Democrats, including my opponent, will allow a tax hike (after the election).
If the status quo prevails, every American will see a dip in take-home pay Jan. 1. Congress could have changed this before it adjourned this past week; but, unfortunately for us, this Congress specializes in repeatedly deferring tough decisions for political gain.
I'm referring, of course, to the massive tax increase that will result from the scheduled expiration of the federal tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. When Congress returned to Washington last week for one more round of votes before the preelection sprint, hardworking families and small businesses had high hopes that their representatives would take action to renew these tax cuts.
Sadly, they did not. When a bipartisan push was made to keep the House in session, presenting U.S. Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota's First District with an opportunity to bring the issue up for a vote, he chose instead to follow Speaker Nancy Pelosi's instructions and voted to quit. Getting home to campaign for another term was more important than staying and doing his job on behalf of his constituents.
For Democrats in Congress, there seems to be little urgency around putting a stop to what would be the largest tax increase in American history. The Democrat-controlled Congress now plans to again defer a vote on preventing this tax increase until a lame-duck session is called after the midterm elections. In the meantime, House Democrats have been busy treating us to political sideshows, even allowing TV comedian Stephen Colbert to make a mockery of our political process by testifying in front of a House committee in character.
President Obama supports only a limited extension of the Republican tax cuts, choosing to play political favorites by including only carefully selected slices of the population that fit into a politically manufactured definition of "middle-class family" but excluding all other income-tax filings. Obama and most other Washington Democrats, including Walz, conveniently overlook that many small businesses file with the IRS as individuals.
The Walz-Obama approach would impair the ability of small-business owners to put our country back to work by raising taxes on nearly 40 percent of all small-business income -- money that could otherwise be used to hire more workers. It would seem that liberal progressives in Washington would rather pick favorites in an ideological spat than do what is needed to end perpetually high unemployment and get our economy moving again.
Their blatant posturing leaves the small-business owners who power our economy high and dry. Washington Democrats try to change the subject when analysts point out that the tax hike would take money from the pockets of job providers, instead invoking their oft-repeated rhetoric of class warfare. It's a simple case of putting politics before your pocketbook. They believe that delaying a vote on this issue may aid a few endangered Democrats in the November election, so they will raise your taxes only after you've cast your vote for Congress.
While that kind of cynicism among Washington politicians is nothing new, prolonging broad economic uncertainty for political expedience is a new low. Uncertainty is the first barrier to entrepreneurs' taking risks, and a willingness to take risks is the first ingredient in private-sector growth. It's hard, if not impossible, for small-business owners to hire more employees when they don't even know the size and scope of their tax liabilities for the next year.
For the rest of this campaign, you will hear politicians like Walz tell you how hard they are working for jobs and economic growth. But in this case, Walz's inaction speaks louder than words.
Randy Demmer is a state representative and Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota's First District.
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