You are the change we’ve been waiting for

So, fiscal cliff. Austerity crisis. Whatever. Obama has decided that upper tax brackets will go up, and so it will happen, since anything else requires his signature in lieu of an override vote in both houses of Congress. The whole package of Bush tax cuts expires in January, plus useful items like unemployment insurance, and a pile of spending cuts take effect that impact the military more than any other single target. Nobody wants this to happen, but billionaires didn’t buy the GOP to see their taxes go up, so Republicans need to fix the top tax bracket a lot more than Democrats worry about the spending cuts. This is true in particular because the cuts leave the major social welfare programs alone.

The Senate already passed a tax cut extension for income under $250k, so everyone with a TV knows that the clock is ticking on John Boehner’s side of the chess board. If Boehner can get Democrats to cut their own social welfare programs then at least the GOP gets something they can throw a fit about in 2014 and get some payback for those tax hikes. That gambit worked for a while, but some time around the 2005 Social Security fiasco people started to learn.

So, Obama says to contact your Congressperson. That sounds like an excellent idea for two reasons. One, Obama has pretty good political instincts. Two, Mitch McConnell says don’t do it.

If you have a Republican Representative, let him or her know that all they have to do is pass the Senate bill to save everyone’s first $250k from a tax hike in January. Maybe your Rep thinks that social welfare programs need to be cut. Ok, how? Tell them to stop acting like a three year old and propose something.

Find your Congresscritter here.

Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Guide for first-timers here.

78 replies
  1. 1
    Maude says:

    I was hoping you do a post like this.

  2. 2
    👽 Martin says:

    I’ve already written to my pigfucker congressman. My guess is the reply will read right out of Atlas Shrugged. Can’t believe I bought a car from him 18 years ago.

  3. 3
    Randy P says:

    Mine is Pat Meehan. Bleahh.

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Tell them to stop acting like a three year old and propose something.

    They’ll probably just take a shit right in front of you.

    That is the three year old retaliatory response to most things.

  5. 5
    Maude says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    And usually when there’s a room full of company.

  6. 6
    Linda says:

    @👽 Martin: My congresswoman is firmly in Obama’s corner. But I sent in a call to Rob Portman’s office, although things aren’t in the Senate at this point. His office took my call and listened to my opinions with all the enthusiasm of a kid waiting for a trip to the dentist.

    I will–and do–apply pressure when possible–but gerrymandering makes it harder to make a difference.

  7. 7
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    The President, as usual, is the grown up in this scenario.

  8. 8
    srv says:

    Tim F.

    I thought you died.

    We really need a Republican on this blog. Can’t anyone find a Sully Jr? We could import someone from Canada or wherever.

  9. 9
    suzanne says:

    I would call, but, but….I have a Democratic Congresscritter now.

    I think I just came,

  10. 10
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @suzanne:

    I think I just came,

    Is this waiting for an edit?

  11. 11
    jl says:

    I got right thinking relatives scattered from AK to MD in red districts, so I will spread the word.

    But, might give ol’ Nancy Minority Leader a call. Won’t hurt.

  12. 12
    toschek says:

    I’m not worried about Boxer so I won’t call her, I will call Feinstein though because she is a black hearted witch — even though I doubt she is evil enough to insist on Social Security cuts in exchange for extending tax breaks to 98% of the country.

    Even though I hate living here most of the time at least my Senators tend not to have tantrums on the grocery store floor when mommy tells them they can’t have cereal with marshmallows in it (I’m looking at you, Walnuts.)

  13. 13
    jpeg says:

    I rarely have need to call my Congresscritter since my district has been blue since Democrats have been blue, but does calling actually make any difference? I mean, sure, if Republicans were sane, I can see it, but most of the Republican Representatives were just reelected. What motive do they have for crossing the line before the new Congress is seated?

    I predict that we’ll fall off the cliff, which is really more of a gradual slope. Then Republicans will give just so they can show they have fought the good fight, blah, blah, blah.

  14. 14
    suzanne says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Absolutely not.

  15. 15
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    I’m not worried about Jim McDermott doing the right thing, so I don’t know who to write to. I thought when I moved way to hell and gone down here to the Peruvian border almost, that I’d get to vote against that asspimple Reichert, but they gerrymandered the bejeezus out of the districts, I guess.

  16. 16
    poco says:

    Dear Tim,

    So glad to see your post!!

  17. 17
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Gin & Tonic: No, it’s waiting for “I’ll have what she’s having!”

