Obama's Catfood Commission Wants To Raise Taxes On The Poor In Order To Cut Taxes For The Rich

In the bad old days of Clinton Triangulation, President Clinton signed the 1993 Omnibus Tax Reconciliation Act. Two provisions of that law:

(1) Raised the top marginal rate on the wealthy and corporations; and
(2) Lowered taxes for the working poor by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit.

As Brad DeLong notes, the Catfood Commission is proposing to "pay[] for reductions in the top income tax rate by cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit so that there are once again lots of families in America where a parent works full time and yet the kids are still in poverty[.]"

Evan Bayh Democrats like Kent Conrad love this proposal. Does President Obama?

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    He probably (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:26:08 PM EST
    does love it since it's "bipartisan".

    And that is why the working-class (5.00 / 7) (#2)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:46:54 PM EST
    voters championed Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

    They knew which side their bread is buttered on.

    How do you know Hillary would not be going (none / 0) (#21)
    by Buckeye on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:40:26 PM EST
    down the same path Obama is right now?  The country is further to the right from when Clinton was President, and he was a centrist.

    The country is not further to the right. (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:45:35 PM EST
    There is zero evidence to support that statement.  The President is to the Right of Bill Clinton, sure, but the country is not more right leaning.  

    I meant our government and policies (none / 0) (#29)
    by Buckeye on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:51:20 PM EST
    are further to the right.  My apologies for stating it wrong.  The center of American government is further right.  I believe pragmatic centrists like the Clintons would not be much different from Obama.  I obviously cannot prove it, just an opinion about what I know from them.  Hell, Hillary voted for the Iraq invasion and never backtracked.

    Well, given that apparently (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 05:32:44 PM EST
    Hillary wasn't comfortable with Obama's bipartisan approach to health care, I'd say she would have governed differently.  We know Bill Clinton would have because he was so competent.

    You must (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by cal1942 on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 04:33:26 AM EST
    have missed the primaries when Obama insisted on bringing up Social Security after the matter had been laid to rest in 2005.  That should have been an alarm bell for everyone that Obama wasn't a Democrat as we like to think a Democrat should be.  He also tried to pin Hillary down, to get her to admit that her financing solution would be to raise the withholding level.

    He kept saying 'then you would raise taxes.'  That was so right-wing and his supporters never saw through the crap.

    I also can't picture Hillary suggesting a cat food commission.  That whole business was bi-partisan foolishness from the start.

    Hillary understands that there is a domestic war in this country, she's already had many shots fired at her.


    Thanks to Obama cementing in place lots of BushBoy (none / 0) (#54)
    by jawbone on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 06:43:37 PM EST
    policies and trends. Hey, Obama must wake up asking himself "What Would Ronnie Do?"

    Go take a look at her resume - (5.00 / 6) (#27)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:49:26 PM EST
    beginning in her college years, and up to the point where she took the SecState position; that is not the history of someone who would find the old, the poor and children acceptable sources for solving this (made-up) crisis - regardless of how much farther right the country has moved.

    That was a large part of her appeal, you know, that she was much farther to the left than Obama on domestic issues, and would be a bulwark against the kind of casual and institutional cruelty that Obama seems not to be particularly disturbed by.


    During the primaries she said many times (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by hairspray on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:45:18 PM EST
    to the working class "you will not be forgotten by me."  What she meant was that the group of latte drinking, highrolling computer whiz bangs were not her real constituency.  The people in Ohio and PA and W.Virginia, Kentucky, etc. knew what she meant. Bill was phenomenal in what he did for those people during his time in office.  And what she got was a reputation for bringing her "hillbillies' to the party.  Many democrats really don't like the workers in their party and are happy to let the GOP take them.

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by cal1942 on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 05:30:01 AM EST
    and of course the GOP craps on them as well.  

    So there isn't anyone around to champion the people who do the actual work in this country, the people who carry civilization on their backs.

    Obama is, IMO, the quintessential wine swilling, latte sipping, cocktail party 'liberal.'

    We've been headed in this direction since the McGovern Commission and now it's reached its logical conclusion.


