The GOP: The Party of Contradictions

By Richard Thayer

This may seem like a contradiction in their thinking, but the Republican leadership swears it isn’t. Not really. It just seems like it.

Many of us had gotten the impression over the last several months that the GOP was in favor of tax breaks. As you may recall, President Obama had wanted to eliminate the tax breaks for those making over $250,000 a year but Republican lawmakers in the House nixed the idea.

But now word has come out that they would like to do away with tax breaks….

…for the average working person– those making less than $106,800 a year. That would be the vast majority of us.

Normally, the average worker has 6.2 percent of their wages taken out for Social Security. Their employer pays in an equal amount. That equals out to 12.4 percent per worker.

Last December Congress approved the president’s request to reduce the workers’ share to 4.2 percent for one year. President Obama has suggested that the tax break be extended for one more year.

But Republicans, the same ones who are opposed to taxing the country’s wealthiest, don’t think this would be such a good idea. Says Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), “It’s always a net positive to let tax payers keep more of what they earn. BUT (emphasis added) not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again.”

Reading between the lines: It’s okay to give tax breaks to the wealthy because they donate a lot of money to us Republicans, but it’s not a good idea to give tax breaks to middle-class Americans because they’re not wealthy and don’t contribute all that much.

MEANWHILE, Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, who has argued for closing tax loopholes as a way of reducing the deficit, has been hard at work trying to CREATE tax loopholes for certain people (after all, corporations are people, right?). Namely, those who have donated big bucks to his past campaign coffers.

According to an article in today’s Huffington Post, Ryan has made several attempts at trying to give his donors tax breaks since 1998. Among the examples cited is S.C. Johnson & Son, one of his biggest donors. In addition, the multi-billion dollar company is based in Ryan’s district. Between 1998 and 2011, the company has donated $41,000.

In an effort to show his appreciation, Ryan introduced two bills in 2005 that would have granted the company special exemptions from tariffs. Neither bill passed.

Not one to give up easily, Ryan introduced another bill the following year that would have reduced the duty on S.C. Johnson cleaning appliances. That also failed.

From 1998 to 2010 Ryan co-sponsored five bills that would have shaved taxes for beer brewers.

Asked to comment on the obvious disparity between what he has said and what he has actually attempted to do, Ryan’s office doesn’t see it. “Paul Ryan believes the tax code is fundamentally broken–imposing burdens on small businesses and working families and creating barriers to job creation,” says Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert. “He has proposed specific solutions that eliminate or scale back all special interest tax breaks while advancing pro-growth reforms to help get America back to work.”

We’ll see what he has to say when the issue of extending tax breaks for the middle-class comes up when Congress returns from vacation.

(Cartoon credit: media gazette extra)


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