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November 26, 2011 10:20 AM Pick a wet blanket

By Steve Benen

The six Republicans from the failed super-committee, in an op-ed today:

The 2001 and 2003 changes to the tax code reduced marginal rates for all taxpayers as well as the rates for capital gains, dividends and the death tax. For technical reasons, all of these provisions expire at the end of next year — meaning that if Congress does not act, Americans will face the largest tax increase in our history. This prospect has put a wet blanket over job creation and economic recovery.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), three weeks ago:

“I think the budget deficit and our debt serves as a wet blanket over our economy.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), in late September:

“Business owners are reluctant to create jobs today when they’re going to need to pay more tomorrow to comply with onerous new regulations. That’s what employers mean when they say that uncertainty generated by Washington is a big wet blanket on our economy.”

Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), seeking a comeback, in mid September:

” [T]ax hikes that President Obama has been pushing since he was elected and they will put a heavy, wet blanket on an economy.”

So, to review, Republicans believe the possibility of potential tax increases, regulations, the debt, the deficit, and uncertainty are all a “wet blanket.” I can only assume some focus group somewhere told pollsters they like this metaphor, which is why it’s being used so incessantly.

Let’s make this plain, shall we? The laws of supply and demand are not subject to a Republican filibuster. The economy is struggling because businesses don’t have enough customers. We have high unemployment and depressed wages, which lead to less demand, slower growth, and fewer new jobs. It’s really not that complicated.

Republicans, who should be able to understand these basics, are eager to make matters worse, undermining demand when we should be doing the opposite. And that’s the real wet blanket we should be talking about.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • DAY on November 26, 2011 10:29 AM:

    Boner sez:"The 2001 and 2003 changes to the tax code reduced marginal rates for all taxpayers as well as the rates for capital gains, dividends and the death tax. For technical reasons, all of these provisions expire at the end of next year "

    I did not realize that they ALL expire!
    Who will join me this lovely morning in a celebratory preprandial libation?

  • Danp on November 26, 2011 10:31 AM:

    For technical reasons, all of these provisions expire at the end of next year

    Right. Technical reasons. You couldn't use the reconciliation rules to make the cuts permanent. And you know how those Dems just love filibusters.

    If regulations are a wet blanket, Republicans are cement overshoes.

  • c u n d gulag on November 26, 2011 10:33 AM:

    Wet blanket, dry blanket, it doesn't matter what the GOP wants to use, it still accomplishes their goal of suffocating the middle and lower classes.

    They'd use nooses, but thhy're sooooooo 20th Century!

  • mmm on November 26, 2011 10:34 AM:

    For "technical reasons"?? Huh? Is that what we're calling it now? Well, Repubs, you forgot "soiled, wet blanket", for the pissing you've done on America.

  • Anonymous on November 26, 2011 10:42 AM:

    For technical reasons, all of these provisions expire at the end of next year

    If by "technical reasons" you mean "because we passed the Bush tax cuts using a reconciliation trick that required the expiration after ten years -- a reconciliation trick that we later condemned as unethical when Democrats tried it, by the way" then yes, that is correct.

  • zandru on November 26, 2011 10:47 AM:

    Calling Jon Stewart

    The Daily Show likes to mash together these little snippets where all the wingnutters are saying the same things, in the same words. The Dems might give it a try, too, maybe under the aegis of "Who's controlling the Republicans?" and a series of mugshots: David/Charles Koch, Grover Norquist, Rupert Murdock, ...

    "Did any of you vote for any of these people? No? Then why are your Senators/Representatives serving these guys instead of your interests?" followed by a "vote for your local Democrat"-style message: the Democratic Party - we represent YOU.

    (And, if this were actually demonstrably true, it would go over even better.)

  • Okie on November 26, 2011 10:47 AM:

    Where did the "wet blanket" talking point originate? It seems that the Republicans all come up with the same talking points simultaneously. It happens over and over again.

    So who is calling their tune? Does anyone know? Can anyone find out?

  • samsa on November 26, 2011 10:51 AM:

    @Okie

    Look up Frank Lutz.

    Death taxes, socialized medicine, etc. are all his idea.

    'Enhanced Interrogation Techniques' was imported from Germany though.

  • anandine on November 26, 2011 10:53 AM:

    Okie, Frank Luntz is always a good first guess.

  • majun on November 26, 2011 10:58 AM:

    Amazing how the GOP can skirt the truth, without ever actually arriving there. Just a few small changes to their op-ed:

    "The 2001 and 2003 changes to the tax code reduced marginal rates for all taxpayers as well as the rates for capital gains, dividends and the death tax, ushering in an age of endless budget deficits. For technical reasons, all of these provisions expire at the end of next year meaning that if Congress does not act, Americans might have to face a return to the Clinton era of budget surpluses."

    Then they could explain what they intend to do to save our nation from that awful national nightmare of peace and prosperity. The truth shall set you free. Vote the obstructionists out of office.

  • exlibra on November 26, 2011 5:39 PM:

    If higher taxes and stronger regulations are as much of a "wet blanket" as the Repubs are telling us, then where was the spectacular job creation during the 10yrs that the wet blankets were not smothering the fire?

  • Doug on November 26, 2011 8:04 PM:

    "The economy is struggling because businesses don't have enough customers...Republicans, who should be able to understand these things..." Steve Benen.

    If Republican politicians, and voters, accepted the truth of that first sentence, they would then have to admit to themselves that the "rich" AREN'T special.
    Let's face it, if the rich AREN'T special, what excuses the lying, cheating, stealing, slandering and back-stabbing tactics so often used to get, and remain, in that privileged status? Nothing.
    I'd resist facing THAT, too...

  • rabbit on November 27, 2011 1:23 AM:

    Look, I'm for taxing the hell out of the rich as much as the next guy, but is the answer to our economic woes really putting more money in people's hands for the purpose of spending on crappy consumer products in an endless cycle of disposability? I'm frustrated that the solutions being put forward by mainstream Democratic pundits rely so much on perpetuating consumerism, rather than rethinking our economy in more fundamental ways, when we are living at the edge of environmental apocalypse.

  • bob h on November 27, 2011 7:21 AM:

    In addition to "wet blanket", we also are hearing them all complain that Obama is a "bystander", that he has "failed to bring people together", etc. One assumes that this is all the product of Frank Luntz's little shop, and that GOP leaders provide the cliches of the day to the rank and file every morning.

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