Ice Trap

I hope you all aren’t fooled by the trap that one of the twin snow princesses from Maine is setting for the Democrats. Here is the statement on DADT from President Collins:

Following the conclusion of today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Senator Susan Collins released this statement:

“Like our closest allies, the United States’ Armed Forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country.

“After hearing powerful testimony from Secretary of Defense Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, and reviewing the results of the Pentagon report, I remain convinced that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,” implemented under President Clinton, should be repealed. And, I agree with Secretary Gates that the issue should be decided by Congress, not the courts.

“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I voted, last May, to include in the Defense Authorization bill language repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, subject to certification by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that there would not be a negative impact on combat effectiveness and military readiness. It is especially reassuring to learn from the Pentagon report that, after extensive interviews and feedback from service members, nearly 70 percent say that having a gay service member in their unit would have a “positive, mixed, or no effect” on the unit’s effectiveness.

Once the tax issue is resolved, I have made it clear that if the Majority Leader brings the Defense Authorization bill to the floor with sufficient time allowed for debate and amendments, I would vote to proceed to the bill.”

Insist on tax cuts first, running out the clock a good bit, then demand that amendments be allowed, and then let the others do the dirty work with thousands of amendments and procedural stalling. But David Broder will be impressed with how reasonable you are!

This should also manage to eat up enough of the legislative clock that we can dismiss START and unemployment benefits extension and anything else. But hey- rich folks will get a tax cut!

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150 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    I miss the days when I respected the ice princesses. Very sad.

    Obama’s tax cuts plan just went down in the Senate, 53-36.

  2. 2
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Obama’s tax cuts plan just went down in the Senate, 53-36.

    The plan itself, or the motion to end debate on it?

  3. 3

    We need to let Ben Nelson and Kent Conrad twist in the wind. And we need to work hard on other pickup opportunities in the Senate. People need to get involved in their local party.

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    AP story, and check out its last paragraph:

    “President Barack Obama has signed legislation that keeps the government running and averts a shutdown that could have happened this weekend.

    The bill that Obama signed Saturday gives the lame-duck Congress two more weeks to try to pass a legislation funding the government for the rest of the budget year — through September.

    If that fails, lawmakers will have to pass another temporary measure to fund agencies into next year, when Republicans will control the House.

    The Democratic-controlled Congress hasn’t passed a single annual spending bill. It’s an unprecedented breakdown of the budget process.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponlin.....wn.html?hp

  5. 5
    Elizabelle says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Good point, Davis, because that is literally all I know from the NY Times website. Nothing else up yet or linked.

  6. 6
    JWL says:

    Cole: Odds are Obama will reach out to that pile of puss, and fuck every one over in true GOP style.

    You want to bet I’m wrong?

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    Fillibustered, apparently.

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.c.....expire.php

    And I wish to God that Reid and all other Senate leadership would insist on a “reading the phone book” fillibuster instead of allowing the unseen shiv that comes now.

    Make the voters aware of what the Republicans are doing, not just that Democrats can’t pass legislation.

  8. 8
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I miss the days when I respected the ice princesses. Very sad.

    Same here.

    DADT repeal is dead.

    The court case is our only viable venue. Same with DOMA.

    It would be nice if the Justice Dept took a fucking holiday from defending them at this point.

  9. 9
    RalfW says:

    I know it won’t actually work, but raving on a blog is a good place to vent:

    The Democrats should just bang the gavel and declare the lame duck session ended. Let the government go dark, let the tax cuts lapse, all that stuff.

    The youTube video looks like this:

    Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid sneak up to John Boehner’s door with a paper bag. They light it on fire, ring his doorbell, and then step back into the shadows.

    When he opens the door, they joyously proclaim “here’s the flaming bag of shit you’ve been salivating for since Jan 2008. Enjoy!” Then they laugh uproariously and disappear into the night, never to be seen again (in 2010 at least).

    I just don’t get why the response to total, nihilistic obstruction is to keep trying. Tell the GOP to fuck itself and go home.

    It’s not quitting, it’s calling their bluff.

    (Except the GOP isn’t bluffing. They’d drive the entire nation off a 200 foot cliff if it made Obama look bad.)

  10. 10
    Kryptik says:

    Don’t worry, John. The only people fooled are only the ones in charge of legislation.

    Wait, that’s no comfort at all. :(

  11. 11
    BGinCHI says:

    The kind of confusion marked above is exactly what happens when the filibuster isn’t forced. You get the feeling or idea that the bill went down by a vote of 53 for and 36 against, which sounds crazy. There weren’t enough votes to break a filibuster that never happened.

    Perhaps at this point in the lame duck, though, there really isn’t time. Not sure about that.

    I would like to see the Senate hold the vote several more times just to drill it into people’s heads.

  12. 12
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Elizabelle:

    And I wish to God that Reid and all other Senate leadership would insist on a “reading the phone book” fillibuster

    that’s a myth.

    http://plainblogaboutpolitics......-time.html

  13. 13
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I would like to see the Senate hold the vote several more times just to drill it into people’s heads.

    Schumer’s everybody-but-the-millionaires tax cut comes up for a vote next week.

    I want to see Manchin’s vote on that one. He’s supposed to be all about the coal miners, after all. And Feingold’s.

    That man is trouble. He’s got Ben Nighthorse Campbell written all over him.

  14. 14
    electricgrendel says:

    You know- the American people, whether they knew it or not, basically said they don’t care about having a functioning government when they voted in a GOP majority. Call the GOP bluff. Let the tax cuts expire.

  15. 15
    WyldPirate says:

    @BGinCHI:

    The kind of confusion marked above is exactly what happens when the filibuster isn’t forced. You get the feeling or idea that the bill went down by a vote of 53 for and 36 against, which sounds crazy. There weren’t enough votes to break a filibuster that never happened.

    Exactly. The Dems won’t explain it and the sheeples interpret it as you say.

    Anyone remember the crying fit the Rethugs pitched over “up or down” votes over their Bush’s judicial nominations and the threat to use the nuclear option?

  16. 16
    ed says:

    Shorter pseudo-moderate Republicans:

    That’s a nice bill to end the reprehensible DADT law and finally treat gay and lesbian soldiers with long overdue, bare minimum respect and dignity you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.

    Assholes.

  17. 17
    eemom says:

    As I said yesterday, DADT is the fucking least of our worries right now.

    Flame away.

  18. 18
    eemom says:

    fywp

  19. 19
    BGinCHI says:

    @Davis X. Machina: No, I think they’re doing the million dollar vote now or soon. At least that’s what TPM is saying.

    I should put C-Span on but it’s too early to start drinking.

  20. 20
    eemom says:

    @electricgrendel:

    Call the GOP bluff. Let the tax cuts expire.

    That, to the gazillionth degree.

  21. 21

    @Davis X. Machina: They voted on Shumer’s bill today:

    The two bills that failed were similar, but served very different purposes. The first, to preserve the Bush-era tax cuts for income up to $250,000, was passed by the House earlier this week, and would have represented a fulfillment of President Obama’s campaign pledge to allow taxes to increase for income above that level. The second would have raised that threshold to $1,000,000. Its purpose was meant to emphasize the lengths Republicans will go to to protect the interests of millionaires.

    Sens. Jim Webb (D-VA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) voted with the Republicans on the former plan. The vote was 53-36. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA) Lieberman and Feingold voted with the GOP on the second. That vote was 53-37, and reflects progressive unease with redefining the middle class at the $1,000,000 income threshold.

  22. 22
    BGinCHI says:

    @WyldPirate: And also, too, doing this on a Saturday morning is really going to put the GOP on notice that everyone is watching.

    Fail.

    I guess when unemployment gets to 50% and President Palin rents out the WH to Russian mobsters people will get their heads out of their asses.

  23. 23
    Davis X. Machina says:

    As I said yesterday, DADT is the fucking least of our worries right now.

    Watch the rest of the store, on taxes, and on entitlement ‘reform’ get compromised away in exchange for DADT repeal — that’s Collins’ explicit bargain.

    They’re calling the professional left’s bluff — What price will you pay for a victory on this, one of your key issues? Peace on the blogs, in exchange for the Bush tax cuts forever?

    Cynical. Brilliant. Brilliant but cynical.

  24. 24
    Rekster says:

    Obama’s tax cuts plan just went down in the Senate, 53-36.

    I don’t see any evidence that the White House had anything to do with this.

    As far as I can tell, the vote on Obama’s Tax Cuts will occur after Geithner and Lew agree to the Republiklan demands.

  25. 25
    BGinCHI says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: Thanks for that report.

    Glad to see a few Progressive Sens vote against the million dollar sell-out.

  26. 26
    Brachiator says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    They’re calling the professional left’s bluff—What price will you pay for a victory on this, one of your key issues? Peace on the blogs, in exchange for the Bush tax cuts forever?

    If this is the best that the professional left can come up with, I would gladly do with a band of amateurs.

  27. 27
    WyldPirate says:

    @eemom:

    As I said yesterday, DADT is the fucking least of our worries right now.

    Weren’t you in the crowd arguing what a victory it was going to be because Obama and Pelosi had the Rethugs on the ropes?

  28. 28
    WyldPirate says:

    @Brachiator:

    If this is the best that the professional left can come up with, I would gladly do with a band of amateurs.

    How’s this:

    Put Schumer’s proposal to make the tax cuts in place effective up to a million dollars. After the first million, raise the rates to 40%.

    Then have a very real, very public honest to goodness filibuster.

    The sheeple can understand that 1 million dollars is a lot of dough. It is a better message to bludgeon the Rethugs that they are looking out for just a few thousands of millionaires over everyone else.

  29. 29
    Oscar Leroy says:

    Nobody could have foreseen etc. etc. etc.

