Senator Grassley Supports Selective Tax Increases

A press release from Senator Grassley (R-Iowa), “U.S. Sen Grassley: Tax revenue doesn’t grow on Christmas trees”:

The mid-term elections delivered a clear message. Americans want Washington to stop overspending and overtaxing the people of the United States.

As Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator, I’ve taken this grassroots message to the lame-duck session of Congress. Incredibly, some lawmakers seem to think that letting taxpayers keep more of their own money is like handing out “bonuses.”

Something tells me that Iowa families who are worried about less take-home pay in January don’t consider extending the current tax rates a bonus, a windfall or a handout.

Some lawmakers just don’t get it. Tax revenue comes from their constituents’ hard-earned money. It doesn’t grow on Christmas trees, no matter how fanciful the rhetoric gets about millionaires versus the unemployed. Call it a hunch. But I have a feeling the retired farmer and his family will have an even livelier discussion come New Year’s Eve if Washington doesn’t do the right thing and vote down the biggest dollar tax increase in U.S. history.

We agree that these taxes come from hard-earned money (refreshing to hear a politician say that!). Why is Grassley asking for our hard-earned tax dollars to be funneled into the ethanol industry? In a recent speech on the floor, Grassley stated:

On Tuesday this week, all of my Republican colleagues and I signed a letter to Majority Leader Reid stating that preventing a tax increase, meaning mostly income tax increases, and providing economic certainty, should be our top priority in the remaining days of this congress. I know that we all agree that we cannot and should not allow job-killing tax hikes during a recession. Unfortunately, those members who have called for ending the ethanol incentive have directly contradicted this pledge because a lapse in the credit will raise taxes, costing over 100,000 U.S. jobs at a time of near 10 percent unemployment. The taxpayer watchdog group, Americans for Tax Reform, considers the lapse of an existing tax credit for ethanol to be a tax hike.

Now is not the time to impose a gas tax hike on the American people. Now is not the time to send pink slips to more than 100,000 ethanol-related jobs.

As noted above, Grassley wants to keep taxes low for Americans. He should then encourage the expiration of the ethanol tax credit. The ethanol tax credit is paid for by American taxpayers in the form of a giant check taken from the general fund sent to oil blenders (though primarily benefiting the ethanol industry). Allowing its expiration would actually decrease the tax burden on Americans. It would only decrease the profitability of the small but very profitable ethanol industry, which is still guaranteed business via federal mandates. One would think that Grassley would comprehend this. Perhaps, similar to Al Gore’s recent admission, Grassley has a certain fondness for Iowa farmers — at the expense of the rest of the country.

Image credit: poetpic’s flickr photostream.