Senator James Clyburn’s (D-SC) appearance on Fox News Sunday on November 13 regarding the Super Committee was a disgrace. If he is representative of the Democrats on the committeee, there really is no hope that any meaningful conclusion can be reached by November 23rd. His analysis of tax loopholes and deficit reduction was utterly inaccurate.
In the first instance, Clyburn disagreed with the premise that cutting loopholes results in a tax increase. He clearly doesn’t understand that the loopholes to which he is referring are really the tax deductions that taxpayers take. Such deductions are reasonable to a lot of people because they do have some incentives, but, financially speaking, they are revenue losers and detrimental to growth. Cutting the loopholes (deductions) will increases taxes because people will not be able to reduce their taxable income as much, thereby likely ending up in a higher tax bracket.
Additionally, when confronted by the moderator over his analysis, Clyburn declared that he wants to look for the loopholes for those wealthy taxpayers “that allow you to go down to zero in taxes” .Of course, the truth is that there is no way to do that. For Clyburn to assert such a ridiculous idea on national television shows he has no fiscal acumen.
In perhaps the most egregious comment of the interview, Clyburn insisted with a straight face that the Super Committee can and should consider the $917 billion worth of money that won’t be spent on Iraq and Afghanastan to be a tax cut. When confronted with this absurity, Clyburn justified his remarks by arguing that the money should be counted because it can be “plowed back” into the economy.
How could we ever have expected a serious and substantive meeting of the minds when legislators as oblivious as Clyburn are members of the Super Committee?