Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 10:22 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

Why did the Democrats falter on the tax cuts?

By Ezra Klein

PH2010113006738.jpg

This post by Greg Sargent contains some wise words on the psychology of the Democrats:

At risk of overgeneralizing, the problem isn't that Dems aren't capable of winning an argument. It's that they don't think they're capable of winning a protracted political standoff, even on an issue where the public is on their side, once Republicans start going on the attack. They seem to set their goal early on at salvaging a compromise, rather than going for the win. As a result, they tend to telegraph weakness at the outset, sending a clear message that they'll essentially give Republicans what they want as long as they can figure out a way to call it a compromise.

It's very important to realize how strong of a hand Democrats had -- and to some degree, have -- on the Bush tax cuts. Right or wrong, the Democrats' original position on this was that the tax cuts for income under $250,000 should be extended, and the tax cuts for income over $250,000 should expire. The public agrees: 49 percent share the Democrats' position, 14 percent want all the tax cuts to go, and 34 percent want to see all the tax cuts extended. Put another way, 63 percent of Americans don't want the tax cuts for the rich extended.

The GOP understood this just fine: Back in July, Rep. Dave Camp, then the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, admitted that his party couldn't hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage in order to secure tax cuts for the rich. "I'll probably vote for it myself," he said of the Democrats' proposal. In September, John Boehner joined him. "If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions," he told Bob Schieffer, "I'll vote for it."

Democrats, it seemed, had won this one. They had the popular position, the president's veto pen and control of the Congress. But they simply refused to carry the ball over the goal line. Instead, they began negotiating with themselves, talking about millionaires' brackets and short-term extensions. Republicans noticed the Democrats' disarray and lost their fatalism: "Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said on Bloomberg Television he was ready to instruct GOP members to vote down legislation Democrats plan to bring to the floor that would extend the expiring Bush-era tax cuts only for the middle class."

Now it looks like all the tax cuts will be extended, at least for the moment. But it's a baffling outcome. The structure of the situation favored -- and continues to favor -- the Democrats. No tax cuts pass without their support, and Republicans have previously admitted that their position isn't popular enough to prevail in a standoff. The only thing that's changed is that Republicans have realized Democrats aren't confident enough to enter a standoff. But it didn't have to be this way. Think back to early this week, when the president announced the federal pay freeze. "The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require broad sacrifice," he said. "And that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government." Here's what he could've said next:

It also must be shared by those among us who've prospered most in recent years. Even before the financial crisis, middle-class incomes had stagnated. But the incomes of the wealthiest Americans hadn't. Similarly, America's upper class has recovered from the crisis much quicker than the working class. There's nothing wrong with that: The country depends on the ingenuity and resourcefulness of its most successful citizens. But in a time of high deficits and belt tightening, it makes $700 billion in tax cuts that go solely to the top 2% an unreasonable expense. Those tax cuts were passed in a time of surplus, and now we're in a time of deficits. As our situation changes, so must our policy. I will veto any bill that extends those tax breaks.

He not only could've said it, he could've stuck to it. But he didn't. Instead, Jack Lew and Tim Geithner are now supposed to negotiate out a deal, and the White House will be blamed for the inevitable concessions and disappointments it includes. I'm not against deal-making, of course, and I've regularly defended the administration's pragmatic concessions. But there are times when you can get more at the negotiating table, and times when you can get more by declaring that there's simply nothing to negotiate. This was the latter.

Photo credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post.

By Ezra Klein  | December 2, 2010; 10:22 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Who employs economists?
Next: Lunch Break

Comments

This is a pretty blatant re-writing of history. If the Republicans in the Senate hang together, then the Democrats have no hand at all to play. The debate ends as most high-profile political debates end: with a filibuster in the Senate. At that point the tax cuts expire for everyone, which is what a whopping 14% of the population wants. Democrats and Republicans know this. And have known this all along. The best they could have hoped for was a filibuster just before the election as an "I told you so" moment to carry into the election. But even that would have brought modest gains, I think. The action is this election was on the House side and Boehner could have very easily released House members to vote for the middle-class tax cuts with the understanding that it would get bottled up in the Senate. The Republicans never had a realistic shot at re-taking the Senate and there weren't any incumbent Republican Senators at risk. So this would have had minimal impact even the close races in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

At this point, I think the best course of action for the Dems is to wait until January and let the House pass tax cut extensions for everyone. The Senate can then propose tax cut extensions for those under $250k and the Republicans filibuster. Then the Republicans are the ones truly filibustering a middle-class tax cut and the heat is on them to do something. If they cave to the pressure, the Senate goes into conference committee and extracts a few things from the House Republicans. This is why the angry grampa Simpson moment came from the Republicans yesterday. They know their hand diminishes in January.

Posted by: klautsack | December 2, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

All they had to do is bring tax cuts for all income up to $250,000 to a vote. The repubs would either have to vote for or vote against and explain to voters why they voted against a tax cut.

The dems either want to cut all taxes or are too stupid to govern. Possibly both.

After winning another $700 billion in deficit, the repubs will hammer the dems on the deficit.

Posted by: fuse | December 2, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

If true, this is absolutely, positively and entirely BEYOND frustrating. President Obama, you can not win by playing it safe. This is the Democrats' best opportunity to politically paint the GOP into a corner and...apparently...we haven't the fortitude to open the can. Please join us at GOPHypocrisy on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/GOPHypocrisy/118526228159115

Posted by: gophypocrisy | December 2, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Those so-called "49% who support Increasing
Taxes on the rich"...could they be the 49% of Americans who DON'T PAY ANY TAXES AT ALL ???!
People who pay taxes don't want ANY Increases for anyone!
We need to be more concerned about the 49% of Americans who DON'T PAY A PENNY, instead!

Posted by: ohioan | December 2, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry too much about Greg's column. He came a little unhinged after the Dems lost 60 seats. He started trying to make the case that the Tea Party was really a win for the Dems, because without them the Dems might have lost the Senate too. LOL (no seriously he really wrote that column)

He also was saying week after week leading up to the election that the Dems focus on Rep foreign donor money was going to be a big plus in the election for Dems. Ahem!

Woulda, shoulda, coulda, it's a failure of leadership that starts with the President. Experience matters, and he didn't have any.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 2, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

What is missing from Ezra's posting is that Obama pushed Reid & Pelosi to hold a tax-cut vote BEFORE the mid-term elections.

Congress punted to the lame duck session and now we're stuck in this position.

But now it is Obama who is getting skewered by liberals.

The past 2 years have shown how incredibly ignorant progressives are to how the system works, thinking that Obama can just magically wave a wand and make things happen.

Congressional Dems need to take the ablame for dropping ball on the tax cuts, not Obama.

Posted by: kromerm | December 2, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Comment by "54465446" is classic. Pres. Obama pushed Congress to hold a vote on the tax cuts and CONGRESS punted. But it's the failure of leadership of Obama that gets criticized. Where do these people come from?

Posted by: kromerm | December 2, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

For the good of the Democratic party and the country, spineless Harry Reid should announce that he will not be majority leader next term, and spineless President Obama should announce that he will not seek a second term.

The Democrats cannot just dump Obama, because black voters would sit out the election no matter whom they selected to replace him.

Posted by: ad9inaz | December 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

kromerm - Someday people are going to look back on this period, see all the crap that was going on with the economy and how the Democrats managed to pass major pieces of legislation despite this and unprecedented Republican opposition and they're going to go "And the liberals were MAD at Obama for not leading? I don't get it."

Posted by: klautsack | December 2, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Dems only care about being popular / not attacked / keeping their donors and job prospects. And they are shocked people aren't enthused by the "lesser of two evils" argument.

Posted by: AZProgressive | December 2, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The tax cuts have been in place for years.

Repealing them now just for so-called "rich"... as Dems wish... means hundreds of billions in new taxes for upper-income earners and small business. Yes the same people who create MOST of the new JOBS and pay MOST of the current tax burden.

Republicans are fighting in principal to prevent admittedly popular new taxes on the so-called "rich". An effort to restore confidence in the economy and yes create JOBS !

Raising taxes on the "rich"... causes investment, jobs, and yes millionaires to move to difference jurisdictions... this is happening in California.

IF Dems win this battle... prepare for the double-dip.. and it will be ugly for all of us.

Posted by: pvilso24 | December 2, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

also interesting that exactly since the november elections small businesses have been hiring at levels not seen in 3 years. Just last month small businesses hired 54000 people, much more than large and medium size businesses. The reason. They thought the tax cuts were going to stay in place for all. HMMM.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 2, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

If the Bush tax cuts are extended for the wealthy, I certainly will not support President Obama & the Democrats in the future (2012). I have No use for spineless politicians who cannot fight for what is right.

Posted by: wave06 | December 2, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

visionbrkr - I also noticed that small businesses have been hiring more people. This is undoubtedly because QE2 has made it more profitable for banks to lend money rather than tie it up in treasury bonds, so small businesses have had an easier time getting loans. HMMM.

Posted by: klautsack | December 2, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Hold on a sec. What part of "I will not raise taxes on people making less than $250,000" did you not hear during the campaign? If the tax cuts expire in January, there will be hell to pay. It'd be "read my lips" all over again. Ezra, while I do appreciate your distillations of policy, I think your (and a lot of your cohorts', like Greg Sargent) political instincts are way, way off. After all, this political advice is coming from people like you who insisted - INSISTED - that passing the health care bill would lead to it becoming more popular. That obviously has not panned out. I'm not saying that passing ACA was a bad idea - not in the least. ACA is a breathtaking achievement of liberal policy and I'd have traded even the Senate majority away for this holy grail. But it was a political loser even when a lot of you were hell-bent on thinking it'd flip to being a winner upon passage. Your political instincts were really faulty then and they're really faulty now.

I'm not trying to be a jerk - I apologize that that's how I'm coming off - but I think you're being really blind to the political calculus here.

Posted by: reader44 | December 2, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats wanted it both ways. They wanted to enact their policy of limited extension of the tax cuts, but not before the midterms so that their members wouldn't have to take a "tough" vote that they might be held accountable for.

The problem with that approach is that losing seats doesn't put you in a stronger position in the lame duck session. The Republicans are perfectly happy to let all the tax cuts expire if the Democrats don't agree to extend the tax cuts for everyone, have everyone's withholding go up in January due to the Democrats failing to extend the Bush tax cuts (the Democrats are never going to get those rebranded) and then save the day in January by making full extension of the tax cuts the first order of business of the new Republican Congress. At that point, the Democrats will be lucky if the Bush tax cuts aren't made permanent.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704594804575648703749575026.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Every time the Democrats try to tactically manipulate a vote so that they can avoid being held responsible for it, it blows up in their faces.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/120577-more-senate-democrats-cast-doubt-on-pre-election-vote-to-extend-tax-cuts

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/business/economy/01leonhardt.html?_r=1&hp

Posted by: jnc4p | December 2, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

.

Hey Democrats,

We have all been lectured:

Afterward, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) voiced frustration to reporters. "This has happened to us four or five times with the Senate," Hoyer said. "The Senate knows this rule and should follow this rule. They should be cognizant of the rule. Nobody ought to be surprised by this rule. It's in the Constitution. And they've all been lectured, and we have as well, about reading the Constitution."

BYE BYE

DEMOCRATS

.

Posted by: kstobbe1 | December 2, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Consider:

- Tax payments by millionaire households more than doubled to $273 billion in 2007 from $132 billion after the tax rates were cut in 2003.

- The number of tax returns with $1 million or more in annual reported income doubled over that period thanks to the strong economic rebound.

- Tax payments by millionaires also increased dramatically after the Reagan and Kennedy tax rate reductions. (WSJ Dec. 1 2010)

Do we really really want to kill the golden goose ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | December 2, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Why did the democrats falter?

because they are owned lock stock and barrel by the same people that own the Republicans.


The whole system is rigged against the citizen.

Don't believe me just go over to the article on who the fed gave bailout money to.

Posted by: PennyWisetheClown | December 2, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

kalutsack,

nice try. Even IF QE2 was responsible for that its way too soon for that that to already be translating to jobs. IMO its related to a new understanding of a more business friendly congress. I'd call it the Nancy Pelosi stimulus.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 2, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious Obama and his advisors are use polling indicators to punch their way into 2012 elections. President has forgotten, as I said before, that beltway politics is contact sport.

If you ain't prepared for it...it will change the compass of political direction.

WHY IN THE WORLD IS OBAMA SO CUDDLY WITH GOP LEADERS WHEN ALL THEY WANT IS TO MAKE HIM A SINGLE TERM PRESIDENT!

Posted by: hariknaidu | December 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

@fuse"All they had to do is bring tax cuts for all income up to $250,000 to a vote. The repubs would either have to vote for or vote against and explain to voters why they voted against a tax cut."

I believe the House is going to do just that, but it's being telegraphed as a meaningless stunt, not as a serious position.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/02/AR2010120201501.html

The Republicans don't seem concerned.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2010/12/democrat_gamesmanship.html

Posted by: jnc4p | December 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious Obama and his advisors are use polling indicators to punch their way into 2012 elections. President has forgotten, as I said before, that beltway politics is contact sport.

If you ain't prepared for it...it will change the compass of political direction.

WHY IN THE WORLD IS OBAMA SO CUDDLY WITH GOP LEADERS WHEN ALL THEY WANT IS TO MAKE HIM A SINGLE TERM PRESIDENT!

Posted by: hariknaidu | December 2, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

visionbrkr - If you really wannakuh, you can make anything rhyme with Hannakuh.

Posted by: klautsack | December 2, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"Every time the Democrats try to tactically manipulate a vote so that they can avoid being held responsible for it, it blows up in their faces."

I think this comment really hits the nail on the head. Hold your position, vote for it proudly, and suck it up if you lose an election because of it. You're not elected for the sole purpose of getting re-elected.

Posted by: KBfromNC | December 2, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Damn these Democrats. Did not one of them watch and listen to Warren Buffet on This Week protest further tax relief for the wealthy?

Posted by: katherinegraham1 | December 2, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Congress says we can't afford $15 billion to extend unemployment benefits, but we can afford $700 billion to extend tax breaks for the rich? That is obscene and disgusting.

I would rather see them let the whole Bush giveaway package expire. I don't receive $250,000 a year, but I am willing to pay my share.

Posted by: dricks | December 2, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The real problem is that the democrats have it wrong and many of them know it. Only the radical progressive democrats want to stick it to the wealthy.

