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As end of Senate career looms, Bond embraces GOP battle for tax cuts

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 23, 2010 - While the battle continues in his home state over who will replace him, U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., is in Washington focusing on tax policy.

On Wednesday, he stood on the Senate floor to call for retaining all the Bush tax cuts -- and maybe adding a few more.

Bond, in office since 1987, is slated to retire after this year. Missouri's U.S. Senate candidates are vying to succeed him.

Bond's tax-cut stance is shared by many Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House, with the latter unveiling on Thursday the party's "Pledge to America" -- which includes retaining the tax cuts put in place in 2001 and slated to expire at the end of this year. Democrats say that the tax cuts, like spending, need to be paid for -- and cite the $700 billion-over-10-year cost of retaining the cuts for families who earn $250,000 a year or more.

Bond called the Democrats' plan -- to retain the middle-class cuts, but allow the higher-income cuts to end -- "a recipe for economic disaster."

Said Bond in his prepared remarks, in part (click here to read the entire speech):

"This is not a Republican or Democrat issue – which is why 31 House Democrats recently wrote Speaker of the House Pelosi urging her to act now to stop the coming tax increases on the American people.

"... Instead of listening to the American people, and even these members of his own party, President Obama is trying to convince the nation that the largest tax increase in our history won’t hurt them.

"Last week, the President took to the airwaves and claimed that he "opposes tax cuts for millionaires" – a statement he repeated in Ohio as well. ... I don’t know who the President is talking to, but, I don’t know any Missouri families who are making $250,000 dollars a year who consider themselves millionaires!

"In fact, these Missouri families would be surprised that the President lumps them in the same category as George Soros, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates."

Bond also cited the GOP contention that "half of all small business income would be affected ... up to 25 percent of American workers will be affected."

Democrats say the Republican statistics improperly lump in hedge funds and other financial instruments in the "small business" category. According to the White House, only three percent of taxpayers would be affected by eliminating the higher-income tax cuts.

Bond also called for curbs on any tax hikes on dividends and interest, and reaffirmed his belief that there should be no estate tax imposed after someone dies.

"Since Congress passed the 2,000+ page regulatory bill this year, we have seen a drop in capital formation – and tax increases will only continue to discourage productive capital formation in the private sector," the senator said.

"The death tax is anti-savings, anti-family, and anti-investment. It is quite simply un-American, and it should be eliminated entirely..."

Bond reafirmed his support for the GOP's "Tax Hike Prevention Act," . This bill prevents the tax hikes scheduled for next year, permanently "patches" the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), and protects families from an increased death tax."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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