Sen. Hatch: Higher Taxes On The Rich Would Make The U.S. ‘A Second Rate Nation’

Republicans in Congress have decided to ramp up their campaign to extend the Bush tax cuts already, with House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) claiming last week that the 2013 expiration of the cuts is causing uncertainty in the economy today. President Obama has said that he will not renew the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans when they expire in 2013, even though he extended those cuts as part of last December’s tax deal.

Today, in an interview with CBS News, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, got in on the act, saying that allowing the Bush tax cuts for just the richest Americans to expire would turn the U.S. into a “second rate nation”:

The fact of the matter is that you raise those taxes, and see what you’re going to get. You let them go up, like the Democrats [want to] let them go up, and we’ll more quickly become a second rate nation.

Watch it (about 7:15):

Tax revenue in the U.S. is currently the lowest its been in more than half a century. Taxes, including those on the rich, are lower than they were under conservative icon President Reagan. As Zaid Jilani pointed out, “The top 400 taxpayers — who have more wealth than half of all Americans combined — are paying lower taxes than they have in a generation.”

It’s unclear why Hatch thinks that allowing tax rates for the very richest Americans to go back to where they were under the Clinton administration — still far below where they were under Presidents Reagan or Eisenhower — means immediate American decline. In a new Pew poll, 66 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on the richest Americans as a way to reduce the deficit.

Hatch also said, “The Bush tax cuts were proven to be effective in their own way.” In fact, the Bush tax cuts delivered none of their promised results, leading to the weakest economic expansion of the post-war period. Read out full report on the failed legacy of the Bush tax cuts here.