  30. 30
    WyldPirate says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    Are you sure this is right? My TV told me that the cutoff limit for the tax proposals voted on were 200K and 250K.

    Guess I should look around.

  31. 31
    Brachiator says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Put Schumer’s proposal to make the tax cuts in place effective up to a million dollars. After the first million, raise the rates to 40%.

    This is more empty political theater. If the Democrats had brains and balls, they would tell the Republicans that the Bush tax cuts are off the table, gone, kaput, an ex-tax plan.

    The Republicans would yield if the Democrats had a clue.

    The Democrats should also stop pretending that they are doing this so that the Republicans will agree to extending unemployment benefits. I say, let this go. Not out of cruelty. Some Republican governors and new Senator Rand Paul think that unemployment keeps people lazy. Fine.

    The Democrats should tell the American people that the Republicans only want to protect the rich. They should lay out the nasty financial consequences. If the people don’t agree, then think about it over Christmas and contact their Congressmen.

  32. 32
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Elizabelle:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlan.....th-do.html

    Here is what Senator Merkely is proposing. Its an interview with Ezra Klein.

  33. 33
    JPL says:

    The House has already voted and passed the important issues facing the Nation. Nancy should just adjourn for the Holidays and let the Senate figure it out. Democratic members of the House could get more local air time anymore to push their agenda. There would be no compromise.

  34. 34
    ruemara says:

    @Rekster:

    Between you and JWL, I have to ask 1 simple question. Since this is the tax plan Obama ran on and it failed in a Senate cloture vote, a compromise plan also failed to receive cloture and not just the blogosphere but also the IRS, so they can start drawing up the tax tables for the next year; how, exactly, is this a sign that Geithner, Lew and Obama are caving and/or have some secret republican desires that they really want, instead of the plan they’ve been pushing for over a year?

  35. 35
    Brachiator says:

    @Elizabelle:

    The Democratic-controlled Congress hasn’t passed a single annual spending bill. It’s an unprecedented breakdown of the budget process.”

    Damn. This is just sad. And it points out how the Democrats have failed to seize the initiative with respect to the nation’s economic agenda.

    @JPL:

    The House has already voted and passed the important issues facing the Nation. Nancy should just adjourn for the Holidays and let the Senate figure it out. Democratic members of the House could get more local air time anymore to push their agenda. There would be no compromise.

    This would be a very interesting gambit. If only the Democrats were bold enough to do it.

  36. 36
    RalfW says:

    Let the tax cuts expire. All of them. The Democrats are always called the party of more taxes. The label is affixed with gorilla glue. Voting to lower taxes does nothing, nothing to change that. Start plugging the freakin’ deficit since it’s so almighty important.

    I just scream when the NPR burbles on all elite-y about “on noes, the deficits!” with nary a mention of the devastation the tax cuts will cause to this and the next 20 or 30 budget years.

  37. 37
    RalfW says:

    I don’t actually think short term deficits are that important. But if that is the crappy frame that we can’t get out of, then use it, for damn freakin’ crissakes. Club the GOP over the head with the outrageous cost of their gift to the rich.

  38. 38
    gbear says:

    I thought Dusty Springfield was the Ice Princess.

  39. 39
    WyldPirate says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Democrats should tell the American people that the Republicans only want to protect the rich. They should lay out the nasty financial consequences. If the people don’t agree, then think about it over Christmas and contact their Congressmen.

    I agree that my proposal is political theater. Nowever, it is political theater the public would be attuned to because the cable news and regular news would be wigging out on the issue. Make the Rethugs filibuster the vote. Make them look ridiculous. Have big dogs on explaining the consequences as you say..

    None of that is going to happen, of course. The Capitulator in Chief was just on my TV saying that a deal needs to be made. He’s going to fold on one of his major campaign issues.

    His folding would make good commercials for a primary challenger from his left or another Independent challenger. Pics of him yakking about the damage the tax cuts are doing to the economy, and how he couldn’t get it done when it came to crunch time.

  40. 40
    eemom says:

    @WyldPirate:

    nope. I have never given much of a shit about this issue to begin with frankly, though I certainly support anyone’s right to surrender their personal freedom to a rigid hierarchical institution that exists to perpetrate state-sanctioned violence if they want to.

    Right now, I have nothing but contempt for anyone who regards this as any kind of priority while the entire country is teetering the brink of the abyss.

    Looks like that steel-trap-like mind of yours isn’t quite up to tracking every commenter’s opinion on every subject. Maybe it needs an upgrade.

    ETA: You know, it’s comments like that which make is so painfully obvious what an idiot you are.

  41. 41
    BGinCHI says:

    @eemom: Can someone please explain why this isn’t true:

    The GOP has taken hostages. They will release a hostage only when we comply with one of their demands. If we don’t comply they will begin killing hostages.

    That’s it. You can’t negotiate with that.

  42. 42
    General Stuck says:

    @eemom:

    Looks like that steel-trap-like mind of yours isn’t quite up to tracking every commenter’s opinion on every subject. Maybe it needs an upgrade.

    Nah, coupla applications of Preparation H ought to grease that squeaky wheel.

  43. 43
    eemom says:

    @BGinCHI:

    that is absolutely true. And I noted somewhere else earlier that it is actually an injustice to terrorists to compare these monsters to them, because most terrorists, fucked up as they are, really do believe that they are committing crimes for a greater good.

  44. 44

    @Suck It Up!: I bet she means for the new session. It could be done if Reid wanted. All it takes is a majority to change the rules come the beginning of January.

  45. 45
    Sputnik_Sweetheart says:

    I’m absolutely terrified that Scott Brown is going to try to pull something like this, too. Of course, Mass is much more progressive when it comes to gay rights and taxes than ME, so pulling a stunt like this probably wouldn’t win him many friends here. I should call his office though just in case.

  46. 46
    JPL says:

    @Sputnik_Sweetheart: He already said the same thing. He will vote DADT after the rich get their tax cuts. Of course, he stated it differently.

  47. 47
    Brachiator says:

    @WyldPirate:

    His folding would make good commercials for a primary challenger from his left or another Independent challenger. Pics of him yakking about the damage the tax cuts are doing to the economy, and how he couldn’t get it done when it came to crunch time.

    This is an interesting, but idle, fantasy that there is some magical challenger from the left or another independent who is going to rise up and make everything better.

    I agree that my proposal is political theater. Nowever, it is political theater the public would be attuned to because the cable news and regular news would be wigging out on the issue. Make the Rethugs filibuster the vote. Make them look ridiculous. Have big dogs on explaining the consequences as you say..

    The Democrats don’t have a lot of time for anything intricate or subtle. And the public’s attention span is short.

    The Democrats, if they had a brain, would visually highlight the essentials: “We are firmly and irrevocably dropping the Bush tax cuts. They won’t work. They give excessive, unnecessary tax cuts to the rich. They balloon the deficit. They continue a failed Republcan Tax policy that broke the financial system.

    Our plan gives tax cuts to everyone.

    Republican failure to accept our proposals will raise everyone’s taxes immediately. They will hurt you. Tell them no, you do not want this.”

  48. 48
  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    They’re calling the professional left’s bluff—What price will you pay for a victory on this, one of your key issues? Peace on the blogs, in exchange for the Bush tax cuts forever?

    WTF are you talking about? The “professional left” doesn’t have a vote, nor any representative elected I can determine.
    This is stupid.

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator:

    If this is the best that the professional left can come up with, I would gladly do with a band of amateurs.

    Try pulling that center-right stick out of your ass.

  51. 51
    Rick Taylor says:

    More and more, dealing with Republicans is resembling negotiating with this guy.

    ALL WE WANT TO DO IS EAT YOUR BRAINS!

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @BGinCHI:

    That, and this new post from Steve Benen:

    Be prepared for the new #1 Republican talking point: there’s “bipartisan opposition” to the tax policy crafted by the president and endorsed by most of the country.
    __
    One of the developments that has given Republicans leverage in the tax policy debate is the divisions among Democrats, a reality bolstered by this vote. When folks marvel at the White House feeling forced to “cave” on this, it’s worth remembering that the president and his team had hoped to see a united Democratic caucus backing them up.

    Fascinating how Democratic Senators can’t wait to stab the president in the back every time he tries to get something done.

  53. 53

    Your misreading this, John. “Adequate time for amendments and debate” is a reference to her vote in September, when the Democrats didn’t weren’t going to allow any amendments. She’s explaining why her vote for cloture won’t be a flip-flop.

    The tax cut deal, which will extend the cuts for the rich, is already a done deal. It’s going to happen, and then the Defense Appropriations bill (which contains DADT), the START vote, and the unemployment insurance extension will get votes.

  54. 54
    General Stuck says:

    Note the smiling thumbs up mug of Mitch the Bitch for denying the MC a tax cut going forward. This is today’s republican. Joyous and triumphant from blocking a tax cut, their parties signature issue , for the reason rich people won’t get one too, and that it was a democrat proposing it.

    They own the universe in their lizard branes, where there is no reckoning for anything they do. And no penalty to be paid. Maybe they know something we don’t.

    CNN Headline – Obama FAILS again

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    The tax cut deal, which will extend the cuts for the rich, is already a done deal. It’s going to happen, and then the Defense Appropriations bill (which contains DADT), the START vote, and the unemployment insurance extension will get votes.

    See, if I were Harry Reid, I would insist on holding all of those votes first and then having the tax vote. Because, frankly, I wouldn’t put it past the Republicans to vote for extending the tax cuts and against everything else no matter what they claim they’re going to do.

    But when you can’t even get your own caucus to agree on middle-class tax cuts, you’re pretty much fucked no matter what.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Try pulling that center-right stick out of your ass.

    Ah, once again, you crawl out from whatever rock you normally inhabit with … what … exactly?

