Tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 expire at the end of this year. President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders have been eager to extend the breaks for individuals who earn less than $200,000 annually and joint filers who make less than $250,000. Those who earn more would pay higher, pre-2001 rates starting next year.
However, a small but growing number of moderate Democrats are balking at boosting taxes on the rich. Many face electorates that recoil at the mention of any tax increase. Some represent areas that are loaded with wealthier taxpayers. Further, some incumbent senators who don’t face voters this fall are reluctant to increase taxes on anyone while the economy remains sluggish.
Without their support, the push to raise rates on the rich probably will fail.
“The economy is very weak right now. Raising taxes will lower consumer demand at a time when we want people putting more money into the economy,” said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who isn’t seeking re-election.
That last sentence should be amended with the words “So shut the fuck up”.
Friendly reminder, it was the Bush tax cuts that helped turn the Clinton surplus into a deficit. And it was because they added to the deficit that they could only last ten years.
Now, with an opportunity to level the playing field tax wise, A few..Few…”Moderates” are trying to scuttle the ship.
The bigger problem for Democrats looms in the Senate, where Majority Leader Reid’s immediate problem is getting the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the measure. Democrats control 59 seats, and at least three of them — Bayh, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Kent Conrad of North Dakota — have signaled that they won’t back a permanent repeal of the tax cuts for the wealthy.
They suggest a way out of a stalemate — temporarily extending all the expiring tax rates — but so far the leadership isn’t going along.
It there ever was a time for Harry Reid to ball up and call all these idiots into his office and lay down the big pimp hand, this would be it. Extending the cuts for the highest brackets right now is not just bad fiscal policy. It’s bad optics. It will look like the Democrats care more about the rich than the middle class when it’s just a couple of nervous nellies. (Including Ben Nelson who’s ass is already grass for blocking the extensions of unemployment benefits.) Explaining the actual reasons takes nuance.
And in an election year, nuance is usually the first thing dragged in an alley and beaten to a bloody pulp