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Walter Jones and the Bush Tax Cuts

One bit of pushback I’ve encountered in response to today’s column about Walter Jones: the claim that Jones was one of just three Republicans to vote with House Democrats to raise taxes in 2010. Viewed in context, this is misleading. It’s true that Jones joined Ron Paul and Jimmy Duncan in voting for a Democratic […]
walter jones

One bit of pushback I’ve encountered in response to today’s column about Walter Jones: the claim that Jones was one of just three Republicans to vote with House Democrats to raise taxes in 2010.

Viewed in context, this is misleading. It’s true that Jones joined Ron Paul and Jimmy Duncan in voting for a Democratic bill that would have extended the Bush tax cuts for most taxpayers, but not for the highest earners.

Unlike most of the Democrats who voted for this bill, however, Jones and the other two Republicans did not actually favor increasing tax rates on the top earners. Democrats controlled the House at the time and the Bush tax cuts were going to expire in full unless Congress passed and President Obama signed an extension.

At the time, there was a real possibility that all the tax cuts were going to lapse in 2011. Democrats were arguing that the GOP was holding lower tax rates for the middle class hostage to lower rates for the top 2 percent. Jones, Paul, and Duncan wanted to extend the lower rates for however many people they could.

When I wrote about this in the context of Ron Paul at the time, a representative of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform commented, “The bill Congress voted on yesterday is a tax cut relative to 2011 law, which assumes everyone’s taxes go up. By preventing some people’s taxes from going up, this would score out as a tax cut.”

Norquist is hardly in the tank for Jones; he campaigned against him in 2008.

Jones voted for the full Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. He voted to make the first round of Bush tax cuts permanent in 2002. He voted for the full extension of the Bush tax cuts in 2010, after the vote for which he is being criticized.

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