    Delusional ranting about left, center and right?

    Right now, the entire Democratic Party, left, center, right, is being outplayed by people who should have been kicked to the curb after the 2008 elections.

    And yet you want to beat your chest about what, how you are ideologically more pure than the driven snow?

    To what purpose, apart from impotence and irrelevance?

    You got something useful to say about taxes, or are you just going to snarl your toothless rage?

  57. 57
    patrick II says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I just don’t like a sentence that says “just went down” followed by the numbers “53-36”. There is something inherently wrong when winning by 17 is referred to as “just went down”. Not with your representation of it, which is fine and sadly accurate, but that’s not the way I learned to keep score anywhere else.

  58. 58

    Now, whether DADT, START, and unemployment insurance are worth extending the tax cuts for the rich is a deal worth taking, is a question reasonable people can disagree on.

    From where I sit, those are three extremely important issues, while the harm from extending, for 2-3 years, the upper-end tax cuts amounts to some additional short-term deficits. I’m as concerned about the size of the national debt as anyone – more concerned that most here, I’d wager – but that is primarily a long-term problem. It’s not the size of the deficits in 2011-2013 that matter, but in the decades following those years.

    I’d like to see those upper-income tax rates rise sooner rather than later, but if it clears the calendar for the much more important items that need to get done during the lame duck, I’ll suck it up and take the deal. There’s very little that’s more important that extending unemployment insurance before Christmas.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: snrrlll.

  60. 60
    General Stuck says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    The tax cut deal, which will extend the cuts for the rich, is already a done deal. It’s going to happen, and then the Defense Appropriations bill (which contains DADT), the START vote, and the unemployment insurance extension will get votes.

    What makes you say this?

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: I’ve already said all I have to say about taxes, and how we will look back on the fact that Democrats did not handle this issue 6 months before the election will be enshrined as the absolute height of incompetence.
    But my comment to you was along the lines that you continue to think, and utter, that somehow DFH’s or the “professional left” are playing this game.
    This is square in the center mass of the center right Democratic politicians, including President Obama.
    Got nothing to do with calling the bluff of the “professional left” as Davis X Machina suggested.

  62. 62
    BGinCHI says:

    @joe from Lowell: Problem is, when it comes up again they’ll extend them again. Or, worse, try to make them permanent.

    The bigger issues here is that we are having NO dialogue in a grown-up way about taxes and tax policy as it impacts the deficit and the overall economy. The GOP is “supply side or nothing” and until people start understanding that this does NOT make the economy better (just rich people richer), then we are stuck.

  63. 63

    @Mnemosyne:

    Because, frankly, I wouldn’t put it past the Republicans to vote for extending the tax cuts and against everything else no matter what they claim they’re going to do.

    I can understand feeling that way, because the Republicans (the vast majority anyway) are genuinely dishonorable people, but I think people like Brown, Snowe, and Collins really do want both halves of the deal: they want the tax cuts for the rich, and they also want the Defense money, and they want to satisfy their home-state voters by supporting DADT and unemployment insurance. I don’t think it’s a matter of them following through on something they actually opposed; I think they’re angling for the upper-income tax cut extensions.

    I also think there is a growing band of Republicans who support START, and who really do want the treaty+the nuke modernization money Obama has thrown in as a sweetener. We’ll see if they get to 67, though.

  64. 64

    This is the same BS she pulled to block DADT repeal before. Between civil rights and Republican obstructionism, Collins thinks obstructionism is more important.

  65. 65

    @General Stuck: What makes you say this?

    See my comment at 1:38.

  66. 66
    General Stuck says:

    As I understand it, both of these bills voted on today were generated by the senate. Their passage means nothing. The House has to approve a tax bill first, and then the senate votes on that, they can amend it, and then get together with the House reconcile differences for final votes, but the bill must initiate in the House. This all seems like self contained Senate politicking theater.

    And everything i read is that the WH is negotiating a short term temp cut for both mc and high, to include some or all of the other issues in question.

    TPM is reporting this as though the House doesn’t exist.

  67. 67

    @BGinCHI:

    Problem is, when it comes up again they’ll extend them again. Or, worse, try to make them permanent.

    @Corner Stone:

    I’ve already said all I have to say about taxes, and how we will look back on the fact that Democrats did not handle this issue 6 months before the election will be enshrined as the absolute height of incompetence.

    I’d rather have this fight again just before the 2012 elections, when the Republicans are going to be worried about their skins, than right now, or just before the 2010 elections, when they’re confident about picking up a bunch of seats regardless.

  68. 68
    General Stuck says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    well yea, but Collins isn’t really president of anything. Her blatherings don’t indicate a “done deal” in the least.

  69. 69

    @Joseph Nobles:

    This is the same BS she pulled to block DADT repeal before.

    This time, however, Reid is going to allow the amendments and debate, because there are no elections coming up, and the Republicans aren’t interested in making Democrats vote “against protecting our troops from Gay Sharia Taxes,” or whatever other idiocies they wanted to run in their ads for the 2010 elections.

  70. 70

    @General Stuck:

    Her blatherings don’t indicate a “done deal” in the least.

    Oh, I get it – you’re talking about the tax-cut deal itself, being worked out between the White House and Congressional leaders.

    I’m assuming that Obama is going to agree to extend all of the tax cuts for 2-3 years, in order to get legislation passed. The noises coming out of the White House and the reporting in the media make it sound that way, and that certainly would be consistent with how he’s operated on the Recovery Act, Affordable Care Act, etc.

    I don’t know what goodies for our side will be in the deal, but I am confident we’re going to see a deal. The Republicans really want the President to agree not to veto a tax cut extension for the rich, and Obama really does want to see an extension for the middle class and an open calendar for the other items.

  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @joe from LoL:

    I’d rather have this fight again just before the 2012 elections, when the Republicans are going to be worried about their skins, than right now, or just before the 2010 elections, when they’re confident about picking up a bunch of seats regardless.

    This is absolute political insanity. There will be no “fight” about it in 2012. The D’s will vote to renew all cuts again.
    The Republicans are going to keep the House and take the Senate in 2012. Maybe the WH if President Obama doesn’t change course and decide that 9.8% U3 is a bad thing.

  72. 72
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    But my comment to you was along the lines that you continue to think, and utter, that somehow DFH’s or the “professional left” are playing this game.

    Uh, no. You have some personal bug up your ass that has absolutely nothing to do with anything that I believe.

    And for some almost amusing reason, you believe that muttering “center right, center right” is the equivalent of either thinking or saying something meaningful.

    Oh yeah,

    I’ve already said all I have to say about taxes, and how we will look back on the fact that Democrats did not handle this issue 6 months before the election will be enshrined as the absolute height of incompetence.

    Which issue is this? Expiring tax provisions? The estate tax? The AMT patch? Or just the Bush tax cuts?

    You got anything more than uninformed bluster?

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @joe from LoL:

    and the Republicans aren’t interested in making Democrats vote “against protecting our troops from Gay Sharia Taxes,”

    The R’s are ALWAYS interested in making votes about these nonsense things. This is how they communicate with their base.

  74. 74
    Rick Taylor says:

    I can understand feeling that way, because the Republicans (the vast majority anyway) are genuinely dishonorable people, but I think people like Brown, Snowe, and Collins really do want both halves of the deal: they want the tax cuts for the rich, and they also want the Defense money, and they want to satisfy their home-state voters by supporting DADT and unemployment insurance. I don’t think it’s a matter of them following through on something they actually opposed; I think they’re angling for the upper-income tax cut extensions

    __
    So the deal is, we give them things they want, and in return they’ll grudgingly support passing other things they actually want? Something’s wrong here.

  75. 75
    General Stuck says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    You could be right, depends on Pelosi going along with it. My impression of her and the liberals in the House, is they want all the cuts to go away. A two extension was already taken off the table, so It’s one or three to be considered. Pelosi might take a one year extension, with UI extended, but am some doubtful about a three one. And I disagree that the wingers are that hot about keeping the rich cuts, more than seeing taxes go up for everyone under Obama. Not unless they can swing a fairly bid deal their way. But we shall see.

  76. 76
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: Shit. You never pass a chance to bag on someone to the left of you. Otherwise why would you have commented further on Davis’ comment?

  77. 77
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    One of the developments that has given Republicans leverage in the tax policy debate is the divisions among Democrats, a reality bolstered by this vote. When folks marvel at the White House feeling forced to “cave” on this, it’s worth remembering that the president and his team had hoped to see a united Democratic caucus backing them up.

    This is no new development. Its been happening from day one.

  78. 78

    @Corner Stone:

    This is absolute political insanity. There will be no “fight” about it in 2012. The D’s will vote to renew all cuts again.

    Huh? There was a big fight about it this year, when the Democrats were at the lowest point of their political fortunes, and it gained 53 Democratic votes.

    In addition, just before the 2012 elections, the Democrats will not have a bunch of items that have already passed the House that they need to pass in a lame duck, so their motive to go along with the Republicans will be much less.

    The R’s are ALWAYS interested in making votes about these nonsense things. This is how they communicate with their base.

    They are more interested in communicating with their base before a close election than in one where they are very strong and their base is very enthused.

    In addition, the Democrats won’t care as much.

  79. 79

    @Rick Taylor:

    So the deal is, we give them things they want, and in return they’ll grudgingly support passing other things they actually want?

    Being Republicans, they (Collins, Snowe, and Brown) want the tax cuts for rich people more than they want the other things.

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    This is no new development. Its been happening from day one.

    Yep. Obama jumped the line and the Senate has not forgiven him for it.

  81. 81
    Corner Stone says:

    @joe from LoL:

    Huh? There was a big fight about it this year, when the Democrats were at the lowest point of their political fortunes, and it gained 53 Democratic votes.

