Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tiberi Grows Comfortable in Pathetic Jerk Role

After an ugly end to the campaign, in which he accused his opponent of encouraging experimentation on live fetuses, I expected Pat Tiberi to take a long shower and lay low for a couple of months. But no.

I leave town to eat some turkey, and look what I miss... Pat Tiberi has written an LTE to the Bexley News. Well, actually to Suburban News Publications in general. They don't have the letter (from their 11/22 issue) on their website, but 'An Ohioan's Blog' has a transcription, as does Newark, OH country station WCLT:

It certainly didn’t take long. Before they’ve even been assigned offices or picked up their fresh, shiny IDs, members of the new Democrat majorities in the House and Senate were told by a top former Clinton administration official that the first thing they should do is raise taxes.

Umm, WTF do you mean, Pat, there they go being told...? If I were to write: It certainly didn't take long. Less than a month after the election, Pat Tiberi is already being told by local bloggers that the very next thing he should do is to go make sweet love to a box turtle, what does that imply about Mr. Tiberi's actual romantic endeavors?

How about going after folks for things they actually do. Try this one on: It certainly didn't take long. Less than 10 days after the Wall Street Journal printed an editorial beginning:

That was fast. A mere two days after Democrats capture Congress claiming they wouldn't raise taxes, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin tells them they should do so anyway.

"You cannot solve the nation's fiscal problems without increased revenues," declared Mr. Rubin, the Democratic Party's leading economic spokesman, in a speech last Thursday.

Pa(rro)t may have to be renamed P(lagi)a(ris)t.

“You cannot solve the nation’s fiscal problems without increased revenues,” former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin advised during a Washington speech less than 48 hours after the mid-term elections. He wasn’t just talking about letting today’s low tax rates expire in a few years as required by law, either. He suggested that taxes be increased right now.

Yes, of course, it was suggested with that suggestive wink, that knowing nod, the impish half-grin... If you've got a quote, Pat, put up or shut up. Not only do you not have a pithy quote, but a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, no liberal group, looks at that same part of Mr. Rubin's speech and declares:

The press takes all this to mean that Rubin backs tax-rate increases, an assumption that makes sense given his repeated criticism of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. Rubin also argues that tax-rate changes don’t affect economic behavior. He said recently that corporate executives work just as hard when tax rates are higher. The average taxpayer’s attitude must therefore be the same.

Still, watch what he does, not what he says. Then you begin to see that this man, who knows more about how the economy works than almost anyone, is ambivalent about raising taxes. He knows that tax increases can hurt the economy, and that voters understand that. He also knows that tax cuts can widen revenue.

Pat continues:

Forgive me, Mr. Rubin, but the American people are already providing their government with a huge increase in taxes. The government says revenues in the fiscal year that ended on September 30 were up 12% from the previous year, a trend that continued through October. In fact, the Treasury Department took in some $85.8 billion, the largest amount ever collected in a single day, on September 15.

This is that increased revenue Mr. Rubin mentioned. And it has nothing to do with keeping or repealing the tax cuts on individuals. Mr. Tiberi, try to understand, I am a person. Despite the legal definition, ExxonMobil is not. ExxonMobil is paying more in gross taxes based on obscene profits, according to the report that generated your figure:

Corporate Tax Receipts Reach Record High. "Record high U.S. corporate tax receipts in the third quarter signal stronger-than-expected corporate profits for the period and the likelihood of a smaller budget deficit than forecast for 2006 and possibly 2007, analysts said on Monday. Corporate tax receipts reached $71.8 billion in the third quarter, making Friday's gross receipts of $85.8 billion the largest in a single day in history, the Treasury Department said on Monday." (Mark Felsenthal, "Big Tax Haul Signals Strong Profits," Reuters, 9/18/06)

What about actual people, Pat?

Here’s an alternative: Instead or telling Americans they need to pay more, how about just collecting what’s already owed? Earlier this year, we were told that as much as $345 billion--that's right, billion--in taxes went uncollected in 2001. The magnitude of that number cannot be overstated. If unpaid taxes totaled a similar amount last year, it would have been more than enough to wipe out the $248 billion federal deficit reported for fiscal 2006—with plenty to spare.

First, Pat, just because those taxes weren't collected in 2001 doesn't mean they weren't collected. We already go after it:

Late payments and other IRS enforcement and compliance efforts, including taxpayer audits and collection activities (payment arrangements, liens, levies and other legal actions) recover some of the Tax Gap. For Tax Year 2001, the IRS expects eventually to collect an additional $55 billion of the tax gap, reducing the net amount of the tax gap to between $257 billion and $298 billion.

So what about that $250-$300 Billion not collected... who has it?

Among the areas where taxpayer compliance appears to have worsened are:

Reporting of net income from flow-through entities, such as partnerships and S corporations.
Reporting of proprietor income and expenses, such as gross receipts, bad debts and vehicle expenses
Reporting of various types of deductions

So here's Pat's alternative - Fix the economy by auditing every single small business owner, and a hefty sample of those who itemize deductions.

The former Treasury Secretary was right about one thing. There are serious, long term structural problems that must be addressed, most notably with Social Security and Medicare. But it’s wrong to suggest that the only answer is to increase taxes now. First, any immediate tax hike wouldn’t be used to help Social Security or Medicare because those programs are now running surpluses and will for years to come. Does anybody seriously believe Democrats would increase taxes now, then set the money aside? They’d simply spend it, and worry about entitlement programs later.

There are problems. Nobody suggested the only answer was to increase taxes. Nobody. Let me repeat - Nobody. I've been trying (prior to this post) to be more diplomatic in the days post-election, but quite simply, P(lagi)a(ris)t is a pathetic, dishonest, partisan hack. Need more proof? He asks if anyone seriously believes Democrats... We've had an astronomical increase in the budget deficit, due not just to the revenue decreases from the irresponsible tax cuts, but to dramatically increased spending. Republicans don't spend cash, they run up the credit cards and blame Democrats for paying the bills. What did Al Gore want to do with the surplus? Put it in a lock-box (set money aside) to protect entitlement programs. So yes, I do believe that Democrats are more likely to be responsible with my money.

Further, Rubin proposed tax hikes as a rushed first response, not a last resort. There are numerous options for reform in Social Security, Medicare and all other government programs that should be considered before higher taxes are even brought to the table for discussion.

No, Rubin didn't. He didn't propose tax hikes at all. That's a bald-faced lie. Patrick J. Tiberi is lying. Not telling the truth. Fabricating. Making stuff up. Bearing False Witness.

The timing of Rubin’s let’s-raise-taxes statement was curious for another reason. He waited until after the election. He must have known that a number of Democrat candidates told voters they were against tax increases. His statement to the contrary, if offered during the campaign, would have put them in an extremely uncomfortable position. Now, of course, voters could be forgiven for wondering if they’ll be hearing the same old song from Democrats, saying one thing before election day, then doing the opposite once they get to Washington.

No, Pat, he waited until after the election to provide consultation to the Dems because the minority party is pretty impotent when it comes to setting budget policy. I'm sure you'll get used to it.

We’ll find out after they officially take over as the majority party in Congress on January third.

Yes we will, Pat. I only regret that people didn't get more of a taste of the real Rep. Tiberi a month ago, and that you'll still have a front row seat when it happens.

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