How about some ‘intellectual consistency' on tax rates?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Unless Congress acts, Americans of all income levels face a massive tax increase on Jan. 1, 2011. The Post ["What's another $678 billion," editorial, July 14] seems to believe that maintaining current tax policy, except for those in the top two income tax brackets, need not be "offset" with other tax hikes. And yet it asked how I would "pay" for extending the top two rates.

I suggest intellectual consistency.

If The Post is worried that extending the top two tax rates would "cost" the government $678 billion, shouldn't it also worry that extending all of the other tax rates and provisions would "cost" $1.2 trillion? Surely The Post wasn't suggesting we raise other taxes by $1.2 trillion just to keep current tax rates where they are today.

The Post also questioned my assertion that raising taxes on upper-income Americans would "clobber small businesses." But facts are stubborn things. Small businesses generated roughly 64 percent of net new jobs in the past 15 years. Of the almost 120 million private-sector workers in the United States, slightly more than half work for small businesses. So if we're trying to promote economic policies that create jobs, why raise taxes on the job creators?

The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation noted this month that half of all income reported by individuals in the top two tax brackets is business income. These are the small businesses that are successful enough to employ other hardworking Americans.

With the unemployment rate hovering near double digits, I suggest The Post spend less time demonizing the supposed "wealthy" and more time discussing ways to get Americans back to work. So far, the spending spree by the Obama administration and threats of a massive tax hike have been spectacularly unsuccessful.

Jon Kyl, Washington

The writer, a Republican from Arizona, is the Senate minority whip.

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