Chris Van Hollen’s Math

Moments of clarity and candor are rare in Washington – almost as rare as good policy.  Today, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) provided such moment of clarity on MSNBC.

When asked by Chuck Todd if he was okay with extending the payroll tax cut for an additional 10-months without “paying” for it, the high ranking Democrat had this say:

…but opposing a short-term 10-month tax cut for 160 million Americans without offsets. And so, look, we would have preferred to pay by shutting down the loopholes over the next ten years… (emphasis added)

You heard that right, Congressman Van Hollen proposed to “pay for” a 10-month tax cut by raising various taxes over the next ten years.  Applying the same Washington-style logic, it would take 60 years to offset a five-year bill.  As Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) might say, “that’s ridiculous.”

Not only is Congressman Van Hollen’s math absurd, so it the contention that we should pay for the extension of tax cuts.  As Heritage Action’s CEO Michael Needham wrote yesterday:

…we do not believe there is a cost associated with allowing people to keep their own money. To believe that tax cuts must be offset is to accept the steadfast liberal claim that the money belongs to government, not the individual. It also tacitly acknowledges that tax increases are fair game for decreasing deficits (setting aside the practical concerns that tax hikes hurt the economy and encourage more spending). 

Accepting the logic of the left not only makes for bad policy, but it also boxes conservatives in when it comes to consideration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. By accepting the premise of paying for tax cuts, we will be faced with the need to find trillions of dollars in offsets at the end of the year. But with President Obama prepared to veto any meaningful spending reforms, we are all but guaranteed that those job-creating tax cuts will die, including those for the middle class.

The Heritage Foundation’s J.D. Foster added this:

Some still argue that extending the payroll tax holiday should be “paid for.” Their concern for our dismal fiscal state is appreciated, but here the concern is misplaced. Allowing the payroll tax holiday to expire would raise taxes. Extending the holiday avoids a tax hike. As many have argued in relation to the Bush tax cuts, policymakers should not raise taxes to avoid a tax hike. If Congress can achieve some spending reductions while avoiding a tax hike, so much the better, but all should understand that avoiding a tax hike and cutting spending are two unrelated policies. 

So, to be absolutely clear, conservatives do not believe tax cuts should be paid for or that our kids should learn math from Congressman Van Hollen.

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