One of the great political blunders of all times was George H.W. Bush's "Read my lips, no new taxes." It is widely held belief, probably accurate, that one reason Bush was not re-elected was his failure to keep that promise.
That is why I find the debate last night and the debate about the debate so surreal. Consider this "charge" leveld against Mitt Romney by Obama in some form or another on numerous occasions (emphasis mine).
"...And this is where there’s a difference because Governor Romney’s central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut, on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts, so that’s another $2 trillion...,"and Romney's repeated response went something like this
"First of all, I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about."So basically what we have is a candidate (the President) attacking his challenger for cutting taxes! And almost as remarkable the challenger defending himself against the charge.
As a Tea Party Independent I see this having both a good and a bad side. The good side is that both are looking at this "tax cut" at least in part as somehow exploding the deficit and the mere fact that the national debt has taken on such a prominent role in the nations political debate is wonderful. The bad side is that both sides seem to buy into the premise that taxes are somehow the solution to our deficit problem. Additionally as a supply side advocate, tax cuts should not be looked at as a negative thing whatsoever either as a governing principle or an economic policy.
But purely from a political stand point, I find this debate about tax cuts beyond bizarre. A Republican is not only defending himself against the charge of cutting taxes but a Democrat actually thinks it is good politics promoting tax increases. To show how far into la, la land this whole discussion has gone, consider today's episode of the absurd brought to us by Joe Biden.
“You know the phrase they always use?” Biden says. “Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars. Guess what? Yes, we do, in one regard. We want to let that trillion dollar tax cut expire so the middle class doesn’t have to bear the burden of all that money going to the super wealthy. That’s not a tax raiser. That’s called fairness where I come from.”I have not seen or heard anywhere that this additional tax on the rich is going to result in a tax cut or lower taxes for the middle class.
So here is the Obama's campaign strategy, attack Romney for lowering taxes and boasting about their intention to raise them. I guess in an upside down world this makes sense but I don't know if America is quite that upside down...yet.