Tax Day fun: Senate approves resolution opposing VAT

The lead sponsor? The Artist Formerly Known As Maverick, who’ll doubtless continue to sponsor meaningless red-meat resolutions like this right up to the very day of his primary with Hayworth.

On Tax Day, and as part of an unemployment benefits extension, Senators also just approved a non-binding, Sense of the Senate amendment written by Sen. John McCain that suggests there should be no European-style Value Added Tax…

If today’s vote is any indication, value added tax proponents would have a tough time on Capitol Hill.

The vote? 85 to 13 against.

How meaningless is this? Well, among the Democrats voting yes (i.e. that the VAT stinks) were liberals like Boxer, Burris, Durbin, Feingold, Franken, Kerry, Leahy, Menendez, Sanders(!), Schumer, Specter, and Dingy Harry himself. Frankly, I’m amazed that 12 of them — plus George Voinovich — were willing to vote no. Remember Krauthammer’s point about this: The logic of ramming ObamaCare through before any significant tax increases were passed is that doing the former first actually makes doing the latter easier. If you tried to pass a tax hike to raise money for an expensive new program before enacting the program itself, the public would laugh at both. But if you pass the program and then come to the public ringing alarm bells that the money’s running out, they’re more likely to accept new taxes as a necessity. In Krauthammer’s formulation, “Expand the beast, then feed it,” the precise opposite of Reagan’s “starve the beast” strategy. We’re still momentarily entertaining the fantasy that we can pay for federal entitlements by soaking the rich, so there’s no reason yet for Reid et al. to support the VAT. Once they finally have “the talk” with American taxpayers that, what do you know, we simply can’t pay for everything by fleecing the top five percent, then all of today’s Democratic yes votes will flip in the name of “necessity.” And then, a few years later, it’ll be time for another talk about how the VAT needs to be raised a bit to meet new necessities. Can’t wait.

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