House Democrats on Thursday forced a cosmetic vote on a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts only for some Americans, while imposing whopping new taxes on those making $250,000 or more.
The measure, which passed 234-188, has no chance of clearing the Senate, but was designed to embarrass House Republicans -- who favor extending all the Bush tax cuts -- into going on the record against keeping rates stable for the middle class, only.
The move comes a day after 42 Republican senators sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., threatening to block any effort to address any legislation until the Senate votes to fund the budget and prevent all the Bush tax cuts from expiring.
That means forget "don't ask, don't tell." Forget the Dream Act. Forget extending jobless benefits until the No. 1 task is completed. "Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth," the letter tells Sen. Reid. "It is time that our constituents' priorities become the Senate's priorities."
Unless Congress acts by the end of the year, all American taxpayers will see their income tax rates and other tax rates increase. The letter pointed out that more than 750,000 small businesses will face tax hikes, affecting half of all small businesses and nearly a quarter of the work force. Repeat: a quarter of the work force. The death tax will soar from zero to 55 percent. There will be no patch for the alternative minimum income tax.
All of which, the GOP letter explains, will kill jobs.
But President Obama and the Democrats continue to demagogue their class warfare by demanding tax rates for those earning more than $250,000 a year, or some other arbitrary figure, increase from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, because the federal bureaucrats have a better use for that money.
The taxpayers in question are the ones who create jobs, who start new businesses, who invest and drive the economy. Diverting their income from the economy to the tax coffers might allow a few overpaid federal employees to keep their frozen salaries, but it does nothing to create new taxpaying jobs in the private sector.
Instead of responding in any sort of way that would signal an effort to accomplish anything, House Democrats held their vote, and Sen. Reid said putting an extension of unemployment benefits on the federal credit card was a higher priority than the budget and taxes.
Sen. Reid and House Democrats have at every turn avoiding taking steps to create sustainable private-sector jobs. Shifting money from the private sector into the hands of federal bureaucrats through higher taxes for anyone kills jobs and could force the nation into a double-dip recession.
Hold an up-or-down vote on extending the tax cuts for everybody.