    The D’s will have some 23 Senate seats in play in 2012.
    They will renew the cuts.

  82. 82

    @General Stuck:

    You could be right, depends on Pelosi going along with it. My impression of her and the liberals in the House, is they want all the cuts to go away.

    Pelosi is a tough, effective bargainer and a genuine liberal, but she is also a deal-maker. She got the Senate health care bill through the House, remember, and brought along the progressive caucus.

    And I disagree that the wingers are that hot about keeping the rich cuts, more than seeing taxes go up for everyone under Obama.

    I am very confident that Republicans do not actually want to see taxes go up on rich people go up next year – not even for some political benefit. Lower taxes for rich people is their alpha and omega, their raison d’etre, the reason they get up in the morning and the first thing they mention in their prayers at night. It is the one principle – if it can called that – that they will stand for through thick and thin, even if they have to pay a political price for it.

  83. 83

    @Corner Stone:

    The D’s will have some 23 Senate seats in play in 2012.

    That’s not really a statement about their political fortunes. I’m talking about the environment in which those races take place.

  84. 84
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Shit. You never pass a chance to bag on someone to the left of you. Otherwise why would you have commented further on Davis’ comment?

    The majority of my posts over the past couple of days have been about the tax cuts. I have even heartily applauded the comments of some posters with whom I have disagreed with over other issues.

    But the only thing that gets your attention is some perceived “bag” on someone supposedly to the left of me.

    You care about ideological purity, and keeping some leftist headcount.

    Like I said, this is your problem, not mine.

  85. 85
    Rick Taylor says:

    I just had an idea. Maybe we’re all looking at this the wrong way; maybe we should view the fight over tax cuts as a learning experience. See, up until now we’ve been told that progressives can’t have nice things like the public option, or another stimulus, or repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, because of arcane rules of the senate. It’s sad, but there’s nothing anyone can do, as passing any legislation requires 60 senate votes, especially when conservative Democrats don’t hesitate to use the filibuster against their own party’s legislation.
    __
    But Republicans look to be on the way to proving this wrong. With just 42 votes in the senate, they’re getting their dearest wish–checks for millions of dollars made out to the richest people in the country. We don’t need 60 senate votes; we just need 41 determined progressives willing to say, look it’s very important to us that this pass, and until we pass it, we’re going to our breath and sit here and let the senate come to a standstill. Evidently, that’s all that’s required.

  86. 86
    WyldPirate says:

    @eemom:

    Right now, I have nothing but contempt for anyone who regards this as any kind of priority while the entire country is teetering the brink of the abyss.

    You seem to have no problem with your mindless, lemming-like defense of “the One” who is leading us to the abyss and can’t be bothered to do much of shit other than to stand around with his finger up his ass while he capitulates to the domestic terrorists GOP again and again.

    Mindless, lemming-like behavior out of a human (if that is what you are) is contemptible. But you seem to act sort of like ee’s I’ve met, so that might let you off the hook as being less than human.

    Looks like that steel-trap-like mind of yours isn’t quite up to tracking every commenter’s opinion on every subject. Maybe it needs an upgrade.

    Perhaps this is because I regard your utterances here as being as inconsequential as dog shit that I might have to scrape off my shoe—something to be forgotten because it was an unpleasant experience.

  87. 87
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: No, you’re right. Your recent posts about taxes and implications have been informative.

  88. 88
    Brachiator says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    In addition, just before the 2012 elections, the Democrats will not have a bunch of items that have already passed the House that they need to pass in a lame duck, so their motive to go along with the Republicans will be much less.

    I’m not sure that this is the case.

    For some reason I don’t understand, the Democrats insist on giving Republicans bargaining chips.

    The GOP has announced that they intend to kill health care. And so, to help them, the Democrats guaranteed that some pieces of health care reform will take effect in 2012 and 2013, which will allow the GOP to ramp up their attacks in advance of the next round of elections.

    The GOP, as usual, will keep arguing that the Bush tax cuts be made permanent as long as the Democrats foolishly allow them to continue to exist.

    Obama had a number of opportunities to declare the Bush tax cuts dead. He didn’t. And now he’s paying the price.

    And the quote from Elizabelle that “The Democratic-controlled Congress hasn’t passed a single annual spending bill. It’s an unprecedented breakdown of the budget process” is telling. The Democrats do not control the economic agenda.

    They’ve lost the House, where money bills must originate. I am just not seeing how Democratic Party compromises do anything but weaken their hand now and in the future.

    And I don’t see that it makes passage of DADT or other proposals any more likely than if they opposed the GOP more strongly.

  89. 89

    There are some “progressives” who hate rich people more than they like poor people.

    Like the gentleman above.

    Given the option to help the needy or screw the rich, such people will not only choose the latter, but consider it an easy call.

    After all, stopping another extension of unemployment insurance just before Christmas just might “heighten the contradictions.”

  90. 90
    Corner Stone says:

    @joe from LoL: That doesn’t even make sense.
    23 D Senate seats will be in play in 2012. That IS the political environment in which the votes will or will not occur.
    Why do you think Boxer and Murray did not want the vote to be held before the 2010 elections? Along with others?
    It is inept to consider a “fight” about this issue in 2012 benefits the D’s.

  91. 91

    @Brachiator:

    The GOP has announced that they intend to kill health care.

    An idle threat, worth absolutely nothing.

    And so, to help them, the Democrats guaranteed that some pieces of health care reform will take effect in 2012 and 2013, which will allow the GOP to ramp up their attacks in advance of the next round of elections.

    Keeping the bill revenue-neutral allowed the bill to go through reconciliation, remember? And phasing in some provision was the cost of getting the votes to pass it.

    You know why the Republicans are talking about repealing health care? Because it passed.

    I am just not seeing how Democratic Party compromises do anything but weaken their hand now and in the future.

    This isn’t about “hand.” The Affordable Care Act wasn’t about “hand.” The Financial Regulation bill wasn’t about “hand.” They were about bills. Passing actual legislation – not political stunts to win elections, but actually governing. Caving on tax cuts for a couple of years isn’t about positioning for future elections. It’s about squeezing a few more wish-list items out of Capitol Hill before the largest Democratic Congressional majority in a generation comes to an end next month.

    The Democrats didn’t pass these bills, and make the deals necessary to do so, in order to win elections. They won the elections in 2006 and 2008 so they could pass bills, which they did with reckless – yes, reckless – abandon. They passed bill after bill with zero votes to spare, and paid a political price for it, and ended up passing the most ambitious, substantial, transformative corpus of legislation of any Congress since Johnson, and probably since FDR. (And no, the ability of internet commenters to imagine an even greater body of laws, or laws that are even better, doesn’t change that).

    And I don’t see that it makes passage of DADT or other proposals any more likely than if they opposed the GOP more strongly.

    They need to swing a couple of GOP votes to pass anything. Every bill they pass needs to have coalition that extends from Bernie Sanders all the way through the New Democrats, past the Blue Dogs, to Presidents Snowe, Collins, and Brown.

    Rhetorically, with the bully pulpit, Obama fought the good fight on tax-cut extensions. He brought a large majority of the public along with him. They agree with his positions. If all he wanted was the issue to flail the Republicans, this would have been a great victory. But he doesn’t want the issue, as much as he wants a few more bills before the next Congress is sworn in.

  92. 92
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    Sens. Jim Webb (D-VA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) voted with the Republicans on the former plan. The vote was 53-36. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA) Lieberman and Feingold voted with the GOP on the second. That vote was 53-37.

    So 50 of the current 58 Democratic senators voted for both. (Interesting to see Lincoln and Landrieu playing along.)

    And we keep being told that these are no-brainers, no-lose strategies. “All the Democrats need to do is” stuff like this. Well, look what happens. The Senate is fractious. You can’t just assume the can opener. That’s what Obama’s dealing with. You can fault Obama for many things, but save room in your apportionment of blame to fault the people he works with too.

  93. 93
    Corner Stone says:

    BTW, this article is hilarious. Absolutely hilarious on the tax cuts.
    Senate showdown may pave way for year-end tax deal

  94. 94

    @Corner Stone:

    @joe from LoL: That doesn’t even make sense.

    I’m sorry you don’t understand. I’ve explained it a couple of times now, very clearly.

    And I really don’t feel like doing any more for someone who can’t manage to be polite enough to actually type my handle.

    Bye.

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You can fault Obama for many things, but save room in your apportionment of blame to fault the people he works with too.

    Listen. This is true. Agreed. But when you get the WH pre-emptively agreeing to things the Congress has yet to consider you can’t exactly remove Obama from the playing field.

  96. 96
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You waste bandwith dude. that is all

  97. 97
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Rhetorically, with the bully pulpit, Obama fought the good fight on tax-cut extensions. He brought a large majority of the public along with him.

    And here’s the other thing. It doesn’t really matter what the public thinks on an issue by issue basis. The public seems to be willing to vote for candidates who hold positions and take votes that run _against_ what their constituents say they believe. Moving public opinion isn’t resulting in moving votes from nay to yea. That’s a huge problem. It’s basically the negation of the whole “bully pulpit” concept.

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    There are some “progressives” who hate rich people more than they like poor people. Like the gentleman above. Given the option to help the needy or screw the rich, such people will not only choose the latter, but consider it an easy call.

    You couldn’t possibly be referring to me.

    I don’t accept your speculation that the Democrats must accept an extension of Bush tax cuts in exchange for getting an extension of unemployment insurance. This will not work for the Democrats short term or long term.

    You also clearly are one of those people who do not understand the other tax issues on the table, which give the Democrats the power to make the Republicans fold.

