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Four possible deals on the Bush tax cuts

By Ezra Klein

Thumbnail image for taxcutscbpp.jpg

The Bush tax cuts will not be permanently extended. But they -- or at least some of them -- will be temporarily extended. That we don't know which ones, or for how long, should embarrass Congress and the White House. The expiration date for the tax cuts was set into law 10 years ago. Congress shouldn't still be scrambling to figure this out with less than 50 days to go.

But it is. And it's the Democrats -- as they still control both houses of Congress and the presidency -- who deserve the blame. They still have not settled on a policy or strategy for extending the Bush tax cuts. They waited until after the election, which weakened their hand. And they've been unable to get their members on the same page, which has kept them from messaging the issue to the country or forcing Republicans to the negotiating table.

Which is a shame, because even an extension of the tax cuts is a much-needed legislative opportunity for a reeling party that desperately needs some political and procedural leverage over the Republicans. Democrats being Democrats, it's entirely possible that they'll take neither, and simply extend the tax cuts outright. But talks with informed sources both on and off the Hill revealed not just a lot of frustration with the possibility of that outcome, but a lot of sensible ideas for negotiating something better. So here are four concessions that Democrats should be looking to get out of the resolution:

1) Unemployment insurance: In a few weeks, unemployment benefits will expire for 2 million Americans. An extension of the benefits commands majority support among Democrats, Republicans and independents. But most Hill observers think Congress will fail to act. It would be unconscionable, however, to let unemployment benefits expire even as the tax cuts for the rich are continued. If Republicans aren't willing to come to the table on unemployment benefits, Democrats shouldn't move on tax cuts for the wealthy. And if they're not willing to take that case to the public, what are they good for, exactly?

2) The debt ceiling: In February, Congress will have to vote to lift the debt ceiling. Republicans are already looking toward this moment eagerly. Sen. Jim DeMint, for instance, wants to use it as leverage for "returning to 2008 spending levels" and "repealing Obamacare." Of course, part of the reason the debt ceiling will have to rise is that extending the Bush tax cuts will cost about $4 trillion -- all of it on the deficit. If Republicans want the tax cuts, Democrats should force them to accept the consequences of their vote and stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the debt ceiling. For Democrats to vote to extend Bush's tax cuts and then let Republicans hammer them on raising the debt ceiling borders on self-parody.

3) Comprehensive tax reform: Our tax code is long-overdue for an overhaul. We need to clean out the loopholes, lower the rates and get rid of the tricks and traps (like, for instance, the occasional expiration of unaffordable tax cuts). The Bush tax cuts offer a useful forcing mechanism for that process: Sen. Kent Conrad has proposed pairing a short extension with a mandate for comprehensive tax reform. If the reform doesn't pass, then rates snap back to their 1999 levels, or deductions start taking across-the-board cuts.

4) The expiration of the tax cuts for income over $250,000: This was originally the White House's position, though they don't seem to be fighting for it very hard. Now it's the position of the House Progressive Caucus. They want to split the vote on the tax cuts for the rich from the vote on the tax cuts for income under $250,000. It's widely acknowledged that this makes the passage of the tax cuts for the rich less likely, which is why Republicans are ferociously resisting it. it's unclear exactly what leverage they're wielding in that effort, but whatever it is, it seems to be working.

It's worth saying, again and again, that the Bush tax cuts cannot pass without Democratic support. They expire before the House changes hands. And even if they didn't, Democrats still control the Senate and the White House. They have a much stronger negotiating position than the Republicans: They can decide what passes, and Republicans have never been willing to end the tax cuts for most Americans simply to preserve the tax cuts for the rich. But though they're the party in charge, Democrats aren't acting like it.

Graph credit: CBPP.

By Ezra Klein  | November 15, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Budget, Taxes  
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Next: Kent Conrad: 'That makes so much sense that it’s unlikely to happen'

Comments

Dems do not want the Bush tax cuts to end.

They simply pretend to want them to end.

Anyone who believes the Dems are looking after anyone's interest other than their own are idiots.

Posted by: lauren2010 | November 15, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"For Democrats to vote to extend Bush's tax cuts and then let Republicans hammer them on raising the debt ceiling borders on self-parody."

And yet, I could very easily see this happening.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | November 15, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

A temporary extension of the tax cuts will only prolong the "uncertainty" that Republicans claim is the reason for the lack of economic investment.

And extending them two years plays right into Republican hands, making it issue number one in the upcoming presidential election.

It should also be remembered that these cuts were only good for ten years because Republicans used "reconciliation" to pass them.

I'm wondering, since they had to jump through hoops to even get these cuts through, is it really so easy to simply "extend" them and not break their own rules?

Anyway, here's hoping they all expire, every penny raised goes to deficit reduction, and we all move on to other things.

