Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cowardly Blue Dog Types Tripping Over Themselves To Cross The Aisle On Key Issues


Yesterday we looked at some responses from Democratic incumbents and challengers to the upset in Massachusetts Tuesday. I was especially bolstered to see how progressives like Marcy Winograd (CA) and Doug Tudor (FL) realized that tapping into the anger and frustration many voters feel about the status quo is an opportunity to stand up for powerful values that resonate with voters rather than something to cower from in fear. Needless to say, the cowering in fear crowd was out in force as well, even beyond the TV camera whores like Bayh and Lieberman.

Two serial aisle crossers, Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Harry Mitchell (Blue Dog-AZ)-- the Democrat who voted most with the GOP since Obama was elected who doesn't come from a former slave-holding state-- tripped over their own feet in an attempt to run to the media and demand more tax cuts for the wealthy. Bush's tax cuts for the rich are supposed to expire at the end of the year and somehow Emanuel and Summers haven't persuaded Obama to extend them yet. So Connolly, Mitchell and other cowardly, craven kiss-ass Blue Dogs (and fellow travelers) are giving it a shot.
Obama during the campaign and in last year's budget plan proposed extending Bush tax cuts affecting the poor and middle class. He proposed letting the top two tax rates, now 33% and 35%, return to 36% and 39.6% respectively, in 2011.

This year, the top rate will apply to income above $373,650 for individuals and married couples. Under Obama's plan, the 36%, second-highest rate would kick in at $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples.

Obama also proposed bumping the 15% rate on capital gains and dividends up to 20% for those with income in excess of $200,000, or $250,000 for married couples.

"The president's always said that tax cuts just for those people making more than a quarter million dollars a year-- something like 2% of people-- that those ought to expire when they were scheduled to expire, but... he has called for extending all the rest of the tax cuts," Austan Goolsbee, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Monday on PBS.

However, some Democratic strategists looking toward midterm elections see peril in heading into November with looming tax increases on the horizon. Tax increases may be a potent issue for Republican opponents as Democrats defend majorities in the House and Senate.

Rep. Harry Mitchell (D., Ariz.), a second-term congressman who held on to his seat in 2008 with 53% of the vote, wrote Obama last week asking him to extend the lower capital gains and dividend rate, and estate tax rates.

"Given the unique economic difficulties we face as a nation, this is the wrong time to raise these taxes. We need to retain these tax cuts that encourage investment that stimulates growth and job creation," Mitchell wrote.

Connolly said the decision on whether or not to extend the tax cuts should be weighed against the impact of doing so on the deficit. But "re-instilling confidence in the economy" should be paramount, he said.

Their view, while gaining clout, remains in the minority among congressional Democrats. Rep. Jim McDermott (D., Wash.), a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, dismissed the argument that allowing taxes on investment to rise now would slow the recovery.

"There's no proof that the Bush tax cuts had anything but a negative effect," said McDermott.

Meanwhile, the most right-wing Democrat in the Senate, Nebraska reactionary Ben Nelson-- the only Democrat to have voted with the GOP this year on substantive matters more than with his own party (about twice as bad as Lieberman)-- practically declared himself a teabagger.
"Clearly, the vote showed that people are frustrated with Washington...and I am too," Nelson said in a statement. "That frustration will likely register across the board for all incumbents. The overriding message from yesterday is that people are upset because Washington is dysfunctional and not working together for them." ... Nelson did not say where he stood on the healthcare reform bill, only that bipartisanship is needed to "fix a national health care system that 70 percent of Nebraskans want fixed."

And Reid and Obama say to forget changing the filibuster rules; n-o-t i-n t-h-e c-a-r-d-s. And, if you don't approve of this approach, there is a way of sending the Democrats a nice, strong message.

A Sensible Suggestion From Eric Massa

Eric Massa (D-NY), a more progressive Democrat-- and a devoted partisan of single-payer universal health care reform who voted against the bill in the House-- released a sensible statement today calling for a restart of the process in an attempt to get it right this time.
"I have asked that the thousands of pages of legislation so far developed be scrapped because it is my belief that we should focus primarily on reforming the largely unregulated health insurance sector. I believe that the virtual monopoly that private for-profit health insurance corporations have across our nation is the biggest reason why we are facing out of control healthcare costs.

"I look to the results of the Senate race in Massachusetts as an opportunity to refocus our efforts to get it right. I will continue to work aggressively to create healthcare reform which reflects the concerns that I have heard at the 74 townhall meetings we've held in the 29th Congressional District. Specifically I want to see legislation that lowers costs, creates interstate portability, protects small businesses, increases access to Medicare, establishes true medical malpractice insurance reform based on access to care, closes the Medicare Part D donuthole, eliminates rejections based on pre-existing conditions, and delivers badly needed regulations to the monopolistic health insurance industry. Quite, frankly it might be a lot more feasible if we do this one piece at a time rather than with broad sweeping legislation."

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At 7:34 AM, Blogger said...

End your frustration with conservatives in both parties.

At 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

capital gains taxes have not been indexed for inflation so in practice you could have lost money on an investment but still owe taxes funny congress passed a luxury tax on boats said it would bring in millions all it did was cost $9 million in unemployment payments and killed the yacht builders here in the us rich people just bought used or when to another country to buy a yacht


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