November 12, 2010 Leave a comment
I have to say, the current position of the Democrats in Congress on extending the Bush tax cuts is just mind-blowingly stupid. As Chait has repeatedly pointed out, all they have to do is separate the cuts for those under $250K from those above. They can do this– they are still in charge so they control the agenda. If any Democrats feel the need to vote for all the tax cuts, they can do that in a separate bill. This is a huge political winner, because by separating the bills you are daring the Republicans to vote against extending the Bush tax cuts for 98% of Americans. How Democrats cannot manage to pull this off is just astounding. Here’s Chait:
Now, the tax cuts are expiring, and Republicans say you have to address the whole package together. You can make it permanent or temporary, but the line in the sand for them is that you can’t decouple the tax cute for income over $250,000 from the rest.
The Democrats think this is some kind of dilemma. It’s not. It’s a get out of jail free card. It’s the perfect excuse to let the whole Bush tax cut package expire. You can say, hey, we tried to extend those tax cuts but the Republicans blocked us. It has the virtue of being completely true.
Now, Republicans say they’ll block the whole tax package if Democrats hold a vote just for tax cuts on income under $250,000. Do you think they really can really hold that line? To quote a noted statesman, hell no they can’t…
Think about it from the Republican point of view. The political aspect of this issue is a zero-sum competition. What do Republicans want? They want Democrats to extend all the tax cuts together. What they don’t want is to have to fight for the tax cuts for income over $250,000 separately. They’re terrified of it.
I understand that some Democrats are extremely responsive to the richest 2-3% of their constituents, who make more than $250,000 and feel put upon. So fine — have a separate vote. Nobody’s saying you can’t vote for tax cuts for your rich friends. The whole thing is that you have to separate the two.
A while ago, I was corresponding with a conservative — a real conservative, not a liberals’ idea of a conservative — about why the Democrats won’t do the obvious thing. He was at a total loss.
I get that the Democrats in Congress can be really stupid, but can’t Obama find a way to rally the troops and make this happen. It’s stuff like this that actually makes me question Obama’s political acumen. Really disappointing all around.