California’s Republican senate nominee Carly Fiorina has been outspoken in her support for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy (because, hey, they pay for themselves!). At the same time, however, she has scoffed at the recent bills before Congress that extend aid to small businesses and school districts, calling the latter “so full of accounting gimmicks it’s disgraceful.”
Last night, during her first debate with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Fiorina was asked “how do you justify immediate help for the wealthiest Americans, but not for average Californians that might be out of a job?” In response, she recited some scary-sounding statistics about unemployment and said that she wants to cut regulations and taxes:
The vast majority of that [2001 and 2003] tax relief went to middle class Americans…To create jobs we need to make sure that, in particular, our small businesses, our family owned businesses, our innovators, and our entrepreneurs are freed from strangling regulation and freed from taxation.
Still at a loss for why Fiorina opposed both the small business lending bill — which also renews small business tax credits — and the state aid bill? That’s because she neglected to mention them. At all. She didn’t even try. She also claimed that the majority of the Bush tax cuts went to the middle class, when nearly two-thirds of them went to the top 20 percent of income earners.
Later in the debate, Fiorina derided the small business lending bill as “TARP junior” (even though she supported the original TARP), but as USA Today reported this week, small businesses are actually waiting for the bill to pass before they start expanding, as they want to take advantage of the loans it would provide. “I’m still waiting for Congress to sign off on the bill,” said Amarjit Kaur, who runs a convenience store and gas station in Wood Village, OR.
The fact of the matter is that preserving the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans would do next to nothing for small businesses. Neither would eliminating the estate tax, which Fiorina touched upon. And when a bill with actual relief for small businesses came before the Congress, Fiorina opposed it, and then failed to justify her opposition when directly asked.
So all the lip service that Fiorina pays to small businesses is nothing more than a shell in which to house her desire to eliminate taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Igor Volsky and Amanda Terkel have more regarding Fiorina’s debate performance.