There is support
among some Democrats -- such as Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) -- for
delaying the next round of personal income tax cuts in President Bush's
$1.35 trillion tax reduction plan, which was enacted last year.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer
has said that President Bush believes any such delay or rollback would
really be a tax increase.
It is just such fear of being labeled
in favor of increasing taxes that apparently has many other Democrats
reluctant to endorse such a move.
The logical proposition that delaying
a reduction is tantamount to an increase is, I believe, a sound one.
On a given date, what you will be paying in taxes won't be
reduced-according-to-schedule Amount A, but is instead,
not-reduced-because-of-a-change-in-schedule Amount B. Since Amount B
is higher than Amount A, the amount of taxes you must pay on that date has
However, Republican invocation of this
type of logic is disingenuous. Remember when the Republican
Congress was drastically cutting domestic spending programs?
Republican spokespersons, as well as talk show GOP mouthpieces like Sean Hannity, expressed their
outrage and indignation at being accused of cutting these programs, which
helped the needy. These programs weren't being cut, Hannity et al
thundered. The rate of increase in spending was merely being
Well, if a reduction in an increase is
not a cut, according to Republicans, I don't see how they can then
turn around and argue that a delay in a reduction is an increase.
As for the idea of delaying the tax
cuts, why don't the Democrats play it smart? One of the valid
criticisms of Bush's tax cut plan is that the reductions are heavily skewed
toward the wealthiest taxpayers. The Democrats should propose a delay
in implementing the tax cuts only as applied to the upper brackets.
That way the only charge the Republicans could make would be that the
Democrats are in favor of tax increases for the rich.
Maybe that's a charge the Democrats
should be happy to live with.