Republicans Offer Spending Cuts in Exchange for Payroll Tax Cut

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 30 2011 5:53 PM

Republicans Offer Spending Cuts in Exchange for Payroll Tax Cut

Tax cuts pay for themselves, except when a tax cut happens to be the focal point of Democratic campaigns. Republicans have offered to break the impasse over the payroll tax cut extension with a plan of their own, one that theoretically pays for the cuts and shrinks the deficit by $111 billion more. Freshman Sen. Dean Heller, who's up in 2012, gets to carry the ball. The plan, annotated

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Extends the current temporary payroll tax holiday for one year


Eliminates millionaires’ and billionaires’ eligibility for unemployment compensation and food stamps


Requires millionaires and billionaires to pay higher Medicare premiums

More means-testing!

Offsets costs by reducing the size of the federal workforce and extending the current federal employee pay freeze for three additional years, an idea from the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission

A Republican goal acheived through other means!

Includes the Buffett Rule Act, which allows taxpayers who feel they are not taxed enough to voluntarily donate any amount of money to the U.S. Treasury on their tax returns for the purpose of paying down the national debt

Gimmickry! Nothing currently prevents taxpayers from donating to the Treasury. There's a webpage set up to do just that. It's here. This is one reason why Democrats are already coughing this up like so much rancid egg nog.

"We are glad Republicans have seen the light and taken up Democrats' call to pass a middle-class tax cut, just a few days after their leadership indicated they would oppose it," said Reid spox Adam Jentleson in a statement. Alas: "The Republican proposal cannot pass the Senate as it stands, but now that Republicans have reversed their position on this middle-class tax cut, we look forward to working with them to negotiate a consensus solution."

Why not? It worked for the debt deal, in a manner of speaking.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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