My reason for opposing the extension is two-fold. My first reason is the politico-philosophical reason of favoring less regressive taxation, which serves the common good and rejects such rationales as those employed today by Sen. McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, who insists, that “[w]e ought to treat all taxpayers the same.” Don’t get me wrong, I am not in favor of punishing people for being successful, but this is not what a fair tax policy does. Rather, it seeks the common good, which is not a mass redistribution of income, but a way of living together in a society that recognizes, at least to some extent, that I am my brother’s keeper, a society that, while recognizing the need for a social safety-net, must always safeguard against the tendency to foster dependence.
My second reason for opposing the extension of all the cuts, which the Democrats are only considering because they think doing so will do what their massive non-stimulating stimulus failed to do, namely stimulate the economy, is that giving tax cuts to the uber-rich does not have a stimulus effect, like giving cuts to middle income people does. Extending the cuts up to $200,000 a year, or $250,000 a year, would also result in the loss of $700 billion in revenue. I agree with Pres. Obama when he says it would “be unwise and unfair, particularly at a time when we're contemplating deep budget cuts that require broad sacrifice” to extend the cuts up that far. George H.W. Bush was quite correct to describe supply-side economic theory as “Voo-doo economics” while running against Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination way back in 1980, which is not to say that a strong vibrant economy doesn’t produce more revenue at lower tax rates, it obviously does, but Arthur Laffer’s prognostications ultimately proved illusory. Besides, extending the tax cuts across-the-board, even to those making more than $200,000 per year, as the Republicans, who remain, even after the Tea Party uprising, the party of the very rich, will deprive us of revenue we’ll need to dig out of the hole we’re in, even with massive spending cuts, which are also needed.
It is in mentioning tax increases and spending cuts that complexity comes into play again. It is not either/or but both/and. The question becomes arriving at a mutually agreeable solution, which means compromise on both sides, something that implies nobody gets everything they want. Holding your breath until get everything you want, in addition to being infantile, is precisely what reduces our politics to net loss/net gain. In this era marked not only by ideology, but overly-simplistic ideology, we should all lament the collapse of the political center, those leaders capable of brokering compromise. Here in Utah the best example of this kind of leader, Sen. Bennett, was denied re-election for being, not a liberal, not even for failing to be a conservative, but for refusing to buy into the very narrow vision of politics now sweeping the country.