A vigorous debate about public issues is usually a healthy thing. The clash of opposing views and opinions can stimulate the public's interest and thought, and provide substance -- meat -- for people to chew on and digest. Expressing opinions is one of the most sacred hallmarks of American life. However, the audience usually has to trust in the honesty of the person expressing the opinion to ensure it bears some relation to the truth. Unfortunately, in political debate for most of the last 20 years, the truth has been missing in action more and more frequently. Today, the truth is seldom allowed to get in the way of creating a great sound bite or persuasive argument.
For example, the Heritage Foundation has disseminated an op-ed claiming that "Obama's tax plan would definitely hurt job creators." It didn't allow truth to be an impediment in opposing the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for personal income above $250,000 per year. In trying to make a case that allowing Bush Administration tax cuts to expire for the highest 3 percent of income in the country will stifle the economy by raising taxes on "job creators," the Heritage Foundation ignored facts and relied instead on tired and completely discredited talking points.
Let's sprinkle the discussion with just a few factual points:
- President George W. Bush's original rationale for cutting tax rates in 2001 was to get rid of a sizable budget surplus at the end of the Clinton Administration. Remember?
The idea that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire -- as Republicans intended -- yet only on income above $250,000 per year will somehow stifle the economy or burden a large proportion of small business owners adds no substance to the public dialog. Instead of meat for a discussion, we're being served very thinly sliced baloney.