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
Advertisement

Compromise!

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

Means-testing!

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. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.