    (I have an NDP MP. I’m fine there, thank you very much. I also have Steve Harper as PM. There is not enough alcohol in the world, although I do have some gin in the basement and a half empty bottle of lukewarm, flattish tonic …)

  18. 18
    Shadow's Mom says:

    So pleased to see your post. I’ve already called Feinstein and Boxer to ask that they support the filibuster rules reform on the first day of the next session. My congress critter is Stark, who will be replaced by Swallwell next year. Rumor has it Swallwell is not nearly as progressive on earned benefits like Medicare and Social Security as Stark has been. Swallwell is much younger and appears to have drunk the ‘Ponzi scheme’ koolaid. So, I suspect I’ll be making calls in the coming years.

    Still, it probably will not hurt to be logged as a ‘voice in favor’ of passing the existing bill right now.

  19. 19
    Linda Featheringill says:

    My representative in the new location is Republican (Gerlach) so I can call him and make a nuisance of myself.

    I’d like to call McCain and tell him to quit being such an asinine fool. Maybe I will.

    So, we are pushing for passage of the Senate bill to restore tax cuts for the first quarter-mil on everyone. Right?

    [Glad to see you, Tim.]

  20. 20
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Comrade Mary: The comma confused me.

    If we can survive W, you can survive Harper. But the gin does nobody any good sitting in the basement regardless.

  21. 21
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Perhaps our Dem representatives would appreciate a call of support?

  22. 22
    Barbara says:

    I am true blue here in Virginia. I moved here more than 30 years ago and it really feels nice to say that. But my mom and my sister and some other like minded relatives are definitely represented by the other side, at least in part.

  23. 23
    MikeJ says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    The President, as usual, is the grown up in this scenario.

    Is it wrong to cheer for shaken baby syndrome?

  24. 24
    Fluke bucket says:

    Would anybody here seriously consider contacting Paul Broun?

  25. 25
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Fluke bucket: By “contacting”, do you mean using a telephone or using a 2×4?

  26. 26
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    The comma confused me.

    Somehow, this seems to need to be a tag,

  27. 27
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @srv:

    We really need a Republican on this blog.

    God no.

  28. 28
    Anya says:

    Thanks, Tim for leading the way.

    I’ll call my reps to thank them and encourage them to continue the good fight.

    In a semi related note, is Mark Kirk back from rehab?

  29. 29
    NCSteve says:

    I’m “represented” by Virginia Foxx. I might as well write my letter to her telling her to pass the Senate bill on my bare ass in water-soluble ink, take a shower and let it go down the drain as put it on paper and send it to her. Either would do the exactly the same amount of good.

  30. 30
    Central Planning says:

    @suzanne:

    I think I just came,

    How do you not know?

    @SiubhanDuinne: LOL!

  31. 31
    👽 Martin says:

    @toschek: Call Feinstein, but she’ll be on board. She’s more dangerous when Dems are in the minority and she might be a crossover vote. In the majority, she doesn’t really need to compromise on anything.

  32. 32
    LesGS says:

    @👽 Martin: Issa, huh? I’m dealing with Scott Peters now, rather than Bilbray. I’ll still call him, though. Can’t be too careful.

  33. 33
    Comrade Mary says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Nah, that’s going to be my all-purpose excuse for everything.

  34. 34
    Joe Max says:

    Sadly (or luckily) my Congresscritter is Barbara Lee. I don’t have to worry about how she’ll vote on this.

    “Barbara Lee speaks for me!”

  35. 35
    Joe Max says:

    @Shadow’s Mom:

    I sent both Boxer and Feinstein faxes urging them to support filibuster reform. Boxer I’m not too worried about but DiFi is an old fart who is (at last account) wavering. Hope it does some good.

  36. 36
    Don K says:

    Well, considering I’m represented by Carl Levin, Stabenow, and Sander Levin, I’m pretty confident they’ll do the right thing.

  37. 37
    👽 Martin says:

    @LesGS: No, Campbell. Though the aftermarket alarm might have come from Issa.

  38. 38
    HG Hay says:

    @Joe Max: Another Barbara Lee constituent here, formerly Nancy Pelosi. I wish I had something to get indignant about.

  39. 39
    catclub says:

    Does anyone else think it is amazingly funny that the GOP puts so much weight on immigration reform that the only ones they can get to propose something are two back bench senators who are retiring, in the very last month of their terms.

    Nothing says ‘You matter to our party’ any better.

  40. 40
    Violet says:

    Yay, Tim! Thanks for posting this. I will call my congressperson first thing in the morning. My Rep is a Dem, but it doesn’t hurt to add a voice of support for the President’s agenda.

