Paul Ryan and Chris Van Hollen, the top Republican and the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, debated the tax deal yesterday on Fox News Sunday. Ryan rebutted the charge that the tax deal is just another "stimulus":
WALLACE: Well, I don't understand. Why -- I mean, I understand that stimulus has become a politically loaded word, but why isn't it a stimulus? Tax cuts are a stimulus. You guys think that they're the best kind of stimulus.
RYAN: Look, only in Washington is not raising taxes considered a tax cut. Nobody's getting a tax cut here. We're not cutting taxes. We're preventing tax increases from occurring.
If we were actually cutting tax rates, then we might have a stimulus. We're not actually cutting tax rates here. We're simply preventing them from being increased. That is why we do not see this as particularly stimulative. It just prevents bad policies going forward.
Van Hollen's main objection to the tax deal is that the estate tax--35% over $5 million--is not high enough. But, he said, "We're not going to hold this thing up at the end of the day, but we do think that simple question should be put to" a vote.
As Ryan noted, Van Hollen seemed to make news with his statement that Democrats aren't going to blow up the tax deal over the estate tax:
"If what Chris VanHollen is saying is they're going to let this agreement come to a vote and they're not going to play any -- they're not going to rig the rules with the amendment process, then we might be able to move forward here. So that's interesting to me.
I would simply say this. Look, class warfare might make for good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. And at the end of the day we have to ask yourselves questions in this country.
Are we interested in treating the symptoms of poverty and economic stagnation through income redistribution and class warfare, or do we want to go at the root causes of poverty and economic stagnation by promoting pro-growth policies that promote prosperity?