Congress Must Vote On The Obama Middle Class Tax Cuts

Dem political ineptitude remains the most serious obstacle to their political success - Tea Party notwithstanding. Case in point - the Congressional Dems' reluctance to bring the Obama Middle Class Tax Cuts to a vote:

[M]embers of Democratic leadership [are] reflecting concerns from vulnerable members who don't want to take another politically juiced vote only to see action stall in the Senate and have to return to their districts without an accomplishment to boast about. "We're looking for the Senate to show leadership on the tax cuts, but we're having our discussions ourselves," said Xavier Becerra, Vice Chair of the Democratic Conference, in response to a question from TPM after a Democratic leadership meeting this evening.

Ok, waiting for the Senate to lead on any issue, much less this one, is waiting for Godot. The Senate must be cornered. But here's the larger point -who does not want to be for middle class tax cuts? "Vulnerable" Dems should be clamoring for this vote more than anyone else. Indeed, if the Dems do not bring this to a vote, the Republicans win the issue, as they want a vote on THEIR proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts. And it will be the Dems who block tax cuts for the middle class. This is so stupid that it is shocking, even from Dems.

Speaking for me only

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    Isn't (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:13:27 AM EST
    this where Obama is supposed to step up to the plate and lead?

    It's one thing to grandstand against the turgid Republicans, but another to actually prod his own flaccid party into progressive action.

    I don't expect Obama to lead.
    But I wish he would at least consider doing so.

    Not only must the Senate be cornered, (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:44:45 AM EST
    but so must Senate Blue Dogs who may be the reason why nothing is happening.  I mean, why shouldn't the Democratic leadership - and I use that term advisedly - put the usual foot-dragging, agenda-killing, conservative Dems on the hot seat here?  

    Jesus, the GOP has been doing it to their own for years - and it works.  Why can't Harry Reid, who came out so forcefully the other day in reaction to news that the Republicans in the Senate were going to block any legislation, take his own recalcitrant members by the throat and scream the same damn thing in their faces?  In public, if necessary.  If the message coming from the likes of Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson and whoever else is the same message that's coming from the GOP, why won't Reid put them in the same corner?

    And why, for the love of God, didn't Obama make sure there was a united front within the Democratic caucus before he came up with this "plan?"  If he can threaten reluctant Dems to get war funding passed, he sure as hell can threaten them on tax cuts for the middle class - especially if what is at stake are tax increases that not only will take effect on January 1 and will hit middle-class taxpayers with a greater wallop than it will the top 2%, but if allowed to increase as scheduled will brand Democrats - once again - as "those people in Washington who raised your taxes in a time of economic uncertainty."

    These people spend so much time examining the insides of their colons that they actually think the smell that emanates from them when they emerge isn't all that bad; news flash: is smells like exactly what it is.

    There is a reason they don't want to (none / 0) (#1)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:12:09 AM EST
    bring it to a vote.  They aren't sure they have the votes.

    If they did they would.

    The problem is democrats are gun shy about voting for a tax increase/non tax cut in a recession.

    As the president said himself in August of 2009 tax hikes in a recession are not a good idea no matter if their for the rich or the middle class.

    That is why dems are afraid to vote on this.  Many of them don't want to raise any taxes or not cut any taxes before the election because they aren't confident the class warfare argument will work and some of them actually don't believe any tax hikes are helpful.

    While BTD has honed in on a political argument that might be beneficial to Dems in most years it isn't enough for dems to stick their necks out in this year where their economic record is so horrible.   Too many in tough districts don't want to be called tax raisers to turn this into a national issues.

    So the leaders will keep it a political rallying cry but they won't have the nerve to put it up for a vote.  

    Scenario (none / 0) (#3)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:19:16 AM EST
    There is a reason they don't want to bring it to a vote.  They aren't sure they have the votes.
    If they did they would.

    The votes that they are not sure about are within their own party.
    The leadership of the party, if it can be called that, should be called upon to rally those Blue Dogs or whatever you want to call those members who depend on contributions from the very wealthy.

    But at the present, I don't think they would be inclined to call for a vote even if they were assured of passage. I'm not at all convinced that the democrats want to let the tax cuts for the very rich expire any more than their republican bed-mates.