Posted by: Hieronymous | November 15, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Tax "cuts" are not the point- Obama and his socialist, corrupt, wayyy to the left crew have to learn how to spend less. They should draw up a budget and learn to live by it, the way we "regular folks" do.

Posted by: PissedInClinton | November 15, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Ezra

You will find better charts and tables here:

http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2010/11/15/115458/48/147#c147

Sunset the tax cuts!

Then provide tax relief creatively, for all those earning less than $45,000/year, and households earning less than $60,000.

That's 71% of the population, btw.

You will find empirical evidence in the link above to substantiate this claim.

War on Error

Posted by: VoiceofReason | November 15, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

The Dems should offer the compromise that the tax breaks will expire for anyone earning more than half a million a year or even a million. How can the Republicans appear to be opposed to that?

And to "pissedinclinton," where were you when the Bush Administration ran up this debt?

Posted by: fmjk | November 15, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein: "The Expiration Date for the Bush Tax Cuts Was set Into Law 10 Years Ago"

10 Years Ago:What Job Creation ?

10 Years Ago: What Decrease In Unemployment ?

10 Years: Shedding Of 8 Million Jobs

10 Years Ago:Outsourcing Of American Jobs to Canada-Mexico-India-Communist-Socialist China & Viet Nam & Brazil.

10 Years Of The Bush Tax Cuts: Unemployment at 10% Or Higher, Depending On which State & City you Live In.

10 Years Bush Tax Cuts: Yet American were Fired Or Laid Off and Replaced with Contract Workers or Temporary Workers, Opposed to Corporate America Hiring Full Time Permanent Employees.

The Uber Rich Don't [Hire Americans]

They've had 10 Years of Bush Tax Cuts and Americans are [Out Of Work]

Republican Fantasy Meets American Reality.

The Bush Tax Cuts [Do Not Create Jobs]

Posted by: omaarsblade | November 15, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

no deals

let the rich eat themselves.

Posted by: xxxxxx1 | November 15, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh screw that tax cuts for rich guys stuff. They're criminally greedy. They aren't going to make any new jobs, and the only reason rich guys are pushing them is because there is no `enough' for them.

Posted by: Nymous | November 15, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

The quickest way to raise campaign funds is to hit up wealthy donors. The quickest way to lose wealthy donors is to raise their taxes.

It isn't so much that Democrats, or even Republicans, think that the highest income groups shouldn't pay more in taxes. More important is that most elected officials feel themselves utterly dependent on the army of consultants, pollsters and strategists to get them through the campaign. All these people have to be paid -- an increasing number of them demand to be kept up in style -- and the campaign never ends.

Continuing the Bush tax cuts for anyone is a dubious move right now. It boosts the structural deficit tremendously without stimulating the economy that much (what it really does is allow private sector debt to be paid down a little faster than it would be otherwise. This wouldn't be a bad thing by itself, but the price paid is obviously a further increase in public sector debt).

Continuing the Bush tax cuts for the highest income group means continuing tax cuts for the biggest contributors of campaign cash. That's why it's so tough for Democrats to resist the clamor from the GOP, and from their own campaign infrastructure.

Posted by: jbritt3 | November 15, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I like this article. It is about time someone put something out there that was not juvenille or and indefensible political slogan.

Anyone who believes any stripe of politician is out for the majority of their constituents is not thinkly rationally.

Posted by: murrayh | November 15, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Do the smart thing, Dems. Force the Repukes to filibuster thus insuring that nobody gets a tax cut. The govt wins because they get the extra tax revenue to pay down the deficit and the Dems win because they can then pound the Repukes furiously and publicly with their intransigence.

Posted by: JoStalin | November 15, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Let the tax cuts expire as our Congress intended...hahahaha!
Do not raise the national Debt; force a reduction in spending which can only happen by ending the stupid, stupid wars immediately and/or ending all corporate welfare immediately and/or eliminating useless or dangerous government departments like DHS, NSA, CIA, ATF!
Remove all deductions from Tax codes for everything. Better yet, scrap the whole mess, scrap the payroll Taxes; enact a VAT of 27% for all government expenditures including SS, single payor medicare for all, Military, etc.
End UEI and all social support programs for all and use 1% VAT for a equal distribution to all citizens between 21 and 60 as a basic income.

Finally liquidate all trusts, endowments and other tax avoidence schemes and apply to national debt; confiscate all wealth earned or not greater than 100 Million and pay down the national debt; confiscate all income form all sources greater than 100 times the minimum wage and pay down the national debt; and take all wealth at death in excess of 1 million dollars for each dependent under the age of 21 and pay down the national debt.

Posted by: CHAOTICIAN101 | November 15, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Bush Tax Cuts! The only way to deal with corporations/highly paid CEO's/job robbers is to make them adhere to a policy: "When you bring 500 or 5,000 jobs which you have outsourced back to the United States, you may THEN be able to receive a tax cut. Also, do your banking within the USA - not on some island that gives you freedom for paying your fair and equitable taxes due to the USA."

