Anger at tax cut proposal makes strange bedfellows
December 10th, 2010
11:13 AM ET
12 years ago

Anger at tax cut proposal makes strange bedfellows

Washington (CNN) - They make for strange political bedfellows. Some on the right are joining their usual adversaries on the left in their anger at the proposed tax cut deal.

Many conservative activists are particularly upset that the measure would add almost $900 billion to the deficit - although they all support the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, arguing those would spur economic growth.

Many conservatives, including Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, are also concerned because the measure would increase some taxes, pointing to the resumption of the estate tax, as well as extending the unemployment compensation for the long-term unemployed without any offsetting spending cuts.

Bachmann told CNN's American Morning Friday she would not vote for the package as it is currently drafted.

"It ramps up spending in a big way, and it also ramps up deficits, and we are seeing a real difficulty with selling the treasury bonds," she said.

Leaders of the Tea Party Patriots group are asking each of their members to call five members of Congress urging them to vote against the proposal.

"The Deal" or 'The Tax Deal' as it is becoming known around the country between President Obama and Congressional Leadership is problematic. This is a deal that needs to be opposed," says the group on its website.

"I am very upset. It is a direct breach of the Republican pledge not to add to the deficit," the Tea Party Patriots' National Coordinator Mark Meckler told CNN.

"You have Republicans coming out of the gate breaching the pledge they made not to add to the deficit," Meckler also said.

Republican leaders countered they are not in charge of the House yet and have vowed there will be more fiscal control once the GOP takes control next month.

But news that the cost of the bill is approaching $1 trillion could help further spur more conservative outrage.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, vowed earlier this week to filibuster the tax cut bill to prevent a vote on the Senate floor. He said those who ran from the right in the election said they would not vote for anything that increased the deficit.

"This does. It raises taxes, it raises the death tax," he told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday.

Club For Growth, a fiscally conservative group that promotes limited government, declared this week its opposition to the tax cut compromise.

"This is bad policy, bad politics, and a bad deal for the American people," Chris Chocola, president of the group, told CNN. "The plan would resurrect the Death Tax, grow government, blow a hole in the deficit with unpaid-for spending, and do so without providing the permanent relief and security our economy needs to finally start hiring and growing again."

Sen.-Elect Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, told CNN Wednesday he would vote against the bill if he was already sworn in.

"One of my biggest concerns is the deficit. So, I think if you're going to extend and add new tax cuts, you should couple them with cuts in spending. Instead, we're coupling them with increases in spending, and I think that's the wrong thing to do," Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room.

Other Republicans counter that the negative parts of the bill should be accepted in order to prevent bigger problems.

"The question is whether more economic damage to the U.S., to the U.S. economy by allowing the tax increases to go into effect if the tax cuts are not extended," Rep. Dan Lungren, R-California, told CNN.

Another issue of concern to some tea party activists is the appearance that this was another deal brokered in the back rooms in Washington.

"This reeks as politics as usual," Meckler told CNN. "There is zero transparency."

"We knew we would see politics as usual from the Democrats. For the Republicans we expected to see something different," he added. "There is a lot more housecleaning that needs to be done in 2012."

All of the activists are happy there is at least a short-term extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, but they would like to see them be made permanent.

A spokesman for the Tea Party Express group told CNN it sees the proposal as a small victory and better than nothing, although the group is worried since it hasn't seen the final bill.

Tennessee Tea Party activist Mark Skoda called the proposal a practical and pragmatic compromise. While he shared the concern about the growth it will cause in the deficit, he said it was a necessary step.

"The real question is whether the next Congress can take bold steps to reduce the deficit," Skoda told CNN.

Filed under: Congress • Taxes
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Me

    Hypocrisy makes strange bedfellows
    and it is the hypocrisy of our democracy that will be our downfall

    December 10, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. NVa Native

    When you agree with DeMint'd of South Caca-lackey and clown-boy Rand Paul you know you are on the wrong side of things.

    December 10, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. kyle

    900 billion to the deficit, where's the tea protester, "oh," it's for the GOP.

    December 10, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. PalmReader

    "Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, said Thursday that the estate tax provision remained a problem for his caucus."
    Problem is and has always been that President Obama has never had the full support of his party. Yet, when push comes to shove to *get it done*, his own party screams the loudest that he somehow deserted THEM. I understand why he is moving more to the middle and I applaud his decision to do so. Had the progressives been more inclined to cover his back, giving him the necessary 60 votes, things might have worked out differently for all concerned. In retaliation for not getting their 100% demands, they left him high and dry this past November. How many of those who didn't vote are now screaming the loudest against Obama? I imagine there will be much more screaming and yelling by progressives once the new congress takes over next month. Especially when the fruits of not voting begin to take affect.

    December 10, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. americanpatriot

    The Republicans and Tea partiers would do anything to hurt the middle class and poor, as long as the rich get all the breaks. Bunch of crooks.

    December 10, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. mike

    Here we go again another political football at the american voters expense that was to lazy to vote in the midterms and now are crying the blues to what is happening with our president I don't blame him at all as the american voters failed to step up to the plate when he needed you to do so and now you are going to pay the price I am a democrat and I been so my whole life and will continue to be one no matter what but the difference between me and the cry babies out there is that I vote every chance I get so next time it comes down to voting stop listening to the crap out there and vote no matter what because it does matter as you will soon find out this is just the beginning

    December 10, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Good. Conservatives should actually be MORE opposed to this "deal" than liberals, and the liberals should absolutely be opposed to giving the wealthy continuing tax breaks.