  41. 41
    Mike in NC says:

    My shitbird Congressman (NC-7) is one of those gutless Blue Dogs who survived in 2010 by running away from the President. Then the GOP majority in Raleigh gerrymandered his district to be more Republican-friendly, yet he just was declared winner in a recount by 600+ votes against some chubby schmuck with the IQ of a potato who bragged about having worked for Jessie Fucking Helms many years ago. Good God.

  42. 42
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Mike in NC: small victories? Gin?

  43. 43
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Anyone else get a Malware Warning when they clicked on the Guide for first-timers here link?

    I have a screenshot if needed.

  44. 44
    👽 Martin says:

    @catclub: Well, the GOPs House problem is that they’ve gerrymandered their way into power, which leaves them very vulnerable to being primaried from the right. GOP Senators can better afford to take moderate stances which is why this is starting in the Senate. Nobody in the House will go near it.

    They’re really in a corner.

  45. 45
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Oh, and Tim F. thanks for this post. I’ll contact my rep, he a tea bagger, sure I’ll get the canned response back but not a reason not to do it.

    Now, where’s Max?

  46. 46
    AHH onna Droid says:

    @👽 Martin: huh? Only in ‘ safe’ districts. If they are packing Democrats and diluting the GOP, an extremist could lose to a conservaDem.

  47. 47
    Felonius Monk says:

    I’d call my congresscritter, but he’s a rethug asshole and I don’t think assholes have ears.

  48. 48
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I live in Manhattan, so I’m already covered by deep-blue reps (Schumer, Gillibrand, and Maloney) who should have zero interest in accommodating the GOP.

    That said, I do have to endure the unbearable clutching of pearls on CNBC every day at work (you can figure out what industry I work in), and they’ve got a nice big clock counting down Cliff, Fiscal’s birthday, aka New Year’s Eve. It’s so fucking asinine, and they treat it with all the seriousness they do with recommending stocks. Which is to say, little to no seriousness at all. They all deserve a boot up the ass, Toby Keith style.

  49. 49
    Brachiator says:

    It helps even if your Congress Critter is a certified GOP wingnut. The message should be simple. Kill the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Keep the middle class tax cuts.

    Right now, it appears as though they intend to drag this mess out past their Christmas break. This is why it may help to pile up the letters, postcards, phone calls and emails. The GOP needs to know that their ignorance bubble has been popped. The Democrats need to be reminded and encouraged to do the right thing.

  50. 50
    Suffern ACE says:

    @PsiFighter37: my firm recently changed from CNN to CNBC in the lobby to appear more businessy. I pass though there about ten times a day. I don’t know how they expect to keep the panic up for five more weeks.

  51. 51
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Is there a BJ Commenter/Reader’s Guide here for how to distinguish among the posts of TimF, DougJ, Mistermix, and Zandar, which without author tag would be totally interchangeable?

    Do we have proof of life, or some way of knowing that all four are not Cole sock puppet spoofs representing varying degrees of Botulist infection?

    Regardless, living as I do in Boston, I have no need or desire to contact my congressional reps, especially not the divine Ms. W(arren). At least until she is sublimated by Dem Power Brokers in D.C.

    Also too furthermore and additionally: I tend to think it’s ridiculous that we are expected to call/write/fax elected officials to do the fucking job they were elected to do. “Make me do it” is a cop out. How about “Do your fucking job and I’ll do mine.” ?

  52. 52
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Suffern ACE: That’s too bad, because at least during campaign season, it seemed like Soledad O’Brien was doing a semi-competent impression of actual journalism.

    Oh well, I guess it’s better than having Faux News on, where they’re showing random car chases happening in Bumblefuck and passing that off as news.

    As for living with the panic, I assume that clowns like Joe Kernan are just super-caffeinated and will have their hearts explode by the end of the year, solely because the people who they fellate daily on the teevee may have their marginal tax rates go up 4%. Do they even know the top marginal tax rate 50 years ago was 90%? That’d probably make their brains explode, along with their hearts.

    Idiotic blowhards, the whole lot of them. There’s not a single personality on that channel I can stand for longer than 15 seconds. It’s a damn shame that Howard Dean shows up too frequently as the Democratic representative.

  53. 53
    MikeJ says:

    Do we get dog pics if we call?

  54. 54
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @MikeJ: You get watercolours of dogs made using the finest wingnut tears to wet the pigments.

  55. 55
    Hugely says:

    @LesGS: we must be in same zip bilbray is still our rep for now i wonder how he would vote…

  56. 56
    mclaren says:

    Obama has impressed the hell out of me. He’s born again hard. The guy’s not budging. Could he have waited until the second term to swing left and stick it to the fringe lunatics on the right?