Posted by: rbsher | November 15, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Just when you think the Democrats have hit a strategic low, they then co-opt the wretched policies of their supposed opposition. It becomes clearer by the day that this is a one-party corporate state.

Posted by: staypuftman | November 15, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

You don't pay for tax cuts! Taxes pays for expenditures. When you reduce or don't increase taxes you cut expenditures. Quit simple is it not? That is what I have do do when my income is reduced (by increased income taxes or reduced salary).
Buck up and bite the bullet and quit buying your jobs with my taxes.

Posted by: Curly4 | November 15, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

It's called Senate leadership. Let's get a deal to get up or down votes on the first- $250 (for everybody) pemanent tax cut, in exchange for bringing the GOP "permanent Bush thing" to a vote. All you need is 51 Dems with courage. Then, first thing next year, get Biden to drop that cloture threshold...seriously.

Posted by: doctorskillet | November 15, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

This is the socialist chart of wealth transfer from Blue/Democratic/prosperous states to Red/welfare Republican states since 1981. Non-partisan information and you will be shocked. This is meat for understanding what is really the case!

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/266.html

http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/ftsbs-timeseries-20071016-.pdf

Posted by: enough3 | November 15, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm willing to lay 5 to 1 odds that exactly this will happen:

"For Democrats to vote to extend Bush's tax cuts and then let Republicans hammer them on raising the debt ceiling borders on self-parody."

The Democratic response to GOP hammering will be lukewarm at best, non-existent at worst. I think Democrats will extend all of the Bush tax cuts without even making an effort to point out the hypocrisy of the GOP.

I'd gladly put money where my mouth is, too. Say, dinner at Chez Panisse? :)

Posted by: will12 | November 15, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Looks to me like the Democratic leadership is playing to lose. If that's their game, this is one Democrat who's not suiting up for the next election. I'd rather have hard-core GOP leadership for a couple of years to teach people a lesson they badly need to learn; the GOP doesn't give a rat's behind about the debt, the rising cost of health care, the environment or the stagnation of income for everyone bu the wealthiest 10%. Quite simply, they act like they don't care what kind of mess they leave for future generations.

Maybe it's time for the people to truly experience the kind of government they deserve.

Posted by: st50taw | November 15, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

The Super-rich are in the process of once- again raiding the treasury. It appears they will succeed with the help of Geithner, numerous Demo-congressmen and all Repubs. Big deal, these thieves dressed in tuxedos who boast of their Yale (and other Ivy-League diplomas) while destroying our government's functions.
Bush almost completed the job, this new group will finish his pathetic work.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | November 15, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Facts smacts. Graps smaphs. We don't ned to look at any evidence because we possess the TRUTH.

Posted by: wd1214 | November 15, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I actually really don't understand why anyone is mystified over the leverage the Republicans wield: they will definitely allow taxes to rise on the middle class if rich people don't get theirs. They know that the rich will be just fine while they use this as a cudgel against "tax and spend liberals" in 2012. It's really not that complicated.

Posted by: reader44 | November 15, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

If you lay off 20 percent of the Federal workforce of 3 million, the savings will pay for the tax cut.

Most private companies have had to reduce their payrolls 20 percent or more. The Federal Government must learn to live within its means.

Remember Federal Employees in the DC area have an average salary of $150,000 and 20 percent of those employees make over $180,000 per year, plus generous vacations, health plan, disability and pension.

Complain about CEOs making 400 times what the lowest paid worker makes. Federal Employees make about 5 times what many workers make.

Posted by: cpameetingbook | November 15, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

As a working class person who worked for the same fortune 500 company for 28yrs, I never experienced any favour via taxes. I have lived through every president since 1965. Ten dollars here and there never made any change to my life.
The only thing that changed my life was I would never spend more than I earn, I drove my new 1985 Honda for 20yrs.
Since 1965 I have filled out the short form IR 1040 nothing has changed for the working class. Ten, twenty dollars here and there, nothing to write home about.

Posted by: JillCalifornia | November 15, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

"Remember Federal Employees in the DC area have an average salary of $150,000"

Posted by: cpameetingbook
******************************************
That's pure BS. I challenge you to provide a reliable source for that Tea Party/GOP propaganda.

Posted by: st50taw | November 15, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

We should try for the middle-class tax cuts as Obama wants. If that fails, he should let all the Bush tax cuts expire. And then start over again with new numbers and deficit reduction in mind.

Unless the prognosis is that Democrats will win back congress in two years time, extending the tax cuts "temporarily" - even for a year, would be foolhardy. It would appear to be passing the buck and not facing the problem this year, when they are about to expire, and the GOP will have the opportunity to make them permanent on their own watch.

