Friday, December 3, 2010

Finding New Lows

Democrats in the White House, Senate and House all say they want to extend the Bush Tax cuts, but only for the middle class. How did the house respond?
Using a wily procedural maneuver to tie Republican hands, House Democrats managed to pass, by a vote of 234-188, legislation that will allow the Bush tax cuts benefiting only the wealthiest Americans to expire.

Democrats were not united on the issue. Twenty voted with Republicans to kill the tax cut bill, as they hold out for extending additional cuts to wealthy Americans -- though 3 Republicans, including Reps. Ron Paul (TX) and Walter Jones (NC) voted for the tax cut extensions. However the outcome will (and was designed to) allow Democrats to draw distinctions between themselves and Republicans during the 2012 election cycle.
Wow, that's impressive. They took a played hardball and won. But what about the Senate? They're never willing to take a tough line with Republicans:
Senate Democrats are planning to force a vote on the House's just-passed middle-income tax cut bill and a second package to let the Bush tax cuts expire above a new, $1 million tax bracket, according to a Democratic aide.
Holy shit. So even the Senate is willing to actually make the Republicans take an unpopular vote!

So how does Barack Obama respond? We all hoped that he would use his power as president to advocate for this position, and even though he's refused, it seems to be happening without him. His official response:
The President continues to believe that extending middle class tax cuts is the most important thing we can do for our economy right now and he applauds the House for passing a permanent extension. But, because Republicans have made it clear that they won’t pass a middle class extension without also extending tax cuts for the wealthy, the President has asked Director Lew and Secretary Geithner to work with Congress to find a way forward. Those discussions started just yesterday and are continuing this afternoon. The talks are ongoing and productive, but any reports that we are near a deal in the tax cuts negotiations are inaccurate and premature.

Both the House and Senate(!!!) want to take a hard line and not only will Obama not join the fight, but he's actively working to undermine their efforts.

There's been a debate going on among progressives (discussed in this clip) about whether Obama is a conservative who wants conservative policy passed (and a very good liar), or is just blindingly incompetent at trying to pass the Democratic agenda. It's becoming increasing difficult to believe it's the latter, and that's something we're going to have to come to terms with going forward.

What I do know is that this is a hell of a way to cap off a really fucking depressing week.

1 comment:

  1. Here's hoping they ignore him.

    Because the signal this sends me is:
    "People who make at least one million dollars every year are more needy than your federal-employee mother. Go die in a fire."