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The Party of NO NO NO NO NO holds the Senate Hostage for the Rich

Today, all 42 Republican Senators signed a letter declaring emphatically that they will not let the Senate consider any legislation or take any action at all, until the tax cuts for the wealthy have been extended.

The Democrats want to extend the tax cuts for people earning less than $250,000 a year, but that isn’t good enough. The Republicans are saying that driving up the deficit by throwing money at the rich is more important than any other legislation. They claim that raising taxes for the rich will destroy jobs, even though since these tax cuts were put in place in 2003, job creation has been a dismal failure. And the gap between the rich and poor has been rising dramatically, while the deficit has been increasing (and the huge deficit does destroy jobs).

But giving tax cuts to the rich are not just the Republicans’ highest priority, but their ONLY priority.

It makes me sick.

And as Steve Benen points out “the unstated truth behind the threat — Republicans will block literally everything until they’re satisfied, at which point, they’ll try to block literally everything anyway.”

UPDATE: Rachel Maddow has an interesting twist on this.



  1. Name: Mark wrote:

    They should extend all tax cuts, but create a suggested contribution page where all the rich liberals who think taxes should be raised can give at a higher rate in exchange for a commemorative Obama plate set from The Franklin Mint with a certificate of authenticity signed by Chocolate Jesus himself. Everybody wins!

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink
  2. Fred Wickham wrote:

    Chocolate Jesus? I guess you mean Obama? I hope you’re a wealthy man, Mark, because if you’re not, you’re just a cheerleader for rich people who don’t want to pay their taxes.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  3. patriotsgt wrote:

    Mark – You need to better then petty name calling of our President if you want to be taken seriously.

    Fred – “rich people who don’t want to pay their taxes”. Really? Since when (besides the significant # of rep and dem congressmen and senators who are millionaires) do rich people get to vote on specific bills. Now if you had said republican legislators who don’t want rich people ($250,000) to pay 39.5% fed tax, the max SS and medicare tax (thats approx $15,500 SS and $4,000 medicare, plus if they are self employed double that) plus state and local tax then I’d have no problem with your statements because its true.

    Don’t make it a class warfare, because it’s not. Many very wealthy advocate paying more tax. There is a difference between the Buffets/Gates, multi millionaires, and those that earn (yes, after deductions)250,000 – 500,000. The rich aren’t asking for these tax cuts, politicians are.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Permalink
  4. Dan wrote:

    Mark, I guess you think you are being funny, but in some societies, the rich understand that they are part of society, not above it, and have government and society to thank among many other things for their success.

    The German constitution (-like object called Grundgesetz) has a line “Eigentum verpflichtet” in Art. 14, roughly translated as “property implies obligations” goes on to say that it must also serve the public good. [1]

    This kind of idea of responsibility of the wealthy is also a tenet of several religions, including some forms of Christianity.

    [1] PS: There was some criticism from German billionaires of Bill Gates’s proposal that US billionaires give away their wealth, on the grounds that it is more democratic to let the state spend the money than to give the wealth away yourself. Such an attitude, if adopted, would encourage the wealthy to make sure the state runs well, rather than trying to side-step the state and run non-democratic state-like organizations instead.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    My only question is why are the Republicans doing this. Are they really marching to the desires of the rich? Are they just determined to f*ck the Democrats? Or, are they determined to drive up the deficit and destroy the country?

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Permalink
  6. Becky wrote:

    I don’t think the politicians are fighting for the people they “represent” anymore. They are in it for themselves, to piss off someone else in office and to “win”, although I’m unsure of what they are “winning”. (Bragging rights, maybe??)

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 1:31 am | Permalink
  7. Jonah wrote:

    Why are they doing this? Because they believe in the trickle down theory which was completely exposed during the last two years of the clinton era and during the entire bush era as a bubble creating theory. That what things have come down to. The parties should be re-named “trickle down” and “trickle up” because thats essentially their core belief.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 6:08 am | Permalink
  8. patriotsgt wrote:

    LOL @ Jonah – better make it a double shot. I think we’ve all had some of those mornings (except IK of course).

    To answer IK’s question and further discuss Jonah’s points. Jonah is correct on the philosophical beliefs of the 2 parties. To add to that I would say repubs believe people can better spend their money then the gov’t and that more of each dollar goes directly to the economy, while dems believe that gov is better equipped to deliver collected revenue from the people to those processes that serve the people. It’s the great philosophical divide and not likely to ever change, but it has been shown that bipartisan cooperation can be achieved when there is a balance of power.