As you point out, all the good cards are in Democratic hands now. They should act while they can, and make this lame-duck session a constructive one.

Posted by: robinx | November 15, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

We should try for the middle-class tax cuts as Obama wants. If that fails, he should let all the Bush tax cuts expire. And then start over again with new numbers and deficit reduction in mind.

Unless the prognosis is that Democrats will win back congress in two years time, extending the tax cuts "temporarily" - even for a year, would be foolhardy. It would appear to be passing the buck and not facing the problem this year, when they are about to expire, and the GOP will have the opportunity to make them permanent on their own watch.

As you point out, all the good cards are in Democratic hands now. They should act while they can, and make this lame-duck session a constructive one.

Posted by: robinx | November 15, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats waited until after the election for the vote because many of them did not want to have to defend their vote in the election. Now we have the added uncertainty of a lame duck session including many members who have been voted out of office. We did not know exactly where everyone from either party stood on this issue before the election. We have even less idea now. Until we see the votes, we will not know exactly what political calculations either party is making or where a mixture of principled positions and political calculation about the 2012 election will lead to a perference for gridlock over compromise.

Posted by: dnjake | November 15, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

"If you lay off 20 percent of the Federal workforce of 3 million, the savings will pay for the tax cut."

Don't know exactly what time frame you're talking about, however some estimates are that the Bush tax cuts have cost the Treasury around $2.5 trillion dollars over the past nine years.

Twenty-percent of the federal work force might be a few billion over time, not more.

"Most private companies have had to reduce their payrolls 20 percent or more. The Federal Government must learn to live within its means."

Strange that "private" companies have had to tighten their belts, while many public companies are announcing record profits and shareholder payouts. For example, Intel just had their best year ever. These companies are also hoarding trillions in cash for some reason.

Think the answer (whatever it is) lies elsewhere.

Posted by: Hieronymous | November 15, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday the NY Daily News published a great story about the red states being welfare recipients with Federal tax dollars from blue states: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/11/14/2010-11-14_palins_true_reality_free_alaska_is_a_welfare_state_that_enjoys_generous_federal_.html

Here is the underlying set of charts of wealth transfer from Blue/Democratic/prosperous states to Red/welfare Republican states since 1981. Non-partisan information and you will be shocked. This is meat for understanding that the Tea Party will need to switch sides, or call itself socialist! Read the charts!

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/266.html

http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/ftsbs-timeseries-20071016-.pdf

Posted by: enough3 | November 15, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Raise taxes on those with income from all sources except capital gains greater than $500,000, BUT REDUCE TAXES ON THOSE BELOW $500,000. The engine of jobs is in small horsepowers, not the large. (i am retired with annual income of about $35,000)

Posted by: blueatoll | November 15, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Raise taxes on those with income from all sources except capital gains greater than $500,000, BUT REDUCE TAXES ON THOSE BELOW $500,000. The engine of jobs is in small horsepowers, not the large. (i am retired with annual income of about $35,000)

Posted by: blueatoll | November 15, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Raise taxes on those with income from all sources except capital gains greater than $500,000, BUT REDUCE TAXES ON THOSE BELOW $500,000. The engine of jobs is in small horsepowers, not the large. (i am retired with annual income of about $35,000)

Posted by: blueatoll | November 15, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

To the socialists on this forum....

How absurd to refer to those making over $200K/$250 K super rich. Gates is super-rich. Two married professionals in Northern VA, NY or the like earning $250K are certainly doing well but are hardly the super rich.

I'm just so sick of the libs invoking the mantra of "tax giveaways to millionaires and billionaires" while advocating for legislation which punishes those making the tiniest fraction of those amounts. If the debate is to be about those earning millions/year than have that debate. STOP referring to those making $200K/$250K as Bill Gates. Stop obfuscating the point of just who is being punished here with higher taxes. The debate should center around the LOWEST earners to be punished NOT the highest!

Numerically, most of those who will be punished with an expiration of the top rates make near the cut-off. They are very hard working professionals who earn what they do as a result of making good life decisions and working very hard while many of the lower earners screwed off in school and made poor decisions. Guess what: one has to live with the consequences of one's actions - realizing that the concept of individual responsibility is anathema to the leftist dems.

Libs just don't seem to understand the concept of private property. Tax cuts simply allow one to keep more of ONE'S OWN, very hard earned money. Saying that those who already have nearly half of their income confiscated are greedy because they object to having even more confiscated, when nearly half of the U.S. population pays NO NET TAX is absurd. This is especially so when one considers that those calling them selfish in large part pay little to no taxes themselves yet they want the Govt. to confiscate more of the higher earners money so that it can be given away to themselves via all manner of govt.handouts. Who is the greedy one here??

