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Mike Johanns Votes To Hold Middle Class Tax Cuts Hostage

On July 25, 2012, the Senate held up-or-down votes on two competing tax plans: the Republican plan, which would have kept Bush-era tax breaks in place for everyone - including the wealthy, and the Democratic plan, which would extend tax breaks for all income up to $250,000. The GOP plan was rejected by a 54 to 45 margin, but the Democratic proposal passed 51 to 48. The votes by Nebraska's Senators followed partisan lines. Senate Ben Nelson voted for the Democratic proposal and against the GOP proposal, while Senator Mike Johanns voted with his party.

What the votes by Senator Johanns mean is that he will not vote for the tax cuts for the middle class unless the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are extended as well. In other words, Johanns is willing to hold hostage the middle-class tax cuts for 98% of Americans and nearly every small business owner in order to provide tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The last thing a typical middle class family can afford is a $2,200 tax hike at the beginning of next year.

Johanns rationalized his irresponsible votes by contending that, "A massive tax increase will drive our economy to its knees and bring about another recession." It's pretty evident here that Johanns is woefully ignorant of recent economic history. As I've discussed here before, every Republican predicted in 1993 that raising the top marginal tax rate to 39.6% would cause a recession. Rolling back the Bush tax cuts for those who make over $250,000.00 per year would bring back that top marginal rate of 39.6%

I would like to take this occasion to give Mr. Johanns a little history lesson. After the 1993 tax increase on the wealthy, the Republicans were proven to be dead wrong. The country experienced its greatest peacetime economic boom in history. On the other hand, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that Johanns supports were an abject failure. Bush had the worst job creation record since Herbert Hoover and the economy collapsed in 2008.

Senator Johanns has a history of voting against middle class tax cuts.

As recently as December 2011, Johanns voted against a Social Security payroll tax cut that only benefited the middle class. (Senator Nelson voted in favor of it.) Mr. Johanns' opposition to middle class tax cuts exposes an inconvenient truth about the priorities of today's GOP. If the wealthy don't get a tax cut, Johanns will simply allow taxes to go up on the middle class. Johanns and the Republican Party once again have demonstrated whose side they are on. What these votes means is that there is nothing that the GOP and Johanns won't do to assist the wealthy - even at the expense of the middle class.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.


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