    As to why the repubs are choosing the extension of current tax rates as “The line in the sand” so to speak is 2 fold IMO. First it’s a hot political issue that has great power and could set the political tone for the next 2 years. Neither the dems, the President or the repubs want to face voters in the next election after taking away the tax breaks. They all will pass something. The repubs must think that the 2 issues (funding the gov and the tax breaks), which are both very important, are big enough politically to give them the upper hand and with 42 senate seats they know nothing will get through without their approval. If it carries over to next year after the new congress is sworn in, then the house is Rep majority and Boehner gets to choose what gets voted on. The senate will still be majority dem but a much smaller majority. Basically if the funding package for gov (just passed an extension till Dec 18)is not complete by the close of this session the gov will be forced to shut down until next session.
    So, IMHO the repubs have chosen the 2 issues that carry the most political weight and are using it as leverage. The Dems would do the same (like HC) if they could. Obama will sign the gov funding and the extension of tax cuts, he has no choice especially if the tax cuts comes before the funding I believe he’ll sign with all cuts maintained. The only question then is how long will the cuts be extended for. My guess is they will compromise on 2 years for all cuts, then revisit it before the next election, which if Obama wants to be elected to a second term he won’t be able to run on a tax increase. He’ll have to agree to making the cuts permanent because his opponent will campaign on making all cuts permanent. It’s all political hardball.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 7:02 am | Permalink
  9. ebdoug wrote:

    New solution to government: If the budget is cut (ie. services to the less fortunate are cut) then the legislators are no longer needed. So as the budget is cut, the legislators get a proportionate cut in their reimbursement.
    Same with the tax cuts to the rich: The rich legislators don’t need as much compensation as the less fortunates, so they can take a cut in salary as long as the tax cuts to the rich are extended.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  10. Sammy wrote:

    I believe the Republicans want to continue the mantra of “tax cuts” (ignoring the facts that effective tax rates are near all-time lows), while they are at the same time keenly aware that real, meaningful spending cuts will ironically not fly with their constituents, thus keeping deficits high and using this to demonize Democrats in the upcoming election. So, IK, that was my run-on sentence that basically repeats your much more succinct wording: “They are determined to f*ck the Democrats.”

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    PatriotSgt, the only problem with your theory (and it is an interesting theory) is that the vast majority of people in the US do NOT want the tax cuts for the rich to be extended.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
  12. patriotsgt wrote:

    IK – I hear you. Now the question is do the vast majority of Repubs want all the tax cuts. Registered repubs are still a minority in the country I believe. I haven’t seen any stats that breakdown the numbers by party, do you know of any? It may be that the repubs are, or believe they are, serving their constituents.
    Here’s a compromise that if the house would have voted on yesterday (instead of the useless version they chose) may have had a chance in the senate. Permanently extend the cuts for all below 250k and extend 250k to 1 million for 3 years, and lastly extend cuts for millionaires for 1 year. I think that would have put the repubs in a much harder position and given the dems the appearance that they “feel the pain” of the American public and can propose meaningful and compassionate legislation, setting a possible stage for a comeback in 2012. Unfortunately they wasted a whole day of the 11 left in this session for nothing except censuring Rangel.

    Friday, December 3, 2010 at 6:55 am | Permalink
  13. Repeating an action while expecting different results? The elephants are insane.

    Friday, December 3, 2010 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  14. Something just occurred to me. Perhaps the Reps are doing this and saying this so that the tax cuts themselves wind up completely expiring, taxes get raised for everyone, and the Republicans can blame it all on the Democrats’ “unwillingness to compromise?”

    Friday, December 3, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  15. Iron Knee wrote:

    You know, it would almost be worth it to hear the Republicans accuse the Democrats of being unwilling to compromise. What a laugh.

    Friday, December 3, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  16. Jason Ray wrote:

    Multiple polls are out showing that only 26% of Americans want to extend the tax cuts for all income levels. The majority of that 26% are Republicans, but even about half of all Republicans think that only tax cuts for the “non-wealthy” should be kept.

    Patriotsgt, I think there is a critical point in the debate you targeted in your last post to but that (as far as I know) only Charles Schumer (D – NY) has emphasized. It’s very similar to what I have been writing and calling my congress critters about for the last month.

    When the Liberal Megaphone shouts “no tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires” they conveniently neglect to mention that people making $200,000 to $500,000 per year are frequently NOT “millionaires” especially if they live in New York, San Francisco, or other very high cost of living locations.

    When the Republican Boombox blares out “no tax increases on small businesses” they equally neglect to mention that there are very few small businesses where the owner gets more than $1,000,000 per year of income – and I would expect virtually of those few are actually structured as corporations (LLC, S_Corp or regular C Corp) where a tax break to the individual owners has no noticeable impact on hiring or other significant business decisions.

    A perfectly reasonable compromise is to draw the line at $1,000,000 annually – the only people that make that kind of money and live paycheck to paycheck (where a tax increase would hurt them) are professional athletes *grins* Whether we “make permanent” at $1M and less and expire $1M or more, or we follow a plan similar to Patriotsgt’s breakdown is an appropriate point of negotiation. But the bottom line is there is clearly a way to achieve consensus if both parties really want to get something done – and I guess will see if either side actually wants to get something done.

    Friday, December 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

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