Friday, December 07, 2012

Beyond The Phony Battle Over The Bush Tax Cuts


Despite the insanity on GOP talk shows that dominate the airwaves (like the one above), a new Quinnipiac poll shows Obama with a 53-40% job approval rating, his best in three years. "And by a wider 53 - 36 percent they trust the president and Democrats more than Republicans to avoid the 'Fiscal Cliff'... By a huge 67 - 23 percent margin, voters oppose eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction, but strongly favor, 62 - 28 percent, limiting the deduction to the first $500,000 of mortgage debt. By 56 - 35 percent, voters favor eliminating that deduction for second homes. Voters 65 - 31 percent support higher taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year, with 84 - 14 percent support from Democrats and 66 - 31 percent support from independent voters. Republicans are opposed 53 - 41 percent." (And on top of all that registered voters surveyed say they believe Obama and congressional Democrats will make "a good faith effort to cooperate with congressional Republicans" while by a 51-43% majority, voters say Boehner and Miss McConnell "will not act in good faith."

There's also a plurality of voters who would like to see the tax on capital gains rise, something the GOP is apoplectic about. Instead the Republicans want to cut Medicaid spending, which 70% of voters oppose and only 25% support. and even the GOP's polling form, Rasmussen, is reporting a gigantic preference among voters for congressional Democrats over Republicans-- an eleven point lead, the kind of lead that could even overcome the precisely gerrymandered GOP reelection strategies in Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Michigan. Rasmussen says it found that "47% of likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Democrat in their district’s congressional race if the election were held today, while 36% would choose the Republican instead." And, Jim DeMint won't be in the Senate starting in January, having taken a job that pays over a million dollars a year at a think tank he hopes to make relevant to normal people outside Wingnutia.

So why ask anyone to look at all these polling numbers the first thing in the morning? Well, Wednesday I was on a conference call hosted by Rep. Xavier Becerra and Americans For Tax Fairness that discussed the Democrats strategy to win the Grand Bargain battle and, once again, it occurred to me that "our" side was fighting on a battlefield chosen precisely by our mortal enemies. Republicans should be begging Obama to not raise the margin tax rates to Eisenhower era rates-- when top earners paid 91% on the millions they made and the whole concept of sociopathic-criminal plutocracy was a structural impossibility in America. Instead, we're being prepared for Democrats bartering away pieces of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in return for... for what? The temporary Bush tax cuts that are due to expire on December 31 anyway?

Why isn't the national discussion about hiking the estate tax? Why isn't it about ending the cap on the Social Security tax and on really growth-positive moves like lowering the age of retirement and expanding Medicare so that everyone is in the pool? Why isn't the discussion about taxing allincome equally, both what people make from working and what they get from clipping coupons? How about that Wall Street transaction tax and a tax to make hedge fund predators pay their fair share like everyone else? Obama a socialist? I don't think so. The Democrats might be a little better-- as a party-- than the Republicans but, like when Obama says the rich should paid "a little" more in taxes-- the phrase "a little" better is the key to compared the Democrats and the Republicans. Look, even criminal fascists like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers are fine with gay marriage and abortions. What they want from the politicians they buy is an economic system that privileges that already privileged and minimizes social mobility, democracy and anything smacking of economic fairness.

If you sometimes wonder why Blue America fights as hard against ConservaDems as we do against Republicans, just consider Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, whose Senate seat is up in 2014. Right now she's vowing to wreck the whole Grand Bargain unless she gets her way on Estate Taxes-- lowering them for the very wealthy folks who have underwritten her-- and her family's-- political careers. Once, the twenty wealthiest families in America were forced to depend on Jon Kyl (R-AZ) to protect dynasty building; now they have someone in the heart of the action inside the Democratic Senate caucus fighting their battle for them, even more effectively than the clownish Kyl. Will there be a Blanche Lincoln-style primary against Landrieu? Or one against Mark Pryor (D-AR) who's at least as bad? Of course not... don't be silly.

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At 6:35 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

No i don't think they'll be primaried either but it wouldn't hurt to at least try.

At 6:37 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

workin' on it

At 6:43 AM, Anonymous me said...

voters oppose eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction

I'm not sure I agree with that one. It tends to push up the price of housing. Plus, it forces people who can't afford a house to subsidize those who can. How is that fair?

I will say the same thing, only more so, for the $1000/child TAX CREDIT. What a horrible idea! A complete and utter giveaway to Catholics and Mormons, at the expense of the rest of us. Outrageous.

At 6:47 AM, Anonymous me said...

While we're on the topic of tax fairness, why should someone who makes $50,000/year by shuffling papers (dividends and capital gains) pay FAR LESS tax than someone who makes $50,000/year from the sweat of his brow? Now THAT is a huge ripoff.

Skip that bullshit excuse that the former is more valuable to the economy than the latter. Rubbish! They both contribute the same amount, BY DEFINITION: $50,000.

It happens only because the paper shuffler has more - far more - influence over Congress than does the janitor. There is no other reason.

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous masaccio said...

In the aftermath of the election, it's clear that we dodged a bullet with the election of a right-of-center President over a deluded plutocrat.

But we are still trying to find people who will ignore those right of center politicians who run the Democratic Party and the President, so we can improve things instead of bargaining away the gains of our parents and grandparents.


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