In Econ 101 we learn that the wealthy are the ones that create jobs which is the real priority right now. The new jobs create a taxable income to offset loss of revenue from the top 2%. History has proven this policy many times.

However, in the progressive movement toward transforming America it's all about spreading the wealth and destroying capitalism.

As to the 49% of Americans who want to stick it to the job creators, it tends to prove a theory of Cass Sustein (super radical) who says Americans are like Homer Simpson. What percentage of Americans have had Econ 101?..... Nuff said!

Posted by: thehamptons1 | December 2, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Ezra and this news rag as usual get their statistics from the proverbial cracker jack box. Now, if you really want to buy a bridge, I've got one. But not only are the democrats baffled, but Ezra is not the sharpest tool in the shed if he thinks people in this country would not like to earn over 250K through hard work and sacrifice, and perhaps create jobs for others.

Posted by: candyzky | December 2, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

How quick the Dems forget! With the overwhelming MAJORITY in the House, Senate and Executive, there wasnt' ANY trying to compromise.

I remember when the Dems CHANGED THE LOCKS to keep the Republicans out. I remember how they disregarded ANY of the Republican ideas regarding ObamaCare!

Please--keep it real and not like some Chinese propaganda "history" lesson.

Posted by: edmondsonpr | December 2, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p,

it's not a new republican congress, just a repub house

Posted by: rjewett | December 2, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

businesses have been holding off on hiring for years waiting for these to expire. whats another 12-24 months.

Posted by: eggnogfool | December 2, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

This is a very good reason why Democrats should end the filibuster. You've got one side that will kick you in the toolbag and knee you in the face. You've got another side that tends to cower in the corner. Now throw a pair of brass knuckles in the ring. Which side will benefit more from this? Which side would benefit more if the brass knuckles were banned?

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | December 2, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

People who can add 1+1 generally understand that raising taxes in a recessionary period is bad economics.

At one point during the past year Obama himself said you don't raise taxes during a recession.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 2, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Tax cuts for the so called 'rich' will cost $700 billion

Tax cuts for the so called 'middle class' will cost $3 trillion

Savings per year by eliminating tax cuts for the rich...$70 billion

Savings per year by eliminating tax cuts for the middle class...$300 billion.

Let's eliminate all the tax cuts, and save $3.7 trillion, or extend all of them so no American sees an increase in his/her taxes. But to exclude one segment of Americans from a tax cut while giving it to another is inherently unfair....that is, to those who care about fairness.

Posted by: bbwk80a | December 2, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The only way right now to save us from ourselves and to save the country for the next generation is for the GOP to unwavering stay as the party of NO, NO, NO !!

If we keep doing what we are doing we'll keep getting what were getting; High unemployment, housing market in the tank, unsustainable debt, corruption abounding, power shifting from the people to the government, the constitution trod upon and inept foreign policies.

Posted by: thehamptons1 | December 2, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"Right or wrong, the Democrats' original position on this was that the tax cuts for income under $250,000 should be extended, and the tax cuts for income over $250,000 should expire."

Ezra, apparently you don't remember, but according to Pelosi and Reid, those middle class tax cuts never existed! So how can they be extended?

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 2, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

The reason the Dems do so bad on taxes is that they seem to think the fruits of other peoples labor are theirs to plunder at will.

Posted by: tk221 | December 2, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@rjewett "jnc4p,

it's not a new republican congress, just a repub house"

You are correct. I have a bad habit of conflating Congress and the House.

However, for all intents and purposes, Mitch McConnell appears to be the Senate Majority Leader now and is setting the agenda.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 2, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Why does Ezra keep pimping for folks making 200k to be screwed over? Doesn't the WAPO pay him anything? He keeps forgetting that those making over 200k are the ones who invest and save, which is, of course, what we all should be doing rather than stiffing the government on ill-conceived house purchases and defaults.

Posted by: jibe | December 2, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"The dems either want to cut all taxes or are too stupid to govern. Possibly both."

I'd opt for the "too stupid to govern" explanation. True of both parties.

Vote against the incumbent. Or continue to fund the wealthiest 2% with yet more bailouts as the need gets created.

Posted by: Over-n-Out | December 2, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
Remember when you wanted Democrats to pair taxes with other legislation? They aren't even capable of passing the tax legislation they favor ALONE!

Why is it that the only reasonable party has no backbone?

Posted by: will12 | December 2, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Woulda, shoulda, coulda, it's a failure of leadership that starts with the President. Experience matters, and he didn't have any."

- 54465446

That is the right comment. Obama has effectively 'gassed' any sensible deal on Tax.

Leader, who is not ready to fight for principles is not a leader. Same Obama is also not showing any resolve in fighting back the relentless attack 'Paul Ryan' is making on Obamacare. That guy - Ryan - is there to end Obamacare along with Medicare and our dear leader is just watching all that is destroyed; all the sacrifices of lost Dem Congress members in vain. First, he ask these Congress members to take a tough vote. Then he comes 'late' to defend them (2010 election) where he does half hearted job, folks lose seats and then he does not even defend what was all paid for!

Who will come with such a leader? That is why Dems are not in any fighting mode.

Same across in foreign policy too. That is what is going to happen across the board - everyone will realize this is the leader who would hardly care for other people's hard political compromises.

He needs royal screw drivers like GOP and that is what has got. Capitulation and bending over again and again; that is what the fate of such a leader will be.

Liberals & Progressives - better start looking for leadership somewhere else.

Posted by: umesh409 | December 2, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

More proof that DemocRATS can not LEAD a 2 car funeral procession and will screw up everything they touch because they are more interested in PARTISAN POLITICS than doing what is right for the country. Comrade Obozo and his corrupt administration AND the Progressive Pigs in Congress will be gone in 2012. America is counting the days!

Posted by: priley8104 | December 2, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

From a tactical standpoint, the best time for the Democrats to have brought the Bush tax cut issue up was in January 2009 at the same time as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed. That would have had three benefits for them:

1. Obama was fresh off the 2008 victory and had clearly run on his position on the Bush Tax cuts.

2. It would have eliminated any uncertainty associated with wondering what the tax rates would be in 2011 two years prior to the rates going into effect.

3. At the same time that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act increased the deficit substantially in 2009, they could have argued that they were locking in long term deficit reduction that would start to take effect in two years.

Bottom line, if their position on the Bush tax cuts was important to the Democrats and Obama, they would have found a way to have gotten them done prior to December 2010.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 2, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"How did DEMOCRATS screw this one up?"
----------------------------------------

A question from the Department of Redundancy Department.

'nuff said.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 2, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Liberals & Progressives - better start looking for leadership somewhere else.

Posted by: umesh409 | December 2, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

umesh has a great point but WHERE? Does anybody honestly think that any progressive would win the Presidency in a center right country? Can you see President Kucinich because I can't.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 2, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

All 42 republicans in the Senate signed a letter to Reid yesterday stating they would block ALL legislation unless ALL tax cuts were extended. See:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/us/politics/02cong.html?ref=politics
So it's a blockade--for everything, from Don't Ask to School Lunches. How do you deal with a broken congress?

Posted by: davetree | December 2, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Ever think maybe the democrats are paid off by the rich as well? That's why they will "Lose" this one. Right to the bank. Republican and Democrat. They are all the same despite what they say.

Posted by: Mike4169 | December 2, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with ohioan | December 2, 2010 11:02 AM .

People who pay no taxes have no skin in the game and should have no say in other peoples tax rates.

Posted by: mike27 | December 2, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

kromerm:

I actually AGREE with some of the things you said. However, if you can't get Reid and Pelosi to do what you want, that IS a failure of leadership because there are no repercussions for them.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 2, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Visionbrkr: I don't see the Republicans in much better shape, given their current frontrunners. I am conservative. But like you, I don't see any leaders except maybe one...SARAH PALIN.......

JUST KIDDING. Don't have a heart attack, she won't make it to through the nomination process.

Christie is a leader, but don't know if he'll run. The next different president will probably come out of seemingly nowhere.

Posted by: bbwk80a | December 2, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

So it will be up to the president to veto the extension! He needs to exercise some guts at some point.

Posted by: sailor0245 | December 2, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Dems can't fight their way out of a wet paper bag. They kill me. I mean, shoot, my sides are hurting!

Posted by: NEWSOUTH1 | December 2, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

" The country depends on the ingenuity and resourcefulness of its most successful citizens..."

Unfortunately, the most successful citizens have been the ones with ingenuity and resourcefulness to dream up derivatives and over legal financial gambling that, in the end, produces NOTHING of meaning for our country - particularly jobs.

He should have equated the over $250,000 tax cut as being for the people, those Wall Streeters, who nearly killed the country. That's exactly what happened and that is exactly who will benefit.

If the Democrats can't wake up and take seriously the need to educate, educate, educate the middle and working classes that the Republican policies do not help them or the country, they may as well act like Obama and Harry Reid and just give in and give up.

Greg Sargent said the Democrats are demoralized by Fox and Limbaugh and don't think they can win by taking this fight to the public. Wow, don't they realize what a tiny minority, when you get down to it, watch or listen to either one?

The Republicans are a bunch of bullies and the Democrats appear to be clinically depressed and unable to function.

Posted by: edismae | December 2, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Ezra errs in this blog post by ignoring political reality. When it comes to congressional votes, particularly in the Senate, there is no such thing as "the" Democrats. That's a parliamentary-democracy fantasy, inapplicable to the U.S.

To conjure up reality, ask two questions: Can you name any "liberal" Republicans? Can you name any "conservative" Democrats?

The answer to those two questions leads to understanding why congressional Democratic leaders did not schedule votes on tax extensions before the mid-terms and why congressional Democrats appear to have no unified position now.

Reality can be frustrating.

Posted by: fredbrack | December 2, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

As a matter of editorial policy, any political story that includes an income limit (e.g., $250,000 or more) should also include a corresponding proportion of Americans (e.g, 2% of American households, US Census Bureau, table HINC-06) to put the issue in its proper perspective.

Posted by: evansf | December 2, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

klautsack wrote:

"I also noticed that small businesses have been hiring more people. This is undoubtedly because QE2 has made it more profitable for banks to lend money rather than tie it up in treasury bonds, so small businesses have had an easier time getting loans. HMMM."

Sorry, you're info is incorrect. Treasury yields have been rising, not falling. In fact the 10 year broke 3.0 today for the first time in 6 months, as I predicted weeks ago.

The money has been moving into currencies and commodities. We are about to break $90 on oil and ag commodity prices are shooting through the roof. There's no way to lend significant sums for long terms when inflation is guaranteed, unless you see a big move in consumer demand, OR a big drop in unemployment numbers.

Keep your fingers crossed, because I positively LOVE Bernanke. I don't think he can do what he is attempting, but damn is he a fighter with big ones, for what he thinks is best.

Otherwise though I always read your posts, because you're civil and often thoughtful.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 2, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

bbwk80a,

i agree with you on both fronts. Both that Palin has no chance to win anything (heck i'd vote Democratic as much as it pains me to make sure she didn't get the nomination.) and that there's no candidate out there that just bowls me over like Obama did the Democratic base. But then again he's coming "back to the pack' as they say so who knows. I'd just wish it was someone with more experience in dealing with the things that Obama is obviously not able to do. That rules out most of the republican party btw.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 2, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p:

You are spot on, though even July of 2010 would have been worthwhile.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 2, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

It's really this simple:

A $1,000,000 per year earner might be a small business owner who employs eight people. Jack with this business owner's taxes and she will layoff one or two workers to make up the difference.

It's called "passing on the cost."

Oh, and the six remaining workers will pay less in taxes than the 8 did, and the 2 laid off will be drawing unemployment.

So, raising taxes does not always mean more money in the government's hands.

You know what the real problem is? The Democrats haven't taken Economics 101.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 2, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: evansf: "As a matter of editorial policy, any political story that includes an income limit (e.g., $250,000 or more) should also include a corresponding proportion of Americans (e.g, 2% of American households,..."
-------------------------------------------
Right, AND the % of SMBs who employ people that fall into the category... OOPS! LMAO

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 2, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

It is maddening to watch GOP policymakers stand in front of a camera and say a blatant contradiction: "Deficits are out of control. We can't raise taxes during a recession."

How can you be half a Keynesian? And does anyone really expect Republicans to ever argue for a tax increase on the wealthy, no matter the economic conditions? If they get their way and continue the long, destructive pattern of never countenancing an increase in revenue--especially if it comes from the wealthy--then our fiscal situation, not to mention the condition of the middle class--will never improve.

Posted by: TonyQ82 | December 2, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

From a life time Dem voter---- extend tax cuts for the rich at your own peril. At that point you are no better than Rebugnicans who want to starve out of work citizens so they can give their millionaire campaige donors a tax break.

Possible nonvoter

Posted by: jmfromdc | December 2, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone wondered if the Supreme Court ruling opening up endless dollars for Republicans to campaign with?


God forbid Dems should pixx off the wealthy!

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | December 2, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

But to exclude one segment of Americans from a tax cut while giving it to another is inherently unfair....that is, to those who care about fairness.

Posted by: bbwk80a | December 2, 2010 12:20 PM |


So when do we remove the cap on FICA taxes so that all those millionares and billionares have to pay on ALL their wages just like the poor slobs who make under $106,800??

Posted by: edismae | December 2, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

It is maddening to watch GOP policymakers stand in front of a camera and say a blatant contradiction: "Deficits are out of control. We can't raise taxes during a recession."
/////////////////////////////////////////
You raise taxes and you will contract spending and increase unemployment. What needs to happen is to extend tax cuts AND cut government spending.

How can you be half a Keynesian?
/////////////////////////////////////
Ask that of the Dems.

And does anyone really expect Republicans to ever argue for a tax increase on the wealthy, no matter the economic conditions?
//////////////////////////////////////
"High wage earners" and "the wealthy" are two different groups. The former are often small business owners who employ people and who have considerable operating expenses. The latter are often folks sitting on a huge pile of cash that has already been earned and taxed, and therefore are not impacted by tax increases so much.

If they get their way and continue the long, destructive pattern of never countenancing an increase in revenue--especially if it comes from the wealthy--then our fiscal situation, not to mention the condition of the middle class--will never improve.
/////////////////////////////////////////
Cut taxes AND government spending and EVERYTHING will improve.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 2, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It is time for Democrats to start looking for viable alternatives to Obama for 2012. He is weak. To be represented by him is little better than being represented by a Republican, so there is very little risk of things getting significantly worse if Democrats lose the 2012 elections. We bet on the wrong nominee for '08. Hillary would have been so much better.

