Wash. Post quoted Lungren claiming Dems plotting "largest tax increase" in history -- but by his standard, that was the GOP

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Discussing passage of a budget resolution for fiscal year 2009, The Washington Post reported Rep. Dan Lungren's accusation that Democrats are "plotting 'the largest tax increase ... in the history of the world' " without noting that by Lungren's standard, it is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who were responsible for the "largest tax increase ... in the history of the world."

In a June 6 Washington Post article discussing passage of a budget resolution for fiscal year 2009, staff writer Lori Montgomery reported Rep. Dan Lungren's (R-CA) accusation that Democrats are "plotting 'the largest tax increase ... in the history of the world' " without noting that by Lungren's standard, it is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who were responsible for the "largest tax increase ... in the history of the world."

Montgomery reported: "The spending blueprint also assumes that some of Bush's signature tax cuts will expire on schedule in 2010, bringing billions of additional dollars into the treasury. Democrats have said they will extend the tax cuts that benefit the middle class, including the increase in the child tax credit, the marriage-penalty reduction and the new 10 percent tax bracket." Montgomery added that "Republicans accused them of plotting 'the largest tax increase in the history of this Congress, which means in the history of this nation, which means in the history of the world,' said Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.)."

But Montgomery did not report that the Bush tax cuts are set to expire because of legislation passed in 2001 and 2003, when Republicans controlled Congress, as the Post has previously noted. The Republican-controlled Congress passed the Economic Growth And Tax Relief Reconciliation Act Of 2001 on May 26, 2001, with a provision sunsetting the tax cuts on December 31, 2010, causing the tax rates to return to their previous levels on that date. President Bush signed the bill on June 7, 2001. The Republican-controlled Congress also included sunset provisions when it passed the Jobs And Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act Of 2003 on May 23, 2003. Bush signed the 2003 tax cut on May 28, 2003.

In a May 27, 2001, article, the Post reported, "By terminating the tax cuts at the end of 2010, negotiators were able to avoid some tough decisions. Since they could now distribute the same amount of money over nine years rather than 10 years, they effectively boosted the size of the tax cut while at the same time hiding its true cost":

All of these provisions will expire at the end of 2010, an accounting maneuver that kept the cost below $ 1.35 trillion and allowed a deal to be struck. Since Republicans had placed the tax bill on a fast-track process allowing limited debate, an obscure Senate rule would have required the bill to lapse at the end of fiscal 2011. But when negotiations were at an impasse, lawmakers realized that they could move up the date.

By terminating the tax cuts at the end of 2010, negotiators were able to avoid some tough decisions. Since they could now distribute the same amount of money over nine years rather than 10 years, they effectively boosted the size of the tax cut while at the same time hiding its true cost.

The debates in both the House and Senate yesterday were short and largely rehashed old arguments, as lawmakers scrambled to pass the bill before noon so they could depart for the weeklong recess.

As the House Rules Committee met at 6:30 a.m. to set the parameters for the debate, Democratic caucus leader Martin Frost (Tex.) -- who usually delights in ribbing the panel's chairman, David Dreier (R-Calif.) -- asked just one question: Is it true the tax cuts outlined in the bill would end in 2010?

The Post reported in a May 24, 2003, article that "by 'sunsetting' all the tax cuts well before the bill's official 2013 expiration date, congressional tax writers took a measure that otherwise would have cost the Treasury more than $800 billion over the next decade and crammed it into a $350 billion price tag that could garner just enough support to pass the Senate. Democrats and Republicans alike predict that future Congresses and administrations will not let the tax cuts expire." The Post added: "Virtually all the tax breaks will be temporary, unless future Congresses extend them. For example, the child credit (now $600) will jump to $1,000 this year and next, then fall to $700 in 2005, rise to $800 in 2009, return to $1,000 in 2010, then plunge to $500 in 2011. Measures to help married couples and low-income taxpayers will follow similarly contorted paths."

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
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