    Not just the Blue Dogs (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:42:38 AM EST
    Who rely on the wealthy - they ALL do.

    Have you thought for a moment that (none / 0) (#9)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:31:02 AM EST
    this might be because its not a good idea?

    That the "tax on the rich" isn't a tax on the rich but a tax on job creators.   That the rich will simply doge the taxes anyway and the only people who will pay these taxes are the small business owners who can't dodge them because they aren't wealthy fat cats?

    There is a pretty strong economic argument for letting them all expire or keeping all of them.

    This argument of Obama's is simple politics and I believe most dems understand that it wont' really help them and isn't a good economic idea either way because like all things Obama it doesn't go far enough.  It tries to have it both ways.


    I don't buy (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:46:47 AM EST
    the rich-as-job-creators formulation. Isn't that the trickle-down theory? How many jobs did the wealthy create from the tax breaks they received under Bush? What new industries did they start?

    The only way that could happen is if tax breaks are conditional on new hiring.

    I think they will just buy some more stuff for themselves or buy some stock.


    Tax cuts may not be (none / 0) (#22)
    by coast on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:23:16 AM EST
    a job creator, but increasing taxes doesn't create jobs either.  This whole arguement is a side show IMO.  Jobs is what people care about.  When they go to the polling booth they aren't going to care if some dude is his McMansion is going to have to pay some more taxes next year or not.  They are going to care about the fact that jobs still are not being created.  In addition, I love hearing people (like Reid) throw out the cost of extending the cuts for the rich (usually estimated to be between $700 billon and $1 trillion).  Those amounts used to mean something.  But when they amount to only about 5% of the projected deficit and supposedly deficits don't really matter all that much, then what is the big deal about adding another 5% to the kitty?

    Some of "the rich" (none / 0) (#23)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:24:53 AM EST
    aren't rich.  They file their icome taxes for their personal and buisness income jointly and fall in the "rich" category.

    Some are just barely rich.  Meaining they take home $300K and employee maybe 100 people.  

    You get the idea.  Now all that said many of the "rich" are rich.  Wealthy in fact.  and they should pay more.

    However they already pay alot.  They pay because their buisness pays taxes, the buisnesses that employee's pay taxes on an on, taxes, taxes and more taxes.   They they creatively avoid paying a lot of personel income taxes is technically correct point, the old Warren Buffet idea, but to get to the end result, income, a whole lot of taxes have to be paid along the way so the idea that the rich don't pay their fair share is a bit short sided.

    All that aside the simple fact is rich people power the economy.   If they didn't we'd all be living in Cuba where the state powers the economy and just laid off a huge portion of the work force.  

    It's not "fair" but it's fact.  Rich people decide who gets fired, who gets hired and when and where a factory is built.   Raising their taxes will hurt the overall economy in the short term.

    Thats why Obama said as much in August of 2009 before he has this great idea.


    So basically you believe (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by my opinion on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:45:57 AM EST
    giving those with money, power, and control bigger fluffier pillows they just might, if they are in a good mood, allow the peasants to earn a few pennies.

    No I don't believe that at all (none / 0) (#33)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 02:29:28 PM EST
    I believe in the power of the free market to control what people choose to buy and where they spend their money.   If a rich guy makes a lousy product he's not rich anymore.   Unless he is GM of course.

    I also believe in the power of the federal government to regulate and control commerce fairly.

    The choice is do we think rich people control and spend their money better then the federal government.   It's a balance really.  And I'd say right now Uncle Sam is trying to control a little too much.

    68% of the country agrees with me.


    Your "balance" is a false choice. (none / 0) (#37)
    by my opinion on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:27:35 PM EST
    -The rich rarely do anything that is truly in the interest of the bulk of the population.
    -The only morally correct concern in the economy should be how to improve things for all Americans. The rich are already there, so they definitely don't need help. The rich need to do their part to help out their country that allowed them to get where they are.

    rich people (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:58:28 AM EST
    may control certain aspects of the economy, but they can't get very rich unless they have a significant customer base that can afford to buy their product (the middle class).