Posted by: psb2 | December 2, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, You're wrong on the strategy and it's time you concede that Obama and his team are smarter than you and Sargent on this one. In one of the ironies of politics, the Republican position on taxes is actually weaker, not stronger when they take power in January.

Democrats cannot afford a situation where all the tax cuts expire in December. What the must do is pass extensions for everyone in the House and kick it up to the Senate with too little time left for Republicans to kick it back to the House.

They want to achieve exactly what you're advocating, but they are closer to the process and know there isn't a straight line there. Republicans know this too, that's why they have seriously escalated the fight to blocking everything unless the tax cuts pass.

Posted by: asja | December 2, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: edismae: "So when do we remove the cap on FICA taxes so that all those millionares and billionares have to pay on ALL their wages just like the poor slobs who make under $106,800??"
-------------------------------------------
As soon as we change S.S. so EVERYONE gets back in proportion to their contributions. Simple enough even for the lib mind, such as it is, to comprehend.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 2, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

President Obama:

We have supported you and supported you,
however, if you allow the tax cuts for the wealthy to be extended, you have lost our support. THIS WAS ONE OF YOUR CAMPAIGN
PROMISES, and you are flip-flopping more than old man McCain.

Get a spine Obama - you are really disappointing us.

Posted by: Sirius2 | December 2, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@thehamptons1

"In Econ 101 we learn that the wealthy are the ones that create jobs which is the real priority right now. The new jobs create a taxable income to offset loss of revenue from the top 2%. History has proven this policy many times."

I can't argue your exact wording, but your implication is unproven. Lower taxes on job creating groups will lead to more jobs, but the idea that tax cuts always lead to an increase in overall revenue has yet to be shown, and it most likely never will be. Under the proper conditions this (increased revenue) can certainly happen, but it's not an absolute as it is often times misrepresented.

As for your comments on progressives, you’re over-generalizing. Some progressives certainly distrust capitalism or at least some outcomes of capitalism, but certainly not all. Comments like may be useful for venting frustration (everyone does this sometime), but they are destructive to the overall conversation because they inspire divisiveness. People like to think in absolutes because it simplifies the system, but the world is gray and true absolutes are rare.

I can certainly agree with you that more people should take an econ class in high-school/college. I think too many people enter the argument with limited knowledge which leaves them open to intentional deception or innocent ignorance.

Posted by: one_timer | December 2, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

QE2 hasn't been implemented yet. Isn't expected till early next spring. But expectations have, based on QE2's committment. Gold shot up $40 per ounce the day of the announcement.

I wrote urging the Fed not to go with QE2. We don't need any more dollars sloshing around as evidenced by commodity prices. We do need the Fed to take its foot off the throat of interest rates, let them float so that these banks will loosen up with the extensive pile of cash they are sitting on.

No one wants to loan money at current interest rates, which fail or will fail to compensate the lender for lethal loss of purchasing power upon repayment.

It takes $642 more dollars to purchase an ounce of gold than it took on Nov 4, 2008. On Jan 20, 2009, one could have bought a barrel of crude oil for $38, but now it takes over twice that to buy the same barrel. Cotton is at all time record highs. Buy your underwear, socks and T shirts now, don't wait till next year.

What lender wants to loan dollars whose puchasing power will be half when he is repaid? A lender's only safeguard mechanism against such is the interest rate he can loan at. To keep them artificially low, as Bernanke is doing now forestalls an inevitable explosion in consumer inflation and interest rates whose otherwise gradual rise could be absorbed and countermanded through the market.

Opening the lending gates will help business expand and employ Americans. AS of now, so many small businesses and potential business ideas can't get capital because of artificially stringent loan requirements that are designed to protect lenders from making loans at such uncompensating rates.

Posted by: bbwk80a | December 2, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

2%...just 2% of all small business owners have a personal income of over $250,000.
Raising the taxes on the money over $250,000 a family making $250,000 a year will mean that they might not buy a new sofa this year or make their kids limit the amount of texting they do or cut back on the number of times a year they take their pets to the groomer.
It will not cause them to stop hiring an employee if they need a new employee.

Posted by: vintagejulie | December 2, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: vintagejulie: "2%...just 2% of all small business owners have a personal income of over $250,000."
------------------------------------------
So, the owner doesn't pay salaries out of his PERSONAL checking account. Are you REALLY this stupid, or, are you just trying to make libs look as intelligent as jellyfish?

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 2, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

It's all very well saying "the Democrats" had a strong hand for denying any tax cuts under $250,000, because it fails to note the fact that a whole bunch of those Democrats don't support that position.

It had nothing to do with all this student pop-psychology analysis: Conservative Democrats wanted the tax cuts extended for everyone. They like tax cuts, their rich friends like tax cuts, their rich donors like tax cuts. There was a bipartisan consensus on extending the tax cuts for the rich.

Obama, Pelosi and other liberal Democrats actually had a very weak hand here. That's why they lost on this.

Posted by: bigmandave | December 2, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic hand isn't as strong as suggested here.

Not only is ARRA running down, but a surge in taxes isn't very comforting for Keynesians. Even non Keynesians admit that spendng will fall as current spending patterns are disrupted, as new ones will take a while to emerge.

People might be upset at Republicans over failing to extend the middle class tax cuts, but it's also likely the Democrats/Obama are blamed for static/rising unemployment.

Posted by: justin84 | December 2, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

If there was ever any doubt about who and what the republicans represent, their actions confirm they do not care about the welfare of our country or the American people.
Their goals of destroy our president, win at any cost regardless of the consequences are putting them on the path of becoming our country's most dangerous domestic terrorists.

Posted by: kathlenec | December 2, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Make them filibuster! I wanna see a hoarse Mich McConnell reading the phone book on C-SPAN on Christmas Day.

Posted by: Hieronymous | December 2, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"So when do we remove the cap on FICA taxes so that all those millionares and billionares have to pay on ALL their wages just like the poor slobs who make under $106,800??"

Because the FICA cap for payout is 106,800. Bill Gates gets the same SS check as my grandparents do.

Posted by: krazen1211 | December 2, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Ah the Dems, the gift that keeps on giving. Their official motto is now, "Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!!!"

Posted by: zendrell | December 2, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Well it was just more lies from the Democrats. They could have passed the tax cuts, IF THEY REALLY INTENDED TO, but they said they wanted to wait until after the elections. After the elections when they knew full well all political polls said they were going to lose the majority. Obama never intended to cut anyone's taxes.
Another Obama lie.

Posted by: AnnsThought | December 2, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Edismae: I agree that the tax code is rife with unfairness. To wit:

44% of wage earners pay no income taxes.

The so called 'rich' pay no FICA taxes over $106K as you pointed out, but they pay far more in dollars than those who pay on lesser incomes. To me, that balances out. Maybe we should have a flat FICA tax, huh? :)))))

2% of working Americans pay 40% of the income taxes today. Is that fair?

And I am one who doesn't believe it's fair to expect a taxpayer to underwrite another American's government benefits. That eventually plays out into collapse, as noted with the USSR, Greece, Ireland.

Temporary help, OK

Cradle to grave (Obamacare), Nope.

Bottom line, think and live within your means, and quit trying to live within someone elses means (the rich) by confiscating their earnings. What's important is freedom, freedom to succeed, freedom to fail. Such precludes government intervention.

Posted by: bbwk80a | December 2, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

rjewett, when the Democratic "majority" includes the likes of Ben Nelson, Joe Leiberman, Kurt Conrad, Mary Landrieu and a couple of other DINOs whose names escape me right now, it IS a "new republican congress"!

Posted by: KarenJG | December 2, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@RealTexan:

Problem is, the empirical evidence indicates the opposite.

Business owners operate to maximize after-tax profit over the long term. That means pocketing revenue when taxes are low and sheltering revenue through hiring and growth when taxes are high.

Posted by: eggnogfool | December 2, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

You miss the point in your analysis. The problem with Democratic populist support is it relies on ill-informed or mis-informed voters. The more an issue stays open for public debate, the more voters learn about the facts and the weaker the Democratic position gets (on virtually any issue Democrat’s support).

The problem here is the entire Democratic position is merely a platitude “no tax cuts for the wealthy.” Intelligent people such as you and I know this is drivel. The fundamental fact is if this bill is not signed into law it will represent a massive tax increase in the midst of a serious recession. Additionally, the Democratic argument seems to pre-suppose that this money is just going to lay around unused, under the mattress of some rich guy, if the government doesn’t find a better use for it.

Nowhere in your “thoughtful analysis” do you consider; if you have an “extra” trillion to spend, are American’s better off if some rich guy invests it in a corporation or a small business, or are we better off sending it to the federal government? As the debate on this issue extends, and the American people glean a better understanding of the facts, they come to realize that giving it to the rich guy to invest, likely creates long term jobs and a sustainable increase in the tax base. The American people also see that giving these investable assets to the government is no more than “eating your seed corn.”

Posted by: ELF2 | December 2, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Zendrell is right on the money. Regrettably,
Obama has little to no influence on Dems in Congress, they have their own agendas and keep tripping over themselves--and wonder why they lost 60 seats. Recruit Mark McKinnon to run the DNC and figure out how to govern ! Remarkedly frustrating to watch these DC antics while Rome burns.

Posted by: TXMary | December 2, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

pvilso24 said: Raising taxes on the "rich"... causes investment, jobs, and yes millionaires to move to difference jurisdictions... this is happening in California.


Wrong. It's happening in California because of STATE taxes. FEDERAL taxes would follow them around the US. Statistics (not the hand-picked ones you quote, but those coming from non-partisan sources) show that the tax cuts have actually caused a REDUCTION on investment and jobs in the last 10 years. Why would you take a risk with your money and invest when you're already raking it in with those tax cuts? Most small business owners are not in the 1 million+ earners and the proposed tax cuts would shield them anyway.

Posted by: Nerd2 | December 2, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

bigmandave-

This goes back to the central tenet of why it is more difficult to get progressive legislation passed. Passing a tax cut or stoking nationalistic fears in order to sell a war is infinitely easier than getting 39 Blue Dogs and a handful of Republican Senators to vote, effectively, for a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. In some ways, I see the deal-making and compromising in DC these days not as a testament to Obama's weakness so much as a demonstration of just how dysfunctional and corporate-driven the climate is.

Posted by: klautsack | December 2, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"2%...just 2% of all small business owners have a personal income of over $250,000."

Which businesses hire in large numbers?

Those which generate $1,000,000 in profits, or those which generate $50,000 in profits?

I've heard that 2% calculation includes lots of random "small business owners" like the guy who nets $1,000/yr by selling knickknacks on eBay.

"It will not cause them to stop hiring an employee if they need a new employee."

Unless the business caters to rich people who are spending less, and the new employee(s) is/are no longer "needed".

Or the business owner thinks he can make his employees work harder, which keeps his labor costs down and helps offset the higher tax rate.

Or the business owner decides that it isn't worth the risk or time to expand when the government is going to snatch up 50-60% of the incremental.

Posted by: justin84 | December 2, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Ezra I really dont think this is the problem. Rather, I think the problem is that too many Dems in Congress want to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy and leave the Dems unable to pass a middle-class only tax cut. Obama's problem is that he has never fully figured out how to deal with these renegade Dems and that may be because there is no way to deal with them on this issue.

Posted by: gregspolitics | December 2, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@ RealTexan1
" It's really this simple:
A $1,000,000 per year earner might be a small business owner who employs eight people. Jack with this business owner's taxes and she will layoff one or two workers to make up the difference.
It's called "passing on the cost."
Oh, and the six remaining workers will pay less in taxes than the 8 did, and the 2 laid off will be drawing unemployment.
So, raising taxes does not always mean more money in the government's hands.
You know what the real problem is? The Democrats haven't taken Economics 101.”

Your partisan statement aside, your scenario is reasonable, but you only presented one possibility when reality a bunch of things can happen in addition to the outcome you presented: The increased taxes could be absorbed without causing anyone to lose their job, thus increasing revenue. One or more may be fired but the increased revenue from the rich outweigh the revenue lost (which would be regrettable since we don’t want to lose any jobs). These two scenarios lead to higher revenue, but there are others that lead to lower/higher revenues. My point is that no general statement applies. You can’t say with certainty that a tax increase will lead to lower/higher revenues without getting additional information.

Posted by: one_timer | December 2, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

klautsack, there was a realistic possibility that they could have overcome a filibuster in the Senate or could at least have pointed to it as a "we're trying to get work done, they are trying to slow it down" moment. In any case, by not bringing it up at all the Dems looked like a typical "get nothing done" Congress.

Posted by: Nerd2 | December 2, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have always been selfish and greedy. I've been getting letters from my stock companies which supply dividends to my account, telling me to write to my congressmen and tell them not to increase the tax rate on my dividends, so I just assumed this is part of that tax option on the wealthy. I am by no means wealthy, but I just decided if they want to increase the tax on my dividends, so be it! I have enough money to pay my bills and live the way I want, what good is "MORE"?? I guess these wealthy are going to have pockets sewn into their caskets so they can take it with them! The Republicans are the height of selfishness, ultimately giving control of our country to China, who owns us!!

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse


Right or wrong, the Democrats couldnt sell a steak to a starving man.

Posted by: nuke41 | December 2, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

BUT, "one_timer", notice that "realTexan1" is from Texas, the state where their brains all work a little slower than in the rest of the country! Remember, Bush lived most of his life there.

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Essentially correct. The Dems are wimps constantly apologizing for their victories and caving in to the loud, aggressive right wing.

Posted by: boston9 | December 2, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

justin:

Where do you stand on the small businesses create most of the new jobs argument?

I am I suppose in the minority in that I think small business jobs are often dead end things, while it's the big business jobs that have real staying power for the economy.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 2, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The President and the Democrats HAVE NO BALLS. That is why the GOP has been allowed to turn this once great country into a corporate plutocracy

Posted by: maurban | December 2, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, "nuke41"! Our last Congress got more selling done than ever before in the history of our country. It's just that Democrats know the benefits of "THINKING" AHEAD, one of those little conditions that require the ability to think above and beyond selfishness, which Republicans will never comprehend. Republicans always need instant gratification, like infants! That's why they haven't accomplished anything in so long, you can Google: "Republican Accomplishments" and there are "NONE", absolutely "ZERO"!! They are the absolute "non-Party of NO" and "NOTHING"!! which purely exists for selfishness and never even considers their constituents! They even had to have their new Congressional seats BOUGHT "for" them with $4 BILLION DOLLARS worth of lies and defamation propaganda paid for by the corporations' "person".

