Forcing Republicans to Choose

Trumka, Dem leaders in talks on forcing a vote on middle class tax cut extension onlyGreg Sargent:

AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka told reporters moments ago on a conference call that he's been aggressively lobbying the White House and Dem Congressional leaders to hold such a vote. Liberals are pushing for this course of action -- rather than a fake "compromise" on extending all the Bush tax cuts temporarily -- because it would represent a genuinely confrontational approach, forcing Republicans to choose between supporting Obama's tax cut plan and opposing a tax cut for the middle class.

..."It's absolutely insane that in these tough economic times, some people want to continue the George Bush tax giveaway for millionaires," Trumka continued. "It doesn't create jobs. It's bad policy and it's bad for the economy."

Trumka, in a formulation that just might stick, labeled an extension of the high-end cuts "Tarp Two."

For starters, Merkely is on board, and Schumer has forced Republicans on record that it's all about the breaks for millionaires for them.

This one is so obvious, the argument is writing itself.  If Republicans want TARP Two, let them vote on that after you stake them out on cuts for the middle class.


Tags: Lame-Duck Congress, Jeff Merkely, Chuck Schumer, Bush tax cuts (all tags)



RE: Forcing Republicans to Choose

Recipe for Dem political success:

1) Keep Pelosi as leader.

2) Turn to Richard Trumpka for political advice.

3) Blame George Bush.

by hwc 2010-11-16 05:11PM | 0 recs
RE: Forcing Republicans to Choose

Your are joking right? You cant possibly be serious?

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-11-16 09:10PM | 0 recs
RE: Forcing Republicans to Choose

I'm just trying to help 'em out, that's all.

by hwc 2010-11-16 09:30PM | 0 recs
RE: Forcing Republicans to Choose

BTW, the folly of this strategy is that it would also be forcing many Democrats to vote for tax increases on the middle class. Of course, that wouldn't matter in Richard Trumpka's world, but many of these Democrats have to run for reelection in the real world.

by hwc 2010-11-16 07:31PM | 0 recs
RE: Forcing Republicans to Choose

????? Didn't you read the proposal? How is voting for middle class tax cuts voting for tax increases on the middle class?

by antiHyde 2010-11-16 07:34PM | 0 recs
RE: Forcing Republicans to Choose

Many Dems would vote "no" to a scheme to raise taxes with the country deep in an economic downturn. In other words, the Dems don't have the votes for Trumpka's scheme. If they had the votes, they would have rammed it through before the lame duck. If you recall, Pelosi had to adjurn the House to prevent a vote on extending current tax rates for all Americans.

by hwc 2010-11-16 09:28PM | 0 recs
Taxcuts for the wealthy was out there as an issue in the last election.

It was on the top of the list of priorities of Boehner's "Pledge to America." What in the world makes anyone believe that the people will wake up when a cast of Republican representatives and senators reaffirm their support for these taxcuts?

Instead, Obama will veto any uncompromising Republican tax plan that comes out of the House that might get Senate approval, which extends the previous tax rates. As things stand, the Bush tax plan will end, the previous Clinton rates will be installed by default, and the Democrats will be charged with raising taxes, and raising taxes on the middle class. That result is opposite of what the Democratic leadership believes will happen, IMHO.


by MainStreet 2010-11-16 08:52PM | 0 recs
RE: Taxcuts for the wealthy was out there as an issue in the last election.

If Obama does that, the Dem leadership should send in the men in white coats to take him away. Oh, wait... nevermind... the Dem leadership just decided that it would be a swell idea to keep Pelosi as leader. They are crazy, too!

by hwc 2010-11-16 09:33PM | 0 recs
the problems...

...with this approach:

a) Republicans absolutely have the upper hand: if Democrats can't get agreement on their proposals, the tax cuts expire on 12/31 and everyone's taxes go up. Almost everyone agrees this will be politically disastrpous for Democrats; I don't necessarily buy that, but I think Dem leadership does, and it's killing their ability to talk tough. Republicans, it strikes me, are banking on this. So voting no and waiting for a fauller extension works in their favor. Everything, in fact, works in their favor by simply waiting Dems out.

b) Tax policy is not an actually sexy issue and Democrats are not on great ground agreeing to debate it with Republicans on their terms: which is basically, we think there shouldn't be taxes. I don't think it's surprising that, on those terms, people like them better.

c) As long as Democrats keep defining "middle class" well above the nation's median income ($250,000 vs. the actual median of around $55,000), this argument is actually already on the margins: everyone is talking about where to draw lines for especially well off people in our society. Nothing personal... I don't make anywhere near $50K, never mind $100 or $250K. And I think a lot of people (in the working class) are noting that this debate has nothing to do with anything about them or the problems they face. Again, Democrats - r more to the point, a liberal elite - is once again arguing this narrow issue on the Republican's terms. And again, I'm not sure it's surprising that they're losing on that.

d) Democrats continue to debate this, really, with themselves. That, really, is the crux of why caving is so imminent.

by nycweboy1 2010-11-16 09:55PM | 0 recs
RE: the problems...

