President Obama’s tax plan has run into the expected buzz saw of GOP opposition, with top Republicans on Capitol Hill dismissing the proposal as a political ploy aimed at igniting a form of “class warfare.”
“I believe it’s a political proposal,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “it doesn’t propose any real change in the entitlement programs. So we’re in a position where a short-term stimulus — it might create a little help before the next election.”
“Class warfare, you know, ‘tax the rich.’ Those kinds of arguments are political. But we really truly need to be thinking about what we can do to edge up this economic growth,” said Sessions, R-Ala.
Sessions said Obama’s “math is bad,” since “every dollar” of his real deficit reduction components are tax increases.
“We have great doubts about the wisdom of increasing taxes, particularly at this time when the economy is so weak,” he said. “I think the president is not looking the American people in the eye. He’s not being honest with us about the seriousness of our situation. This is plan No. 4, and it’s just not satisfactory for the challenges we face.”
Sessions said he’s willing to consider something that would bring tax equity by ensuring the rich pay as high a percentage in taxes as middle-class taxpayers, but cautioned that such a move could backfire.
“I’m prepared to look at that,” he said, “but let me tell you about capital gains. What we found is when you reduce capital gains [taxes], you increase capital gains tax revenue… What we found was when you reduced it, people sold stock, they sold properties that they weren’t selling before because of the huge tax burden.”
“I’m dubious. The hedge fund-carried interest, I’m willing to look at that. We’ll see,” he added.
As far as stimulus goes, Sessions said his bottom line is no more burden on the deficit.
“It’s a difference of view about how to help this economy. I believe we should do everything we can to create more jobs that does not add to the debt,” he said.