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Democrats could learn from JFK Today’s Democrats could learn a lot from one of their icons, if they’d just pay attention. Declared President John F. Kennedy in 1962, “It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.” Congressional Democrats are close to kicking the issue of extending the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts to some time after the Nov. 2 elections. Lawmakers can’t keep kicking indefinitely because those tax cuts expire at midnight on Dec. 31. And while popular attention focuses on the income-tax rates, cuts in dividend, capital-gains and inheritance taxes also expire. The sunset provision was a compromise by the Bush White House and the then-majority congressional Republicans to get enough votes to pass the cuts. Otherwise, they would have done what they wanted to do and what in a perfect world, they would have done – make them permanent. The Republicans, and most Americans, still want to make the tax cuts permanent. The Democrats – sticking to their usual vindictive “class warfare” approach – would do that for everybody but families making over $250,000 a year and individuals earning over $200,000. So what would it mean if the Democrats manage to kill the tax cuts? A single person with an adjusted gross income of about $40,000 would pay an extra $400 or so in taxes, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. And if they make $80,000, they’d pay an extra $1,600. Married couples who filed jointly with the combined $80,000 AGI would pay about $2,200 extra. If their AGI was $160,000, it would be about $5,500 extra in taxes, according to the WSJ. Oh, and because the child tax credit would revert to the Clinton-era $500 from the current $1,000 per child, they’d be socked with an extra tax hike by Uncle Obama, er, Uncle Sam. Do you really want to be sending that much more of your hard-earned dollars to Washington for Obama and Congressmen of both parties to spend like drunken sailors? The Democrats could pass their plan on a straight vote in both the House and the Senate. The problem is, again, the Senate, where they need to pick up a Republican vote to shut off debate. So far, they don’t have it, and hopefully won’t get it. Kicking the can down the road has put the tax cuts squarely in the congressional election campaigns, and Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are taking a beating, as are many congressional Democrats. That’s good. They deserve it. Obama’s obstinate determination to implement what amounts to one of the biggest tax hikes in history – unless he can persuade the Senate to go along with “sticking it” to better-off Americans by letting the tax cuts expire – is a sad commentary both on him and the rest of the Democratic leadership. We refer again to President Kennedy, who in January 1963 declared, “The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive.” So, President Obama: Are you listening?

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