What income levels would you define as middle class? For a single person, for a typical family of four?

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-11-17 07:53PM | 0 recs
RE: the problems...

Buckeye, I'd start at the median and work outward (you add in dual income couples, get to something just over $100K or so...), but let's be clear about why the President finds it worthwhile to cal $250,000 "middle class": it's the tenured university professors, advertising executives, and other white collar professionals of upscale suburbs on the coasts and in urban enclaves who see themselves as "middle class liberals" who reach those income levels, and alienatting them might be devastating to what's left of the Party's thinly defined majority. One of the enormous problems we have in this country is this perception that "middle class income" gets to be self-defined, or that a variety of factors (New York is expensive!) somehow allow for wide latitudes of perception. The fact remains that most people make far, far less than what's under discussion, and discussions of tax breaks for people making a quarter of a milion dollars just seems absurd. And I think that we're here in this debate over taxes tends to show just how far what we like to call "liberal" or "progressive" politics has warped from a sense of true purpose: helping those actually in need, and telling those who are better off that they share in a resonsibility to help others.

by nycweboy1 2010-11-18 09:30AM | 0 recs
RE: the problems...

Well in the Northeast, for example, a familky of 4 earning $100,000 will just be making it. With property taxes hovering around $10k in many middle class communities, sales tax, income tax and the general cost of good and services, $100k is just getting by. It really depends where you live. In CT where we lived, $75K-$125k for a family of 4 is middle class. Here in OH where we are now, if you its more like $75-$110k......point is...someone earning $125K isnt rich. If you live in NYC you need more than that.

I have a couple close friends who own small businesses. Their after tax income's average $200-230k. However thats not what they bank. In reality they end up using as sizeable chunk of that money to reinvest in their business and or expand year after year. If they suddenly were paying another $20k or $30k in taxes, thats one less employee, and so forth. I dont have an issue taxing someone earning $1 million dollars, but when you get to that $250k mark and below, your often talking about small business.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-11-18 02:09PM | 0 recs
RE: the problems...

I live in the northeast; I'm not a family of four, but trust me, you can barely support one on what I make. I'm well aware of the disparities... but I think this sense of sympathy for a small business owner whose business clears $200,000 is just not my issue. This idea that Democrats can be both a party that cares about helping those in actual need, and also "protect" people with incomes north of $100K is a fantasy. We have taxes, we need a tax policy that makes sense... and part of what makes sense is that those with higher incomes pay more. Yes, over a million dollars that should be yet more... but this idea of defining "middle class until it covers nearly 80% of people who earn incomes is to lose sight of the proper definition of things, to equalize all issues as if they're the same... and they're not. And my main concern, as a liberal and a Democrat is what we do first for the poorest and those most in need... and after that, what we do for others who do quite well for themselves. As liberals we tend to dismiss conservatives as the people who don't care about others and who would let the poorest suffer... but I think the lesson in expansively defining "middle class" - and losing sight of where the "middle" actually is helps perpetuate damaging notions of just who is poor and how much help they really need.

The other problem, though, is something that I think is harder for the left to face: these issues you mention about small business owners or regional differences are issues tied up in property values, local tax policies, and yes, the painful choices about when and where to cut back on government services. From the foreclosure mess to the issues around education, these complex problems reverberate through our political debates, and I think - still - that the big failure as I mentioned is that we're discussing the tax piece in a vacuum where these other issues get ignored. That's unrealistic, and it leads, I think to the kind of unreality we're debating - I want a family of four at the $100K level to be able to live well; which probably means something about their property values and their local property taxes. And I don't think small business owners should have to make unhappy choices not to grow a business based on high taxes... but that's a larger, longer discussion, to my mind. The main point, I think, is that when we talk about income and income taxes, Democrats are not helping the discussion, or their politics, by losing sight of the people most in need, and that they are people earning below the median... not above it. Until we fix that, I don't know that we're getting anywhere.

by nycweboy1 2010-11-19 12:46PM | 0 recs
RE: Forcing Republicans to Choose

Everything, in fact, works in their favor by simply waiting Dems out.

Charles Krauthammer theorized (his theories are usually based on being pretty well connected in Washington Republican circles) that Boehner and McConnell got wind of the Democrat scheming on this issue and pulled the plug on this week's "bipartisan White House meeting". They believe that time is on their side on the tax issue. The closer we get to massive tax increases, the more pressure on Dems to cave.

