President Obama and the Democrats have found a tax cut they like in the reduction of the employee share of the payroll tax. This has Republicans flustered. We need a collective slap in the face and someone to scream: “Snap out of it!” We are the party of tax cuts. If Democrats want to cut a tax, we should instantly see them that cut and then raise them one.
First, Republicans should congratulate Obama for finally recognizing that tax cuts can help the economy. In this case, the forecasting firm Macroeconomics Advisers estimates that extending the payroll tax cut enacted a year ago would mean avoiding a 0.5 percent decrease in gross domestic product growth and the loss of 400,000 jobs.
But Republicans should call Obama out on his faulty logic: If letting people keep more of their own money is good for the economy, then wouldn’t a corresponding tax increase, as Obama proposes, diminish the positive effects of the payroll tax cut?
Instead of offsetting the estimated $110 billion cost of the tax cut by raising taxes on individuals for ten years, why not cut spending by one quarter of one percent over the next decade? Take almost any recommendation for savings from the Simpson-Bowles commission and you’re there. If you want to appear worried about the Social Security trust fund that does not exist, then factor in the reduced cost of servicing the national debt and the taxes collected from the 400,000 jobs saved.
Republicans, don't make this more complicated than it has to be. We shouldn't be outflanked by the Democrats on tax cuts. Cut taxes, cut spending -- that is the Republican guiding principle for 2012. Nobody blink.