    Ca't know for sure, of course, but (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:56:25 PM EST
    Mrs. Clinton is proud of her husband's achievements re the economy and jobs and would IMHO have followed a similar path.  Tax the war-profiteers who ran up the deficit and have become obscenely wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

    I know what she proposed re homeowners' and the housing debacle...far superior to the Obama foolishness.

    I know she wouldn't have been listening to Axelrod, since he left the Clintons for the Obama campaign.

    I know she wouldn't cave on women's rights or healthcare.

    The main difference, I'd say, is that the Clintons are both centrist, mainstream LBJ/FDR traditional Democrats who aren't afraid of a fight for their values.  And that is what real leadership requires.

    The difference is night and day.


    This is how I knew. (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by mm on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:23:34 PM EST
    November 2, 2007 Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been among the presidential candidates seeking to woo younger voters with online contests. But their latest commercials address an issue dear to senior citizens, who are far more likely to vote. That issue: Social Security.

    And the messages in these dueling commercials are very different.

    Hillary the Defender

    Hillary Clinton's ad is running in Iowa and New Hampshire. As still photos are shown of Hillary with older people - seemingly age 70 to 34---- in hospitals and retirement homes, a voiceover says:

    When George Bush threatened to privatize Social Security, Hillary was there, fighting every step of the way to stop him.
    The black and white pictures recall the Depression-era photographs by Walker Evans.

    In one photo, a frail woman lifts her hand to Sen. Clinton's face. The voiceover:

    She's still there, fighting to stop long-term insurance scams that prey upon the elderly.
    Got that? The narrator says twice that Clinton will fight. She's a warrior against people who prey upon the elderly, including scammers and President Bush. The ad promises Clinton won't let bad things happen to the vulnerable. It ends:

    These days, it seems like every candidate on Earth is coming here for you. But which candidate has been there for you all along?
    Obama the Problem-Solver

    Well there is another candidate: Clinton's Senate colleague Barack Obama is running a TV ad in Iowa. His pitch is more cerebral, less visceral. He's standing in shirtsleeves with a microphone in what looks like a library wing. He's surrounded by attentive voters in their 50s and 60s, and he warns:

    If we have failed to have a real, honest conversation about Social Security, it will not get fixed.

    Well, that doesn't sound good. A caption says he'll protect benefits, prevent the privatization of Social Security and make the wealthy pay more in Social Security taxes. But Obama suggests a larger point:

    I don't want to just put my finger out to the wind to see what the polls say; I want to bring the country together to solve a problem.

    The man sees a problem, and he'll bring us together to solve it. What's more, he's cluing you in here. Hey, this guy won't pander -- he'll speak tough truths.


    The money line (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by cal1942 on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 04:45:01 AM EST
    in that campaign ad is:

    If we have failed to have a real, honest conversation about Social Security, it will not get fixed.

    He brought Social Security into the campaign.  It was not necessary to discuss Social Security.

    The "fix" is so simple (increasing the withholding level) that bringing up the subject is the same as exposing Social Security to attack from the right.

    What we saw at the start of Bush's 2nd term was the age old right-wing jihad against Social Security brought into the light of day by a President who thought he had a mandate for turning the nation into a right-wing wetdream.


    Not just the Earned Income Tax Credit (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:57:12 PM EST
    All tax expenditures - $1.1 trillion, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child tax credit, would be eliminated. link

    Time for Democrats (none / 0) (#4)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:59:15 PM EST
    to realize that Republicans don't care about balancing the budget, and neither should they.

    Dick Cheney wasn't kidding when he said that Reagan had proved that deficits don't matter. Democrats need to either stop believing that deficits matter, or at least, if they insist on believing it, start pointing out daily that the GOP doesn't believe it and has no serious proposals to do anything about it.

    oh look! (none / 0) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:02:51 PM EST
    a lead trial balloon.

    Axelrod Denies Obama Would Concede Tax Cuts

    Senior White House adviser David Axelrod said this morning that President Obama has not caved to GOP demands on the extension of the Bush tax cuts, despite a report to the contrary.