Krauthammer also said that the current Republican position is four year temporary extension of all of the Bush tax cuts.

by hwc 2010-11-16 10:58PM | 0 recs
The key is really not how to deal with citizens

Much of the talk here is political consultant-ese. "How do we sell the democrats, how do we make the GOP look bad" bla bla bla.

But the fundamental debate is really about tax revenue.  In the 60's , corporations paid a significant portion of the overall tax revenue burden. The middle class paid much less.


Then, with the rise of Watergate, Nixon, and Lobbyism - we found the percentage of the burden dropping squarely on the shoulders of the middle class, and the citizenry - while corporations seized control of American institutions.


Now, an unprecedented level of control is exerted upon American institutions by corporations. Corporations funded the last 4 billion dollars that were spent in 2010, and 85% of it was spent on the GOP. They were hit hard by the 'hardworking congress' that passed so many real reforms  - and they are now running scared.


The key to the current issue is not how to deal with citizenry, but rather, corporations. The Republicans openly defend the concept that if a person is making 250,000.00 or more, then he or she is a "small business" and hitting them amounts to a hit on a corporate interest.

Somehow, that's seemingly become a third rail of politics.  I run a small business.  And there is a very simple answer. If your small business is making 250k or more, then spend 120 dollars, reclassify it as an LLC or a C Corp.

And stop running it as an S-corp.  The "small business" that these republicans are talking about is a sole proprietorship - where all the income for a business is booked under  a single person's name.

To hell with that.  There's a ton of liability in that structure, if anything goes wrong you get sued,  on and on. It's a kiddie structure for a business, by and large.  Sure, there are certain privately held  or closely held exceptions to this kind of criticism - but by and large S-corps are for companies that are just starting out. And we should remember that if an S Corp is taking in 250k in personal income, which is to say - if a single person is banking 250,000.00 as their own, taxable income - and not paying anyone out of that - then by god they have enough business to at least consider hiring one other person to help things grow beyond that limit. Most small businesses really start moving when they break the 1 M per annum growth barrier anyway.


So back to this concept, then, that corporations shouldn't pay taxes? Good lord.   You can take a look at the family of the '60's, the '70's, and then jump forward to 2010 - and its like night and day. Taxes on the middle class, adjusted for inflation - are up 32% and taxes overall are also up - levied against the citizenry.

My vote here is pretty simple. Make the tax cuts for the middle class law. And then nuke the 250k tax payoff but make sure we see it for what it really is: lobbyist interest payoff.


It blows my mind that we even have lobbyists as a part of this process, to tell you the truth.  The corporations are trying to permanently install lobbyism into our country.

And the best solution? The simplest solution. Do away with income tax altogether. It's a total pain in the ass. Levy everything off a sales tax. Yes, corporations would suddenly have to pay. They make these go-zillion dollar purchases, and they're taxable for pete's sake.

But in the long run - the attractiveness of living without income tax would appeal to everyone - germans, japanese, you name it. And America would prosper - the markets would look favorably upon it.

And the corporations would suddenly discover that people have money to spend again. Just like they did in the 60's , and 50's .

We're actually spending less. The big expenses are taxes, mortgages, and ... you know the drill.  Corporations thrive off healthy markets and the corporation that forgets the customer is king is the one that ends up as roadkill.

Fair tax FTW


by Trey Rentz 2010-11-17 09:26AM | 0 recs
Fix it

You want to start fixing this mess? Immediately shrink government. Cut the Government headcount by 10 percent to start. Those who are currently employed and earning more than $100k, cut their pay 10 percent. Stop providing defined benefit pensions in which employees are non contributory. The Federal government is bloated well beyond belief. Kill the Department of Education 

The federal role in education is a violation of the 10th amendment of the United States Constitution which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government delegated the power to regulate or fund elementary or secondary education. In general, the existence of the Department of Education is indicative of the growing size of government, far beyond what the Founding Fathers intended for the Executive Branch. However, several conservative critics have pointed out that the ED is even more illegal (and unnecessary) than many of the other Executive branches, since unlike regulating transportation (Department of Transportation) or the environment (Environmental Protection Agency), grade school education is not typically commercial or interstate.

Even Democratic big-government liberal have admitted that the Department of Education is a failure.

"This is a back-room deal, born out of a squalid politics. Everything we had thought we would not see happening to education is happening here.” Senator Patrick Moynihan (D-NY)

“No matter what anyone says, the Department of Education will not just write checks to local school boards. They will meddle in everything. I do not want that.” Representative Pat Schroeder (D-CO)

“A national Department may actually impede the innovation of local programs as it attempts to establish uniformity throughout the Nation.” Representative Joseph Early (D-MA)

“We will be minimizing the roles of local and State education officials; we should recognize that the States are responsible for the education policies of the children in the is country.” Representative Shirley Chisholm (D-NY)


by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-11-18 02:16PM | 0 recs


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