Democrats hopeful of passing an extension of what was formerly the Bush income tax cuts received a big vote of confidence from someone unexpected. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner said he would vote for the Democrats’ plan as long as it extended these tax cuts for the middle class.
The bill is idealistic and it is unlikely that the Republicans will agree on a way to extend the Bush cuts. Therefore, the Democrats will have to craft their own bill which will keep the middle class income tax rate down, but will increase taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
Democrats are hopeful that they will be able to extend tax cuts to the lower and middle classes. According to The New York Times, Democrats are not willing to extend the Bush tax cuts because it is proven that they benefit only the richest Americans, while leaving the middle and lower classes to bear a larger burden.
Also according to The New York Times, when the Bush tax cuts were passed by Congress in 2001 and 2003, Bush and the Republican leaders of Congress thought they were permanently rewriting the American tax system. To pass these changes, Republicans used the reconciliation measure they criticized the Democrats for using when they passed the Health Care Reform Bill.
Republicans were surprised by Boehner’s statement, and as is the Republican custom, they have distanced themselves from Boehner to show they will not support by the Democrats. Many Americans are hurting and low taxes would greatly help, but on the other hand, the government wants to continue to create revenue as the economic situation improves.
President Barack Obama’s position is that the tax cuts should be extended for everyone except for the richest 2 percent of Americans. Republicans say this increase for the top 2 percent of Americans will hurt small businesses. However, the Joint Committee on Taxation says the Republicans are absolutely wrong because 97 percent of business owners would not be subject to the heightened tax rates.
In a recent poll conducted by the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, a sizeable majority of Americans side with Democrats on this issue. Most do not support extending the Bush tax cuts which benefitted the richest Americans. David Kocieniewski of The New York Times wrote, “The intensity of the debate is a testament to the place that small businesses hold in the culture as a symbol of American ingenuity.”
The House and Senate know the strength of America’s small businesses are the key to the long-term success of the American economy. There is little time for a vote to be held on the tax cuts, since Congress will be leaving in less than a month and not reconvening until after the midterm elections. The number of Democrats and Republicans in Congress after the midterms will decide how the new tax program looks. If the Republicans are able to gain control of the House of Representatives, new tax policies will be the next big debate in Congress.
Alex Apple is a freshman political science and journalism major from Nashville, Tenn.