    Interesting (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by jbindc on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:26:05 PM EST
    Because he also said this on Wednesday:

    WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.

    That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week's electoral defeat.

    "We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. "The world of what it takes to get this done."

    "There are concerns," he added, that Congress will continue to kick the can down the road in the future by passing temporary extensions for the wealthy time and time again. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."

    It has been widely assumed that the president would have to accept an across-the-board deal of some kind, but Axelrod's remarks were the first public confirmation of that fact -- and by a figure regarded as closer to Obama than any other White House staffer.

    pssst! (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by nycstray on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:34:44 PM EST
    you weren't supposed to notice/remember that!

    D@mn! (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by jbindc on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:41:01 PM EST
    Instead of paying attention, I should go back to watching mindless TV!



    and we're to believe this, why? (none / 0) (#6)
    by nycstray on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:12:47 PM EST
    Maybe someone told Obama (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:28:05 PM EST
    that it was bad politics to announce that he was going to maintain the tax cuts for the rich on the same day that a report came out suggesting they slash all benefits to the poor and middle class. Pfft, everyone knows that he needed to wait a day or two before making public the fact that he will let the rich keep on getting richer by making everyone else sacrifice to pay the tab.  

    got me (none / 0) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:13:58 PM EST
    isnt the opposite on tape or something?

    no clue (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by nycstray on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:19:11 PM EST
    but this is beginning to feel very "public option" . . . .

    Exactly. They let the cat out of the bag... (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:25:55 PM EST
    They are willing to cave.  Frankly, they have been saying this since the election, when Obama started saying he'd fight making making tax cuts for the wealthy "permanent".  Well, doh.  They were not even made permanent when Repubs ran the Senate.  The blood is in the water now, and Republicans are going to go for the kill.

    And I was thinking it has (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:42:07 PM EST
    more of an "Iraq" flavor - you know, where you realized that even though they kept saying they were looking at all the options, it was obvious that war was where we were going?

    Heck, they've even got the media on their side again, repeating what they've been told and almost no one questioning any of it.

    It makes me want to throw things.


    yes (none / 0) (#24)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:44:27 PM EST
    I have the same inertial feeling I had in the run up to the war.

    It feels exactly like that (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:13:10 PM EST
    who (none / 0) (#11)
    by lilburro on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:25:07 PM EST
    are these trial balloons even intended for?  

    not for us (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:28:35 PM EST
    we get lead pipes

    lol!~ (none / 0) (#15)
    by nycstray on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:29:20 PM EST
    What BS (none / 0) (#8)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:18:56 PM EST

    Lowered taxes for the working poor by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    Sending someone a check for more than they are taxed in the first place is not "lowering taxes."  Lowering taxes to zero tax due is still lowering taxes.  However, sending a check so someone that pays no taxes is more akin to welfare.  EITC or no, the working poor generally pay no income tax.

    No federal income tax. They still pay (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:23:59 PM EST
    state income taxes, hence the need for the refundable credit.  

    Not trues in several (none / 0) (#17)
    by me only on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:35:09 PM EST
    states.  There are at least 9 states that low income individuals do not pay state income tax.

    Well, they do in several states. (none / 0) (#18)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:38:02 PM EST
    And, they also pay FICA taxes. (none / 0) (#19)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:39:06 PM EST
    We are talking about the working poor here.

    You mean (none / 0) (#32)
    by me only on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:11:57 PM EST
    they pay into Social Security so that they can get benefits?  Must be an awful program, this Social Security...

    Socioeconomic status (none / 0) (#35)
    by cawaltz on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:19:39 PM EST
    Socioeconomic status actually plays a part in determining if you are at risk for dying younger than the average mortality rate and considering Social Security is and has been on the table for years I see no reason they shouldn't be able to collect some FICA taxes back. Since now it is apparent that there IS no guarantee I feel all the better about them getting their FICA taxes back.

    And sales tax (none / 0) (#41)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:51:53 PM EST
    Our Washington state sales tax rate is nearly 10%

    It's about FICA (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:42:33 PM EST
    not income taxes.

