How not to sell a tax cut

Putting Dubya on center stage is bad, bad mojo.

For some reason, the RNC thought this CNBC article would be a good thing to forward around to media on Thursday. Unfortunately, it contains a number of items that are, shall we say, problematic for the apparent goal of selling Americans on the idea that the Bush tax cuts for the rich should not be allowed to sunset, as they were written, by the Republican Congress that passed them.

So what’s the problem? Let’s start with the word “Bush.” Or the “B-word,” if you will…

The former president is not a popular man. Polls show most Americans still remember that he is to blame for the crappy economy he and Dick left in Barack Obama’s punchbowl on their way out the door, and even fellow Republicans cringe at the thought of him releasing his memoirs a month before the election (stupid, I think was one of the terms used…) And yet, the RNC forwards around an article, I’m not even sure for whose consumption, targeted at literally the only people in the world who miss Dubya: the people who work at and watch CNBC (and the Wall Street Journal.) In other words: the same rich people who want to keep their hefty tax cuts, and continue to pay lower marginal rates than their secretaries. (See E.J. Dionne’s Thursday WaPo column on the stupidity of it all.)

Hell, the first sentence is enough to make me want to run for the U.S. Senate, just so I can personally see to it that those freaking tax cuts expire. Problem one, however, is in the title, which in and of itself is doubly self-defeating:

Letting Bush Tax Cuts Die Would Kill Recovery: Analysts

Problem 2: The term “Bush tax cuts” is of course, what everyone calls the 2001 and 2003 massive cash advances from the middle class bank account to give to Dubya’s wealthy friends.  But so far, every Republican with a brain has been avoiding using the term themselves, opting for euphemisms like “tax cuts for small businesses…” or simply, “2001 and 2003 tax cuts,” as Marco Rubio calls them (Rubio never uses the “B word,” and Dubya’s brother is his mentor…) Or they just turn things around altogether and accuse Democrats not of following the rules of the tax cuts as written — again, they were written to sunset at the end of this year — but of fomenting “tax hikes.” But now, apparently, the RNC is embracing Dubya in all his ingloriousness.

Problem 3: you just admitted in the title that the economy is in recovery. But thanks, though, from all us Democrats!

Problem 4: incredibility. The first paragraph sets the stage:

The nascent US economic recovery would be halted in 2011 if Congress fails to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, analysts at Deutsche Bank said.

So like, the minute the Bush – there goes that word again! – tax cuts expire, the recovery would just halt? Just like that? Like “screeeeeeech!” … And Main Street is, I’m sure, hanging on every word from “Deutsche Bank…”

Problem 5: Focusing struggling Americans on people with a lot of money, and then throwing small numbers at them will not help your cause.

The cuts were enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush and covered those earning more than $250,000, but they are set to expire at the end of this year.

Deutsche said the drag on gross domestic product should they lapse could be as much as 1.5 percent, with the more likely impact at 1.1 percent.

A whole 1.5 percent, huh? To the average American, that sounds like … well … 1.5 percent. CNBC articles aren’t meant for general consumption. They’re meant for hedge fund managers and other people with a lot of money. Like people who make more than $250,000 a year, for instance. Other than them? No sale. Not when people don’t have money to buy gas.

The article goes on:

The impact would be worse, the analysts said, if Congress fails to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was enacted in 1969 to make sure rich people pay taxes but was never indexed for inflation, and thus is now hitting middle-income workers.

“In a worst-case scenario, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and failing to fix the AMT could result in (1.5 percent) of fiscal drag in 2011 on top of the 1 percent fiscal drag we expect to occur as the Obama fiscal stimulus package unwinds,” Deutsche said in a note to clients. “If the recovery remains soft/tentative through early next year, this additional drag could be enough to push the economy to a stalling point.”

Problem 6: And now you’re admitting that the stimulus produced economic growth, which has to be true if withdrawing it produces a “fiscal drag.” And in fact, the stim did produce economic growth, along with saving the economy from ruin. Thank you, Deutsche Bank, for confirming what we already knew.

Now Democrats: do have the cojones to let those tax cuts expire.

This entry was posted in George W. Bush, Opinion, People, Politics, The Economy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How not to sell a tax cut

  1. Richard says:

    The best reason to let the tax cuts lapse is the fact that we had a budget surplus the 4 years prior to the tax cuts, and have had large deficits and a slumping economy ever since. Clearly, the tax rates were correct in the late 1990s, and we should return to those rates by letting the Bush tax cuts lapse as the legislation provides.

  2. Flo says:

    Was that photo taken when Michelle Bachmann was….rubbing his back, so to speak?

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