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

gutless, that's what it is. this country is heading down the crapper and they are holding the plunger while the GOP flushes...

Posted by: Voodoodiver | December 2, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The (very real) impression of weakness that this behavior conveys is a bigger problem than Dems realize.

In terms of social welfare, women are a lock for the Democratic party. But not at the cost of security. I think that the Dems will squander their advantage among women by appearing (and being) weak. The midterms showed this is already happening.

Posted by: mminka | December 2, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Until voters learn to "THINK", Congress will continue to be a children's zoo! I don't expect that to happen in my lifetime. We have far too many gullible non-thinking, middle-class,Democrat income people, who vote Republican, AGAINST themselves, because they can only think as far as their nose. They STILL don't even understand that that's what they're doing. They get one little point stuck in their craw, and they simply can't, or are too STUPID to, SEE the whole picture.

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Democrats seem paralyzed by the fear of holding a vote. Why not just force a vote on the matter? Why didn't they force a vote on the matter before the election, for goodness sake? 63% of people supporting the issue is a far sight more support than Democrats got in the midterms, so it's not like this would have been a liability at the polls. To the contrary, Democrats could have bludgeoned Republicans with this.

Democrats might have run into a filibuster, but how many Senate Republicans honestly would have held the filibuster on this? I have to think that at least four or five would cave if forced actually to put a vote on record. Why not just stage the vote?

My only guess is that Democrats realize that their own bread and butter in campaign donations are the same wealthy people who would suffer if these tax cuts expire, so as much as Democrats want to give lip service to raising taxes on the rich, when it comes right down to it, they don't want to rock the boat and lose wealthy donors who might be angry about high taxes.

Posted by: blert | December 2, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"The tax cuts have been in place for years.

Repealing them now just for so-called "rich"... as Dems wish... means hundreds of billions in new taxes for upper-income earners and small business. Yes the same people who create MOST of the new JOBS and pay MOST of the current tax burden.

Republicans are fighting in principal to prevent admittedly popular new taxes on the so-called "rich". An effort to restore confidence in the economy and yes create JOBS !

Raising taxes on the "rich"... causes investment, jobs, and yes millionaires to move to difference jurisdictions... this is happening in California.

IF Dems win this battle... prepare for the double-dip.. and it will be ugly for all of us.

Posted by: pvilso24"

It is difficult to believe that anyone literate enough to type would actually believe this BS.

Posted by: thrh | December 2, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

This is such a ridiculous issue to begin with. First, anyone who knows people who make over $250K understand there are so many tax loopholes the government won't collect the revenue anyway. This was a phony issue the Dems tried to demagogue from the start. Second, as another WP commentator (David Broder, perhaps) pointed out at the time, instead of Obama calling Boehner into the WH and hammering out a compromise after Boehner agreed to vote for such a bill, the way Reagan would have done with Dems back in the day, the WH issued some combative statement instead. That's because the Dems wanted to demogogue the issue and didn't want to compromise with Reps on it.

So in the end, this is a non-substantive issue (some might call it a "wedge" issue) the Dems created for purely political reasons that will end up hurting them immeasurably with their progressive base, which thinks it has to swallow another defeat to Rep politicing.

Posted by: longbow1 | December 2, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Likely this is not a screw-up. Maybe the Dems were worried about their wealthly wall street contributors. My take is this is just both parties being in the pocket of the wealthy. The Dems strategy is just to make sure the cuts are extended to everyone while telling the liberals it was the Repubs. Either way, the Dems would have never overridden the Repub objections before or after the elections.

Posted by: chucko2 | December 2, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

REagan cut the top tax rate on the highest earnings from the 70% he inherited to 29% at the end of his term. Because he was unable to commensurately cut gubmnt spending, he ran $2.7 trillion in deficts over his two terms.

Policy takes time to be felt though. Despite the cuts in taxes and their near term deficits, eight years later Treasury experienced record tax receipts in 1996. Such led to fiscal surpluses.

How does that happen? Cut taxes, and ultimately realize record tax receipts. How does a booming private sector follow a squeeze on government revenue in the face of record deficits?

Posted by: bbwk80a | December 2, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

The Art of Blackmail ..it doesn't even have to be "art" anymore.

It's too painful to read. The tax cuts were SUPPOSED to EXPIRE!,that was the promise made when they were shoved down America's throat in 2001 with pathetically stupid Democrat support and now, their psuedo-repub. Pres. who is a lost cause.

Such a lost cause that all Democrats shall be voted out of office at the next election and well they should be. The useless Democratic Party has ceased to exist for anything, they exist in name only. I'd rather be called a fascist than a Democrat. I vote straight Democratic, never, ever again.

Oh well, enjoy the fashion parade, it won't be around much longer either.

Posted by: mizkitteh | December 2, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

bigmandave-

This goes back to the central tenet of why it is more difficult to get progressive legislation passed.

Posted by: klautsack | December 2, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

You see crazy me thought that only a small part of the entire US population (as opposed to the majority of the 111th Congress' leadership positions) WAS ACTUALLY PROGRESSIVE.

Shouldn't the leadership of a party more directly relate to the party that its actually leading?

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 2, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The Dems are he all time masters at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Posted by: FLvet | December 2, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Anyone making LESS THAN $250,000 EACH (NOT per couple) per year and voting Republican, is voting AGAINST his own good and the good of his family!

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

In this photo, above, it looks like Boehner AND McConnell are taking a crap, and they HOPE nobody notices.

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Democrats, starting with Obama, had better stand and fight -- or they lose me and millions of other working and retired people. We're sick of being played.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | December 2, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Instead of harping what cutting taxes will or won't do, why not look at what it HAS done in the past?
Clinton's tax rates created 22.7 million jobs.
Bush's tax rate created 1.1 million jobs and the worst recession since the depression.

To all you pro tax-cutters...if the Bush tax cuts are job creators and have been in effect for 10 years, why are we now at 9.6% unemployment instead of full employment?

Posted by: litninrod | December 2, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I like klautsack's proposed solution (1st comment on this thread), but wouldn't it also work if Dems passed a temporary (1-2 year) extension of all the tax cuts, followed immediately (during the lame duck session) by a vote to make the middle class tax cuts permanent? How would the Republican leadership in the Senate be able to hold all the troops together against a permanent tax cut for the middle class if the tax cut for the rich were already extended? Sure, we'd see another year or two of low taxes for Paris Hilton and the tiny percentage of small business owners who make more than $250K a year, but when it comes up for an extension it will be very hard to pass on its own. Isn't this a winner?

Posted by: billy_burdett | December 2, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse


Schumer is the only smart Democrat.

Tax increases for $250,000+ during slow economic times (and high unemployment) makes little sense and can be argued against. In better economic times it becomes a different discussion.

Tax increases for $1,000,000+ is MUCH harder for the Republicans to rail against, but thankfully Pelosi, Reid and Obama are still themselves so the Republicans will win this one.

It’s good to see the three main faces of the Democratic party of the last two years are the same faces for the next two years!

2012 will be interesting.


Posted by: bcarte1 | December 2, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Exra, did you not understand the Nov 2 election either? The NATION said we do NOT want progressives/liberals/marxists running our government. We want people who know how to create jobs and more the country forward. You site 14% of the people as not wanting tax cuts for the rich. Well, that is a far cry from the majority! In fact, it is those who pay no taxes who want the rich to pay more taxes. Those who pay no taxes should have NO say in the matter.

The lame duck session is just that - the dems are the lame ducks! We have gotten rid of most of them!

Posted by: annnort | December 2, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

You Democrats here who are excoriating your party have a short memory. It was two years ago the liberal MSM declared the Republican party all but extinct.

James Carville declared that Obama and the lopsided Democratic legislative majority elected two years ago ushered in FORTY YEARS of Democratic rule. You have seen what happened not only to that idea, but to Carville, who's role has been reduced to counting future voting intentions over the phone through his Democracy Corps. The prognosticator has turned into a bean counter.

The Democrats are near useless, uninspired, confused and feckless as so many have said here. They simply have tacked too far to the left. The electorate didn't give the Republicans the senate, just a few more senate seats. Democrats have got to get off the drive to socialism, and think more about America than the Democratic party.

If that happens, there will not be more of the same in 2012. If not, they will lose more seats. Americans don't want socialism. You can argue with that, but you can't argue with the election results.

Posted by: bbwk80a | December 2, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The President needs to stick with his campaign promise on this, tell the American public so, and deal with the consequences. No compromise; the opposition is out to destroy him and his Presidency at any cost, and they do not care about the 'middle class'. Politics, like the boxing ring, is no place to try to explain things or go through the motions, it is a place to fight.

Posted by: bigdogbite | December 2, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Truly amazing. The Republicans win another one. Of course they "compromised" by agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts for eall income levels "temporary." WOW, what a concession. And the Democrats are so grateful, that they will go back on Obama's promise and let the rich get richer. A backbone is a terrible thing to waste. How can these idiots expect us to pound the pavements for them and Obama in 2012? They will get absolutely NO CREDIT FOR THIS - the Republicans will take it all. Tea partiers and fat cat Republicans shall inherit the earth. The meek Democrats will assume their customary fetal position and cower. How pathetic!

Posted by: bobwhite1 | December 2, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi continue to be utter failures. A sad decade this DEmocrat sees.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | December 2, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Give democrats a chair and enough rope and they will always hang themselves. Republicans will tie the chair to a minority and turn them into a makeshift rickshaw.

Posted by: ozpunk | December 2, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Democrats would fold with a full house.

Posted by: tm13 | December 2, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Your asking the wrong question. You should be asking why did Obama and the Democrats squander away two years on the health care bill when they had all the power to do whatever they wanted. Why did Obama and the Democrats think their social justice agenda was more important then tax cuts, jobs, the economy, the deficit, and the debt. Your asking the questions based on after the results of this last election. You should have been asking the question while Obama was spending all his time on health care. It's not about faltering on tax cuts to the Republicans. It's about the fail policies of Obama that caused the Democrats to lose this last election.

Posted by: houstonian | December 2, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Dems have historically done a better job in governing, but the GOP has ALWAYS been better at politics. Dems have zero spine and the quote at the top of the article says it best. Dems are weak and when the wolves sense weakness, watch out. Too bad for the GOP that Senator Orange isn't very bright and that little weasel to his left (Cantor) will steal his spot soon enough. I guess Israel would be psyched if that occurred, but not most Americans.

Posted by: skins10 | December 2, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"AnnNort wrote: Exra, did you not understand the Nov 2 election either?"

####################################

It sounds like "AnnNort" is the one who didn't understand the elections!

The loud and clear message from the elections was: "Thank you, Bush Supreme Court! Without the $4 BILLION DOLLARS donated by the CORPORATE "person" you created for us, promoting the crazies and the unqualified, the gullible voters would have voted for the valuable candidates you slandered. Your daily and repetitive malicious advertising to damage the reputations of great and honorable congresspeople is criminal, but we needed your billions to accomplish it and PRETEND that we actually "won" anything."

These criminals don't understand that what they "won" is just one giant step closer to being victims of a dictatorship. If we are controlled by the billions of dollars of corporate money, we are no longer a DEMOCRACY!!

Figure it out! The power in this country is the corporate money, which USED TO BE considered "corporations". Each billion dollar corporation is now considered a "PERSON" and will be donating to every election from now on unless we get this decision repealed!

Will the wealthy benefit from it? Oh yes, a FEW of the wealthy Americans will benefit, but the majority of Republicans AND Democrats will only feel the damage and the LOSS of pur Democracy as we have known it our entire lives. However, the FOREIGN interests (which are LEGION)in our corporations' "PERSON", are the BIGGEST fingers we will feel on our lives!!

ENJOY!

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"The public agrees: 49 percent share the Democrats' position, 14 percent want all the tax cuts to go, and 34 percent want to see all the tax cuts extended. Put another way, 63 percent of Americans don't want the tax cuts for the rich extended."

==========================================

Your data also suggest that 51% of american's do not agree with the Democrats. And it is a little presumptuous to state that just because 34% of people want to extend tax cuts for all, that the remainder do not agree with extending tax cuts for the wealthy.

That's the funny thing about statistics I guess, you can make any data say anything you want it to!

Posted by: sanmateo1850 | December 2, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Short answer: Selling out, standing for nothing.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | December 2, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Democrats didn't drop the ball. Perhaps they realized that 60% of the nation's top economists favor extending all the Bush tax cuts until the economy is on solid ground. I thought is was Economics 101 that one does not raise taxes when an economy is faltering.

Life is trade-offs. While no one wants to grow the deficit this must be balanced against the risk of tanking a weak recovery. I agree with the majority view on this. Raising taxes risks damaging our fledgling recovery. This move should be delayed until the economy is on firmer ground. Link to the survey on CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2010/09/19/news/economy/what_to_do_economists_survey/index.htm

Posted by: Niamb | December 2, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone making LESS THAN $250,000 EACH (NOT per couple) per year and voting Republican, is voting AGAINST his own good and the good of his family!"

Do you break into your neighbors homes and steal from them? After all, failing to do so negatively impacts your bank account.

Posted by: justin84 | December 2, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Its not good to sleep for four years. I'll assume you were in a coma from a horrible accident.

Posted by: davidholt123@comcast.net | December 2, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse


A major reason the GOP won in November was because they said they would extend the Bush tax cuts for all.

I'm by no means rich but even I know that that if those making over $250,000 (the job creators) have their tax cuts expire that our economy will become worse.

The wealthy are sitting on $2 trillion just waiting to see if these tax cuts will be extended. If they are, that $2 trillion will be invested in creating jobs and expanding businesses. And that will surely offset the $700 billion Obama keeps bandying about. A figure which I doubt anyway, since every figure Obama has stated has been proven wrong.

Besides, the poll Klein cites is from CNN/Anderson Cooper, a liberal poll.

I would rather trust the intentions of the November election results which was the biggest national landslide in 54 years. And the majority of Americans clearly demanded extending tax cuts for all.


