US Senate Preserves Tax Cuts For Middle But Not Upper Class

From the Huffington Post:

[quote]Middle-Class Tax Cuts Preserved For A Year In Bill Passed By Senate

WASHINGTON – [b]Senators blinked in the political standoff over how much of the Bush-era tax cuts to extend for another year and voted Wednesday to keep current rates for people with incomes of less than $250,000.

Tax rates would rise by 4 percent on incomes above $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for single filers. Popular breaks like the child tax credit would be preserved.[/b]The extension, passed on a vote of 51 to 48, represents a short-term win, at least, for President Barack Obama, who has been pushing for a similar plan. But it appeared unlikely that the House would embrace a similar measure before the election, having proposed its own bill to extend all the Bush-era cuts. The House hasn’t proposed new breaks for millions of middle-class families.

Democrats estimated the GOP version would add an extra $155 billion to the deficit. They also argued that the GOP plan raises taxes on some 25 million Americans by not renewing the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit and a college tuition break.

The GOP version failed in the Senate, 45 to 54, with GOP Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.) and Susan Collins (Maine) against it, and Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor voting for it.

Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky slammed the votes, saying they represented an irresponsible attack on the weak economy.

“Here’s the Democratic plan for the economy: We’ll get this thing going again; we’ll get it going again by raising taxes,” McConnell said. “Let us create the jobs, instead of small businesses out in America.”

He also picked up on Obama’s recent “you didn’t build that” argument, taken out of context, that successful business owners didn’t build the nation’s infrastructure that supports those businesses. “This is the legislative equivalent of ‘you didn’t build that,’” McConnell said. “You are not responsible for your success. Washington is. So give us your money and we’ll handle for you. That’s their tax plan.”

But Democrats argued that the Bush-era tax rates coincided with an economy that collapsed at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, which showed some of the weakest job growth in modern history. And they said it would be another giveaway to the wealthy, while taking away middle-class breaks.

“The wealthiest taxpayers in America would get back $160,000 a year from the Republican tax plan,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chiding McConnell that his suggestion to “do no harm” for a year was not a sensible middle ground, considering the cost.

“It’s not a compromise,” Boxer said. “It’s going right back to the problems that led us to this in the first place.”

The House is expected to vote on its bill next week. Although revenue measures are supposed to start in the House, Democrats said they should take up the Senate plan, rather than raise a so-called “blue slip” procedural block.

The Senate vote was by a rare simple majority, which Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said McConnell allowed because it was the only way he would get a vote on the GOP plan, and his caucus didn’t want to be stuck only voting “no” on the Democratic plan.

[b]Schumer suggested the political reality of needing to back the middle class would prompt action by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“I am sure that Speaker Boehner does not appreciate the uncomfortable position that Sen. McConnell has put him in,” Schumer said. “The speaker knows that if he puts this bill on the floor, his members will have trouble voting against it.”[/b]

Schumer argued that Congress has already passed two revenue bills that started in the Senate – the recent highway and Federal Aviation Administration bills.

[b]He also suggested the politics would be good for Democrats if the GOP balks.

“If House Republicans insist on blocking our middle class tax cuts … that is a debate we are willing to have,” Schumer said. “Democrats will be happy to bring this argument to the American people and ask them whether they think obscure procedural rules are reason enough to let over 100 million families face a tax hike of $1,600 next year,” he said, referring to what happens if the cuts expire, as they are scheduled to in 2013.[/b][/quote]

I think Senator Schumer is right. By dropping the filibuster and allowing the votes on the various options to proceed, Senate Minority Leader McConnell has put Speaker Boehner in a difficult position. House Republicans will have to either vote in favor of preserving middle class tax cuts and hand Obama a major victory, or vote against tax cuts and face difficult re-elections, at least in swing districts. They may blue slip the bill to prevent a vote, but that will look like they’re punking out. Either way, Democrats will be able to tell voters that the Republican incumbents balked at preserving tax cuts.

It’s all election-year politics.

The day after the election, Obama will give the green light to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, just as he did in 2010. His corporate masters on Wall Street will demand it, and he’ll deliver. As last time, I expect some sort of face-saving excuse (in 2010, he traded two years of tax cuts for the rich for a short extension to unemployment benefits). What he gave to the rich was easily worth 100 times what he got in return for the poor and middle class. I have no idea what he’ll trade this time - maybe a coupon for 50 cents off on a jar of Skippy peanut butter for everyone who files a tax return.

Of course, there is a difference between Obama and Romney. Romney would extend the Bush era tax cuts unapologetically, explaining that giving the “job creators” additional billions will cause them to hire more illegal Mexican landscape gardeners for their mansions, thus promoting economic growth. Obama, on the other hand, will apologetically give a speech saying he’s being forced to do this by the Republicans, but he’ll do it just this once, but will never do it again, until next time.

There will also be a difference on how the tax cuts for the rich are received here on Forumosa. If it’s Romney who extends them, there will be loud cheering from our Republican contingent. But if Obama extends them, said contingent will be booing and hissing that in fact it’s just “Marxism” because Obama also extended tax cuts for the middle class, when he should have just given them to the rich so as to create more jobs. The liberal contingent, on the other hand, can be expected to condemn the tax cuts if Romney passes them, but if it’s Obama we’ll be told that those discounted jars of peanut butter were a great benefit for the poor, and besides Obama can be trusted and believed when he says that he won’t extend the tax cuts again in 2014.

It’s about time rich Americans were forced to surrender their ill gotten wealth to its rightful owner – the central government – which will put it to good use shoveling it into the black hole of America’s national debt.

It’s doubtful to pass the House. So they preserved nothing. As usual.

If it doesn’t pass the House, it will hopefully inspire voters to kick Republicans out this November.

The American People overwhelmingly (including a majority of Republican voters) want there to be tax cuts for the middle class, but not for the rich. Hopefully they will exercise their power by telling the government, though votes, that this is what is best.

Despite all the feel-good drama of class warfare, ten years from now America will have fewer rich people, fewer middle class people, fewer jobs, more poor people and greater national debt.

what you call “class warfare” is simply a few rich fuckers getting richer off the misery of the majority, and laughing all the way to the bank. Their own bank. Nicely bailed out by, again, money taken from the majority. Wankers, the lot of them…

… if the Republicans get their way.

Class warfare, as it takes place in the US, is waged by the rich (with the help of their servants, the GOP) against the People.

Talking about class, you’ve got to witness Sen. John Kyl’s outrageous statements:

Watching the passengers of the U.S.S. America fight over who gets the deck chairs as the deck tilts is entertaining but as an observer on a passing ship I feel obliged to point out that your real problem isn’t “fairness” but rather structural. I realize I’m merely shouting in the wind though because human beings, given our nature, generally don’t accept the hard truth until after their feet hit the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic.