The Corner

A Simpler Message on Taxes

The Democrats’ decision not to hold a vote on taxes until after the election, at the earliest, offers Republicans the opportunity to adopt a simple, powerful campaign message on taxes: Your taxes are going up, and it’s the Democrats’ fault. There’s no need to get into the details of middle-class tax cuts vs tax cuts for the rich. All of them are going to go up.

Republicans have tried for years to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, and Democrats have balked. They have said–they still say–that they want to keep the middle-class tax cuts and shelve the rest. But they have done nothing to make this alleged goal a reality, even with their huge majorities in Congress and control of the White House. They have not moved a bill to keep the middle-class tax cuts. And now they say they have no intention of doing so before the election.

The House, even as currently constituted, probably has a majority for extending all of the Bush tax cuts–but the Democratic leadership won’t hold a vote. It’s holding middle-class tax cuts hostage: It would rather see middle-class taxes go up than see upper-income taxes stay down. The president’s preferences, as revealed by his action and inaction, are the same.

The Democrats have done more to change the rules on gays in the military, to provide amnesty for some illegal immigrants, and to name post offices in the last week than they have done to keep middle-class taxes from rising in the last Congress. Taxes are going up for everyone, and it’s the Democrats’ fault.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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