    Fools like Rand Paul can argue about the need for unemployment compensation. But the cold hard fact is that if the Democrats walked away from the table, and left work undone, at least 21 millions taxpayers would be looking at an immediate $3900 tax increase on their 2010 taxes.

    The Republicans would cave before letting this happen.

    And if you care so much about the issue of unemployment insurance, why is that you say nothing about the fact that the Democrats stupidly let lapse the exclusion of a portion of unemployment compensation from taxable income?

    So some people on unemployment will still get screwed because of the inability of the Democrats to hard bargain.

    What’s the upside of that?

  99. 99
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Brachiator:

    at least 21 millions taxpayers would be looking at an immediate $3900 tax increase on their 2010 taxes.

    The Republicans would cave before letting this happen.

    I’m curious as to why you believe this? Their past votes say otherwise.

  100. 100
    Cacti says:

    But remember…

    It’s Obama’s fault that Susan Collins supports DADT right up until it’s time to vote for it.

    The solution is for gays to vote Republican.

  101. 101

    @Brachiator:

    You couldn’t possibly be referring to me.

    Nope, Wyldpirate.

    I don’t accept your speculation that the Democrats must accept an extension of Bush tax cuts in exchange for getting an extension of unemployment insurance.

    Really? The Republicans will stop voting against cloture for a UI extension with a deal to pass the tax cut extensions?

    You sure about that? Because I’m pretty sure every single one of the 42 Republican Senators just signed a letter stating the opposite.

    Go on, tell me which Republican Senators are going to vote for UI benefits without a deal on tax cuts, which includes extending the upper income cuts.

    Since I’m “one those people who don’t understand,” enlighten me. Give me their names.

  102. 102
    General Stuck says:

    @Cacti:

    You can set your clock by it all

  103. 103
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: Of course, if the Congress could hammer out a deal among themselves and organize enough of a bloc to back them, they could make what they want happen, regardless of what Obama says he wants. I don’t know if the compromising undercuts the legislature’s own efforts, or if Obama has to be the one building compromises because Congressional Democrats are unable to do them on their own, as witnessed in these two tax-cut votes. I get frustrated when people (like Webb on HCR) start venting to the press about how Obama hasn’t been clear about what he wants. You’re a senator, dammit; you can work out what _you guys_ want and haggle it out with the president from a position of institutional strength. Figure out what the entire Democratic caucus will agree on, and try to do that. I know that’s kind of not how it works, but there’s no official impediment to making it work that way. The impediment, IMHO, is that there’s virtually nothing that the entire Democratic caucus will agree on.

  104. 104

    The Republicans would cave before letting this happen.

    Right. They’re much too reasonable and compassionate to let that happen. Oh, and they’re feeling so politically vulnerable right now. Not to mention, there’s their understanding of how government cash transfers to low-income people stimulates the economy during a recession, and their passionate desire to see the economy improve.

    Uh huh. The problem here is that I just don’t understand all of these things about Republicans.

  105. 105
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Republicans would cave before letting this happen.

    Tonal Crow was saying that yesterday too. But, like Suck It Up!, I don’t follow why they would. Why isn’t their second-best option letting the tax cuts sunset and then blasting the Democrats and Obama for making it happen? Democrats _could_ let it happen, then blast Republicans for making it happen, but there are always these stragglers and backstabbers who don’t play along rhetorically or politically — and given that the stereotype of Democrats is that they’re happy to raise your taxes, it’s even harder to see Democrats being able to say that this time your tax hike was _Republicans’_ fault, even when implemented on the watch of a Democratic president and Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.

  106. 106
    eemom says:

    I still think there’s something to what I said yesterday — i.e., there’s a hope that Dems might win this battle almost in spite of themselves.

    By win I mean all the tax cuts expiring — because at this point, the only hill I care to die on is that the rich get no extension at all.

    Because if the republicans are so insanely committed to public whoring for the rich, so determined to get EVERYthing they want NOW, so convinced that they CAN get everything now, that they end up rejecting any compromise short of permanent extension of the rich tax cuts…….well, they might have finally overplayed their hand. As I said yesterday, backed the Democrats so far into the wall that it functions as a prosthetic spine.

    The advantage to the Dems being that expiration of the tax cuts is the default result if no compromise is reached. This is the opposite of HCR where we had to affirmatively make something happen.

    Then it’s just a question of who gets blamed……and yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, “Obama raised taxes,” media bleats along, blah blah blah. Fuck all that. At that point it is simply a message war, and I think even the Democrats can get that one across.

  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    @joe from Lowell: RE: The GOP has announced that they intend to kill health care.

    An idle threat, worth absolutely nothing.

    That’s one hell of a crystal ball you’ve got there.

    Keeping the bill revenue-neutral allowed the bill to go through reconciliation, remember? And phasing in some provision was the cost of getting the votes to pass it.

    This only reinforces my points, and demonstrates Democratic Party ineptitude.

    You know why the Republicans are talking about repealing health care? Because it passed.

    You know why Republicans are still talking about making the Bush tax cuts permanent? Because they are still on the table.

    You talk about the Democrats getting a few more bills in before the next Congress gets sworn in, but you don’t produce anything to indicate that any Republicans have agreed to deal, or that passage of these bills are likely.

    So if the Democrats don’t get anything substantial now, and are still faced with a more hostile Congress when the new session has been sworn in, what would be the point of needless compromise?

    Once again, I contend that the Democrats could have got all they wanted and more by standing up to the GOP on the issue of tax cuts. They let this opportunity pass.

    And now, we will see what they get from caving in.

    ETA: Thank you for making clear who your earlier reference was to. I greatly appreciate the courtesy.

  108. 108
    eemom says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I guess we finally disagree on something, good Mr. Whig. : )

  109. 109

    @eemom:

    By win I mean all the tax cuts expiring—because at this point, the only hill I care about dying on is that the rich get no extension at all.

    And the unemployed? And the middle class? And the rest of the lame-duck-session agenda, like DADT and START?

    I want to raise taxes on the rich, too. The question is, what’s it worth to me?

    I’ll take helping the poor over hurting the rich, thanks.

  110. 110
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Also, I’ve been thinking that it’s helpful to think of public preferences on the subject of these tax issues like this. There are 3 options:

    1 Continued tax cuts for dollars $1-$250K, no more additional tax cuts for dollars $250K-infinity.
    2 Continued tax cuts for dollars $1-$250K _and_ on dollars $250K-infinity.
    3 No continued tax cuts for anybody.

    The public consistently says they prefer 1 to 2.
    But, while this hasn’t been polled, I think it’s reasonable to assume that the public would greatly prefer either 1 or 2 to 3. And given that 98% of the public is affected in the same way by 1 or 2, I have a hard time seeing that the public wouldn’t want Democrats to settle for 2 if they don’t have the votes for 1.

    If Democrats preside over 3, Republicans would be licking their chops.

  111. 111

    @Brachiator:

    That’s one hell of a crystal ball you’ve got there.

    You have spent an entire thread making predictions, and now you write this?

    Whatever.

    This only reinforces my points,.

    Eyeroll. Has there ever been anything, ever, that you’re read that didn’t reinforce your points?

    …and demonstrates Democratic Party ineptitude

    And you’ve passed, what, exactly from your position of no public office whatsoever, oh High Judge of Political Efficacy?

    I love this pose from people who look the passage of health care – something that every Democratic president and Congress has tried to do – and simply assume that the Democrats who actually managed to do it must have been politically inept.

    You know why Republicans are still talking about making the Bush tax cuts permanent? Because they are still on the table.

    And they will remain on the table until the end of the lame duck session.

    You talk about the Democrats getting a few more bills in before the next Congress gets sworn in, but you don’t produce anything to indicate that any Republicans have agreed to deal, or that passage of these bills are likely.

    Actually, I’ve produced quite a bit to demonstrate that point. The letter indicating that they’ll block everything until a tax cut bill passes. Brown’s statement. Snowe’s statement. The negotiations at the White House. The desire by the Republicans to maintain the tax cuts.

    You, on the other hand, have been asked by multiple commenters to back up your breezy assertion that the Republicans will fold on UI insurance, and you’ve produced…well…there’s attitude, but I don’t really count that.

    So, I’ll ask you again, but in a different way: can you name a single example since the Democrats took Congress of when the failure to pass a bill, because of Republican obstruction, has rebounded to the detriment of Republicans?

  112. 112
    eemom says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    usually I would agree wholeheartedly with such a sentiment. I feel differently this time, because as noted above, this really is about terrorists taking hostages.

    Of course I don’t want that hostage to die — but I don’t negotiate with terrorists.

    And I am not in despair that the GOPihad will make good on their threats.

    There is already high-profile pressure on them about START — witness the WaPo oped the other day from 5 former republican SOS.

    I don’t know that anyone has made a solid case economically that ending all the tax cuts actually will hurt the MC — as opposed to the political repercussions.

    As noted above, I couldn’t give two shits about DADT.

    I AM worried about the unemployed. But I am really convinced that beating these motherfuckers into the ground over the rich tax cuts is in the long run better for EVERYBODY.

  113. 113
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t know if the compromising undercuts the legislature’s own efforts

    Can we at least agree it doesn’t help efforts?

  114. 114
    celticdragonchick says:

    @eemom:

    Right now, I have nothing but contempt for anyone who regards this as any kind of priority while the entire country is teetering the brink of the abyss.

    Of course, you aren’t the second class citizen so you don’t have to fucking worry about it, right?

    Fuck off.

  115. 115
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    RE: The Republicans would cave before letting this happen.

    Tonal Crow was saying that yesterday too. But, like Suck It Up!, I don’t follow why they would. Why isn’t their second-best option letting the tax cuts sunset and then blasting the Democrats and Obama for making it happen?

