There are plenty of things I could write about from the department of “Congress Behaving Badly,” but recent news about the reluctance of Congress to vote on extending the Bush tax cuts takes the cake. (See numerous articles, including “Voting on Bush Tax Cuts Divides Democrats in Congress before Election Day,” and “Senate Will Not Vote on Bush Tax Cuts before Election“).
I am not an expert on people's voting habits, nor do I typically write about the exasperating politics that come into play regarding what Congress should vote on and when and how they should vote. However, the idea that either Democrats or Republicans will somehow benefit by stalling a much needed action that could help make or break the economy is ludicrous. The main issue is whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the
“wealthy.” (I use this term loosely since I am certain there are many households earning $250,000 a year who do not consider themselves wealthy).
There needn't be so much confusion over a fairly simple issue. Most economists, the majority of Americans, and even President Obama himself agree that raising taxes during a recession is a bad idea. (See “Economists, Majority of Americans Agree: Don't Raise Taxes on Anyone,”). But somehow, it is not enough to simply extend the Bush tax cuts for at least another year. Five years would be better, but every little bit counts. To extend the tax cuts for everyone is way too indicative of a partisan effort to allow the private sector to spend some money, obtain some cheap capital, and create a few jobs.
Congress will adjourn soon, putting the fate of the current tax code in question and leaving taxpayers hanging out to dry. Nothing like a little more uncertainty to add to an economy that is already sputtering.