Yesterday, Senate Republicans took to the morning talk shows to discuss the proposed economic stimulus package, which the Senate will begin debating today. During their respective discussions, both Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) were adamant about including tax cuts that are properly targeted:
MCCONNELL: We think we ought to lower tax rates for medium- and low-income people….This is a lot of money. If we’re going to spend anywhere near this, Bob, we need to target it directly. It needs to be timely, temporary, and targeted.
KYL: The centerpiece of this is a $500 rebate to folks, about 27 percent of whom don’t even pay federal income tax. That didn’t work last year. It’s not going to work this year. And so that’s not a good place to start.
Of course, there’s a contradiction here, in that McConnell extolled the virtues of targeted tax cuts for lower-income people, while Kyl ridiculed just that sort of cut. More importantly though, the only stimulus proposal that Senate Republicans have come forward with is Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) “American Option,” which as Ben Furnas noted earlier, is $3.1 trillion in permanent tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.
If McConnell is really concerned about giving tax breaks to lower-income people then the following statistic — the average tax break for a corporate CEO and a minimum wage worker under the DeMint plan — should be troubling:
As Ali Frick noted over at ThinkProgress, a tax credit to lower-income workers “isn’t some kind of charity; it’s one of the most effective kinds of tax cut in terms of stimulating the economy.” Since stimulus (in part) means boosting consumer demand, not padding the bank accounts of those at the top of the income scale, it makes sense that lower-income people are the ones to focus on. McConnell has the rights words, but as of yet, no action to show that he truly gets it.