Posted by: janet8 | December 2, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I am going to ignore the zealots who are foolish to think that this is a crisis of will and that the Dems don't know how to take the ball across the goal line. Healthcare, regulatory reform, and the current ban on off-shore drilling on the East coast suggests something else is going on here.
Clearly, there is a series of issues connected to this standoff as evidenced by the recent letter from the Republican Senate members. The most important of these is the extension of unemployment benefits to this recession's castaways. For all those who want to fight with the Republicans while those in need go without, I have only one question:How do you ask the most vulnerable to suffer while politicians play a game of chicken. Mr. Klein, himself, pointed out in his 11/19 post that extending the Bush tax cuts only impacts the deficit but letting unemployment expire for 2 million Americans would be disastrous. Now he advocates that Obama should veto any extension of the Bush tax cuts knowing full well that would doom any chance of passing the unemployment extension. Undoubtedly, the two are now linked and will be passed, in some form, or fail together.
I have a suggestion for Mr. Klein and all those so impatient for a fight. The same goes to all the Obama haters who think every bump in the road is going send Obama into a ditch he won't be able to get out of. Don't be surprised that the announcements of Obama and the Dems demise have been greatly exaggerated

Posted by: richarddyoung | December 2, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of hearing how if we don't hike taxes on people making over $250,000, the budget will be totally busted.

Please. The problem isn't that DC doesn't collect enough tax money - it gets more each and every year. The problem is the spending is insane. No matter how much money congress takes out of your pocket, it always manages to spend it all and then some.

Remember when Reagan was president and the Democrats promised three dollars in budget cuts for every dollar of tax increases? We got the tax increases, but Reagan is long dead and we still haven't seen the budget cuts. Fool me once, etc.

Cut the budget. I don't mean cut back some wasteful spending. I mean eliminate entire agencies and departments. The Department of Education has been around over 40 years and our educational system is still a mess. Why are we paying for that? Department of Energy has been around almost as long, and we're more dependent on foreign oil than ever. What are we paying for that.

Start by eliminating those two departments. Then we can talk about tax increases.

Posted by: gilbertbp | December 2, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I am going to ignore the zealots who are foolish to think that this is a crisis of will and that the Dems don't know how to take the ball across the goal line. Healthcare, regulatory reform, and the current ban on off-shore drilling on the East coast suggests something else is going on here.
Clearly, there is a series of issues connected to this standoff as evidenced by the recent letter from the Republican Senate members. The most important of these is the extension of unemployment benefits to this recession's castaways. For all those who want to fight with the Republicans while those in need go without, I have only one question:How do you ask the most vulnerable to suffer while politicians play a game of chicken. Mr. Klein, himself, pointed out in his 11/19 post that extending the Bush tax cuts only impacts the deficit but letting unemployment expire for 2 million Americans would be disastrous. Now he advocates that Obama should veto any extension of the Bush tax cuts knowing full well that would doom any chance of passing the unemployment extension. Undoubtedly, the two are now linked and will be passed, in some form, or fail together.
I have a suggestion for Mr. Klein and all those so impatient for a fight. The same goes to all the Obama haters who think every bump in the road is going send Obama into a ditch he won't be able to get out of. Don't be surprised that the announcements of Obama and the Dems demise have been greatly exaggerated

Posted by: richarddyoung | December 2, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Both parties want to "rule." Neither party is capable of "governing." The party in power has the strength (count 'em while you can) to force through anything they want. ObamaCare is a good example. But the endangered, now known as the Democrats and liberals up for vote in 2 years, can feel which way the wind is blowing. It's one thing for the public to say that they want fair and responsive government. It's entirely another for the public to actually get out and vote for it. And that's where we are. The liberals are actually afraid to do something they know the majority of Americans oppose. If there is a stalemate, that's it. A minority of Americans (but a majority of liberals) see nothing wrong with treating people differently because of their wealth. Most of us think differently. Today's medium income folks (see Obama: "No tax for the middle class lie) are tomorrow's wealthy. The government should (a) be limited in the amount it can take from anyone while at the same time be required to (b) take something from everyone. So how's that for logic? I say tax everybody. When that finally happens (and if you keep moving the line it will), then the enslaved will finally see that there were no free lunches. Eating at the company store, whether in Washington or at a sharecropper's combine, leaves the individual more deeply indebted to the very ones who are promising everything with one hand while they pick your pocket with the other.

Posted by: wantingbalance | December 2, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

peace in our time

while they're at it, democrats should just go ahead and repeal health care reform. it'll be easier that way for everyone involved.

Posted by: diveguy99 | December 2, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

R u kidding me? The Dems gave in? I'm conservative, but I think the cuts should end for the rich. C'mon. We can reinstitute it once the budget is balanced once again. I can't believe it. The Dems deserve to get booted out.

Posted by: forgetthis | December 2, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Why did the Democrats falter? Because every Dim in Congress makes more than $250,000 a year. Their base salary alone is $175,000.

John Forbes Kerry the Richest Man In The Senate™ spends more than $250,000 a year mooring his yacht.

Hilarious Klein the leftist journolist moonbat acts all dazed and confused by this.

Posted by: screwjob22 | December 2, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I am tired of this food fight - Let all of the Bush tax breaks expire - and call them what they are a tax break not a tax hike. They all should have been retired when Bush went to war to pay the d--- wars.

Posted by: cjculver2003 | December 2, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The fact has been proven that it is NOT the wealthy, earning over $250,000 each per year, who create the jobs. That is only the rhetoric that a couple of the proponents have been spouting, but it is NOT a fact. Obviously, "janet8" hasn't been following this issue too closely. See how easy it is to fall for propaganda??

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I gave obama money
and now he wants to reward those who ripped off the economy and increase the deficit

WTF!

Posted by: nwerle | December 2, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Dems are spineless. Reps are greedy. Why the Dems fail to beat down Reps I'll never know. Reps give Dems so much to work with and yet they flounder. So sad. Its no wonder that the rest of the world is now laughing at America. And, in the end the American public gets screwed again and will have to carry the bulk of the coming debt. If anyone thinks the so called new order in Washington is going to improve anything, I have some Chesapeake marsh land to sell you. America is doomed.

Posted by: mobjack_bay | December 2, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Klien is a liberal with his head so deep into the sand that he cannot report anything regarding the two parties honestly. Not his fault, he can't see it honestly so how could he possible report it. It is a stretch to call this guy a newspaper man, and for the Post to keep him is just a fairy tale.

Posted by: texian1 | December 2, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Klien is a liberal with his head so deep into the sand that he cannot report anything regarding the two parties honestly. Not his fault, he can't see it honestly so how could he possible report it. It is a stretch to call this guy a newspaper man, and for the Post to keep him is just a fairy tale.

Posted by: texian1 | December 2, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats didn't screw it up. They finally got it right.

Posted by: johne37179 | December 2, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

So, the Democratic position Mr. Klein advocates is that those of us who work hard, have a combined household income above the magical Obama "rich" threshhold of $250,000 and already pay most of the taxes in this country are to be punished for it.

This might play well in the pseudo-populist game of class envy generation, but is fatally flawed as an argument for American prosperity and the hard work that produces it.

Not only do all these tax cuts need to be extended, they need to be made permanent. Liberals, guilty or otherwise, are more than welcome to add a zero or two to their next tax check made payable to the Treasurer of the United States. The federal government gets and redistributes like so many political party favors more than enough of my hard-earned money as it is.

And PS - I'm far from the only one who feels that way about it.

Posted by: CareerSoldier | December 2, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

President Obama,
I would have voted for you again but if you cave on this I will not vote or contribute a dime. Either get a spine or resign. I think a recall would be an attention getter for you. We are fed up with your lack of fight. Start slugging or start walking because you are gone in 2012 if not sooner.

Posted by: jjdenton | December 2, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I am thoroughly fed up with the entirety of this country's so-called "leadership." Far too many - Democrats and Republicans - Congress and the Whitehouse - have been bought off by the filthy rich who are making life miserable for everyone.

The ONLY good thing that can come out of this is abject rage at those who are destroying our society - the filthy rich and their minions.

Posted by: NancyWillard | December 2, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Can we please frame this discussion with some degree of accuracy? Everyone - EVERYONE - gets a tax cut on the first $250,000 they make.

If the tax cuts expire for incomes above $250,000, that doesn't mean those people who make more get nothing.

If you make $500,000, you get a break on half. If you make $1 million, you get a break on 25% of your income.

Is it a penalty for making more? Sure it is! But show me the hedge fund banker who's going to give up making $50 million and take $50,000 because he has to pay more taxes? Nope, he's gonna get a fabulous tax lawyer and end up paying less than his assistant.

Ain't that America? Little pink houses...

Posted by: seriously77 | December 2, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

First, if tax cuts for the rich was essential to job creation why did tax cuts for the rich result in the fewest jobs created in the modern era?

Second, if Republicans cared about deficits, why didn't they repeal the tax cuts before they helped double the national debt under Bush II?

Third, if Democrats would just sit on their hands and keep their mouths shut, all of the Bush tax cuts would have expired on their own. If the mid-terms were "all about" deficit reduction, the Dems could claim victory at reducing the deficits immediately. Republican lies will say that Dems raised taxes (they didn't, Bush did); and if the Dems extend the tax cuts, the lie will be that the Republicans forced the tax cuts over Dems objections.

If the tax increases slowed recovery, the Republicans who are now in charge will blame the Dems for raising taxes. If Dems vote to extend the cuts and recovery accelerates, the lie will be that tax cuts (that caused the recession in the first place)were the cause of the recovery. If nothing happens, the Repubs will say its because of the Dems, who are still in charge of the White House and Senate.

The point is why don't the Dems simply ignore the Repubs. What could it hurt?

Posted by: ChickDante | December 2, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

If these tax cuts work - where are the jobs. I knocked on doors, I donated my money and time, I have consistently defended Democrats even when I was not totally in agreement. If they cave on these tax cuts, I'm through. I will not support or vote for the Republicians either, but I will not do anything else to support the Democrats.

Posted by: brit89 | December 2, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe someone making $350,000 a year is "rich" somewhere, but where I live it is little more than comfortably middle class! What I resent about this argument is calling "rich" that part of the middle class that consists of professional working couples who together make a mid-to high six figure income. Lumping these folks - of which I am one - to those who are "millionaires" is as unfair as it is ridiculous and punishes those of us who got where we are by years of school and hard work - often with student loans which are only now getting paid off. While an auto worker in Michigan may call me "rich", no one in my neighborhood or place of work acts, feels, or is "rich"---and none of us are millionaires. I am curious why the autoworker deserves the continuation of this tax break and I do not...

Posted by: GaryDL | December 2, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Stay current, the Democrats won this one! Bohener and company are ticked off - so talking loud is one thing, and getting points accross is another! Yeah!!!!!

Posted by: HarrietA | December 2, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

If you can't understand what Ezra Klein is trying to explain, you aren't even bright enough to even be allowed to vote. You are no doubt some of the idiots who fell for the propaganda of the corporations who BOUGHT the last election!

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

There are more than enough Democrat votes in the Senate to maintain the current tax structure after the new House majority passes a bill to do so. Then Obama can either sign it or veto it.

Truth be told, if Pelosi had had the votes for her version, it would already have been passed. So even the current House would probably vote to extend for everyone.

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | December 2, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Time for some perspective. The tax cuts were unnecessary when enacted. They actually have caused great harm to the country and were probably the second biggest mistake made economically in recent times, surpassed only by us not becoming energy independent after the Arab oil embargo.. The cuts certainly didn't prevent the current recession. Congress and the President promised they would be temporary. Another promse broken.

It is not a tax "hike". For those who claim it is class warfare, then the progressive income tax is class warfare. The argument should be that the rich have gotten a multi-trillion dollar benefit by lower rates and now its only catchup.

Posted by: commonsense171 | December 2, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The democrats get mad at Obama and voice thier frustration in these responses. What do you people expect, you elect a flim flam man who can barely speak without a teleprompter, who has never worked, was what he calls a community organizer, that had gone to a church that was anti american and anti white for twenty years.
What in the world did you think you would get.

Posted by: texian1 | December 2, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey WAPO, can you "color-correct" that photo? The guy in the middle looks orange.

Posted by: jgmann | December 2, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I am so sick of Obama not having the gonads to stand up to the Republicans and be the president. If he continues like this he will not get my vote in 2012. Sarah Palin has more gonads than he is showing at this point.

Posted by: truth1013 | December 2, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Amazing how much liberals like Klein just don't get it. He must be from the Robert Reich school of economic thought that suspends reality to believe that the deficit is not a problem in the short term and that boosting the taxes on employers will actually increase revenues to the government, when history shows pretty clearly that tax hikes end up hurting revenues as they impede economic growth and increase unemployment. Oh, and tax cuts didn't cause the recession for you far left believers out there, the government deciding that everybody should own a home regardless of ability to pay did, with a big assist from the Fed's easy money policies.

Posted by: larrysteinberg | December 2, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse


"Enemy Voters acted stupidly".

- Barry the incompetent boob Obama & every leftist

Posted by: screwjob22 | December 2, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Maybe - just maybe - the Administration is beginning to figure out that taxing 'the rich' at increasingly higher rates is just not a good idea when it comes to nuturing economic growth. I'm guessing that most of those who want to 'soak the rich' have never started a company 'from scratch' or been dependent on their wealthier friends to see them through the startup and growth phases of a small business.

Posted by: Thenviron | December 2, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, "texian1" is so far behind that he still doesn't realize that only smart people can use a teleprompter. The low intellect bloggers were the one that though it would be considered a slam to say obama uses a teleprompter! The last explanation was that Bush couldn't use one because he would be reading: "And then we won (pause for laughter), etc..." because he wouldn't be able to figure out which parts were his! Or, other stupid people who can't figure it out, write on their hands or use earbuds. But, what can you expect from a "texian" who isn't even a TEXAN?? Things are just much SLOWER there.

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Please quote a poll where only Americans who actually pay income taxes have been asked for their opinion. Thank you.

Posted by: 4Redskins | December 2, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Given that we live in a corperate oligarchy, this is no suprise. I do pay taxes. I do also believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. In the 1950's everybody lived well. Since then, those who could raise their income did. The "logic" of the "Bush" tax cuts was to avoid "surplus" income. Rather than cut taxes, that could have been used to fund two wars, etc. No jobs were created as a result unless jobs in India and China and tax breaks on foreign earnings are counted. I paid more taxes than City Bank and Bank of America paid last year. "Only little people pay taxes."

Posted by: schymtz | December 2, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

We have a Congress full of attention deficit disorder - the focus is supposed to be on debt and deficit spending not favoring your biggest campaign contributors with a tax cut! America needs the money and the working people don't have any more, so tax the people with the money - you know - the ones who get all the benefits of the stinkin' legislation the congress enacts. The less they get from the ones who can truly afford it, the more we all have to pay back to the Chinese!