    It’s not just about the Bush tax cuts. There are a number of other significant tax issues still on the table which the Republicans cannot ignore. Obama and Pelosi and the Democratic leadership could get on top of this by clearly pointing out that the Republican threat to stop the government will immediately result in a tax increase for million of Americans right now, not just next year.

    As I noted before, this would be a variation of Harry Truman’s strategy of sticking it to the Republicans. The Democrats would only have to say, here is proposal A, B, and C which will cut taxes or preserve tax cuts. If the GOP does not agree to our proposals your taxes will go up. We want the Republicans to go on record saying that they are willing to raise your taxes if they can’t get a bigger tax cut for rich people.

    This ain’t just rhetoric. This is the cold hard fact.

    As it is, the Democrats are trying to play nice and be responsible. I understand this, but it is not working for them.

    Here is another cold hard fact. As it is, all the last minute grandstanding might result in the IRS delaying the processing of 2010 tax refunds because they need time to re-program their computers based on what Congress does in the next couple of weeks.

    The Democrats will end up taking the blame, even though this again will be the result of their inability to get an agreement with the Republicans earlier in the year.

    The Democrats had the power and the responsibility to shape the conversation here. That they did not do so is unfortunate, and may end up hurting many of the people they claim that they are trying to help.

  116. 116
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @eemom:

    backed the Democrats so far into the wall that it functions as a prosthetic spine.

    Nicely said.

    @eemom: I’m not confident that Democrats can win that message war. The idea that higher taxes on everyone are good policy is never popular. The idea that Republicans played games and raised your taxes has a LOT of institutional inertia and conventional wisdom against it.

    And, like joe from Lowell is saying, it’s not that hard to imagine the rhetoric that would follow: Democrats wanted to punish success _so much_ that they felt _you_ should also be punished. That also has the sad built-in advantage of matching up with political stereotypes about Democrats.

    It’s the same reason why Democrats have trouble scoring rhetorical points against Republicans for “playing politics with our troops in a time of war.” Everyone knows Republicans don’t do that, so when they _do_ do it, it just rolls right off, because it can’t be true, it has to be “political rhetoric.”

    The idea that Republicans favor the rich _does_ have the advantage of matching up with long-held stereotypes, so making them do something that looks that way ought to be damaging. But the problem is, the window of time during which you can put Republicans on the spot for favoring the rich is narrow, while the span during which — if all the cuts expire — you can put Democrats on the spot for raising _everyone’s_ taxes would be very long.

    Or, if Republicans want, when they take over the House in the new session, they’ll pass a tax cut bill for everyone, which will probably clear the Democratic senate (because you’ve got 5 or so Democratic senators who say they support that position; would there be 40+ votes to filibuster a broad-based tax cut?). And then Obama would have to consider vetoing it — which he might do, but, wow, it would be a hard hill to die on, what with economic conditions being bleak and everyone getting socked with a higher tax bill than they used to.

  117. 117
    Rekster says:

    @ruemara: The reason I feel this way is that beside the fact that Obama ran on this “Promise” is the fact that I haven’t heard him say that he will not sign a tax bill that comes to his desk that has a tax cut for the ultra rich.

    I would feel better if I heard him make that statement.

    The Korea Free Trade agreement that was just announced only makes me feel that he is not a liberal, not that I considered him one.

  118. 118
    Suck It Up! says:

    I get frustrated when people (like Webb on HCR) start venting to the press about how Obama hasn’t been clear about what he wants.

    oooh, this burns me up. it is just a cop out and I have to wonder if some of these guys just want to know what he wants so they can move to the right of Obama. Or if the idea doesn’t work out they can say it was all Obama’s idea. A lot of the legislation that was passed in the past couple of years have been on the Dem wish list for a while, why are they waiting for Obama to tell them anything?

  119. 119

    @eemom:

    Of course I don’t want that hostage to die—but I don’t negotiate with terrorists.

    The problem with this argument is that “the hostages will die” isn’t a metaphor. People will die without an unemployment extension. The human cost will be horrific. Whereas the Republicans aren’t actual terrorists here. They want rich people’s taxes to be the same next year as they are this year. Bad policy, sure, but nobody is going to die over this. The deficit will be a little higher for a couple of years.

    There just isn’t any equivalence between the harms here, the way there is why you give missiles to Hezbollah as ransom.

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Democrats would only have to say, here is proposal A, B, and C which will cut taxes or preserve tax cuts. If the GOP does not agree to our proposals your taxes will go up.

    I think that’s clever, but I don’t know why the Republicans wouldn’t just say, “Our plan is simple: to give everyone a tax cut. If Democrats want to play favorites, we will stop them. When we control the House, we will present our simple plan for tax relief for everyone, and if President Obama and the Democrat Party listen to the American people, they will get on board.”

    Basically, I think there’s a LOT of things, built up over time, that hinder Democrats from being able to put Republicans on the hook as the reason for a tax increase. Too much cognitive dissonance.

    I would LOVE to see a convincing, slashing argument against Republican obstructionism. I think they have been winning on two tracks: there are the people who find their obstructionism appropriate (because Obama and the Democrats are un-American and must be stopped) and then those who don’t recognize it _as_ obstructionism and just think that Democrats “overreach” and won’t compromise because they are “too liberal.” Add to that the idea that complaining about obstructionism sounds like complaining about politics: go back to the table and hammer something out, people!

    That’s why I like Steve Benen’s “sabotage” argument. I’m not surprised Obama doesn’t make it wholeheartedly, because he likes to be the “reasonable people can disagree and still work together” guy. But someone high-profile should be out there hammering home the idea that Republicans aren’t just standing up for what they believe in or driving hard bargains, they actively oppose every attempt to deal with America’s problems because they’re eager to make the president look bad at any cost.

  121. 121

    @Brachiator:

    The Democrats would only have to say, here is proposal A, B, and C which will cut taxes or preserve tax cuts. If the GOP does not agree to our proposals your taxes will go up. We want the Republicans to go on record saying that they are willing to raise your taxes if they can’t get a bigger tax cut for rich people.

    Have you managed to come up with any examples of the Republicans taking heat because Congress failed to pass something?

    I can’t think of one.

  122. 122
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Can we at least agree it doesn’t help efforts?

    I don’t think the legislature has efforts. I feel like Obama is left trying to sketch out what legislation should look like, then dragging the legislature to do it, then stroking the ones who don’t wanna. The “compromise” thing, such as it is, is — IMHO, and this is a new thought I haven’t exhaustively tested — in part an attempt to speed up the molasses-like pace at which the senate proceeds. When the modern senate tries to operate, you get a win that looks like HCR. That shit takes _time_. How can you get their asses in gear? Try to build something like common ground _first_, then let them bicker and dicker about it. What do you think? Plausible?

  123. 123
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I’m going to consider this more fully but right now my answer is that Obama clearly has goals and ends to meet.
    He hasn’t fooled anyone that didn’t allow themselves to be.
    I still stand by my statement that at some point one has to conclude that the policies and outcomes we see are the desired ones.

  124. 124
    Brachiator says:

    @joe from Lowell:
    RE: That’s one hell of a crystal ball you’ve got there.

    You have spent an entire thread making predictions, and now you write this?

    This makes us best equal at speculation. Now what?

    RE: …and demonstrates Democratic Party ineptitude

    And you’ve passed, what, exactly from your position of no public office whatsoever, oh High Judge of Political Efficacy?

    Totally irrelevant since we are not discussing either your or my ability to pass legislation.

    I love this pose from people who look the passage of health care – something that every Democratic president and Congress has tried to do – and simply assume that the Democrats who actually managed to do it must have been politically inept.

    Gee, I was and continue to be one of those people who applauded the Democrats on this and never joined in that chorus who sang “if no single payer or public option, then utter failure.”

    But the fact is that the Democrats are weak on having a coherent economic agenda. The most significant tax credits that were introduced along with the economic stimulus will expire over the next two years, and there has been zero follow-up, and instead the entire debate is consumed with consideration of the Bush tax cuts. This is not good for Democrats, or for the nation.

    RE: You know why Republicans are still talking about making the Bush tax cuts permanent? Because they are still on the table.

    And they will remain on the table until the end of the lame duck session.

    Wrong. If a compromise extends the Bush tax cuts, they will remain on the table through the 2012 elections. And the Republicans will continue to clamor for them. And this is not mere speculation. This is what the GOP has consistently done since Obama was elected.

    You talk about the letter indicating that the GOP will block everything until a tax cut bill passes. There is also a letter from the Congressional leadership promising to patch the AMT for 2010. And there is a clear warning from the IRS commissioner that if Congress fails to act, then as many as 21 million taxpayers will be looking at tax increase.

    So the Democrats have clear proof that GOP obstructionism will screw over millions of Americans.

    And yet they refuse to use this to their advantage.

    So, I’ll ask you again, but in a different way: can you name a single example since the Democrats took Congress of when the failure to pass a bill, because of Republican obstruction, has rebounded to the detriment of Republicans?

    Wrong question. President Obama, and the CBO have suggested that keeping the Bush tax cuts will swell the deficit. Were they just bullshitting?

    It’s not just about sticking it to the Republicans, and nothing that anyone writes here, not you, not me, is going to directly affect public policy.

    But here is my prediction, and if I’m wrong and we are all still around, I will gladly note where I missed the mark. If the Democrats compromise on the Bush tax cuts, they will lose more support from people who wondered why they voted for the Democrats in the first place. The Republicans will continue to demand that the tax cuts be made permanent. No new significant Obama tax policy will see the light of day up through 2012. He will be unable to extend the few new proposals he had made, such as the extended American Opportunity Credit. The upcoming modification to the estate tax will give additional breaks to the wealthy on top of the extended Bush tax cuts.