Already the top 5% pay a larger portion of the total fed tax burden than the bottom 95% combined - a hugely disproportionate amount relative to their take of the income. The top 1% make about 24% of the income yet they pay over 40% of the total fed. tax burden. Of course, it's never enough for the libs. They must punish success and reward failure via wealth redistribution - no amount of tax is ever enough for the leftists dems.

When the bottom 50% of "taxpayers" pay about over 3% of the tax, and the bottom third pay none at all (net) it's very clear who's not paying their "fair share".

Finally, the only give-aways going on here are those to the recipients of the money which is confiscated from the higher earners. Letting one keep a few percent more of ONE'S OWN MONEY is NOT a give-away.

Only in the leftists' mind can one being "allowed" to keep a few percent more of one's OWN earnings be termed a giveaway while the giving away of that persons money following its confiscation by the govt. to one who didn't earn it is somehow not a giveaway.

On to Nov. '12 out with the libs!

Posted by: taxpayer13 | November 15, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

"If you lay off 20 percent of the Federal workforce of 3 million, the savings will pay for the tax cut."

Do you really think you can hold everything else constant in an economy while firing 600,000 people?

The fired people will no longer pay income tax (so revenues decrease) and will collect benefits (so other gov't costs will increase). Both of these will directly partially offset the saving. These 600,000 people will also cut spending in other aspects of their lives. No new TV, car, restaurant meals, trips, etc. That means the people and companies the fired workers buy stuff from will see THEIR incomes go down (and thus lower tax receipts even further), and if these people/firms have incomes that go down, the people those people/firms buy things from will also see a drop in business causing yet another round of income decreases (and smaller revenues). Heck, its likely that this lower spending will cause even more people to lose their jobs.

In short, the economy is a vast interconnected system of exchange. You can't make a HUGE change to one thing without expecting it to reverberate through the system as a whole.

And that is not even considering the fact that these 600,000 people actually do things. So what is no longer getting done? Less FBI agents fighting crime? Longer lines at the DMV? Let highways go without repairs? Less people inspecting food quality? (Yay! more salmonella and E.Coli problems!)

Have you really thought this through? Its not as simple as changing one line on an accounting form. There are consequences and feedback loops.

I'd be less inclined to think this was a TERRIBLE idea if the private sector seemed like it was capable of absorbing 600,000 new workers, but evidence to that effect is quite to the contrary. In fact, businesses might be LESS inclined to expand if they here that 600,000 people are about to go from being consumers who buy things to unemployed citizens taking a hatchet to their own household budgets.

Posted by: Nylund154 | November 15, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are as equally in the pockets of Wall Street as are Republicans. They only pay lip service to looking out for the middle class, then kow-tow to their corporate bosses. If you truly want progressive government, vote Green Party.

Posted by: lhflier | November 15, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Paraphrased from the NYT (Apr. 13, 2010):

"The statistical middle class — the middle 20 percent of households, as ranked by income — includes households that $35,400 to $52,100 in 2006, the last year for which the Congressional Budget Office has released data. (40% of people earn less, 40% of people earn more.) That would describe a household with one full-time worker earning about $17 to $25 an hour. (Such hourly pay is typical for firefighters, preschool teachers, computer support specialists, farmers, members of the clergy, mail carriers, secretaries and truck drivers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

"Taking into account both taxes and tax credits, the average household in this group paid a total income tax rate of just 3 percent."

Thus, letting the tax cuts expire for the middle class will mean hardly anything for the middle class -- or from those making less, it would seem. But it will strip money from the upper 40% of income earners and give it to the government to spend. I'd much rather have the top 40% of income earners investing that money, spending that money on goods produced and services provided by private enterprise -- so those companies can hire more people -- than to give it to our wasteful and bloated federal government. Especially since all of the recovery act projects I've seen have been repaving perfectly good sidewalks and beautifying parks while our critical infrastructure assets (roads, bridges, airports, rail stations, etc.) fall further into a state of disrepair.

Posted by: jeffdc1 | November 15, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

To all the conservatives out there...boy those tax cuts sure did wonders for the economy! Can't understand why nobody wants to extend them!! They worked like a charm! Thanks, but I'd prefer to avoid another depression. It's time for this country to start paying its bills and the people who benefited the most from this conservative fiscal insanity should pay the tab.

Posted by: lhflier | November 15, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's the conservatives' fault. It's not the fault of the libs belief that one has a right to a house irrespective of one's ability to pay for it. No, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Reno, Clinton and Carter way before that pushing the "Community Reinvestment Act" - forcing banks to loan money to those who could never pay it back - that was the fault of the conservatives. Sure. Leftists policies got us into this mess. Leftists policies will just dig the hole further.

Nobody wants to extend the cuts? Fine. Let them ALL expire. Let everyone pay their "fair share" (of course even under the cuts the bottom third pays NOTHING).

