A scorpion and a frog met on the bank of a river. The scorpion, who could not swim, asked the frog to carry him on his back to the other side. “Are you mad?” exclaimed the turtle. “You’ll sting me while I’m swimming and will drown.” But the scorpion sought to allay the frog’s fears. “My dear frog,” chided the scorpion, “if I stung you, you would drown, and I, being such a poor swimmer, would go down with you. Why would I do such a thing?”
Comforted by the logic, the frog agreed to carry the scorpion. The scorpion climbed on the frog’s back to make the journey when halfway across the scorpion whipped his tail and stung the frog. As they both sank the turtle despairingly asked: “Why did you sting me, now we will both drown.” “It’s just my nature,” replies the scorpion.
The fable teaches that not all behavior is rooted in logic, some is the result of an irrepressible urge so deeply held that the consequences just don’t matter.
So it is with Democrats and taxes. No matter the amount of evidence that piles up against them, regardless of the potential harm to the now-faltering economy, and in spite of any political backlash that comes from the persistent desire to tax and spend, Democrats just can’t help themselves, they want to raise taxes.
The scorpion-esque self-destructive instinct reared its head today when Senate Democrats decided to hold a cloture vote on the Buffett Rule today. Let’s not forget that it’s also the Tax Day – when millions of Americans will be scrambling to dot the I’s and cross the T’s on their tax reforms. Not exactly the time to tell Americans that you are planning on raising their taxes.
While Senate Democrats are voting to hike taxes, Republicans will vote this week on a bill to lower them.
Monday’s cloture vote on the Buffett rule bill — sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and which would affect about 223,000 wealthy taxpayers — is all but certain to fail to get the 60 votes needed to clear the Senate. But regardless, undeterred Senate Democratic leaders have vowed to press Republicans on the measure through November.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are prepping their small-business tax cut vote that will come later this week. The $46 billion, one-year tax cut would apply to all businesses with fewer than 500 employees, and the tax break would benefit 22 million small businesses, according to Cantor’s office.
The vote on the Buffett Rule provides one of the clearest markers yet of Democrats’ ideological thirst for higher taxes. Last week a study by the Joint Committee on Taxation, highlighted by this blog, found that the Buffett Rule would collect just $4.7 billion each year – meaning it would take more than 250 years just to cover the 2011 deficit alone!
But new evidence suggests that even that estimate may have been overly generous. A closer look at the actual written language finds that the Buffett Rule would replace the Alternative Minimum Tax – a key fact that completely changes the law’s impact on the bottom line. The Joint Tax Committee calculates that the combination of repealing the AMT for the middle class would ADD nearly $800 billion to the national debt over the next decade.
Given that startling statistic none of Obama’s convoluted rationales behind the bill make any sense. It’s not about solving the deficit, it’s not about “spreading the wealth around” as he said in 2008, and it’s certainly not, as his latest argument goes, about economic growth. In fact, there is no rationale for a new tax that increases the deficit.
Will that stop Democrats from trying to pass it, even if they drown in a river of voter discord because of it? No. Why? It’s just their nature.