Posted by: Allfiredup | December 2, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

We have a Congress full of attention deficit disorder - the focus is supposed to be on debt and deficit spending not favoring your biggest campaign contributors with a tax cut! America needs the money and the working people don't have any more, so tax the people with the money - you know - the ones who get all the benefits of the stinkin' legislation the congress enacts. The less they get from the ones who can truly afford it, the more we all have to pay back to the Chinese!

Posted by: Allfiredup | December 2, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

This writer just does not get it. In a recession, you do not raise taxes -- period.

Posted by: RolandStraten | December 2, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Let us dispel TWO myths here: 1)small business does NOT supply the majority of jobs in this country and 2)personal income tax has nothing to do with small business. If you are a small business owner (look up the definition - you'd be surprised what goes for "small" business these days)you KNOW this to be true - you do not pay personal income tax if you are a business...why must the american people be satisfied time after time by wallowing in the ignorance pool? I mean, we don't have to get rid of the house, but we could at least get the stench of STUPID out of the furniture and drapes....and the funny part is, somehow there are people who think that, because they are republicant, right wing, tea party or whatever,these tax cuts won't apply to them. Again, take the STUPID bandage off the forehead and think, folks...this nonsense affects ALL of us who pay personal income tax and we should be disgusted with EVERYONE in washington, from the president on down, when crap like this is thrust upon the people....if the republicans had not been so great at WASTING a 127 billion dollar surplus, we wouldn't be having this conversation....we need to drop the party affiliations, the rhetoric, the racism, the homophobia and hatred, and get into the business of making the country great, even if it means that EVERYONE in washington must go....is it possible to draw up an impeachment plan and just include ALL the names who are currently "serving" the public? i know they said they love to "serve" us; just what they are serving us is the sticking point....

Posted by: drum7591 | December 2, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sanmateo1850: Your data also suggest that 51% of american's do not agree with the Democrats. And it is a little presumptuous to state that just because 34% of people want to extend tax cuts for all, that the remainder do not agree with extending tax cuts for the wealthy.

That's the funny thing about statistics I guess, you can make any data say anything you want it to!
======================
simple math - 49% agree with the dems' position (let tax cuts for the rich expire), 14% agree with letting them all expire (tax cuts for middle AND rich): 49% + 14% = 63% of people agree with letting tax cuts *for the rich* expire. there is no presumption there.

additionally, @thehamptons1:
i have an undergrad and grad degree in econ (and yes, i took "econ 101" in high school), and no where did i learn, as you state, "In Econ 101 we learn that the wealthy are the ones that create jobs which is the real priority right now. The new jobs create a taxable income to offset loss of revenue from the top 2%. History has proven this policy many times."

That's blatant propaganda in favor of the rich, and is being refuted by some of the country's millionaires coming out in support of letting the tax cuts expire. Simply put, job growth is created by businesses expanding (increasing supply to meet an increased demand, which means increasing the workforce), and increasing taxes on the wealthy does not tamp down on demand to such an extent as it would the middle class. In fact, it does not necessarily decrease demand at all(especially if it is a small percentage of the public) or preclude the growth of business, it just means less disposable income for those that already have much more than the average American.

Simply being wealthy in no means equates to job creation: how many jobs has Paris Hilton or Demi Moore truly created? Yes, you will probably get wealthy owning and operating a successful business, and will create jobs doing so, but the successful business itself is obviously the key to creating jobs, and wealth is the desirable byproduct. (And clearly, creating and maintaining a successful business in this current economy is a whole separate can of worms).

Posted by: obaird | December 2, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

In truth, this is not a complicated question.
Big money controls Congressional elections. Big money folks don'tlike thier taxes raised.
Big money folks don't contribute to the campaigns of candidates who raise their taxes.
Big money also controls the American media. Not much more complicated than that.

Posted by: BBear1 | December 2, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Those so-called "49% who support Increasing
Taxes on the rich"...could they be the 49% of Americans who DON'T PAY ANY TAXES AT ALL ???!
People who pay taxes don't want ANY Increases for anyone!
We need to be more concerned about the 49% of Americans who DON'T PAY A PENNY, instead!

Posted by: ohioan | December 2, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

___________________________________________

So we just assume anyone who doesn't support your position is a wastrel and doesn't pay taxes? How do you explain the very richest people in the country are NOT in favor of extending these tax cuts? I know peeople who make hundreds of thousands a year and pay no taxes. If you assume everyone who on the other side is lazy or a fat cat you can conviently stop thinking about anything and many have.

Look there is a legimate argument for extending all the tax cuts. we're in a very bad recession and it's not a good idea to increase taxes at that time. On the hand so called conservatives have been crying the deficit is unstustainable. They're right but clearly that's not a serious concern of these people or increasing taxes on the people most capable of helping lower the debt would be considered. Since it's a non starter to them I can only assume the deficit is no concern relative to lowering taxes. No matter what the consequences.

Posted by: kchses1 | December 2, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

NEWS FLASH:

"The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to extend middle-class tax cuts while letting those for the wealthy expire, even as talks continue on extending the cuts for everyone."

Posted by: Maerzie | December 2, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The top 2%??

Are these the same folks who already pay 1/3 of the entire middle-class tax burden?

Yes they are. But let's buy some more middle-class votes. Can we say ... greed?

Posted by: LibertyIssues | December 2, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Dem/progressives; you lost in November and you will lose in 2012; Cainsian economics has never worked and it never will; you can not borrow your way into prosperity;; DAH!
you lefties can never deal with facts it always relegates to emotions [hysterical emotions i might ad]. The DEMS have dropped the ball for the last [4] years; you own this mess fess up wimps. The fed gave [3.2] trillion American taxpayer dollars to foreign banks and "Jeff Imelt aka [GE]; OBAMA'S GREEN ENERGY PARTNER.

Posted by: Nobama11 | December 2, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

So, taxes go up for everyone in January. Republicans become a majority in the House and pass a bill to renew the Bush tax rates. The bill goes to the Senate and the Democrats kill it. Who will be blamed for the tax increases? It's silly to assume that the Democrats will have an issue in 2012 since the Republicans can argue just as loud that it was the Democrats who voted to raise taxes. If the job situation doesn't improve the Republicans will use the tax increase on the upper income folks as a reason for the lack of job creation. will that argument stick? But then, perhaps folks will vote their principles, instead of their perceived personal economic advantage.

Posted by: bpadrino | December 2, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

This was that one time in a lifetime when the best thing to do would have been the one thing Congress has proven it can do better than anyone: NOTHING.

And they somehow managed to screw it up.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | December 2, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

There was never any doubt that the rich would get richer and the unemployed be damned. Keep sending those factories and jobs overseas, boys. It's starting to build a fire that won't go out.

Posted by: FireWashington | December 2, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse


Lame duck Dims in the House who relinquish control to the Republican majority one month from now, passed a tax increase bill that got 62 of them booted out of office in the first place.

Have the Dims learned nothing from their slaughter at the polls one month ago?

Posted by: screwjob22 | December 2, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Marin County, Westchester, etc. voted for Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan because they represented their economic interests. They, like Arlington with average income in the top 20% or the rich, vote 2 to 1 for New Democrats because they represent their economic interests.

Bush had a $1.3 trillion prescription drug because the red voters are the poor and middle class whites. Obama has no benefits until 2014 but receipts begin in 2010. That is $500 billion are taken out of the economy when it is weak and we are supposed to believe he will not cut the program when we are cutting entitlement in inflationary 2014.

Obama is Hyde Park University of Chicago, fsahionably left on social issues, conservative on economic issues. We desperately need a new New Deal Party in 2012, Maybe Soros will finance it.

Posted by: jhough1 | December 2, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein is overcome by Bushderrangement because he still feels that politics is a chess game where this move justifies the next.

The Dems can't win an arguement because some still understand that their values are an urban myth.

Nobel prizes have supported that lower taxes on high wage earners create huge economic results that actually raise all boats.

Obama and his Fascist-Marxist crowd and the Washington Post elites still feel they can sell their myth that punishing the high income earners allows the government to redistribute their earnings.

The truth is that Democrats are a myth and a lame excuse for human beings.

Posted by: arp2 | December 2, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

What we need is a return to the prosperity of the post WWII era, 1945-1980 (before Ronald Reagan began the destruction of the American Economy)and the same marginal tax rates that were in place then.

If yu want to cut spending, how about starting with the police and the courts. Then everyone can really stand up for themselves.

Posted by: mcstowy | December 2, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Every one of you right-wing posters who blather about how tax cuts for the wealthy supposedly create jobs in America need to answer two simple questions.

1 - George W. Bush lowered the tax rates for everyone, including the wealthy. Yet fewer jobs were created in his EIGHT years in office than were created in President Obama's first year. If your argument about tax cuts for millionaires is anything but hogwash, how do you explain this fact?

2 - Ronald Reagan introduced us to the notion of "trickle-down" economics. Why didn't we see an explosion of job creation under Reagan, as we did under President Clinton (when rates on high earners were above what they are now)?

I don't believe that you people are sincere. I also don't believe that the vast majority of people making the fallacious and easily-disproven "tax cuts create jobs" argument are even in the much-discussed over-$250,000/year income bracket. Which means only one thing: the Republican party has been spectacularly successful at getting you people to vote against your own interests.

Shades of Samuel "Joe the unlicensed tax-dodging plumber who has no actual plans to buy the business" Wurzelbacher.

Posted by: StephenOfTroy | December 2, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Are liberals incapable of correlating events? You noncritically write "The public agrees: 49 percent share the Democrats' position" Did it ever occur to you that 49% is the percentage of those WHO DO NOT PAY TAXES? Can't you question why they would want their gravy train exemption to continue. Brain dead, oblivious!

Posted by: IQ168 | December 2, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

to realTexan1 and thehamptons1

I believe that the 3.6% tax increase is what we are arguing about. A simple calculation of the $1,000,000 example would be $750,000 times 0.036 resulting in a tax increase of $27,000. At best that would be one person's income of which they would be taxed at 15%. Even if there were say 500,000 small business owners that MADE a million dollars from their business (this number is probably very generous), that would not make a whole lot of difference to unemployment (about a positive 0.4% change PER YEAR). But, It would be a great deal to add 500 to 700 billion dollars to the deficit. Simple math versus Econ 101????????? Simple math wins!!!!

Posted by: reality517 | December 2, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Nobama11, why are you dragging Michael Cain into this? Who cares what the star of "Blame it on Rio" thinks our economic policy should be?

You wrote: "Cainsian economics has never worked and it never will; you can not borrow your way into prosperity;; DAH!"

Of course, the possibility exists that you meant to discuss Keynesian economics but you have no earthly idea what it is. I'm guessing you overheard someone talking about it on a right-wing talk radio program. Which would explain the phonetic and absurd spelling. The right-wing talk radio program would explain why you think "duh" has an "a" in it. Try reading a book once in a while.

Posted by: StephenOfTroy | December 2, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

simple math - 49% agree with the dems' position (let tax cuts for the rich expire), 14% agree with letting them all expire (tax cuts for middle AND rich): 49% + 14% = 63% of people agree with letting tax cuts *for the rich* expire. there is no presumption there.

Posted by: obaird | December 2, 2010 4:58 PM |

===========================================

The data still suggests that 51% of Americans to not agree with the Democrats plan. So yes, there is a presumption here to say that 63% agree.

Posted by: sanmateo1850 | December 2, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

If the tax cut is extended even a month I'll never vote for Obama again. Have the Democrats lost all their marbles? Most Americans want the super rich to pay taxes so why don't at least the Democrats listen? The Republicans of course won't because their masters have told them how to vote. If Congress p[asses an extension of the Bush tax cut, Obama should veto it. The voters will thank him. At least this one will.

Posted by: schumann-bonn | December 2, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Let them all expire. I'd rather lose the chump change I get than see millioniares gut $700 BILLION in more welfare.

Posted by: John1263 | December 2, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

As Republicans and their rich overlords drive the country further into the ditch, there's a peaceful feeling knowing that they too (the Republican base nuts i.e. Teabaggers) have to live in the same broken down wreck of a country as the rest of us as a result of it.

Posted by: DrainYou | December 2, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

some posters act like the bush cut bracket rates came down on tablets with Moses. they are no more or less inherently the fair rates than the ones in effect before the cut, so it's absurd to suggest that there's something inherently unfair about extending them for the middle class and not for the rich. there's no a priori way to prove that the result isn't the fair amount of progressivity. McCain thought the bush cuts were top heavy - he would have favored somewhat smaller cuts for them. the idea that reverting to the pre Bush rates on the rich would stifle the economy is absurd. they get the benefit of the cuts on the first 250K of their income anyway, and keeping another one percent of each new dollar earned isn't going to cause them to do more for the economy than before. how can we pretend to be serious about deficits if we rush to add 700 billion to them without a clue how to pay for it?

Posted by: JoeT1 | December 2, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The situation is created by a Democratic Party unable to counter a GOP which has developed a party discipline akin to those in a Parliamentary system.

It is exacerbated by a President who does not appear to understand his adversaries. The difference between the President's statement and that of Sen. McConnell after their meeting this week, spoke volumes about each man's view of reality.

Posted by: wpsweeney | December 2, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

54465446,

I believe small businesses are riskier individually, and many often are dead ends, but in the aggregate they account for and create the most jobs.

http://www.adpemploymentreport.com/

See 'Historical Data' on the right hand side under Resources.

Since Dec2000, small business payrolls (1-49 employees) have risen 4.0%, medium businesses (50-499) have fallen 5.8%, and large businesses have fallen 15.5%.

Since Nov2007, small businesses are down 5.3%, vs. 7.5% for medium and 8.7% for large.

Posted by: justin84 | December 2, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein seems to be under the false assumption that Democrats are less concerned with protecting their millionaire campaign contributors than Republicans are. All of this sound and fury about how the high income tax cuts should be allowed to expire is just a charade. Obama signaled his willingness to negotiate a "temporary" compromise even while continuing to pound his chest over the unfairness of it all. Wake up, Democrats. Your party is just as much in cahoots with the robber barons as the GOP is.

Posted by: farmerjohn | December 2, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

... and meanwhile, folks are losing homes, jobs, have no unemployment benefits, and watch their earnings slide where they have to get more work (if they can) than they can possibly hold, just to keep up... then there are the taxes? To add insult to injury, regardless (again) to what the folks (i.e., taxpayers) want, the banks and auto companies got bailout money. Yet, what the folks want is seized up by partisan politics. Please tell me what it will take to relieve the political constipation?! I'd honestly would like to KNOW!