Posted by: taxpayer13 | November 15, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's the conservatives' fault. It's not the fault of the libs belief that one has a right to a house irrespective of one's ability to pay for it. No, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Reno, Clinton and Carter way before that pushing the "Community Reinvestment Act" - forcing banks to loan money to those who could never pay it back - that was the fault of the conservatives. Sure. Leftists policies got us into this mess. Leftists policies will just dig the hole further.

Nobody wants to extend the cuts? Fine. Let them ALL expire. Let everyone pay their "fair share" (of course even under the cuts the bottom third pays NOTHING).

Posted by: taxpayer13 | November 15, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Comprehensive Tax Reform

Well dude, the dems controlled the horizontal AND the vertical for two years, not even voting PRESENT on this one. LOL. FAIL.

Posted by: horace1 | November 15, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of all Bush tax cuts now. They are poison debt for America. I would gladly pay more in taxes to know America won't default. These tax cuts are nothing more than an entitlement for people who don't need it. Gutless Democrats and fat cat Republicans don't care that America is bankrupted while they give us more tax cut heroin.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | November 15, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

We are in a new era where citizenship is no longer based on spiritual principles which affirm our humanity; the rights of citizens are now vested in corporate structures that exist for their own aggrandizement. Our Republic will be overwhelmed even more than it is now, the Corporations will grow so much in power and control in such a short time that we may be faced with near complete loss of freedom with little ability to recover what we now take for granted.

Posted by: g-lo | November 15, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

What about 41 solid Democrats filibustering any bill extending the tax cuts for the rich?

If you're going to have a filibuster you certainly don't want only the other side using it. Of course this is a big reason for Democrats to get rid of it. Republicans with their ruthlessness and unity are far more likely to use it, and far more likely to change the rules or fire the rule arbiter, as they already have, to prevent its use in stopping what they want.

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | November 15, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

The solution is simple. Do what the majority of states do that is impliment a balanced budget each year. Don't just gather goodie requests form every department of the federal government and call that the budget as the current system does. Use a system like Arkansas has and prioritize budget categories as A B C etc fund the first group first then the next until there is no money in the revenue column and stop. That is also what families have to do. Stop the current free stuff to buy votes system which equals perpetual federal budget increases. Also Repubs can now vote for the line item veto the Dems will have to go along.

Posted by: msmithnv | November 15, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Extending or not extending the Bush tax cuts is a childish game either way one goes.

Let's have some real cuts. Cut defense by 50% and then give all Americans a real tax cut of 50% on top of the Bush cuts.

The way the White House, Dems, and Reps are playing with tax is just childish. The we have bimbo's wanting to repeal earmarks wich in total amount to zilch.

Why don't these jokers take on the buisness community and tell'em to stop supporting the Socialist/Marxist/Communists in China. As business is Unpatriotic they need to have a 100% surtax on profits. Then the government can use those profits to create good paying jobs.

Posted by: Maddogg | November 15, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Forcing the American business community to create well-paying jobs and ending their support of Communist China will not only resolve the debt and deficit issues, but will also eleviate the foreclosure crisis.

Time to put the boot heel on the skull of business. Watch em squeal.

Posted by: Maddogg | November 15, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

What do you think about interracial love? and interracial dating online?
I really don’t know why they call it forbidden love.
Love is an emotion that transcends all boundaries of race, caste and creed.
Love does not see the color of the skin, nor the social status of the person. The All pervading emotion is very pure and it can stand the test of time, if the need so arises.
I am a black girl and I met a white guy on blackwhitemeet dot com recently. What's your idea about interracial marriage? BLACKWHITEMEET DOT COM is a dating club for interracial singles to have fun together. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish!

Posted by: abulaw | November 15, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Let em' expire. I can hardly wait to here the HOWLS from people making $40K that take a $250 a month hit on their income tax. And from granny that makes $60k selling the family house and has to pony up $20K cuz she's "rich".

What was that Obammao said? No tax increase for people making under $250K?

Posted by: Fiftycaltx1 | November 15, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Tax cuts! No they will be tax increases Jan. 1, 2011 unless congress does something. Check with your tax accountant to see how much more taxes you will pay, unless of course you are in that 30 to 50 % who do not pay taxes at all.

Posted by: tonyjm | November 15, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Better yet, legislate mandates that buisnesses must provide a 50% increase in wages during the next year plus create well-paying jobs.

This reliance on the government for cash is non-sense. One needs to go where the money is and that's the business community.

Posted by: Maddogg | November 15, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

People aren't hurting because of lack of tax cuts or future tax hikes. They are hurting because:

1. Business is shipping the jobs to China.

2. Business is supressing wages, refusing to hire.

Time to put the boot heel into the skull of the American business community.

Posted by: Maddogg | November 15, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

The comments on this thread are simply stunning.

The tax cuts *caused* the recession?

Having your taxes reduced - that is, being allowed to keep more of your own property - is equivalent to an *entitlement*?

