In a closed-door session on December 9, the House Democratic Caucus voted against the bill, temporarily blocking it from a floor vote by all representatives.
Clyburn declares opposition when the bill does get voted on in the House of Representatives, too. “The Majority Whip is a firm no,” The Hill reports, including Clyburn in a pool of 62 House Democrats opposing the measure and who intend to vote against it.
Six other Democrats are “leaning no,” one is “leaning yes,” and seven House Democrats are “firm yes” in their voting intentions. Only one Republican congressman is against the tax cut reinstatement (a “firm no” from Rep. Jeff Flake of Ariz.).
The Republican-proposed tax bill would maintain the same reduced tax rate on all income levels that was enacted under Pres. George W. Bush, and which is set to expire at the end of this year.
While its aid to lower- and middle-income groups slightly benefitted 98 percent of the population that falls into those economic classes, the same tax cuts substantially contributed to national debt.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Bush Administration tax cuts – totaling approximately $2 trillion between 2001 and 2007 alone – accounted for 48 percent of all national debt accumulated in that period.
If reinstated following its expiration at the end of 2010, the tax cuts would cost the government over $400 billion in revenue in only two years ($558 billion including debt interest). This would inflate to over $800 billion, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, in a 10-year period.
Clyburn’s official stance supports extension of the tax reductions on middle and lower incomes, but return to the higher rates for incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for families.
Even those higher income brackets would benefit from that tax break, too, he notes. In a November 21 interview on C-SPAN, Clyburn said “The guy who makes $255,000 will get a tax cut on that first $250,000.”
Clyburn has history of non-partisan stance on tax issues. For example, in 2001 he strongly objected to the tax-cut package proposed by Pres. George W. Bush, but also voted against the alternate proposal submitted by Democrats.
That non-partisan stance of 2001 had the same goals as Clyburn’s 2010 position: reducing national debt.
In a March 2001 press release detailing his objection to the Bush Administration tax cut proposals, Clyburn stated “It is my belief that reducing the debt is the best tax cut we can give the American people,” listing examples of reduced interest rates charged by creditors as accompanying benefits.
Clyburn stated the same principal basis for rejecting this current tax proposal: “you’ve got a big deficit reduction taking place(.)”
Despite Republican claims that these Bush Administration tax cuts were good for the U.S. economy, the only above-average growth during that same 2001-2007 era was in corporate profits. All other categories – from Gross Domestic Product to employment to net worth – were much lower than average in growth. During that period, median income fell, unemployment grew and the portion of the U.S. population reduced to poverty level increased.
According to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, the average tax savings this Bush Administration policy provided were, per income group:
- Lower 20 Percent - $20
- Middle 20 Percent - $740
- Top 20 Percent - $5,700
- Top 1 Percent - $45,000
- Millionaires - $120,000