Robert Novak on those tax increase rumors that will not go away. Plus a great comment on the “disconnect” of the current Treasury boss:
Republican concern over such an outcome stems in no small part from the belief multi-millionaire Paulson has entered a realm foreign to him. One well-placed House Republican, asking that his name not be used, expressed alarm that a financier who sold $485 million worth of Goldman Sachs stock in order to be confirmed at the Treasury cannot appreciate how the payroll tax ravages self-employed businessmen and farmers.
Eliminating the cap on payroll taxes would constitute the largest tax increase in U.S. history, estimated by the Heritage Foundation during the last Congress at $1.4 trillion over 10 years. This analysis predicted that such a step would cost nearly a million jobs and more than $55 billion in projected personal savings.
The economic woe that would result from higher payroll taxes would be matched by political damage to the president if this outcome were adopted by the Democratic-controlled Congress with his approval but support from only a few Republican legislators. That political calamity can be averted if Bush takes any payroll tax increase off the negotiating table, just as Democrats refuse to talk about a partially privatized Social Security system.
That “well placed House Republican” knows what he is talking about.