Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let's Make a Deal

How soon before the White House and the Democrats cave and agree to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, either temporarily or permanently.  I never understood how the Democrats couldn't hit this softball out of the park before the election -- extend the tax cuts for the lower and middle class, and require a separate vote on whether to extend them for those making over $250,000.  Seemed like a great way to create a distinction between the party of the people and the party of the rich.  The Democrats, persuaded by the Blue Dogs, whiffed and now, after the election, they have signaled a willingness to compromise -- what a surprise.  As reported in the Washington Monthly, this would entail making permanent the lower rates for the middle and lower classes, and extending the breaks for the wealthy for either one or two years.  Now, without a majority in the House, Democrats see this deal as the only way to keep tax cuts for those making under $250,000.  As Greg Sargent points out, however, agreeing to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy isn't really a compromise it's a capitulation.  The Republicans, however, might not even agree to this plan, and the reason is simple, as Steven Benen of the Washington Monthly explains: " If Obama gets the middle-class tax rates now, Republicans would be forced to fight for an unpopular tax-cut plan that primarily benefits millionaires and billionaires later."  So Republicans are insisting on making all tax cuts permanent even though this would add $4 trillion to the debt.  We'll see what happens.  But what I fear will become an all-to-familiar theme, because the Democrats fumbled the issue when they were in power, they will now be forced to make unpalatable concessions to get anything done.


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