    If so, bravo!

    No one would be more delighted than I to find out I’ve been completely utterly 100% dead wrong about Obama. If so, I’ll eagerly admit myself a fool and a halfwit.

    All Obama and the Demos have to do is…nothing. And we get an end to those vile billionaire tax cuts from the reign of error of the drunk-driving C student from Texas.

  57. 57
    Hill Dweller says:

    Some of the Blue Dogs are going to need some persuading/pressure. They’ve likely already torpedoed any chances of reforming the filibuster. Raising taxes is going to be an even tougher ask.

  58. 58
    Redshift says:

    @Brachiator:

    This is why it may help to pile up the letters, postcards, phone calls and emails.

    And faxes! I don’t know if it’s still true, but not too long ago the advice was that faxes had more impact than emails, supposedly because it’s easier to generate mass emails, or get people to send them through low-effort clicktivism. (Personally, I suspect it’s because they’re on paper, and psychologically that makes them more “real” to a lot of our older reps.)

    Letters and postcards are effective, but still very slow because of the extra anthrax screening, so send them soon if you want them to get there before the end of the year.

  59. 59
    Smiling Mortician says:

    Every senator and congresscritter needs to be contacted by as many constituents as possible — the good guys because they need to be supported, the fence-sitters because they need to be persuaded, and the bad guys because even if they’ll never admit it out loud, they do keep track of how grossly unpopular their own plans are.

  60. 60
    Redshift says:

    Also, for those of us with Democratic reps, it never hurts to call or write to push them further left (with the exception of Barbara Lee, that is.) Remind them that the only reason for cutting the deficit at all right now is political; economically we should be increasing taxes on the rich and increasing spending (even more than Obama is proposing, though he’s on the right track.)

  61. 61
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    @mclaren:

    This is what I’ve been saying all along. Obama’s reelection was the sine qua non for everything. It wouldn’t matter what he did when the Dems had majorities in both houses, if he was a one-term president it would all have evaporated.

    Now, the Republicans can’t keep the economy from showing any signs of recovery for eight years (they just about did it for four), and by 2016, most people are not going to vote to have their health insurance reform, mild as it is, taken away. He’ll leave office with the country in the best place it’s been for thirty years, but he had to walk on eggshells to make sure of reelection. Now he doesn’t.

  62. 62
    Chris says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    Now, the Republicans can’t keep the economy from showing any signs of recovery for eight years (they just about did it for four), and by 2016, most people are not going to vote to have their health insurance reform, mild as it is, taken away. He’ll leave office with the country in the best place it’s been for thirty years, but he had to walk on eggshells to make sure of reelection. Now he doesn’t.

    This.

    Can’t imagine the weeping and gnashing of teeth when yet ANOTHER Democratic president who inherited a mess leaves office with a shiny economy.

  63. 63
    joel hanes says:

    @mclaren:

    It is rather starting to look like the endgame of twelve-dimensional chess, isn’t it?

    I too may have some words to eat.

    I couldn’t be more delighted.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    @mclaren:

    All Obama and the Demos have to do is…nothing. And we get an end to those vile billionaire tax cuts from the reign of error of the drunk-driving C student from Texas.

    Not entirely true. The Congress absolutely must take care of some loose ends like the AMT patch for 2012 taxes. The president has a strong hand, but not a totally invincible hand. And Congressional leaders have been sitting on legislation since mid November that would address these issues, hoping to make a deal.

    @Redshift:

    Yes. Even though faxes may be old tech, physical pieces of paper like faxes and letters get more attention than email. And email can get deleted at the push of a button.

  65. 65
    srv says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Is there a BJ Commenter/Reader’s Guide here for how to distinguish among the posts of TimF, DougJ, Mistermix, and Zandar, which without author tag would be totally interchangeable?

    These are not the droids you are looking for.

    I assure you, they are all different posters. Tim and Doug never got along, even if they are from the same Rochester mafia. Tim has taste, Doug has matured a lot, but I wouldn’t say he has taste. I think MM is one of Doug’s lab dropouts. Like the Berkeley post-docs who live on the street but have an immacutely groomed terrier with a collar from Nordstroms. Zandar is like his real name, so he’s from one of those Superman planets. People like that don’t exist in Rochester.

    But Doug is half of the commenters here, so he’s probably Hellen.