    Traditianlly, in this country at least, there has been some labor protection, in the form of gasp unions who can influence to some extent "who gets fired, who gets hired and when and where a factory is built".

    Not to mention the fact that generally speaking when the economy is going well, employees have more options, and can decide who to work for based on certain benefis offered to them.

    Of course a poor economy gives greater control to the rich.  But that's neither a good thing nor the way things need to be, or has "always" been in the past.

    Raising taxes on the rich won't affect much in the economy.  Businesses hire people so they can make more money.  If someone isn't profitable they aren't hired.  If someone is profitable, no one is gonna say "oh no, I'm making more money but I'm also paying slightly more in taxes (although still a net-gain), guess I won't hire them".  If you are making the case that they will have less money to invest in their businesses, let me remind you that taxes come on profits only, not revenue.  Any money put back into business will not be taxed.


    Your (none / 0) (#36)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 03:36:59 PM EST
    image of wealthy people as entrepreneurs employing hundreds of people is a bit of a stereotype that I just don't buy.

    Some may be, but many others are rich because they know how to  play the market to their advantage. They contribute nothing.
    They just have a talent for making money.


    Let them make money, but after a certain point, let them pay significant taxes on it.


    Doesn;t matter if they have the votes (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:19:30 AM EST
    Have to bring it to a vote.

    I can't imagine how they don't have the votes. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:27:13 AM EST
    We both know that it's an affirmative vote to cut taxes, while a "no" keeps the status quo of higher rates in 2011.

    There is no sound bite that can make a "no" vote seem like you were against raising taxes, considering the end result is raising taxes on everyone.

    They just need to go first, before any vote on a Republican alternative.  Unlike a lot of issues, going first here is important.  Why they might want the Senate to go first is insane.


    Yep (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:28:19 AM EST
    I think it passes IF they bring it to a vote.

    The only thing that makes any sense is if they're (none / 0) (#11)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:36:00 AM EST
    trying to manage the election clock and run time down--get in a vote on tax rates for under $250K, and have time expire right at the election before the Republicans can try to get a vote in about the higher brackets.

    Pretty sure that's not (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:40:48 AM EST
    what's going on.

    They want the Senate to go first so they can tell the Blue Dogs there is no more waiting.


    This article begs to differ (none / 0) (#12)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:38:19 AM EST
    Divided Dems

    I will quote a (D) for effect:

    Don't raise taxes in a recession
    Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.

    If they had the votes they'd vote.  They don't.

    Maybe Pelosi can work her magic one more time.  She only has to get 20 or so reps to commit political suicide and maybe so close to the election it won't matter and they can take a principled stand but at that point what's the point?  They will loose anyway.


    Put it to a vote (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:41:14 AM EST
    and see.

    Pelosi sd., after HCR, House wouldn't (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 01:47:34 PM EST
    "go first" again.

    Why? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:25:14 AM EST
    So they can loose?  So they can expose that the national party has told its candidates to pretend to be republicans to get elected?

    Why would a voter vote for a republican with a D by their name?  Why not vote for the real thing?

    Obama should keep this his issue and save it for next year if he really believes in it.  He should keep it off the floor because it only exposes what a mess the democratic party is until November.

    Let the election happen.  Let the so called democrats be picked off and lets get back to an honest debate between real republicans and real democrats.

    Small government vs. big.  My money vs. the governments money etc...

    Democrats are in power because they are carrying about 5 Senators and 50 house members that are Democrats in name only.   Exposing this only shows democratic weakness and will force some of these members to take yet another vote that their opponent can hammer them with come November.    

    Weakness based on principle is not a good position to take 6 weeks before an election.


    Nonsense (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:29:16 AM EST
    Mitch McConnell is not going to give them a pass.

    He'll RIGHTLY accuse them of raising taxes on all Americans.

    This is a no brainer.


    Polling show different. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Buckeye on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:32:31 AM EST
    The American public think taxes should go up on richest Americans.  That is a winner right now (probably due to all the public money Wall Street has been given over the last two years and their lavish bonuses).  Cutting taxes/keeping taxes from going up on the middle class is a winner.  Why would you not want to have everyone who is against the above on record as voting no?

