Chattanooga Times Free Press: Editorial: Sen. Alexander vs. higher taxes

Posted on October 1, 2010

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is troubled that the Democrat-run Congress is going home this week for a long break without first ensuring that all Americans who pay taxes won’t be hit with big tax increases in January.

Existing tax relief across a broad range of incomes is set to expire at the end of this year, unless Congress takes action to extend that relief. That creates a serious economic danger for our country, because imposing big new taxes in the midst of a recession is a sure job killer — in a time when we already have nearly 10 percent unemployment!

But President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress refuse to vote to extend tax relief for all. Instead, they want to single out “the rich” for tax increases — even though upper-income Americans already pay a vastly bigger proportion of the income taxes than other income groups pay.

Alexander points out that hundreds of thousands of small businesses — a huge potential engine of job creation — would be hit by tax increases on the so-called “rich.”

“Raising taxes on anybody in a recession makes it harder to create jobs,” he said in a conference call with journalists earlier this week.

He said he hopes Congress will use its “lame-duck” session after it returns following the Nov. 2 elections to pass legislation preventing any Americans from facing a tax increase next year.

He also pointed out that costly ObamaCare socialized medicine has already begun having the negative effects that he and other observers predicted. ObamaCare is among the key reasons why insurers are now raising premiums, for instance.

Alexander is optimistic that “the American people are going to send a message to Washington” in the elections that they are upset about its fiscal irresponsibility. He believes majority Democrats will be on the receiving end of much of that frustration.

“Voters know who’s in charge in Washington,” he said.

We hope that lawmakers of both parties who are elected in November will take that message to heart.