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Hoyer: “We Don’t Have to Raise Taxes”

Considering what happened at the end of last year with the Bush tax cuts, considering that the centerpiece strategy of the jobs agenda could be a payroll tax cut, I don’t think that this needed to be said by Steny Hoyer. There just isn’t a lot of distance between the parties on taxes. Maybe there is outside the leadership, but certainly not inside.

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) said that he doesn’t believe Democrats need to raise income taxes on individuals as part of a comprehensive budget proposal, breaking with President Obama and other congressional leaders, who have argued for the return of Clinton-era rates for the richest Americans.

“We don’t want to raise taxes, and we don’t have to raise taxes,” Hoyer said on Las Vegas station KSNV’s “Face to Face” program.

Hoyer said that instead revenues could come from closing corporate tax loopholes and reducing subsidies.

“We don’t have to raise rates, we have to make sure everyone is paying their fair share.”

Everyone will not be paying their fair share unless you raise rates. Subsidies and corporate tax loopholes only get you so far, especially when Treasury supports a revenue-neutral corporate tax reform. So all the loopholes there will get sucked into lower corporate tax rates.

In the Clinton era, rates were higher and more progressively distributed, and it did not impede job creation in the least. This is an argument that even the President pulls out time and again, but not too much so as to upset the job creators. But it happens to be true.

The budget deficit isn’t a problem unless we listen to people like Steny Hoyer and fail to let the Bush tax cuts expire. The medium-term deficit can literally be wiped out by a veto message. It won’t be, because the two party leaderships agree that the Clinton tax rates were too high, and the current historically low tax rates, the lowest in 60 years, are perfectly comfortable.

Note the location. There’s a special election coming up in Nevada for NV-02. Hoyer was there to support Kate Marshall. He’s a workhorse for Democratic candidates, helping them fundraise and campaign. As such, when the time comes to ask for votes, the Democrats who make it to Congress have a debt owed to Hoyer. And that’s how the Democratic Party comes to support low taxes.

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David Dayen

David Dayen