Every once in a while, a political story truly bewilders me. Take this one, for example:
Many of the same Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different "temporary" tax cut should end as planned. By their own definition, that amounts to a tax increase.
"It's always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn," says Rep. Jeb Hensarling, "but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again." The Texas lawmaker is on the House GOP leadership team.
"We don't need short-term gestures. We need long-term fundamental changes in our tax structure and our regulatory structure that people who create jobs can rely on," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., when asked about the payroll tax matter.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., "has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy," said spokesman Brad Dayspring.
First, let me just point out that while the Democrats may be a bunch of hypocritical, blowhard, incompetent fools, every once in a while the Republicans remind me of why I vote for them anyway. They're not fucking evil.
But here's what's confusing me. Obama's payroll tax cut seems like a fine idea and something we should support, because it's a very progressive tax cut: it's money directly in the pockets of people that actually need and will spend it. The problem is that a payroll tax cut means a direct decrease to the funding of social security. Bleeding one to feed the other. So, this proposed payroll tax cut basically guts social security -- something Republicans have been trying to do for decades. Why aren't they going along with it? Is it really as simple as opposing anything that Obama proposes? Is this really the sad state of affairs our political situation has reached, or am I missing something? And if Obama knows it's a proposal any Republican will shoot down, why not at least make it an attractive one instead of this nonsense? If Obama was serious about a progressive change to our tax structure, he'd propose lifting the salary cap on payroll taxes along with this, or something.