    So I’ll ask you in a different way. Where is the guarantee that DADT and agreement on the START treaty are just around the corner? How do the Democrats gain by compromising if they go on to lose what they supposedly campaigned for?

  125. 125
    General Stuck says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The key has been the senate, for quite a while now. They may have the numbers, or very close to it, for the liberals there, or non blue dogs, to go to war now, and make the wingers and bluedogs come up with the eight votes to over ride a lib senators filibuster on House gop legislation. Obama has to be in on it, and support them, or it won’t work. They shouldn’t go hard left, but stick to pragmatic progressive liberal policy, with an emphasis on pragmatic. I think Obama would sign on to that. Which is still way left to what the current wingnuts would do, and most of the blue dogs. It is the only way to stop the BD’s and REid from letting the now winger House making bills that force Obama to veto them, or sign largely gop legislation.

    If the pro left would give up their ponies, and get off of Obama’s back long enough and concentrate their energies on supporting senate libs to go this way, it could do some actual good. Though all this seems quite unlikely to occur, until senate libs get over their Reagan’s ghost fears and take ideological control of their own destiny in that body and if Reid doesn’t go along, he must go. They must match the wingnuts in their solidarity, or else, we may see Clinton school uniforms all over again.

  126. 126
    eemom says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    you fuck off. Big time.

    I’m more worried about “first class citizens” who are out of work, threatened with the loss of theirs homes, hungry children, and 85 year olds working as Walmart greeters than I am about whether you get to serve under a purple flag, right this fucking minute.

  127. 127
    Rekster says:

    @Brachiator: Amen!! Brother.

  128. 128
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I think that’s clever, but I don’t know why the Republicans wouldn’t just say, “Our plan is simple: to give everyone a tax cut. If Democrats want to play favorites, we will stop them.

    The Democratic Party proposal already gives everyone a tax cut. The Republican proposal of extending the Bush tax cuts already plays favorites. The Democrats need to explain marginal tax rates and pull out the Mother Jones tax chart again.

    If the Republicans offer a tax plan, they could blunt the Democrats. But if they just say that they will stop the government until the Democrats relent, then Obama and Pelosi should be able to kick GOP ass.

    I would LOVE to see a convincing, slashing argument against Republican obstructionism. I think they have been winning on two tracks: there are the people who find their obstructionism appropriate (because Obama and the Democrats are un-American and must be stopped) and then those who don’t recognize it as obstructionism and just think that Democrats “overreach” and won’t compromise because they are “too liberal.”

    You make a good point here. So the question is, what do the Democrats do to deal with this? How do they advance their own economic agenda?

    Compromising with the Republicans extends the Bush tax cuts and restores some past Clinton era tax breaks, but does not advance any Obama tax policy. Is this what people want?

    Because this is what you are getting, apart from health care reform, which is, or should be, the foundation for much more.

  129. 129
    eemom says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I still disagree.

    I do not in any way mean to undermine the urgency of extending unemployment benefits, because I do agree with that urgency.

    But it is at absolute best a temporary relief measure — whereas, if
    these fuckwads get what they want for the rich, unemployment is only going to get worse. Because it perpetuates the system that enables the glutted piggery that is the corporate “citizenry” to hoard their money and continue to outsource jobs.

  130. 130
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator:

    If the Democrats compromise on the Bush tax cuts, they will lose more support from people who wondered why they voted for the Democrats in the first place.

    Interesting. The way I see it, if the Democrats manage to let everyone’s taxes increase — i.e., _not_ to arrive at some compromise on the Bush tax cuts — they will suffer a massive exodus from the people who like Obama more than they like “Democrats” and don’t pay that much attention to the policy details. Because the promise to give people making less than $250K a tax cut will have been breached, and there will be no way not to know it, because it will show up in their paychecks.

  131. 131

    @Brachiator:

    This makes us best equal at speculation. Now what?

    Now, I haven’t written anything about “crystal balls,” and you’ll stop.

    Totally irrelevant since we are not discussing either your or my ability to pass legislation.

    What is relevant is your lack of qualifications for denouncing others’ political ineptitude. You know what the people who got health care passed have demonstrated a great deal more of than you? Political aptitude.

    But the fact is that the Democrats are weak on having a coherent economic agenda.

    That isn’t true. The Democrats’ economic agenda during the years 2009 and 2010 has been quite clear – help the economy get out of the Great Recession. No, it’s not an ideological crusade, but it’s what the times called for.

    Wrong. If a compromise extends the Bush tax cuts, they will remain on the table through the 2012 elections.

    I’m sorry you misunderstood my point, so I’ll try to make it clearer to you. There is nothing the Democrats can do to take the extension of the tax cuts off the table during the lame duck session.They expire, if they are allowed to expire, after the session ends, and the Republicans will not allow anything else to go forward unless they are extended. That issue will still be there, regardless of what the Democrats do. You wrote “Wrong,” and then made a point that is in no way contrary to what I wrote.

    So the Democrats have clear proof that GOP obstructionism will screw over millions of Americans.

    That had that clear proof on any number of issues, for two years now – so I’ll ask you again, can you name a single example of when this harm you speculate will befall the Republicans for obstructing the Democrats’ efforts has ever actually befallen them? Even one?

    You’re so certain it will happen, and yet when asked for an example, you can’t name a single time it has happened, and need to make up an excuse why it doesn’t matter that you can’t. Perhaps you should consider the more plausible alternative – that the minority party doesn’t pay a political price for obstructionism, because the public blames the majority.

    Wrong question.

    No, it is exactly the right question. You made an assertion about Republicans paying a political price for their obstructionism, and I asked you for examples of when Republican obstructionism, of which there has been no shortage over the past two years, has harmed the Republicans and not the Democrats. “It will swell the deficit” isn’t a political price.

    If the Democrats compromise on the Bush tax cuts, they will lose more support from people who wondered why they voted for the Democrats in the first place.

    If the Democrats fail to pass – and give up on even trying to pass – DADT reform and unemployment benefit extensions, and if the economy is noticeably worse because those benefits aren’t extended, and there are more and more horror stories about people who used up their benefits, they will pay a greater price.

    The Republicans will continue to demand that the tax cuts be made permanent.

    The Republicans will do this regardless of any temporary extension.

    No new significant Obama tax policy will see the light of day up through 2012. He will be unable to extend the few new proposals he had made, such as the extended American Opportunity Credit.

    Obama isn’t going to get anything out of the Congress over the next two years – the House will see to that. That’s precisely why it makes sense to get everything he can possibly get out of the lame duck session. (On the other hand, items like the extension of his college tax credit, the Work Opportunity Credit, and his credit for hiring the unemployed are part of the tax-cut-extension negotiations.)

    Where is the guarantee that DADT and agreement on the START treaty are just around the corner?

    There are no guarantees in life. As I’ve explained already, Brown, Snowe, and Collins are likely to vote for DADT and UI extensions. If the bills, once the tax cut deal is made, aren’t likely to pass, then it wouldn’t be worth cutting this deal in order to get to them, but the votes appear to be there for those two items. START, I don’t know if they’ll get to 67, but it’s important enough to try.

  132. 132
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Democratic Party proposal already gives everyone a tax cut. The Republican proposal of extending the Bush tax cuts already plays favorites.

    True. People like the Democratic proposal when polled about it. But people will _hate_ getting neither the Democratic nor the Republican proposal, and won’t understand that the “sunset” wasn’t “what Democrats want,” because it will have been the product of a Democratic congress and Democratic president.

  133. 133

    @Brachiator:

    Compromising with the Republicans extends the Bush tax cuts and restores some past Clinton era tax breaks, but does not advance any Obama tax policy.

    That’s not actually true. The reports about the deal being negotiated now include the extension of Obama’s tax policy from the Recovery Act, in addition to the UI benefits.

  134. 134
    General Stuck says:

    @eemom:

    The only way the wingnuts will not continue to demagogue the tax issue, is if all of the Bush tax cuts get made permanent, now/ And even then, they would begin a new a campaign to get even more tax cuts. They are completely insane and irresponsible on this issue/ They just don’t care if a nickel of tax is raised more than maybe to keep a military funded.

    So as far as them using extensions, or expirations of tax cuts, or whatever, they will continue to beat dems about the head on this. So whether it’s a one year extension, or until eternity they will wank on and the press will treat them as serious statesmen. Normally, I would be total and uncompromising to let ALL the cuts expire. And EVEN at some point, when the economy improves more, for dems to propose raising taxes even higher to pay for our shit. I have a little dif belief in just the keynsian model, though it is good for short term ordinary busnit cycles.

    I am a firm believer, that a society that pays as it goes, is a healthier one, all around, but especially the economy. Some short term borrowing is always on the table, but dems need to capture the flag of fiscal responsibility at some point, like the wingers have their side of this equation, and go for it. Not only for political advantage, but even the long term survival of the country.

    But right now, there are a lot of out of work folks hurting bad, so I support a short term extension if it gets a year or more of UI. I believe you stay true to your liberal soul first and foremost, when the situation demands that. We do not let people go hungry. period.

  135. 135

    @General Stuck:

    We do not let people go hungry. period.

    Amen.

  136. 136
    Brachiator says:

    @Suck It Up!:
    RE: at least 21 millions taxpayers would be looking at an immediate $3900 tax increase on their 2010 taxes. The Republicans would cave before letting this happen.

    I’m curious as to why you believe this? Their past votes say otherwise.

    Congress has never let the alternative minimum tax go unpatched. Never. Not under the Democrats. Not under Republicans.