  66. 66
    slag says:

    Hung out in my Rep’s office yesterday, requesting his support for both entitlement preservation and ginormous tax increases on the MOTU. Not just because fuck-them-that’s-why but also because I do value some level of fiscal responsibility. The MOTU truly can afford it, and I encounter far too many people on a daily basis who cannot. Besides, fuck them that’s why.

  67. 67
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Redshift: Exactly right. Emails are worthless, letters are hung up for screening, but hand-written faxes get there fast and have the impact of a letter.

  68. 68
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @mclaren:

    Could he have waited until the second term to swing left and stick it to the fringe lunatics on the right?

    If that was the thinking, then he’s got more guts than most. He gambled the whole shebang on Plouffe, Axelrod, and Messina pulling through. There aren’t too many pols, hell, homo sapiens, who would hold off on immediate gratification of 50% of what they want to take a chance on 100% down the line.

  69. 69
    mclaren says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    Now, the Republicans can’t keep the economy from showing any signs of recovery for eight years (they just about did it for four), and by 2016, most people are not going to vote to have their health insurance reform, mild as it is, taken away.

    Oh indeed, as Marlo was wont to say on The Wire.

    In fact it gets better than that. The Repubs already couldn’t keep the economy from showing any signs of recovery for 8 years because by October of this year, the unemployment rate had already dipped down below 8%. This killed one of Romney’s biggest talking points, harping about how the unemployment was still above 8%. Suck on this, RMoney.

    But the real cutoff date for the Repubs to sink the ACA was 2014. When the ACA’s full provisions kick in by 2014, it’s game over. There’s no way they can stop it. And people won’t want to go back.

    I still have serious doubts about whether the ACA will do diddly to reduce insurance premiums or co-pays, and those are killing people. The ACA appears to do nothing to control the underlying cost growth of medical services. But the important point is that regardless whether the ACA actually controls costs, the spell has been broken — the basic principle that we have to shake things up and change the system will have been accepted by all the parties in our collapsing medical-industrial complex.

    That suggests that at some point, as ACA gradually fails, everyone is going to be forced to accept more radical (and more realistic) changes to how medical care gets delivered in America. Changes like opening up admissions to medical schools, banning sweetheart contracts for medical devicemakers, shutting down the legal bribery of doctors by Big Pharma, ending fee-for-service once and for all and susbtituting flat payment dictated by the government at some hard ceiling.

    We’re not there yet. But you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  70. 70
    Keith G says:

    Thank you, Tim. I have been banging on about the need for activism on these issues. Winning the election was a great first step, but only a first step.

    The real work is ahead.

  71. 71
    fester says:

    @suzanne: even if/espescially if your Congresscritter is a Dem, call and let them know that someone sjupports them. The right wing rage machine is good at creating a reality bubble(see summer 2009 townhall meetings) that create the illusion of a vast right wing populace to the Congresscrfitter and staff. A little polite pushback to that bubble is valuable

  72. 72
    Kirbster says:

    As usual, the CBS Evening News interviewed a whiny “small business owner” last night bitching about how any tax increase will force him to fire his employees or close his doors or something. All because (he claimed) he would have to pay an additional $8k in income tax. By my calculations (i.e., a tax rate increase of 3% on income over $250k), that means his business nets about $570k per year. It would be pretty stupid to shut down an income stream of over half a million dollars a year over an extra eight thousand in taxes. At least the report was balanced enough to include another business owner who refreshingly hires people based on demand for his products instead of income tax rates.

  73. 73
    Saint Timonious says:

    Call toll-free here:

    888 355 3588 and
    888 818 6641

  74. 74
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Read this from my shithead, wingnut, representative:

    http://luetkemeyer.house.gov/n.....tID=312605

    and tell me it’s worth faxing, emailing or calling his office.

    It ain’t.

  75. 75
    Lee says:

    Got a lot of nerve posting here without pics of Max.

    You might get an internet wedgie if you do it again.

  76. 76
    MikeBoyScout says:

    So you know, called my (soon to be former) Congressman, Dave Reichert (R-WA08) this morning. Asked what my Congressman was doing to stop my taxes from going up. The poor staffer bumbled about not being able to speak for the Congressman asked what I thought should be done. Told that I expect the Congressman to work publicly and privately to get the Senate bill passed. Asked when we could expect to hear from the Congressman on his position on extending the tax cut. Of course, got no answer.

    I’ll be bugging the SOB’s office daily.

  77. 77
    Lojasmo says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Shorter Ted & Helen: “I’m not doing shit.”

  78. 78
    Lojasmo says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Shorter Ted & Helen: “I’m not doing shit.”

Comments are closed.