Quote of the Day: All Tax Relief is Not Created Equal

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference/4169585986/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Republican Conference</a>/Flickr

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Buried in a New York Times story today on Congressional Republicans’ opposition to extending a payroll tax cut that would mostly benefit the working and middle classes is this gem of a quote from Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:

All tax relief is not created equal. If the goal is job creation, Leader Cantor has long believed that there are better ways to grow the economy and create jobs than temporary payroll tax relief.” [emphasis mine]

This is, on its face, an accurate statement. As the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office noted last year, some tax cuts boost the economy more than others—cutting the payroll tax cut for employers, for instance, provides more of an immediate jolt to the economy than cutting it for employees, as President Obama is now recommending. (Mind you, of all the policy options in Congress’ toolkit, the CBO ranked increased aid to jobless workers as the most effective. That option is nowhere on the GOP’s radar.)

Obama’s payroll tax cut extension for employees would help the economy. “The increase in take-home pay would spur additional spending by the households receiving the higher income, and that higher spending would, in turn, increase production and employment,” the CBO explained. Sure, households would save some of that money, but plenty more would be spent. Economist Mark Zandi (a former John McCain adviser) said in June that extending the payroll tax cut is a “reasonable” idea that would provide a much-needed short-term jolt to the economy. “Without that payroll tax cut this year,” Zandi went on, “I think we’d be skirting recession now because of the higher energy prices.”

Back to Cantor’s flack and the GOP’s “all tax relief is not created equal” talking point. So if payroll tax cuts for employees aren’t the answer for  tax-cut-loving Republicans, what is? Well, let’s take a look at their record and their jobs plans. Looming large, of course, are the GOP’s beloved 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, which mostly benefitted the very wealthy and did little to stimulate the economy. Slashing taxes also features prominently in the jobs plans of GOP leaders such as Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan. In its analysis, the CBO ranked lowering income taxes dead last in its effectiveness.

Why, then, does the GOP support these ineffective tax relief plans? Could it be because the minority of wealthy Americans who do benefit are the same people who bankroll their campaigns?

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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