    The IRS has already begun to program its computers in anticipation of the patch. Tax filing would be delayed if Congress does not act on this. Here is some of the scoop:

    Congress needs to pass key tax legislation by year-end, or else the filing season will be a mess, and tens of millions of taxpayers may face delayed refunds, Internal Revenue Service chairman Douglas Shulman wrote in a pointed letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate finance and House Ways & Means committees today.
    ___
    “While I know you and your colleagues have a difficult challenge to enact legislation this year, I want to stress that it would be extremely detrimental to the entire tax filing season and to tens of millions of taxpayers if tax law changes affecting 2010 are deferred and then retroactively enacted in 2011,” Shulman wrote to Sen. Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa), Sen. Max Baucus (D.-Mont.), Rep. Dave Camp (R. Mich.), and Rep. Sander Levin (D.-Mich.)….
    __
    Shulman reminded the tax writers that in early November they requested that the IRS reprogram its computers to assume there will be a patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax, so the 21 million extra taxpayers who would be thrown into the AMT if there is no patch can file in a timely manner. If legislation isn’t passed by year-end, he warned the legislators, the IRS computers will have been programmed incorrectly and filing will be delayed.
    __
    The second big issue Shulman said that Congress needs to address is a group of dozens of tax laws known as the “extenders” that have already expired for 2010. The IRS hasn’t reprogrammed its computers for these provisions, which include deductions for state and local taxes, tuition fees and expenses, and for real property taxes for individuals who claim the standard deduction. Shulman estimates that over 25 million taxpayers are impacted by the extenders legislation. Taxpayers who file and pay additional taxes, assuming the extenders haven’t been passed, would then need to file amended returns.
    __
    “The overall strain on IRS service operations would affect not only AMT taxpayers and those who benefit from extenders, but would also spill over into service disruptions and/or delayed refunds for tens of millions of other taxpayers,” Shulman said in the letter.
    __
    Unfortunately, there’s precedent for Congress procrastinating when it comes to tax laws. In 2006, the extenders didn’t get finished until Dec. 20, and the IRS had to delay the start of filing season for some taxpayers until Feb. 3, says Dustin Stamper, a manager in Grant Thornton’s national tax office in Washington, D.C. In 2007, Congress didn’t finish the extenders or the AMT until Dec. 26, and the filing season was delayed until Feb. 13 for many taxpayers. “It was considered a bigger disaster because the AMT affects so many taxpayers,” Stamper says.

    I see this as the IRS Commissioner trying to help the Democrats. There is no way in hell that the Republicans can ignore this, or make good on their threat to stop the government. The GOP also cannot let this go until they craft tax legislation when the new Congress convenes.

  137. 137
    eemom says:

    @General Stuck:

    and a year from now, when their benefits are due to expire, again?

    and the rich pigs’ tax cuts are up be renewed, again?

    Then what?

    And what do you mean “we don’t let people go hungry”?? People have increasingly been going hungry in this country over the last decade and will continue to do so, even if these benefits are extended.

  138. 138
    Yutsano says:

    @Brachiator: Shulman is a relatively decent guy, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my boss. He’s also accurate: the computing backbone the IRS uses is from the 1970’s. So it’s a pain in the tuchas to deal with and manage properly. If we have to switch mid-stream it throws pretty much everything out of whack until the computing center in Martinsburg gets everything done.

  139. 139
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Brachiator:

    I see this as the IRS Commissioner trying to help the Democrats.

    I honestly hope you are right but I have an extremely low opinion of Republicans and think they have no conscience whatsoever.

  140. 140
    General Stuck says:

    @eemom:

    we do not let people go hungry when we have the opportunity to do something about it. Like with this particular situation.

    As far as what the wingnuts do a year or two from now. I thought I was quite clear on that. No matter the situation, they will try to shrink the government to drown that fucker in the bath tub. The most direct way of doing that is belligerent campaigning to cut cut cut taxes, that never ends.

    And until democrats own their liberal mantle again, and stand up straight for what they believe, which in this case is progressive taxation to a level that fully funds the country, then it won’t matter much anyways. Stick a fork in us, we are done as a country. And they better find that mojo pretty damn quick, the clock is ticking.

  141. 141
    Brachiator says:

    @joe from Lowell:
    RE: Compromising with the Republicans extends the Bush tax cuts and restores some past Clinton era tax breaks, but does not advance any Obama tax policy.

    That’s not actually true. The reports about the deal being negotiated now include the extension of Obama’s tax policy from the Recovery Act, in addition to the UI benefits.

    There might be an extension of the Making Work Pay Credit, but this is small cheese. Nope. This is not part of the compromise, either. The reports are confusing the tuition and fees deduction, which is old law, with Obama’s extension of the American Opportunity Credit, which is not on the table this time around. There is nothing that I see about extending the exclusion of a portion of unemployment compensation from taxable income, which was part of Obama’s past policy.

    Here I’m not just depending on news reports. I have to read the tax stuff straight from other sources. It’s part of my job.

    I note your other points. We will see what happens.

    @Yutsano:

    Shulman is a relatively decent guy, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my boss.

    Interesting background note on Shulman. Thanks for this.

    He’s also accurate: the computing backbone the IRS uses is from the 1970’s. So it’s a pain in the tuchas to deal with and manage properly. If we have to switch mid-stream it throws pretty much everything out of whack until the computing center in Martinsburg gets everything done.

    I have to deal with tax professionals who had to deal with delays last year, and what looks like delays this year. I give the IRS a lot of credit for scrambling to try to reduce the impact of Congressional follies on taxpayers.

  142. 142
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    I see this as the IRS Commissioner trying to help the Democrats. There is no way in hell that the Republicans can ignore this, or make good on their threat to stop the government. The GOP also cannot let this go until they craft tax legislation when the new Congress convenes.

    This is the moment where we find out for sure who’s running the party now: the oligarchs or the Tea Party. If it’s the oligarchs, something will be worked out at the last minute that will make the Democrats look bad but not seriously inconvenience businesses or the wealthy.

    If the Tea Party is in control, all bets are off and they will block everything no matter what.

    It would be very interesting to watch if I were in a different country right about now.

  143. 143
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It would be very interesting to watch if I were in a different country right about now.

    If I’m not in the IRS office in Canberra by 2012 I’m aiming for Costa Rica personally. I could have a decent enough retirement cushion set up by then to qualify for instant residency plus, hey, free health care.

  144. 144
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This is the moment where we find out for sure who’s running the party now: the oligarchs or the Tea Party. If it’s the oligarchs, something will be worked out at the last minute that will make the Democrats look bad but not seriously inconvenience businesses or the wealthy. If the Tea Party is in control, all bets are off and they will block everything no matter what.

    Well, it’s looking like a round for the oligarchs.

    One of the reason’s I wish that the Democrats would force a confrontation with the Republicans would be to see how the Tea Party People would respond and, more importantly, to give the American people another view of what their options might be.

    A compromise makes it easier for the mainstream Republicans and the Tea Party People to pretend that they like each other and are on the same page. It also reinforces the false view that the Republicans have any sort or mandate to run the country.

  145. 145
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    Well, it’s looking like a round for the oligarchs.

    You are much more optimistic than I am, my friend.

  146. 146
    Zach says:

    I don’t understand the GOP strategy here. Why do they demand action on the one thing that really matters to them when they can wait until they own Congress. Oh, wait, that’s because the GOP in the Senate will have egg on its face if January 1 comes and everyone’s taxes go up because of GOP filibusters.

    Dems should continue to disallow votes on extending all of the cuts, have Reid call an emergency session that will extend until this is finished, and let the GOP stall as long as they want. The GOP and Dem “fiscal conservatives” will cave before 1/1/11.

    Being able to stop new legislation with 41% is one thing, but being in the 41% that’s directly responsible for a large increase in withholdings right after Christmas isn’t so attractive. Hopefully Reid realizes this and plays hardball here.

    Dems should let the GOP stall against Obama’s plan for a week or so and then present a compromise proposal:
    1. >$1M = pre-Bush rates
    2. <$1M = rates stay the same
    3. Immediate rebate to all taxpayers equal in aggregate to the revenue gained by not lowering rates on $1M+ for 3 years, with the gained revenue dedicated to deficit reduction in subsequent years

    Only the "class warfare!!!" argument holds up against this plan. It hits every GOP priority otherwise: stimulatory tax cuts, deficit reduction, doesn't increase overall taxation (for the first 3 years).

  147. 147

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You can fault Obama for many things, but save room in your apportionment of blame to fault the people he works with too.

    But they are operating in the power vacuum created by Obama.

    In politics, if you don’t fight, you lose.

  148. 148

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It doesn’t really matter what the public thinks on an issue by issue basis. The public seems to be willing to vote for candidates who hold positions and take votes that run against what their constituents say they believe. Moving public opinion isn’t resulting in moving votes from nay to yea. That’s a huge problem. It’s basically the negation of the whole “bully pulpit” concept.

    No.

    The bully pulpit has got to be ongoing throughout the presidency, not just some lame effort when you’re coming up to a vote.

    To change the political climate takes constant dedicated fighting.

    And I didn’t hear Obama say he would veto 2% tax cuts to the rich, for example.

  149. 149

    The electoral math is pretty simple, no matter how this plays out 98% are affected. I don’t think the Ds are willing to see how the blame for a raise on that percentage gets apportioned. I don’t agree with letting the rich suck more out of the system and I don’t think it matters spit that I don’t in the face of that.

    Payment comes due and when you let things slide until the last moment your room to maneuver decreases until it vanishes. Blame for that can certainly be spread pretty widely in D ranks. The Ds were told this could happen when they put it off, they didn’t want to listen, and this is the result. It is the story of the last two years, give the other side all the rope they need to hang you.

  150. 150
    Corner Stone says:

    @joe from LoL:Poor little baby. No, you’ve said the same things a few times, but your explanations are shit.
    When you can explain why 23 D Senators want to fight about tax cuts before the 2012 election let us know.

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