Cantor, In Chesterfield, Decries Taxes In Jobs Plan
The Richmond Times-Dispatch
September 19, 2011
As President Barack Obama was addressing his job-creation plan in the Rose Garden today, House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor, R-7th, was about 120 miles south, standing before a high school auditorium full of students and explaining contrasting philosophies on how to grow the economy.
It's "counterintuitive to think you're going to create jobs by raising taxes, period," Cantor told reporters after the roughly hour-long event this morning at James River High School in Chesterfield County.
Obama's plan calls for $1.5 trillion in new taxes as part of a 10-year deficit reduction package totaling more than $3 trillion. The president has vowed to veto any deficit reduction package that cuts benefits to Medicare recipients but does not raise taxes on the wealthy and big corporations.
About $800 billion would be raised over 10 years from repealing the Bush-era tax cuts for couples making more than $250,000 or individuals making more than $200,000 annually.
Cantor said small business people often choose to be taxed as individuals rather than as a corporation to pay less taxes, so raising taxes on people making $200,000 or more would make it more difficult for businesses to create jobs.
"That's the bottom line," he said. "Bad policy makes for bad politics."
He emphasized his aversion to tax increases -- "The president knows that we're not passing tax hikes" – but pressed efforts to work on areas where the two sides agree, including tax relief for small businesses, regulatory relief and trade agreements.
Those areas tracked the items listed in a memo that Cantor and other House GOP leaders sent to their caucus on Friday about Obama's jobs plan. The missive detailed parts of Obama's plan where Republicans agree, including incentives for businesses to hire veterans, and reforms to the unemployment insurance program.
They also outlined areas of the proposal "where it will be harder to find common ground," namely school construction monies and neighborhood stabilization grants.
After the program, during which an arranged slate of students asked questions, one James River senior approached Cantor to follow up on the proposal to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
"The point is this: it's about jobs right now. You don't create jobs by raising taxes. We've seen that," Cantor told him.
"The question is do you want to grow the economy and you lower tax rates or do you want to grow the government in Washington and we all know the government doesn't spend money as well as you can or your family can or the businesses can. I think this is the real crux of the difference in Washington right now."