On eve of President Obama's announcement on how he'll pay for jobs plan, Republicans say they're not interested

Posted by Mitch Perry on Sun, Sep 18, 2011 at 7:45 PM

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President Obama will unveil on Monday his plan to reduce the deficit and pay for his new jobs plan by calling for a higher tax rate on millionaires to ensure they pay at least the same share of income in taxes that middle class families do.

Of course, for anything to get passed, the White House needs the acquiescence of dozens of House Republicans, which hasn't happened since he was inaugurated 2 1/2 years ago.

But with more Americans hurting than ever, won't Republicans want to do something now with Obama, with an election still 14 months away, as Obama said in his September 8 speech?

Of course, not.

Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace that the President's plan is nothing more than "class warfare."

RYAN: Great. So, I guess what he's saying he's going to raise on capital at ordinary income tax rate, raising capital gains and dividends. Look, if you tax something more, Chris, you get less. If you tax job creators more, you get less job creation. If you tax investment more, you get less investment.

At a time when experts are telling us, including, I said the fiscal commission, we should lower tax rates on investment and job creation by getting rid of all of the loopholes so we can create economic growth. So, we think this is going in the wrong direction. Let's not forget that under the current law that the president has already passed, the top tax rate on individual and small businesses in 2013 goes to about 44.8 percent.

So, we have employers in Wisconsin that pay that tax rate are competing against countries that are taxing their businesses from 16 percent in Canada, almost 21 percent going in England, 25 percent in China. The world taxes their businesses at about 25 percent and he's saying we're going to tax these job creators at above 45 percent with this new tax. What it does is it adds further instability to our system, more uncertainty and it punishes job creation and those people who create jobs.

Class warfare, Chris, may make for really good politics but it makes a rotten economics. We don't need a system that seeks to divide people. We don't need a system that seeks prey on people's fear, envy and anxiety. We need a system that creates job and innovation, and removes these barriers for entrepreneurs to go out and rehire people. I'm afraid these kinds of tax increases don't work.

Okay, so I guess that's a no.

Well, what about the most powerful Republican in the U.S. Senate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch " our main job is making sure this President isn't re-elected" McConnell? What are his thoughts?

“We had that vote a couple of years ago when Democrats basically owned the Congress, they had overwhelming control of the Senate and the House, and it was defeated then,” McConnell pointed out. “So I would simply go back to what the President said last December in signing a two-year extension of the current tax hikes: it’s a bad thing to do in the middle of an economic downturn.”

Meet The Press Host David Gregory then challenged McConnell, who at one moment says everything is "on the table" when it comes to determining how to cut the deficit, yet then says "no new taxes."

MR. GREGORY: Isn't this classic? Politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths? We can't have an ultimatum, "my way or the highway," but we will not talk about tax increases as we go forward to try to bring this budget into balance over time.

SEN. McCONNELL: Well, regretfully, it never gets talked about, but there actually are things we agree on. We passed the Budget Control Act last August, this past August. It will get us a trillion dollars in savings over 10 years. We're going to get another minimum of a million—a trillion, $200 billion savings out of the Joint Committee. We passed a patent bill that we think will help the economy. This week we extended the Federal Aviation Administration, and the—we passed a highway bill. If the president would send up these trade bills that have been sitting on his desk for two and a half years, ever since the day he was sworn in, we'll pass those. There are things we can do together, David, and we're ready to do it.
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MR. GREGORY: But let's talk about the hard stuff because my question's about taxes.

SEN. McCONNELL: Mm-hmm.

MR. GREGORY: If the president is willing to deal on Medicare cuts, cuts to that program, are you willing to consider tax increase as part of a larger effort to reduce the deficit?

SEN. McCONNELL: Well, we're certainly interested in tax reform. I don't have a single member of my conference who doesn't think it's time to take a whole look at the tax code all over again. It's been 25 years since President Reagan led us through this effort on a bipartisan basis back in the mid-'80s. It got the top rate from 70 percent down to 28 percent, was a big step in the right direction, and helped produce an economic boom for a fairly lengthy period of time. So tax reform, we're certainly open to. We're not opposed to more revenue.

The way you get more revenue is getting the economy going. Government is a big winner when the economy is moving. Right now, we've got—we've thrown a big wet blanket over the private sector economy. We've borrowed too much, we've spent too much, we're dramatically overregulating every aspect of the private sector in our country. And now we're threatening to raise taxes on top of it. That's not going to get the economy moving.

MR. GREGORY: Isn't the reality, Leader, that you laid out the political playbook for Republicans, and that's to make this president a one-term president. You've laid that out before. Is it your view that it's political malpractice to do business with the president on this point, and by taking any tax increases off the table, to either jump-start the economy or to deal with the deficit problem down the road, you say, "We're not going to give him anything now, the window is closed. Let's have it out in the election."

SEN. McCONNELL: No, the window's not closed. I mean, the election is next year, in case anybody forgot. It's not this year.

McConnell's right. Republicans need to go along with a few items that some of their members have expressed support for. They be too "modest," but we've got divided government, and Obama is not about to unveil a new plan. Democrats still control the U.S. Senate, by the way. Can Washington fix the economy for the better? Maybe not. But who could disagree with Obama that 14 months is too long to wait to try to come up with a serious plan?

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