Posted by: FoodForThought44 | December 2, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

"George W. Bush lowered the tax rates for everyone, including the wealthy. Yet fewer jobs were created in his EIGHT years in office than were created in President Obama's first year. If your argument about tax cuts for millionaires is anything but hogwash, how do you explain this fact?"

Um, Obama saw 4 million jobs go down the tubes in his first year. 3,947,000 from Jan09 to Jan10 to be precise. To date, he's down 3,087,000.

President Bush presided over 1,080,000 net new jobs from Jan01 to Jan09.

Sure, Bush's record was miserable, but it doesn't help that he started right when the dotcom bubble burst, nor does it help that he presided over a huge credit bubble. Bush wasn't a laiseez faire president either. He cut present taxes, but increased spending, increasing future taxation. Spending is the true measure of taxation, as all spending is paid for by taxes, future taxes with interest, inflation or a debt default. At any rate, your facts are incorrect.

"2 - Ronald Reagan introduced us to the notion of "trickle-down" economics. Why didn't we see an explosion of job creation under Reagan, as we did under President Clinton (when rates on high earners were above what they are now)?"

Um, there was a ton of job creation under Reagan. 16,102,000 jobs. Granted Clinton saw even more (22,744,000), but he got into the office right after a recession had ended, whereas Reagan's first two years included the Volcker double dip recession. Clinton also got to ride the internet boom which would have occured with nearly any plausible candidate in office.

That said, I view Clinton as better than Reagan, because Clinton/Rep Congress held the line on spending better than Reagan/Dem Congress. While marginal rates are important, minimizing the proportion of the economy controlled by government is even more so. Clinton was no libertarian but his administration is literally the only one in over half a century (since Eisenhower) able to keep inflation adjusted per capita spending at least more or less flat over a long period.

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1870_2015&view=1&expand=&units=d&fy=fy11&chart=F0-fed&bar=1&stack=1&size=m&title=&state=US&color=c&local=s

Posted by: justin84 | December 2, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Klein: Why did the Democrats falter on the tax cuts?
_____________________________________________________

For the same reason they faltered on all their other promises- they'd rather wring their hands and complain about the Repugnicans who end up getting what both parties actually want.
Occam's Razor.

Bill Clinton was never more wise when he declared that people would rather follow a strong leader in the wrong direction then a weak one in the right direction.

Posted by: tojby_2000 | December 2, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

"Let them all expire. I'd rather lose the chump change I get than see millioniares gut $700 BILLION in more welfare."

Being allowed to keep your own money is now welfare.

"Refundable tax credits" given to people without any tax liability are now tax cuts.

Anything else in the newspeak dictionary we should know?

Posted by: justin84 | December 2, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

justin:

I guess with 9.6 unemployment I can be persuaded that any job is a good job. Thanks for weighing in.

stephen of troy:

Wrong of you, (very, funny, but still wrong on some level. I'll think about how later)

Posted by: 54465446 | December 2, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Look at the numbers. The Clinton era created 22.7 million jobs and a budget surplus over eight years, when the highest income tax rate was 39.6%. The Bush era tax cuts put the highest rate at 35%, and created 1.1 million jobs over 8 years, AND a budget deficit and economic collapse.

Logically, we should assume that HIGHER taxes on the rich CREATE MORE JOBS.

Posted by: jrbateman | December 2, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama and Democrats; stand up and grow a pair. You have the presidency and a Senate majority. Enact bold Job creating ideas and stop bending over to the GOP. Compromise on taxes, drilling and nuclear power only made the GOP and FAUX news attack you even more whey they bent over themselves apologizing to BP. Stop compromising and end the farce. The GOP wants nothing more than high unemployment in order to boost their political and financial fortunes. Stop their Goose-stepping on American job growth in favor of Tax cuts for Billionaires. Stop the attacks on Social Security benefits for the middle class and poor so Billionaires can shield all income above $107k from contributing.

The wealthy have already declared war, won it, and planted their flags in your backsides. Buck up, man up, and cowboy up!!

Wealth, Income, and Power by G. William Domhoff

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

“In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%.”

Posted by: Airborne82 | December 2, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ezra..can you publish the percent of Americans who pay taxes who want the tax cuts to expire? The person not paying taxes doesn't have skin in the game as Bumbling Biden would say so of course they want more taxes paid and more of the money shifter into their wallets.

Posted by: MoRacker | December 2, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

The people making below 250,000$ should be marching in the streets...that is what...about 98% of the population...what part of this don't they get...the rich continue to get richer and even if the "pie" does grow bigger...that certainly doesn't mean that the under-classes get a share...start marching people...scare the bejeezuz out of the corporate oligarchs and their minions in Washington...

Posted by: kmdyson | December 2, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the Republicans prove that they are disgrace to the country.

Adam of CA.

Posted by: AdamYoung2 | December 2, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is holding nuclear inspections hostage to tax cuts for Billionaires. By blocking the START treaty with Russia and Nuclear inspections we have Nuclear Proliferation courtesy of the GOP.

The Republican case for ratifying New START

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/01/AR2010120104598.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

“The defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the head of the Missile Defense Agency - all originally appointed by a Republican president - argue that New START is essential for our national defense.”

The GOP cares nothing for national defense unless it's Billions in Defense contracts for their states ala the $350 Billion Littoral warship program in Alabama.

Tax cuts and increasing deficits for Billionaires, plus nuclear poliferation = Chicken Crap for future generations (Boehner says so himself - and he should know a thing or two about Chicken Crap)

Posted by: Airborne82 | December 2, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the Republicans prove that they are disgrace to the country.

Adam of CA.

Posted by: AdamYoung2 | December 2, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the Republicans are a disgrace to our country.

Adam of CA.

Posted by: AdamYoung2 | December 2, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Democrats have the uncanny ability to grasp Defeat out of the jaws of Victory.
There is something worse than a Republican, it's a Democrat who votes against their party's agenda. Everyone knows Republicans don't have a soul, and sad to say some Democrats in order to maintain a healthy campaign coffer for that next re-election cycle, have sold theirs.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | December 2, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are like Lincoln searching for a General able to take the ample resources available and achieve victory in a righteous cause. We haven't found one yet - Grant's strategy was to attack, non-stop, and give the enemy no quarter. But Democrats are too gentlemanly to do that

Posted by: jimgmcc | December 2, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

"Look at the numbers. The Clinton era created 22.7 million jobs and a budget surplus over eight years, when the highest income tax rate was 39.6%. The Bush era tax cuts put the highest rate at 35%, and created 1.1 million jobs over 8 years, AND a budget deficit and economic collapse.

Logically, we should assume that HIGHER taxes on the rich CREATE MORE JOBS."

Logically, you should assume complex systems have multitudes of variables acting upon them of which a small change in the top marginal rate is but one, and not the most important one.

Do you really believe that the 1990s would have been a disaster under Bush II and the the 2000s would have been golden under Clinton?

Posted by: justin84 | December 2, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

how can we pretend to be serious about deficits if we rush to add 700 billion to them without a clue how to pay for it?

Posted by: JoeT1 | December 2, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

===========================================

How can you pretend to be serious about deficits when Democrats increased the federal debt to its highest levels in history! How can Democrats be serious about deficits when they added $800+Billion to the debt to "create jobs" that never materialized!

Silly liberals!

Posted by: sanmateo1850 | December 2, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone making LESS THAN $250,000 EACH (NOT per couple) per year & voting Republican, is voting AGAINST his own good & the good of his family!"

________________

Not if being conservative on social issues is more important to you than economic ones. I don't care if we have another great depression. So long as we don't redefine marriage, use our military as a place for social experimentation, so long as we come close to eliminating or totally eliminate the killing of unborn babies, prevent affirmative action in the form of quotas, & don't grant amnesty to illegal aliens; I'll be happy as a kid living in a Toys-R-Us.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Stephen of Troy Wrote:

"Every one of you right-wing posters who blather about how tax cuts for the wealthy supposedly create jobs in America need to answer two simple questions.

1 - George W. Bush lowered the tax rates for everyone, including the wealthy. Yet fewer jobs were created in his EIGHT years in office than were created in President Obama's first year. If your argument about tax cuts for millionaires is anything but hogwash, how do you explain this fact?

2 - Ronald Reagan introduced us to the notion of "trickle-down" economics. Why didn't we see an explosion of job creation under Reagan, as we did under President Clinton (when rates on high earners were above what they are now)?

I don't believe that you people are sincere. I also don't believe that the vast majority of people making the fallacious and easily-disproven "tax cuts create jobs" argument are even in the much-discussed over-$250,000/year income bracket. Which means only one thing: the Republican party has been spectacularly successful at getting you people to vote against your own interests.

_____________________________

How short your memory is Steven or how young you must be. Slick Willie Clinton saw a lot of job creation during his reign on interns. But what does history tell us now? That those jobs were a myth because they were created by a tech bubble which began to burst near the end of his Presidency and in the beginning of W's. As you may remember the economy was sliding into recession as Bush took over and fell headlong into recession WHEN 9/11 HIT! Remember? No one wanted to travel. The tourist industry took a hit. So did the transportation sectors. Then he passed the tax cuts the economy began to grow and ALL SORTS OF FOLKS BEGAN TO BUY HOUSES. BUT they were folks who were able to do so because of laws passed by Clinton. However, they could not afford the houses they were buying. Bush made speeches against this as far back as 2005. But what happened? Maxine Waters and Barney likes Franks went on the floor of Congress & SWORE that Fannie and Freddie were ok & that Bush just didn't want the poor & minorities to have their share of the American dream.
It was fraudulent class warfare on their part.

AS for Reagan, Check your history, son. Reagan created 17.7 million new jobs in his 8 years

Posted by: TheN01skinsfan | December 2, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

For all you folks commenting about Ezra, you need to remember that he is a liberal at the least. Remember his sojourn into the Journolist? He's just trying to make it look good for the democrats any way he can.

Posted by: gfafblifr | December 2, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

For all you folks commenting about Ezra, you need to remember that he is a liberal at the least. Remember his sojourn into the Journolist? He's just trying to make it look good for the democrats any way he can.

Posted by: gfafblifr | December 2, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Boehner has a stick where the sun doesn't shine to prop up all his non-patriotic words.

Pres. Obama, get a backbone! Tell the rich man's party that NOTHING gets through your VETO unless it is in the best interests of the middle class and poor.

The top 1% already steal enough from everyone else. It is time to end all those tax deductions. How many of those million and billionares actually pay those higher rates? I'll bet not many.

Posted by: TiredOfRepublicans | December 2, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

OMG! I am constantly amazed at the blatant spin, half-truths and outright lies propagated by people like Mr. Klein. I constantly amaze myself that I continue to read the excrement that pours forth from this rag and the “fellow travelers” it foists upon the world. I am constantly perplexed by the socialist/liberal/progressive/democrat (equilivant terminology) idea that it is perfectly acceptable and even desirable to steal money from someone who worked to earn it and then give it to someone else who didn’t work t earn it but merely wants it. How insane!

Posted by: Paanofly | December 2, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

If the democrats cave extending tax cuts for the rich, Obama can forget re-election in 2012... And many democrats will lose their seat.PERIOD!


Posted by: demtse | December 2, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Look at the numbers. The Clinton era created 22.7 million jobs and a budget surplus over eight years, when the highest income tax rate was 39.6%. The Bush era tax cuts put the highest rate at 35%, and created 1.1 million jobs over 8 years, AND a budget deficit and economic collapse.

Logically, we should assume that HIGHER taxes on the rich CREATE MORE JOBS.

Posted by: jrbateman | December 2, 2010 7:38 PM |
____________________
Well jr, what you think is logic is what most would call a faulty syllogism. What you have to ask is what kind of jobs did the Clinton economy create? The answer is that the jobs weren't real, per se. When the dot.com bubble burst, it took half of those jobs with it.

We all better wake up & LOOK AROUND. Pres. Obama thinks that green energy will create gazillions of jobs & "lead us to prosperity." With all due respect, I ask all of you to stay with me here & think about what you are about to read for a second.

One of the things that everybody decries is the loss of manufacturing jobs in this country. Why? Because when I graduated college, only 22% of folks had college degrees. Now, about 27% of folks have degrees. The problem is, what to do with the other 73% that don't have the education? It used to be that college was harder to get into & that the work was rigorous. Now, colleges are issuing BA's for joke majors that require writing nothing more than a few "term papers." These term papers are often no more than 5-7 pages & are filled with misspellings & poor grammar. But "they express thoughts well." The point being we have dumbed down the value of a college degree because obtaining one has become necessary in order to reach the middle class.

It used to be that kids knew when they were cut out for college and when they weren't. When they weren't the could get a good job in some sort of plant and make a blue-collar, middle class life for themselves. But no longer. We have companies, American companies, that make PLENTY of products that people want. Don't believe me? Think APPLE! But when you flip that IPhone over, look at where it is made. Answer: China. Let us pretend that tomorrow, someone invented the great, new, green technology that Pres. Obama has talked about. As soon as it is patented, where do you think the parts for it will be made? Do you think they'll be made here, where American workers want $25.00 an hour to work in the factory making them? Heck no. They'll be made in China for $2.00 an hour, shipped here for the equivalent cost of $12 an hour and sold for $20 per unit. How could the President or anybody prevent that? Are you going to take away the green tech guy's freedom to make his product where he wants to make it? If so, you are more of a facist than W ever might have been. The only answer would be to slap tariffs on the imported tech gadget so it is not worth it to make it in China. But, oops, we have free trade agreements that Clinton, a Dem signed. So NOW WHAT? We are Doooomed!!!

Posted by: TheN01skinsfan | December 2, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Breaking News, Democrats have called the Republicans bluff...Harry Reid just said they will hold 2 votes!! One for the middle class and one for the wealthy.

http://www.doubledutchpolitics.com/

Posted by: RyanC1384 | December 2, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Is Ezra or the other progressives going after Obama planning to run for office in 2012?

Obama is negotiating, believe it or not with negotiations both sides give some. The expected outcome in this case is that tax levels for everyone continue at their current level, other fixes made, such as AMT, but it be a temporary. That seems reasonable.

As far as the tax freeze, that too was a negotiation in a sense. Obama wanted to present something to the American people to show he was taking a step. It isn't a huge step, especially since it doesn't stop step raises, doesn't include cutting government employees or any such thing, but it is a step. In the end, more steps will be made and other steps will be made by other sides. It is working together, as Obama seems to be trying to do, that will solve our countries problems. Hopefully the greater part of Democrats and Republicans will work together, and those that are so stuck on only their own viewpoint, will not hold us back.

