Where is the party of no taxation to put its tax rage this year?
In the presidential race, Republican Mitt Romney is outraged that 47 percent of American households pay no federal income tax. The freeloaders.
In Virginia's race for an open U.S. Senate seat, Republican George Allen is outraged that, if pressed to address such a seeming inequity, Democratic candidate Tim Kaine would consider "some minimum tax level for everyone." The meanie.
And Allen? He managed to avoid saying anything substantive about "the 47 percent" during last week's candidates debate, though the moderator prodded each in turn for his reaction to Romney's view that Americans with no federal income tax liabilities are an irresponsible lot who look to the government to take care of their every need.
Allen would neither endorse nor denounce Romney's unscripted remarks, which had been taped secretly at a private fundraiser. Asked pointedly: "Do you share that vision of America?" the Virginia Republican's nonanswer was, "I have my own point of view," and went on to talk about people's belief in the American dream.
His view remained a mystery. During the event's post-debate spin cycle, though, Allen virtuously told reporters, "I don't think everyone ought to be paying income taxes."
Perhaps he could elaborate on who ought to pay.
It was Kaine, though, who was left to play defense, reminding reporters later that he was not proposing a minimum federal income tax. He had said only that as a senator, he'd be "open to a proposal that has some minimum tax level for everyone." Should, that is, someone offended by the ever-growing list of exemptions and credits want to put a minimum income tax on the table as part of a deficit reduction deal.
Is that not, after all, what Romney's outrage suggests? Everyone should be doing their bit?
Kaine, who as governor cut billions from the state budget and signed bipartisan legislation that took 140,000 low-income Virginians off the state's tax rolls, is in the unenviable position of having to assure voters he simply favors a negotiated compromise to reach a deficit-reduction deal.
Unlike a Republican Party overrun by its Teapublican insurgents. It is caught in the inherent contradiction of an uncompromising no-new-tax philosophy that insists on whacking away at taxes, refusing to replace lost revenue with other -- presumably fairer -- taxes and balancing the budget with spending cuts alone.
All while sneering that critics of Paul Ryan budget entitlement reforms are fear mongers, and resenting the many Americans who end up owing no federal tax on their income. Especially when their income is low.
Allen at least claimed to have no problem with that.