Obama Calls Republicans Hypocrites Over Demanding That Payroll Tax Cut Be Paid For

According to the President, Republicans didn’t want spending cuts to go along with the Bush tax cuts, so why should they want spending cuts to go along with the payroll tax cuts?

President Obama on Monday said he’s puzzled by Republican demands that the cost of the payroll tax cut be paid for elsewhere in the budget.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Obama stressed that he is willing to work with Republicans to find a way to pay for extending the payroll tax holiday, which expires at the end of the month.

But the president also said he’s befuddled by Republican calls to offset the tax cut, claiming Republicans did not make similar demands when George W. Bush was in the White House.

“When the Republicans took over the House at the beginning of this year, they explicitly changed the rules to say that tax cuts don’t have to be paid for,” Obama said. “So forgive me a little bit of confusion when I hear folks insisting on tax cuts being paid for.”

There really wasn’t any need to pay for the Bush tax cuts with spending cuts. I would like to think that Republicans would have supported spending cuts on general principles, given that they’re supposed to be proponents of limiting government, but truth be told federal tax receipts actually grew after the Bush tax receipts were implemented in 2003.

Liberals take it as an article of faith that the Bush tax cuts produced deficits, but that’s wrong. Tax receipts went up fairly quickly after the Bush tax cuts were put in place. Had federal spending growth not outstripped growth in revenues during that same period we would have seen deficit reduction, if not budget surpluses.

It was Republican spending, not Republican tax cuts, that were the problem.

But comparing the Bush tax cuts to these payroll tax cuts is like comparing an apple to a skyscraper. The payroll tax, unlike the taxes impacted by the Bush tax cuts, fund a very specific area of government. Namely, Medicare and Social Security. By cutting the payroll tax, we take money out of those programs worsening their already dire fiscal outlook.

If anyone in Washington DC wanted to be responsible about these payroll tax cuts, they would reduce benefits payments out of Social Security and Medicare to offset the payroll tax cuts.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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