Posted by: win1 | December 2, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

If the tax cuts expire, what is the annual cost to the $25K taxpayer? The $50K, 75K and even the $100K. Where can I find some specifics on the numbers? I understand the political kinetics. What arethe underlying realities?

Posted by: sgparry | December 2, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

To sgparry:
Try this website:
http://www.allvoices.com/s/event-7344906/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5leGFtaW5lci5jb20vcG9saXRpY2FsLXNwaW4taW4tbmF0aW9uYWwvdGhlLWJ1c2gtdGF4LWN1dHMtZXhwbGFpbmVk

It had a fairly good layout and found through a Google search. Most of the material comes from good resources.

Posted by: reality517 | December 2, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

49% of Americans do not pay any federal income tax. Additionally it is easy for the 99% of the people who will not be affected if tax cuts for families earning over $250k is withdrawn. If popular vote legitimizes a position, Hitler was pretty much doing what his citizens wanted then. It is the duty of politicians to do what is right for the country to create jobs and grow the economy. Increasing taxes on small businesses will kill the recovery. It is time to put aside the politics of class and envy and extend tax cuts for all Americans for 2 years. When the economy is up and running the whole tax cuts can be examined. I am all for a flat tax so that everyone pays a fair share. Not having half of America pay taxes is a dangerous path towards wrecking our democratic republic. Representation without taxation is the end of America as we know it.

Posted by: upnorth85 | December 2, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

It is a feminine trait to seek compromise before seeking a win. It's not too odd that the Dems demonstrates "battered party syndrome".

Posted by: avohill | December 2, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Here's some thoughts for flaming

1. 250k+, tax cut eliminated now

2. Everybody else's tax cut gradually eliminated over four years. Say 10% becomes 7.5%, 5%, 2.5%, 0% etc.

3. Extra credit, raise gasoline tax 1 cent per gallon every 4 weeks (Mondays 0000 hrs) = $0.13 first year, $0.65 after 5 years; subject to review.

Posted by: jw765 | December 3, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

If Obama caves on extending the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans he will go down in history as the Worst American president.

His signature achievement, health reform, will be ripped to shreds piece by piece.

Posted by: cautious | December 3, 2010 2:18 AM | Report abuse

The reason the Democrats lost on taxes is the same reason they lost on health care. The Republicans walk in lock step. The congressional Democrats have to fight on two fronts. First they have to fight the Republicans and then they have to watch for jabs from their President as he caves to the Republicans . How do you think FDR would have handled this congress. We have a president who is too full of himself, like Jimmy Carter he thinks himself too moral for politics. He has no negotiating skills. He learned nothing in his brief stay in the Senate. This really is a bunch of %#@^#!!! Teddy Roosevelt where are you now, we need someone to stand up for the middle class vs the filthy rich(inclucing the millionares in Congress) and we all need to pay higher taxes to get a handle on the debt.

Posted by: GClay1 | December 3, 2010 4:02 AM | Report abuse

This is on Congress this time. They refused to take a vote on this before the election! The prez spent 2 mos. flying around the country campaigning mentioning taxcuts expiring & both House & Senate refused a vote "because they were scared to take a tax vote before the election." Their fault!

Posted by: carolerae48 | December 3, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

PennyWisetheClown posted:

"Why did the democrats falter?because they are owned lock stock and barrel by the same people that own the Republicans."


CORRECT..............the lobbyists rule; they tell "our elected" representative how to vote and in many cases write the laws.

We are a Cashrarocy and no longer a Democracy.

Congressman Rangle is just one example that came to light. There are many more.

Posted by: bkarpus | December 3, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

"""Repealing them now just for so-called "rich"... as Dems wish... means hundreds of billions in new taxes for upper-income earners and small business. Yes the same people who create MOST of the new JOBS and pay MOST of the current tax burden."""

This claim is false. Less than 3% of small businesses will be impacted by the expiration of the tax cuts. Let me repeat: Less than 3% of small businesses will be impacted by the expiration of the tax cuts.

Additionally, anybody who is paying attention has noticed that the lack of business expansion is not due to lack of money available to pay for it. Banks are simply choosing not to lend. Instead, they are investing in instruments that pay a higher rate, many of which are overseas.

Almost none of the money that is currently going into the hands of the wealthy, as a result of the Bush tax cuts, is being invested in economic growth. It is patently obvious that if it were being so invested, we would not be in the economic mess we currently are in!

Rep. Pence Inadvertently Admits Bush Tax Cuts Did Not Work
http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201011180006

"I think it's fair to say, if the current tax rates were enough to create jobs and generate economic growth, we'd have a growing economy. It's not working now." - Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN)

If it's not working now, it's not going to suddenly start working on January 1, 2011.

How about a new concept: everybody share in the burden.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/warren-buffett-trickle-down-theory-hasnt-worked-video.php

"Billionaire Warren Buffett said that the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire for the richest Americans and that the "trickle down" economic theory hasn't worked."

Now, who is going to be the first to tell me that Warren Buffett doesn't know anything about finance and economics?

mp

Posted by: mpowe | December 3, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I also want to point out that, since 1979 the household income of the top 5% earners has increased 214%, while the middle 20% have only seen an increase of 25%. And a good piece of that 25% has been the result of sending additional family members into the workforce. (CBO)

We need a new paradigm. The current one isn't working.

mp

Posted by: mpowe | December 3, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

First the rich do not pay taxes. The wealthy do not pay taxes. We have no rich or wealth tax. We have an income tax on taxable income - not even ALL income.

When we raise income taxes RATEs, especially tax RATEs on investing, the amount of tax revenue does not necesarily go up. In fact when Bush lowered investment tax RATEs the amount of tax revenue from investing went up because activity went up more.

What happens when you tinker with RATEs is you change behavior. The deficit calculations do not account for this.

The amount of tax revenue over time is pretty much slightly below 20% of GDP. If you raise RATEs activity that generates taxes (not wealth but income) goes down.

Posted by: econrob | December 3, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

First the rich do not pay income taxes. The wealthy do not income pay taxes. We have no rich or wealth tax. We have an income tax on taxable income - not even ALL income.

When we raise income taxes RATEs, especially tax RATEs on investing, the amount of tax revenue does not necesarily go up. In fact when Bush lowered investment tax RATEs the amount of tax revenue from investing went up because activity went up more.

What happens when you tinker with RATEs is you change behavior. The deficit calculations do not account for this.

The amount of tax revenue over time is pretty much slightly below 20% of GDP. If you raise RATEs activity that generates taxes (not wealth but income) goes down.

We have a spending problem not a revenue problem and raising RATEs will not help that one bit.

Posted by: econrob | December 3, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

edismae,

Sorry, chump, but Wall Streeters ARE democrats. Sad for you but true. Corzine, Buffet, Doehr, the entire kettle are demorats. Most of them are in NYC or SF. It is a huge myth that Wall Street is GOP.

Posted by: econrob | December 3, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I have an idea for you libs: once a person "makes" $250,000 a year why not take all of it above that amount? I mean, Obama needs the money, and it is not fair that you make so much less. If not all of it why not 90% of it? Or 80% of it? Or take it all and give them back at the end of the year what is left over after the government gives the voters all they need and want? I mean, should not everybody have the right to replace their ICE with a new Volt? Just think of the jobs it would create. All union too. At GM of course. Free healthcare for everybody, and a free rent and if you get upside down in your mortgage just use the money to pay it off? Free education and food? Why not? If we take all money over $250K that is a boat load and Obama could use it to make the world right. Heck he could take the money and help the poor around the world. It just does not seem fair that some people "make" more than others.


Posted by: econrob | December 3, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

A tax uncrease! Losing jobs everyday, businesses closing every week (look at shutterered storefronts & closed big box stores), closed factories, no new jobs in manufacturing (they're all in China & other foreign countries).
Demos passed bad legislation during Bush's admin. so they would be able to blame him when they got into power. All of congress, demos & repubs, are only interested in their jobs(pretty secure), guaranteed retirements & healthcare. Healthcare for US citizens (not congress) going away & medicaid payments to providers has virtually been stopped. What smart young & qualified person would even want to go to med school? Pelosi, Reid & gang want to reduce social security, get into our retirement & bank accounts(hh46) & estates.
All demos want to do is blame Bush, the repubs & tea party. Don't know where this is going, don't think I want to be around in 10 years. Best of luck to our children & grandchildren.

Posted by: curtisebagwell | December 3, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

How did the Democrats screw this up?

That's easy, they tried to think. Everyone knows that they are incapable of doing this in a manner conducive to making our country better. Just like the Republicans.

Yes, I said it, Democrat=Republican= stupid.

How about some people who can look beyond the next election, uphold the law and honesty, hold the individual accountable for their actions, ignore special interests, apply equitable actions to EVERYONE and a million other things that Dems and Reps do not care about?

Posted by: r_leever | December 3, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein doesn't know the real issue. Republicans have never liked the Clinton era tax rates. George Bush wanted them permanently lowered but made a deal to get the rates down. That deal was an expiration date.

Democrats have always wanted to re-impose the Clinton rates, particularly on the wealthy. They have also long thought that they had an advantage, i.e., that they could run out the clock and simply let the rates go back up.

The recession complicated that strategy. Although Mr. Klein posits that Democrats have a strong position, they have also let too much time run off the clock to effectively pursue it. Remember that although 63% of the public would like to raise taxes on the rich, 86% would NOT like to raise taxes on the rest. Republicans have made the simple straightforward argument that now is not the time to raise taxes on anybody, which is exactly what will happen in just 28 days.

The goal of the Republicans is to either close the debate while retaining the Bush rates, or reopen negotiations with the Democrats in order to secure permanent rates that are lower than the Clinton rates.

The Democrats have been making their argument regarding tax rates (tax cuts for the rich cost too much) for months, but have not sealed the deal with the public in a way that puts real pressure on the Republicans. They might have been able to lay the groundwork for the for such pressure had they started earlier, but they spent their "air time" on health care, financial reform and climate change. None of these paid any political dividends and the bad economy has cost the Democrats the trust of the public on the economy as well. Thus, they are drawn into negotiations, not with themselves as Mr. Klein suggests, but with their adversaries the Republicans, who now have better "trust numbers" on the economy and are playing defense with the "shot clock" running out.

The WaPo in general and Mr. Klein in this case have shown an astounding inability to grasp the dynamics of politics and are too prone to think that political advantage is a function of the latest polls. It really isn't and the WaPo would be better able to explain politics to the public if it learned that important lesson.

Posted by: beefelt | December 3, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein doesn't know the real issue. Republicans have never liked the Clinton era tax rates. George Bush wanted them permanently lowered but made a deal to get the rates down. That deal was an expiration date.

Democrats have always wanted to re-impose the Clinton rates, particularly on the wealthy. They have also long thought that they had an advantage, i.e., that they could run out the clock and simply let the rates go back up.

The recession complicated that strategy. Although Mr. Klein posits that Democrats have a strong position, they have also let too much time run off the clock to effectively pursue it. Remember that although 63% of the public would like to raise taxes on the rich, 86% would NOT like to raise taxes on the rest. Republicans have made the simple straightforward argument that now is not the time to raise taxes on anybody, which is exactly what will happen in just 28 days.

The goal of the Republicans is to either close the debate while retaining the Bush rates, or reopen negotiations with the Democrats in order to secure permanent rates that are lower than the Clinton rates.

The Democrats have been making their argument regarding tax rates (tax cuts for the rich cost too much) for months, but have not sealed the deal with the public in a way that puts real pressure on the Republicans. They might have been able to lay the groundwork for the for such pressure had they started earlier, but they spent their "air time" on health care, financial reform and climate change. None of these paid any political dividends and the bad economy has cost the Democrats the trust of the public on the economy as well. Thus, they are drawn into negotiations, not with themselves as Mr. Klein suggests, but with their adversaries the Republicans, who now have better "trust numbers" on the economy and are playing defense with the "shot clock" running out.

The WaPo in general and Mr. Klein in this case have shown an astounding inability to grasp the dynamics of politics and are too prone to think that political advantage is a function of the latest polls. It really isn't and the WaPo would be better able to explain politics to the public if it learned that important lesson.

Posted by: beefelt | December 3, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

President Obama: Backbone please. Your base is leaving you because this is not the change we voted for.

Posted by: ericnakano | December 3, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein doesn't know the real issue. Republicans have never liked the Clinton era tax rates. George Bush wanted them permanently lowered but made a deal to get the rates down. That deal was an expiration date.

Democrats have always wanted to re-impose the Clinton rates, particularly on the wealthy. They have also long thought that they had an advantage, i.e., that they could run out the clock and simply let the rates go back up.

The recession complicated that strategy. Although Mr. Klein posits that Democrats have a strong position, they have also let too much time run off the clock to effectively pursue it. Remember that although 63% of the public would like to raise taxes on the rich, 86% would NOT like to raise taxes on the rest. Republicans have made the simple straightforward argument that now is not the time to raise taxes on anybody, which is exactly what will happen in just 28 days.

The goal of the Republicans is to either close the debate while retaining the Bush rates, or reopen negotiations with the Democrats in order to secure permanent rates that are lower than the Clinton rates.

The Democrats have been making their argument regarding tax rates (tax cuts for the rich cost too much) for months, but have not sealed the deal with the public in a way that puts real pressure on the Republicans. They might have been able to lay the groundwork for the for such pressure had they started earlier, but they spent their "air time" on health care, financial reform and climate change. None of these paid any political dividends and the bad economy has cost the Democrats the trust of the public on the economy as well. Thus, they are drawn into negotiations, not with themselves as Mr. Klein suggests, but with their adversaries the Republicans, who now have better "trust numbers" on the economy and are playing defense with the "shot clock" running out.

The WaPo in general and Mr. Klein in this case have shown an astounding inability to grasp the dynamics of politics and are too prone to think that political advantage is a function of the latest polls. It really isn't and the WaPo would be better able to explain politics to the public if they learned that lesson.

Posted by: beefelt | December 3, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The problem with democrats is NOT what Ezra is suggesting.
It's not that they are weak and ready to give in even before starting the debate.
Rather, the poor chaps are stuck with leftist positions which are undefensible. They cannot stand the light of an open debate. And the dems know it; so, if debate they must, they will be prepared for compromise beforehand. Because they cannot win anyway.

Posted by: rimantas1 | December 3, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company