Lack of discipline

One of the most important (and frustrating) asymmetries between the two parties is the much greater discipline with the Republican party.  Here’s the Democrats on Obama’s jobs bill (via Drum):

With friends like this, who needs Republicans? Today the Democratic congressional caucus, in a dazzling display of circular firing squaddishness, unloaded on President Obama’s jobs bill:

“I think the American people are very skeptical of big pieces of legislation,” said Senator Robert Casey, Democrat from Pennsylvania….“I have said for months that I am not supporting a repeal of tax cuts for the oil industry unless there are other industries that contribute,” said Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana….“I have been very unequivocal,” said Representative Peter DeFazio, Democrat from Oregon. “No more tax cuts.”….“I have serious questions about the level of spending that President Obama proposed,” said Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia…

Yes, there’s more.  You get the point.   Can you imagine half a dozen Republican Senators so publicly and scornfully denouncing the proposal of a Republican president?  Nope.   They might not vote for it but they certainly would not come out so aggressively against it.  Of course, what this really means is that if Republicans were to act like this, they know there would be consequences (in committee assignments, leadership roles, etc.) but obviously Democrats have no such fear of consequences because of a much greater live and let live attitude within the Democratic caucus.  What this ultimately serves to do, though, is to put Democrats at a very real strategic disadvantage versus Republicans.

If the shoe fits…

From today’s NYT:

WASHINGTON — Leading Republicans on Sunday decried the notion of a new minimum tax rate for millionaires as “class warfare,” saying it seemed intended by President Obama as a way to portray Congressional Republicans, should they resist, as being callously indifferent to the hardships faced by ordinary Americans.

“callously indifferent to the hardships faced by ordinary Americans.”  Yep– that sounds about right.  How else do you explain the whole debt ceiling debacle, unwillingness to extend unemployment benefits while at the same time being completely fixated on preserving the historically-low tax rates of the wealthiest Americans?  Thus, we get stuff such as:

Representative Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee said that the tax proposal, which Mr. Obama is expected to unveil on Monday, would also weigh heavily on an already stagnating economy.

“It adds further instability to our system, more uncertainty and it punishes job creation,” Mr. Ryan said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Class warfare may make for good politics but it makes for rotten economics.”

Really?!  Enough with this uncertainty business already.  You know what really makes for bad economics– historically low tax revenues.  The part that bothers me the most is the willful disregard for a little thing called actual history.  As for “punishing job creation” somehow we managed to create jobs during that oh-so-burdensome top rate of 39.6% of Bill Clinton.  Or, even worse, during the “confiscatory” 50% rate of Ronald Reagan.  Yes, tax rates, can in fact be too high.  I agree.  But there’s basically no evidence whatsoever that the modest increases Obama is proposing are, in fact, too high.  Just to jog your memory, many of the same people complaining now predicted economic disaster in 1993 when Bill Clinton raised tax rates.  Would love to see some mention of that from the “liberally biased” NYT.  Oh, one more point:

The millionaires’ rate would affect only 0.3 percent of taxpayers, they said. That would be fewer than 450,000; 144 million returns were filed for 2010.

Yes, that’s right, the tax returns of .3% of all taxpayers can destroy the economy.

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