While much of the focus regarding President Obama’s tax deal has been on the discontent in the Democratic caucus, a slew of House Republicans have also voiced their opposition, on the grounds that the package includes too few tax breaks and too much help for the jobless. Today, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared on CNN, and explained that she is against the tax deal because it not only extends unemployment benefits, which she has continually characterized as “massive new spending,” but because, in her mind, it increases taxes.
When a perplexed John King asked her what she was talking about, Bachmann replied that the estate tax cut Obama and the Republicans included is actually a tax increase, because a Bush-era budget gimmick set the estate tax at zero this year. Under current law, the estate tax will go to 55 percent next year, with a $1 million exemption, but under the tax deal, it will be set at 35 percent with a $5 million exemption. This cut costs about $25 billion, and benefits only those in the wealthiest 0.25 percent of households in the country.
During the interview, Bachmann insisted at least five times that this constitutes a “tax increase.” Watch a compilation:
Not only is Bachmann framing a tax cut as a tax increase, but the bill is laden with a whole slew of tax cuts: tax cuts for rich, tax cuts for the middle class, tax cuts for workers, tax cuts for those with children, ethanol tax credits, and on and on.
But later in the segment, Bachmann turned right around and railed against the tax deal for its impact on the deficit, while simultaneously claiming that deficit impact of the income tax cuts in the bill shouldn’t be considered. “I don’t think letting people keep their own money should be considered a deficit,” she said. Watch it:
All told, the tax deal costs about $950 billion over the next two years, $480 billion of which goes to maintain the Bush tax cuts. But Republicans have magicked themselves into a fantasy land where the things they like in the bill are free, but the things Obama wants cost money. On a final note, The Wonk Room pointed out that there is a legitimate problem in the bill that could result in a tax increase for the working poor and public employees.