    Like all polls it depends on what you ask (none / 0) (#13)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:39:46 AM EST
    A majority favor taxing the rich.  A majority also don't favor raising taxes in a recession.

    So there's the rub.   I favor taxing someone else but I don't favor higher taxes.

    Ah, America.


    Not one poll (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:41:57 AM EST
    supports your assertions.

    Oppose it on the merits if you will, but the politics of this is clear.


    Majority favors less taxes (none / 0) (#24)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:34:34 AM EST

    It s a case of macro versus micro.

    BTD is focused on a small part of a bigger equation.  The argument within the argument if you will.

    The reason the Tea Party is rising, the reason business as usual is a weakness not a strength is the majority of Americans favor smaller government and fewer taxes.

    Obama is grabbing at straws.  America is rejecting his ideas and his message and his agenda.  Democrats are running from him, their votes and their leaders.  

    Dems can't see the forest through the trees.  This song has played out before.  Only 2 and 4 years ago in fact.   Republicans where just as clueless and I made the same arguments wanting to believe that repubs could somehow do the impossible.

    It's didn't work then, and it's not going to work now.

    But go ahead and try anyway.  What do you have to lose?


    You are just being ridiculous now.

    Of course there is a reason Rasmussen does not ask about it - he knows the results undermine Republicans. As a GOP shill, he is not allowed to do that.

    Are you really going to continue to post comments like the one above?


    Thats it, attack the source when all else fails (none / 0) (#34)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 02:33:43 PM EST
    I'm not saying polls represent a clear picture.

    If you see above I point out the obvoius discrepency.

    Ask a person if they favor taxing the rich over the middle class what will they say?  Duh.

    Ask a person if they favor higher taxes what will they say? Duh.

    Point being in general Americans by a large margin think federal government is too large and spends too much money and collects too many taxes.

    This issues is a sideshow to the overwhelming wave of negativity targeted at dems right now.

    Dems can win this little battle (I don't even believe they're capable of that) and still loose the war because people have had it with them.


    They will cut the legs out from under the Pres (none / 0) (#19)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:45:07 AM EST
    if they don't.  They'll also play into the Obama as con man theme.  Bully pulpit will be weakened.  Those over $250K already have the tax cut and don't appear to be doing anything with it.  Further, those small businesses everyone loves will benefit from other tax initiatives.  That these people might whiff on such a softball play is maddening.  

    What up w/Xavier Becerra?  Isn't he a member of the Progressive Caucus?

    The administrations continuous use of semantics (none / 0) (#21)
    by samsguy18 on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:08:37 AM EST
    It's insulting..... Obama and his administration's arrogance is appalling.

    Here Here (none / 0) (#25)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:38:50 AM EST
    Look at the Rasmusean poll.

    The majority of this country does not support the President or his agenda.

    It comes from both sides the the effect is the same as what happened to Bush.  Only it took 6 years for Bush to get to the point Obama finds himself now.

    The country is tired of big expensive government.  Selfishly they like their programs but the big picture is government is being run poorly by Democrats as it was run poorly by Republicans.

    The country is demanding divided government and thats what it will get after November.


    I seem to remember you (none / 0) (#29)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:32:02 AM EST
    speaking out on behalf of the majority and what it wants - or what it thinks it wants this week - two years ago; back when right wing chorus was proclaiming, in perfect unison (perusual), that government would be even bigger and more expensive under Obama and "his agenda".

    The election results proved that what "the country is tired of" and what it wants isn't quite reducible to some simplistic bumpersticker formulations that the GOP has been regurgitating and recycling since 1980. And if you think (again, simplistically) it's just large governments that tragically botch things, just look at what BP did in the gulf and what happened with a deregulated Wall St..

    Simple minded spin based on simple minded spinning polls doesn't convey much but, again, how low education has always been on right wing's list of priorities.  



    I could be wrong (none / 0) (#35)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 02:41:18 PM EST
    I was then as you point out.

    I won't take the bait on your accusing me of using right wing talking points.

    I'll let the voters say what they think in November.


    framing (none / 0) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:15:59 PM EST
    its called framing.  and it has worked for republicans for years.  high time it works for us.