republicans are using the tax cut issue to their advantage.

The House and Senate adjourned last night, leaving the central pocketbook issue to be decided after the Nov. 2 midterm elections — and just weeks before the tax cuts are set to expire. That indecision injects more uncertainty into whose taxes will go up, and by how much. …

The tax cut extension is expected to remain a political issue over the next few weeks, but not in the way Democrats had initially intended. Rather than using it on the campaign trail against Republicans, Democrats could find themselves on the defensive as the GOP yesterday began framing the vote delay as an example of government ineptitude and cowardice.

It’s also an example of economic illiteracy, and the Globe itself falls into that same category.  Barack Obama keeps talking about how an extension at the highest brackets will “cost” $700 billion over ten years, but voters are just a little smarter than that.  The tax hikes that Democrats want to impose — and that’s what they are — will cost taxpayers $700 billion dollars over ten years as the government grabs the money from their pocketbooks.  That isn’t money owed to the Treasury, but money that Democrats in Congress want to grab.

It’s also worth pointing out that even if one accepted Barack Obama’s specious argument, which voters clearly don’t, he’s also the same President who demanded $787 billion in a single year.  That didn’t put people to work in new and sustainable jobs; why should taxpayers of any stripe cough up another $700 billion over the next decade over what Washington already takes?  Private enterprise has a better chance of making that money work in economy-expanding directions than the failed top-down Obamanomics policies have done over the last two years.

Maybe Congress should stop spending so much money rather than demanding more private capital to waste on ineffective command-economy policies.  That, at least, would have the novelty of never having been tried, at least not in recent memory.

Combine the class-warfare hypocrisy and the incompetence with the obvious pusillanimity of skedaddling out of Washington before the election without bothering to confront the issue in a manner for which voters can hold them accountable, and it has all the ingredients of a political disaster.  And if even the Boston Globe can figure that out and reports it, then Democrats have no excuse and no fig leaf left.


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