When asked to characterize President Clinton’s first budget, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said, “The tax man cometh.” It seems to be that history is repeating itself. Republicans now hope to flip Democratic-held seats by letting the public see that President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act would lead to a tax hike.
The tax man cometh: Republicans revive ‘tax and spend’ charge against Biden https://t.co/VcdUI01ddm This clown has ruined this country in short time I hope all you who voted for this TURD are happy with yourselves
— doc (@doc36825757) August 19, 2022
“It hikes the tax burden on Americans making as little as $20,000 a year and sends 87,000 IRS enforcers to harass small businesses and middle-class families,” said the Republican National Committee’s rapid response director, Tommy Pigott. “But too bad for Biden, the American people see right through him.”
The RNC claimed, “Every House Democrat just voted to raise your taxes and make inflation worse — and they’re happy about it.” The White House and Democratic congress members praised the bill’s approval and passage as the completion of major campaign pledges. Even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) supported the bill in the Senate.
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Conservative and moderate Democrats opposed Clinton’s 1993 tax hike. That compelled then-Vice President Al Gore to break the tie. Unlike VP Kamala Harris today, Gore presided over a greater Democratic majority.
The Clinton tax increase was one problem that cost Democrats majorities. Republicans gained 54 seats in the House and won the Senate for the second time since the 1950s. Shelby, of “tax man” renown, joined them the next day.
The inadequacy of the Clinton tax hike to halt the tech bubble helped Democrats defuse the tax issue. Democrats contended that decreasing the deficit and lowering interest rates had boosted growth, even though the economy didn’t get churning for a few years.
Clinton said his approach was “invest and grow.” Biden has now claimed he wants to expand the economy “from the center out” in opposition to Republican “trickle-down economics.” What a joke.
Democrats contained tax revolts by focusing on the highest marginal rate of income taxes and high earners. Biden has pledged that people making less than $400,000 won’t pay a “penny” more in taxes and that IRS audits will solely target wealthy tax cheats. In 1984, Walter Mondale suggested broad-based tax hikes and lost 49 states. Is history going to repeat itself?
Republicans say Biden broke the first commitment and can’t keep the second. The increased taxes are aimed at productive employment and investment, the Wall Street Journal wrote earlier this year. The White House disagrees. According to a recent YouGov poll, inflation and consumer prices (24%) topped taxes and government spending (5%) in concerns of citizens.
Regardless of the midterms, Democrats’ spending plans are hitting the limit of what can be achieved by tax rises. Inflation shows how middle-class consumers pay for increased spending, even without direct taxes.
Biden’s budget measure was a fraction of the proposals he had advocated for months, which were smaller than progressive bucket lists like the Green New Deal. Biden’s economic staff advised greater taxes lest the significant expenditure “widen the deficit so much that it could prompt a surge in interest rates,” the Washington Post reported last year.
That’s a far cry from Clinton’s claims that smaller deficits and lower interest rates would strengthen the economy. The middle class is where the income is and where Dems will eventually seek revenue.