A Brilliant Tax Proposal To Save Democrats: The Anchor Clause
By Chris Messineo
It was only 2 months ago House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, proclaimed of Obama’s original tax plan, “If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for it”. How times have changed, or have they?
With the recent media blitz on taxes and the countdown to Republican control in the house, gains in the senate and the Bush tax cuts expiration on Jan. 1st, one might get the impression a political game of chicken has unfolded between the Democrats and Republicans; the freight train being the anger of the American citizens if no tax cut extension is passed while we flirt with 10 percent unemployment nationwide. Don’t buy into that hype.
Indeed a recent Gallup poll showed large support (66 percent – 30 percent) for extending the Bush tax cuts for all Americans for 2 years. However when options are added to allow tax cuts to expire for the wealthy or to let tax cuts expire entirely, Americans support letting tax cuts expire for the wealthy (44 percent) over letting all American’s continue their tax cuts (40 percent) with an additional 13 percent wanting tax cuts to expire for everyone.
Republicans have seized the Jan. 1st due date as a ticking time bomb set to overturn one of Obama’s cornerstone promises. Obama has pledged not to let taxes go up on anyone making less than $250,000 per year. Simple enough right, all they have to do is filibuster anything that does not allow tax cuts for everyone and Obama is forced to give the rich a tax cut. Well not entirely.
Imagine for a second if the Democrats grew a pair. I know … try really hard, got it? Ok. Now imagine the only tax bill the Democrats propose continues tax cuts for those making under 250k. The Republicans oppose, the due date expires, taxes go up, Obama’s a liar, Americans are pissed. Take a breath. Ok, now imagine this, within the bill that Republicans are blockading exists an “anchor” clause that says if this bill is passed after taxes go up, the federal government would retroactively refund the additional taxes paid for anyone making less than $250k, and then continue the Bush era tax cuts only for those making less than $250k.
This places the advantage back to the Democrats and puts the ball back in the Republicans’ court. The Republicans would be faced with either, voting against a tax break (I’d be shocked if they did this but it would be an understatement to say the Republicans have shocked me before), or voting to uphold Obama’s promise. The beauty of this idea is that it does away with the population’s short attention span. As each paycheck is received with the higher tax rate, each citizen will be reminded of that looming retroactive refund that gets larger and larger as time goes on. Either the Republicans will be forced to pass it quickly or they will face a mounting opposition that keeps growing with every pay cycle. Then, as the Republicans have trained us to accept, the Democrats would have to filibuster any alternative the Republicans try to propose once they gain power in the house. Those who break filibuster records can’t rightly complain about that can they?
It would be the Republicans’ only option yet again. And Boehner has already proclaimed his stance in that situation. This is a win win for the Democrats however it requires that they hold to their convictions and exercise their majority (and minority) power.