by Max Brantley
The news release is from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee so it's written to maximize political criticism of U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin for his support today of the House Republican budget plan.
But strip away adjectives and posturing. These are some bedrock issues that will determine what shape the federal government holds for citizens and taxpayers in years to come. And Tim Griffin has voted solidly with the outline of Rep. Paul Ryan, a slashing of spending with continued favorable treatment for the well-off.
The Republican budget plan would end Medicare as a guaranteed benefit, substituting a privatized plan. Inevitably, many couldn't afford it. Food stamps also would be slashed.
The Republican budget would cut mortgage interest deductions. You could argue that the government subsidy of home ownership is a bad thing, though realtors might disagree. But you can't argue that this would not end a tangible benefit to lots of middle-income people.
Griffin has defended his opposition to increasing the tax rate on millionaires. He said it would be bad for business. This could be argued, too. But you can't argue that millionaires making most of their money from tax-preferenced income — dividends and capital gains — don't pay lower tax rates than many wage earners.
Griffin also defends continued tax preferences for major oil companies. You might think all this is a better way to run the world. If you don't, there's a Democrat to vote for in November, Herb Rule of Little Rock.
DEMOCRATIC NEWS RELEASE
Less than three weeks after voting for the controversial Republican budget that chooses millionaires over middle class homeowners and Medicare for seniors, Representative Tim Griffin (AR-02) reaffirmed his support for it on Tax Day. Griffin voted to end middle class tax benefits like the homeowners’ mortgage interest deduction and end Medicare for seniors, rather than end tax breaks for the ultra wealthy and Big Oil.
“On Tax Day, Representative Tim Griffin voted again to end critically needed tax relief for middle class homeowners in this Republican budget, while protecting tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires, and Big Oil instead,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Tim Griffin would rather pull the plug on a popular homeowners’ tax cut that benefits millions of middle class Americans and end Medicare that seniors have earned, in order to give people making over $1 million per year a $394,000 tax cut.”
Over 30 million Americans benefit from a popular homeowner tax cut called the mortgage interest deduction and that 90 percent of homeowners who get the tax cut earn less than $200,000 a year, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. In addition, the AARP has warned that the Republican budget “is likely to simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage,” while the Tax Policy Center showed that people making over $1 million per year would roughly get a $394,000 tax cut.
* Tim Griffin Votes for House Republican Budget Again. On April 17, 2012, House Republicans voted to make the House Republican budget enforceable until Congress can adopt another budget resolution. The House Republican budget, which was passed on March 29, 2012, would end Medicare’s guarantee benefit, protects $40 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil, and provides people earning more than $1 million a year with an average tax cut of $394,000. Outside estimates project that the plan would cost the economy 4.1 million jobs by 2014 and would add $3.1 trillion more to the deficit than what would be added under current law. [H Res 614, Vote #156, 4/17/12; The Hill, 4/16/12; H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12; New York Times Editorial, 3/20/12; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/27/12; see also: Tax Policy Center, Table T12-0078 and T10-0132; Economic Policy Institute, 3/21/12; The Hill, 3/20/12]
* Republican Congressman: House Republican Budget “Removes” Tax Deduction for Homeowners. A Republican Congressman who voted against the Republican budget said, “I can’t support a plan that cuts Medicare, removes widely-used tax credits for homeowners and health care, and still doesn’t balance the budget for 28 years.” [State Journal, 3/30/12]
* More than 30 Million Homeowners Claim Homeowners Tax Deduction. Nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates reveal that 34.6 million taxpayers claimed the mortgage interest deduction for tax year 2009, according to testimony from Dr. Robert Dietz, Assistant Vice President for Tax and Policy Issues, National Association Home of Builders. [U.S. Senate Hearing on Homeownership, 10/6/11]
* 90 Percent of Beneficiaries of Homeowners Tax Deduction Earn Less than 200,000. According to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), 90% of mortgage interest deduction beneficiaries earn less than $200,000 in economic income. [U.S. Senate Hearing on Homeownership, 10/6/11]
* National Association of Realtors Economist: Ending Mortgage Interest Deduction Will Raise Taxes on Middle Class. The National Association of Realtors found reducing or eliminating the mortgage interest deduction is a de facto tax increase on homeowners. Yun said eliminating the tax break would result in a middle class tax increase. [National Association of Realtors, 7/28/11]