    December 10, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Since the democrats refused to deal with the unfunded Bush tax cuts last summer, they put the president in a no win situation. There will be no help for the rest of Americans because the republicans are obstructing everything. The time for democrats to stand up was last summer, and they did not do it.

    December 10, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnsota

    How nice it will be to finally say *bye-bye* to what has amounted to the most inept, grandstanding, partisan, corrupt Congress in decades. Not one of these fools were willing to put their actions where their mouth was, and while each and everyone of them could never quite grasp that it was they, not the president, who continually screwed America, they certainly weren't shy about blasting away at him. Now that he has taken the upper road and acknowledged that he needed to change his thought process for the better of America, he has become ever more the punching bag of congressional discontent. In giving themselves a pass, how unfortunate the 535 membership of congressionals aren't as forgiving of the one man who has spent 2 years keeping America afloat. And we wonder why we are were we are today.

    December 10, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Being on the same side as the right wingnuts, should alone, be enough for democrats to rethink what the hell they are doing.

    December 10, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Big E

    Now people are saying Obama is gultless for not risking taxes hike for the middle class.. I wish more people was guiltless like this. No one has pointed out the fact that U people put the Same Repub's in Office that turn on you all within a month. What fight, these guys were not going to give up Billion for the rich...You all know the real deal, Obama tried to push this tax BILL though before the Nov. elections. The same people crying are the same ones that where scared to push thing though when they ran the House and Senate...

    December 10, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. rob

    Unlike Govt spending,keeping tax rates low will spur economic growth and therefore increase revenue to the treasury. It has worked everytime its tried. As for the argument that Clinton raised tax rates and we had a boom and eventually reduced the deficit, please look at the records. When the Republicans took controll of Congress in 1995 the economy had yet to start moving. Because President Clinton was forced to compromise with Republicans, he lowered the Capitol gains rates and corp taxes along with cutting spending which produced a huge increase in business activities and investment in the economy. This increased employment, wages and tax revenue leading to GROWING our way out of debt. Its as simple as that.

    If President Obama wants to get re-elected, he will need a growing economy with the increased revenue to pay for his policies.

    December 10, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Paul Ernest Show

    The president's tax proposal might as as well be the coffee Dems need to wake up and show some spine. For 2 yrs they have silently slept while GOP wailed and roamed the political landscape. Now they are angry and speaking. And speaking collectively. The GOP won half of the house encouraging anger and dissent. If Dems could stay angry and loud enough, for the next 2yrs, they stand the chance of winning back the full house, retaining both the senate and Whitehouse. The president has almost been the lone voice for the entire party, for a long time. This anger is good. The president has stirred them up.

    December 10, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Paul Ernest Show

    Democrats stood silent while GOP demonized their leaders before the American people. And then used their posters as targets to win election. I just hope they don't withdraw back to their "hideouts" while the war is still raging on.

    December 10, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. GonzoinHouston

    Interesting. The far-right complains because the deal contains spending that would increase the deficit, but make no mention of the tax cuts having the same effect. Democrats complain that it's the tax cuts that are bad for the deficit but accept the cost of the spending. The TP'ers just complain that it raises the deficit, but the details are beyond them.

    Solution: let the tax cuts expire. Wait 90 days. If it looks like it's really making matters worse, there's plenty of time to change them. Besides, there have been more filibusters in the past two years than have been in the rest of the nation's history combined. This is a gross abuse, and the democrats should give the republicans a sample of how it feels to lose something on a filibuster.

    December 10, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Jeff Raimer

    Consider this:

    If the tax cuts for the wealthiest American were to be expired and you make $500,000 per year, you would have to pay an additional $10,000 per year on your 1/2 million dollar income. How many people can you hire for $10,000 per year? None. If you could get 3 additional wealthy Americans to pool their new tax savings with yours, you could hire one person at $40,000 per year.

    Greed. Huh, what is it good for? Absolutely notihn'.

    December 10, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Moab

    Be angry all you want but if we go into January with no deal no one is going to be hurt more than Obama. Thats kind of sad since this is the first time he has moderated but 2012 is going to be ugly if nothing is completed. Letting a Congress with a Speaker who barely has a 10% approval rating make decisions for them is indicative of where we have been and why they lost so many seats.

    December 10, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. John Galt

    Hmm.. both sides complaining is a good thing. Maybe this is a reasonable bipartisan compromise bill afterall.

    December 10, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. True Freedom

    Why do people insist on calling folks making over $200k, "filthy rich?" Don't people know that net worth and annual income are two different things? Also, don't be fooled into thinking that increasing the already huge tax burden on this group will not effect jobs. Currently, I employ housekeepers, a nanny, gardeners, landscapers, do home improvement construction projects, etc. If my taxes go up by 14% (from 35% to 39%) then I will have to cut back on these types of expenses. The point is NOT "poor me" but rather increasing my taxes will directly impact the pocket books of those I employ.

    December 10, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Huh?

    Right wing: Extend the Bush tax cuts to spur economic growth. 2001 – Bush tax cuts extended. Nine years later and we are still reaping the crappy economy this "philosophy" sowed.

    Bring back the Clinton tax rates; end the bush tax cuts for everyone.

    December 10, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. GOP Taliban Victim

    Stop the insanity. The Republicans can never admit to the need to cut ALL spending...and increases to the deficit . They only want to to cut spending on programs that don't fit their activist's agenda. So they really don't care about balancing the budget – just about appeasing their base with a false sense of reality.

    December 10, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |