Posted: 08/26/15 21:22
by Dave Mindeman
When Republicans talk about tax relief and debt, there are usually two types of approaches. And although I don't particularly like either one, there is one approach I can respect, the other I can't. One approach just cuts taxes with a subsequent increase in debt....while the other offsets a tax cut with spending cuts. I respect the latter...the former is just hypocritical.
That's why this puffy piece about Rep. Erik Paulsen in Minnpost leaves me disappointed with the lack of depth.
I have talked about Paulsen's determination to satisfy his donor base with a repeal of the Medical Device Tax in the ACA. But the Minnpost article seems to be impressed with Paulsen's wonky approach to his job and mentions 4 particular bills --
A) Family Healthcare Flexibility Act. This repeals the cap on on FSA accounts for medical purposes....as well as the prohibition of purchasing OTC drugs with the account. More fudging with ACA.
B)Private Foundation Excise Tax Simplification Act. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: reduce from 2% to 1% the excise tax rate on the net investment income of tax-exempt private foundations. Real wonky stuff.
C) Don't Tax Our Public Safety Heroes Act. Exempts taxation of public survivor benefits for public safety officers killed in the line of duty. Hard to oppose that.
D) Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. This lowers excise taxes on craft alcoholic beverages and streamlines regulations and tax filing rules with other benefits for small craft producers. Minnesota nice.
So what two things do these items have in common (including the Medical Device Tax repeal)? Well, #1, they all reduce taxes. And #2, they all add to the national debt.
Erik Paulsen is good at finding taxes to cut or phase out or move around, but he is just awful at helping to balance the budget. Outside of a mention of the lack of offset in the Medical Device bill (a reason he does not get more Democratic support), the Minnpost article does not delve into the very real problem of repealing taxes without correcting for the revenue.
Paulsen has made a career for himself by characterizing himself as a tax cutter....but when it comes to cutting spending (the real wonky and often unpopular thing to do), Paulsen is terrible. He avoids that discussion altogether.
So praising Paulsen for getting all this support for his tax cut proposals seem very disingenuous to me. He does the easy part, but is very risk averse when it comes to doing the real work of government...balancing a budget.
So, if you feel that the national debt is your big issue....if you feel that the job of Congress is to get rid of that debt, then Rep. Erik Paulsen is not your go to person.
He makes our country's debt worse. Much worse.