    I daresay with all the taxes (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by cawaltz on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:34:24 PM EST
    this country has that I could find many people who pay zero taxes. Between sales tax, property tax, Social Security taxes, Medicare tax,state taxes as well as Federal even the poorest among us are paying taxes.

    Furthermore, it could probably be eliminated if the dolts on the GOP side of the aisle actually supported livable wages, as it stands EITC is basically corporate welfare so  retail establishments and fast food eateries can pay less than $20,000 annual wages to those that contribute to their billion dollar enterprise.

    Let me know when the people who have contributed to record productivity actually benefit from it and then we'll talk about "fair."


    Well, people certainly feel (none / 0) (#20)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:40:19 PM EST
    like they benefit from it.  At least the people I know who get the EITC.

    My husband and I (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by cawaltz on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:56:40 PM EST
    were benefactors of it when we were an e-4 and e-5 with 2 children living in very expensive California. It probably would have been more beneficial had we asked for Advanced EITC and collected  on each paycheck but as it stood the money primarily went for a down payment on a vehicle type stuff.

    We don't qualify anymore since hubby has one of those high falutin' union jobs that pay well enough that he doesn't need a federal subsidy on his income.


    It's been fairly effective (none / 0) (#28)
    by cawaltz on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:49:30 PM EST
    It's one of the few things St Ronnie passed that I actually think is of benefit.

    It was Nixon's proposal, (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 05:35:17 PM EST
    And, signed into law by Ford in '75.  

    Correct (none / 0) (#52)
    by cal1942 on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 05:37:01 AM EST
    Now we agree that Ronald Reagan (none / 0) (#34)
    by me only on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:17:33 PM EST
    should be the patron saint of the US, but Reagan didn't create the measure.  He simply increased the benefits.

    Only if we name him (none / 0) (#36)
    by cawaltz on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:22:11 PM EST
    the patron St of Disasters and Disasterous policy. I found his positions on mental health particularly odious and lost a brother last year to mental health issues so you'll have difficulty convincing me to canonize him.

    And, of course the child tax credit. (none / 0) (#26)
    by masslib on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 01:46:31 PM EST
    You don't understand (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02:53:12 PM EST
    that EVERYONE pays taxes.....

    Not thinking very hard on the topic, are you.  Just knee-jerking.


    It's not welfare (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by cal1942 on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 04:57:42 AM EST
    Welfare, as we normally use the term, is receiving money for doing nothing.

    The EITC is intended for the working poor, those people who work (often nasty jobs cleaning up after people like you) but are paid poorly for their efforts.

    You could look at EITC as a subsidy for cheap, miserly employers, but it's NOT welfare for the individual who receives the benefit.


    Clinton then lowered capital gains taxes (none / 0) (#43)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 05:20:27 PM EST
    because income of thet ype earned by the wealthiest, as opposed to income earned through labor, is more productive and must be incentivized.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#50)
    by cal1942 on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 05:17:19 AM EST
    it's been awhile since we've had an actual Democrat in the White House.

    The last one left office 41 years and nearly 10 months ago.

    Clinton was a little closer than Carter.  

    I thought Obama would end up damaging what was left of the Democratic Party and so far he's right on course.

    I know some people called him the Manchurian Candidate.  Anymore I'm not so sure they're that far off.


    Whoa, slow down there.... (none / 0) (#53)
    by NYShooter on Fri Nov 12, 2010 at 08:00:15 AM EST

    There's capital gains, and then there's capital gains; one size does not fit all.

    Our Leaders, historically, have used the tax structure to steer the population certain ways it deems to be beneficial to society as a whole; mortgage tax deduction for an obvious example. So, if you want to "risk" your money and buy a house not only may you benefit, but the greater economy would benefit also. Or, if you're a business owner and are teetering over the decision to open a new factory, or not, the Government has an obvious interest in helping you along in that decision too. So, in these cases, good, and proper, use of Government incentives, I would say.

    On the other hand, Goldman Sachs doesn't need any "incentives" to sit back and let their high speed computers make tens of thousands of HFT (high frequency trading) trades daily. In that situation there is no discernable benefit to society, only another layer of lard metastasizing on their already bulbous loins.