Confiscate all wealth over $100 million (never mind the affront to property rights or for that matter the practical consequences of such insanity)?

You all have to be kidding.

Posted by: justin84 | November 15, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, all of your choices involve maintaining a deficit and continuing irresponsible and unconstitutional spending. Federal taxes are already too high but can't cover spending. To ordinary Americans, it's obvious that spending is the problem. However, this somehow excapes our elected officials. Or actually, it doesn't escape them. They just sell their influence to special interests and betray their constituents. Can politicians get a conscience? That is the real question.

Posted by: allamer1 | November 15, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

"Time to but the boot heel into the skull of the American business community"

"...being allowed to keep more of your own property - is the equivalent to an *entitlement*?"

Now you two are just the kind of hard-core leftists who may well be in line to be a Czar in the Obama administration!! Your hatred of business and your disdain for and utter lack of understanding of private property should put you both right at the top of the list!

All readers of this forum, study well the posts of these two leftists. They really do represent the Obama/Pelosi base - the antitheses of what this great nation was founded upon.

Thankfully, Obama and Pelosi seem to be whistling past the graveyard w/respect to the Dem's historic defeat this year. That bodes well for a conservative President and huge conservative majorities in both houses in '12. I can't wait!!

As to the tax cuts...the clamoring of the hard left to raise OTHER peoples taxes while clamoring just as hard to keep theirs low is just so pathetic. Don't they want to pay thier fair share?? No, they're just like Charlie Rangle - OTHER people have to pay the taxes, not him.

Posted by: taxpayer13 | November 16, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

How the 2001 tax cuts effected taxpayers:
Families earning below $35,000 are not included in the table below because the tax cuts enacted in 2001 effectively "eliminated their entire income tax liability". Meaning they pay no income tax and likely still received a "Refund" due to credits.
The Cuts benefited taxpayers as follows based on Adjusted Gross Income:

40,000 tax liability reduced from $1178 to $45 a 96% CHANGE

75,000 reduced from 7316 to 5294 a 29% change

200,000 reduced from 35,130 to 32,053 a 9% change

*change means percent reduction in taxes owed.

The Cuts in 2003 also made taxes on Married couples more equal to taxes on Individuals.

The Bush tax cuts was one of the single most increases in the number of earners that no longer "owe" any federal income tax.

So, looking at the above numbers it doesn't take a genius to see lower and middle income taxpayers were winners.

The Wealthy are not those two wager earner families that earn more than $250,000.00 but less then $500,000. And, who pay "ordinary income tax" on their earnings. The true wealthy pay little tax on ordinary income and live of captial gains, taxed at a much, much lower rate. They earn enough "get around" paying ordinary incomes on their earnings.

The Liberals continue to lie about these tax cuts. First it is a loss of "potential revenue" and only adds to the debt if they spend more then they recieve in revenues. Extending tax cuts for the middle class will cost 3+trillion over 10 years of loss revenue. Nobody mentions if this 3 trillion will boost the economy over and above that amount. I think not. But extending it to all will cost 700 billion over ten years and will help sole-proprietors and smaller businesses that are unincorporated and that should actually spur the economy by adding jobs and/or increases current wages and investment in Employees Profit Sharing Plans.

At the very least, the tax increases should only apply to those families earning $500,000.00 or more when filing to compensate for small unincorporated businesses and two workers earning $250,000.00



Posted by: fedupwithgovernment | November 16, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

The most recent information from CBO website on extending tax cuts.

"In sum, and as CBO has reported before, permanently or temporarily extending all or part of the expiring income tax cuts would boost income and employment in the next few years relative to what would occur under current law. However, even a temporary extension would add to federal debt and reduce future income if it was not accompanied by other changes in policy. A permanent extension of all of those tax cuts without future increases in taxes or reductions in federal spending would roughly double the projected budget deficit in 2020"

please refer to CBO website http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=1470

Posted by: fedupwithgovernment | November 16, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse


I have posted this already here before You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check http://ow.ly/3akSX .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and believe me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: maquinnajo | November 16, 2010 4:04 AM | Report abuse

These tax cuts are far worse than Health Care Reform, which provides health insurance to 40 million Americans. These tax cuts cost $700 billion and haven't accomplished a single thing. Study after study shows that the Bush tax cuts have not created a single job. Now how can anyone logically argue for extending the worthless tax cuts? The law says that they are to expire. There should be no debate. These lousy tax cuts should simply be allowed to expire for everyone. This is stupid and debate on this is even more stupid and one cannot come up with a logical reason to extend them. If they are extended by the Congress, who is going to pay for them? It's about time Obama and the Congress get some spine and STAND UP AND OPPOSE EXTENDING THE WORTHLESS BUSH TAX CUTS THAT HAVE NOT CREATED A SINGLE JOB. The $700 BILLION in TAXPAYER DOLLARS went right from our taxpayer pockets to the treasury and straight into the bank accounts of the rich, who never needed the money to begin with. This is ridiculous and incredibly stupid.

