The Upstate New York Tea Party is out with a news release hitting Rep. Bill Owens for his vote on the debt ceiling hike.
Mark Barie, the UNYTEA chief, called the debt vote a "budget gimmick." That's because, as people like Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham have pointed out, the trillions in deficit reductions we saw weren't in actual dollars. It was just a cut from an increase. That is, if I told you I was going to give you 50 dollars tomorrow, and instead I only gave you 45, that'd be a $5 cut. (We saw this parlor trick play out in the state budget, as well. The final budget did indeed cut spending from one year to the next, but there were arguments over how big the actual cuts to things like school aid were, because some people included the projection as part of the equation, and others didn't. [Though one could very easily argue that cutting from projections is indeed a cut. If I was promised a raise and didn't get one, I wouldn't be very happy either.])
I should note that the fractious tea party didn't line up in its entirety against the debt vote. In fact, a slim majority of the tea party caucus in the House of Representatives voted in favor of it, joining Mr. Owens.
This is the first broadside from UNYTEA against Mr. Owens in this election cycle that I've seen so far.
Mr. Owens has called for the debt deal to include "revenue raisers" — aka, tax hikes. Mr. Barie, unsurprisingly, is not a big fan of that.
“Americans are sick and tired of new taxes," Mr. Barie said in a news release. "When will Owens get the message?”
Mr. Barie makes the argument counter to what many progressives and liberals have. Those on the left say that middle-class families are bearing the brunt of the deficit deal. Not so, Mr. Barie says.
"The top 1 percent of income owners in the US earn 19% of the money and pay 37% of the taxes. The bottom 50% of wage earners earn 13% of the income and pay only 3% of the taxes."
The debt plan itself doesn't include new taxes, but a supercommittee being convened to identify budget balancers down the road could, hypothetically, raise taxes.