Here’s a bit of good news. The Senate is now on record – overwhelmingly – against the value-added tax. To be sure, this doesn’t guarantee that the 85 Senators who voted the right way will continue to vote the right way if they have a real opportunity to take more money from taxpayers (after all, Obama didn’t hesitate to break his promise about no tax hikes on middle-class people), but this symbolic vote does put them on record against the VAT and it would be politically painful to reverse themselves anytime in the near future. The Washington Times reports:
Senators voted overwhelming Thursday to say they don’t want to create a new value-added tax, or VAT, in a vote designed to take the wind out of an idea that had been circulating among policymakers for the last several weeks. The 85-13 vote against a VAT was nonbinding, but it did put one chamber of Congress on record in opposition to adding the new tax just weeks before the first meeting of President Obama’s debt commission, which is supposed to report back this year on how to bring the country’s finances under control. Six senators are part of that commission, and all six voted against a VAT, a type of consumption tax that’s been adopted in Europe. …The VAT vote was spurred by recent comments by Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve who is now a top economic adviser to Mr. Obama. He said imposing a VAT “was not as toxic an idea” as it once was. Mr. Volcker was answering a question from the audience at an event in New York. …Of the 13 senators who voted to support the possibility of a VAT, 12 were Democrats and one, Sen George V. Voinovich of Ohio, was a Republican.