Posted by: vintel7 | November 16, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Democrats GROW A SPINE and allow the tax cuts to expire. This is the will of your supporters.

Posted by: vintel7 | November 16, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

As is typically the case with leftist idealogues, you simply don't get it. That being said neither do establishment republicans.

The facts are that the tax-cuts contributed up to 13% of the debt, while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have added more than a trillion dollars. The real issue we have here are the unfunded liabilities no politician has the cahoonas to tackle: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. These liabilities contribute over 50% of the debt and represent over $75 trillion in unfunded future liabilities.

The answer is real cuts in these programs which will be painful and tax-cuts for business which will begin to entice corporations to invest in the US. Our business tax-rate is the second highest in the globe only to Japan. We've seen what the lost decade has done to Japan haven't we?

We need legislators who are unafraid to take on the difficult issues and we as the citizenry need to recognize that is about time to stop anticipating that the government; federal, local, and state is the be all and end all of problem solving.

Posted by: my2cents100 | November 16, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Why can't they do nothing, let the entire Bush tax cut expire and then in the next session bring a bill to the floor proposing a middle class tax cut? If the Republicans won't support it the "American People" will see where they stand with the Republicans. I think the Democrats would be better off leaving the taint of the Bush name behind and moving on with new ideas and new laws. The entire tax code needs attention, they need a clean slate to work on.

Posted by: wigcon | November 16, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats are basically useless. Cowardly pathetic wimps.

All the contributions I made to the Obama campaign were a waste. He isn't getting another chance - 2012 and he is out, even if it means the country is taken over by raving lunatics. At least the lunatics know how to take a stand - stupid and wrong but they can stand together. Democrats can't. Idiots.

Why even bother to watch the disasters they bring upon themselves. Every time I read the news online I see more evidence of their complete incapacity to follow through on anything that makes it worth electing them. Even next year they have the Senate and they have the Presidency and they act like complete, spineless wimps.

As far as I'm concerned, this party might as well not exist. Maybe we should hasten its demise by really ignoring them until they can straighten out their act. May you lose the Senate and the Presidency come 2012, because you have not given us the slightest good reason to go out and vote for you.

Posted by: mark_cohen | November 16, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse


What happened to as "Pelosi" said "the Obama tax cuts" ????????????? lol...lol..lol

Posted by: paulann1 | November 16, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Look, all of the tax cuts are going to be extended. Democrats in both houses are scared _____less about 2012 with good reason. Obama has about as much clout now as one of my cats. He's done. Kaput.

The tide of anger aimed at Obama from the democratic side is only going to grow and they are about ready to draw and quarter him already.

Posted by: wvshooter | November 17, 2010 1:34 AM | Report abuse

This about says it all:

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so
many others her age, she considered herself to be a very Liberal
Democrat, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in Favor of
higher taxes to support more government programs, in other Words
redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch
Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the Lectures that
she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she
felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to
keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to Higher
taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The
self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to Be the
truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by Asking how
she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and
let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that She was
taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which
left her no time to go out and party like other people She knew. She
didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many
college friends, because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked , 'How is your friend Audrey
doing?' She replied, ' Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are
Easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She Is
so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited
to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for
classes because she's too hung over.'

Her wise father asked his daughter, 'Why don't you go to the Dean's
office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your
friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA, and
certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.' The
daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired
back, 'That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really
hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard
work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played
while I worked my tail off!'

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, 'Welcome to The
Republican party.'

If anyone has a better explanation of the difference between
Republican and Democrat I'm all ears.

Posted by: whoeveru | November 17, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

whoeveru -

Fantastic - and there you have it. Thanks for the great post!

Posted by: taxpayer13 | November 17, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

whoeveru -

Fantastic - and there you have it. Thanks for the great post!

Posted by: taxpayer13 | November 17, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

How about a flat tax on all levels of income, from the highest to the lowest? No loopholes.

Posted by: oneman2rods | November 18, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

What about growth??

In any case, let them all expire or none of them. Why should I have to pay so much more than others to live here? The way my income is structured, I am likely to realize the bulk of the financial results of 10-20 years of 60-80 hour work weeks building a company in a sale or similar transaction in a single year. Why take away the financial incentive to do that? It's stupid.

Stealing from the "rich" is not an ideal of the Democratic party. Why don't you progressives shove off and start your own party (or country) with the crazy Christians who want to give all of their money away?

Frankly, the median income person in America is rich. They have more space, more land, and more opportunity than just abut everyone else on the planet. For them to be complaining about the people that make over $250k needing to make more transfer payments to others is sickening.

Posted by: staticvars | November 18, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

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