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A Blue Dog Dem explains why he doesn't want vote on middle class tax cuts

Okay, I just got off the phone with leading Blue Dog Dem Jim Matheson of Utah, and he explained to me why he opposes the idea of House Dems holding a vote on extending tax cuts for just the middle class, as Nancy Pelosi and others want to do.

Matheson's opposition sheds some light on why Dems are hesitant to take this vote, even though Pelosi is pushing hard for it and many think it could prove a big winner for Dems. Moderates don't think it's a political winner at all, because it will be portrayed as a tax hike, and letting taxes go up even on those over $250,000 is a bad idea in a recession.

"I don't think it's the right vote," Matheson told me, adding that he only backed holding a vote on letting all the tax cuts expire. Matheson said a vote on just the middle class tax cuts is tantamount to letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire.

"You're letting other rates go up on January 1st," he said. "I think we're better off if we don't do that."

Matheson also disputed the significance of national polls that show strong support for letting the tax cuts for the rich expire, suggesting this could be a good national issue for Dems.

"I dont know that it applies in my district or other battleground districts," Matheson said, adding that a vote for continuing just the tax cuts for the middle class would easily be portrayed as a tax hike.

"Allowing tax rates to go up when we're in the midst of a recovery from a deep recession, I don't think that plays well in a lot of districts," Matheson said.

Matheson also argued, as many Republicans do, that the group of those making over $250,000 is larger than many think. "I recognize $250,000 is a lot of money for an individual to make for an individual," he said. "But we're also talking about businesses. That's not a lot of money for small businesses."

Asked how many people in his district fell into the above-$250,000 category, Matheson answered: "I don't know the answer to that."

Gives you a sense of why it's so hard for Dem leaders to stage this vote, even though all signs indicate it's a political winner for the party overall.


By Greg Sargent  |  September 15, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems , House GOPers , economy  
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Next: White House pounds Mitch McConnell as deficit fraud

Comments

Well, that didn't take long, did it? And there's more:

"Hoyer: No Bright Lines For Democrats On Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich"

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/hoyer-no-bright-lines-for-democrats-on-bush-tax-cuts-for-the-rich.php?ref=fpblg

If Obama isn't going to declare Tax Cuts For The Rich off-limits he shouldn't waste his time talking today.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 15, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

Didn't I tell you all that for the past week or more? I kept pointing to those 48 democrats up for reelection in house seats, in districts that were carried by McCain/Palin

Those are the districts that will decide which party controls the house next year.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 15, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

You notice how no one has a concrete economic philosophy regarding why we should extend the tax cuts for the top 2%, they all just have this feeling or "think".

I think the Democrats need to throw the blue dogs under the bus since they haven't supported the Democratic agenda this entire legislative cycle. Why should Pelosi protect them now? Even if the Democrats maintain the majority they won't pass any meaningful legislation since they'll have to get blue dogs on board which is often easier to get moderate republican's (if there were any) then it is to get blue dogs.

Posted by: soapm | September 15, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"Asked how many people in his district fell into the above-$250,000 category, Matheson answered: "I don't know the answer to that.""

That's all you need to know to understand a Blue Dog like Matheson. He's not representing his district on this -- he doesn't even know his district.

It is contrary to both logic and recent polls for these Blue dogs to be contending that this isn't a winning issue for the Democrats. And you've been all over this recently, Greg, especially when you were talking about how the Dems could rebrand and reframe this issue.

Letting the tax cuts for the rich expire is a big, winning issue among independent voters that I know from my own personal experience. Matheson is being foolish here.

Posted by: elscott | September 15, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I bet he does know how the issue is polling in his district, and if the polls were in favor of it, so would he be.

Again:

"All politics is local". Thomas, Tip, O' Neill

Posted by: Liam-still | September 15, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

From the Blue Dog Coalition website:

"It is time to start making some tough decisions. With this proposal, the Blue Dogs are offering true structural reform to reduce the deficit over time. We can do what every American family has done and make choices that will put us in better fiscal shape in the future.”

- Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT)
Blue Dog Co-Chair

http://www.house.gov/melancon/BlueDogs/

Greg,

Can you call him back and ask him what exactly he meant by:

"true structural reform to reduce the deficit over time"

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

heads up everyone--

Clawrence is going to defend Christina O'Donnell over on "O'Donnell's Victory" thread. I asked him to start with her accomplishments, record and education.

Pull up your chairs and wait to be educated by Clawrence.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 15, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Matheson statement on CBO long-term budget outlook

“Restoring fiscal discipline to our federal government is not going to be easy, and success will require Members on both sides of the aisle to rise above partisan politics and put forth their best ideas. The problem is not a Democratic one or a Republican one; nor should the solution be.”

In its report, CBO indicates that failure to address our long-term fiscal challenges would have significant negative effects on the economy:

- Large budget deficits would reduce national savings, leading to higher interest rates, more borrowing from foreign countries, and less domestic investment — which in turn would lower income growth here at home.

- Growing debt would reduce lawmakers’ ability to respond to economic downturns and other challenges.

- Over time, higher debt would increase the probability of a fiscal crisis in which investors would lose confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget, and the government would be forced to pay much more to borrow money.

http://www.house.gov/melancon/BlueDogs/Press%20Releases/2010%20-%20Fiscal%20Commission%20Release%20-%206.30.10.pdf

What a flagrant freaking hypocrite.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 15, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

So why not schedule two votes--first, the Obama proposal; second, an extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy. The first would pass--perhaps with support from both parties--and the second may or may not pass but would force all to defend their votes.

Posted by: pjro | September 15, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Shorter Matheson:

"Let's talk about cutting the deficit, but not do anything about it."

Screw him.

The vast majority of the Dem caucus -- the ones who support a Pelosi/Obama tax cut vote -- are more fiscally conservative than he is.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 15, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

sounds like Mattheson is an idiot and doesn't even understand that those making over $250,000 will be getting a permanent tax cut on their marginal rates. Anyone supporting extending tax cuts for the top 2% which I would be ok with ofr 1 year only, need to be asked precisely what Cabinet office they will be cutting to offset the loss of $700 billion dollars. Likely all we will hear is that they will cut foreign aid, whoopie. Personally Ds should say we are using the $40 billion dollar savings by ending the upper end tax cuts for a small downpayment on rolling back payroll taxes.

Posted by: leichtman1 | September 15, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

The best thing for the endangered blue dogs to run on is ambiguity. Since they are all from districts, that McCain carried. Forcing a vote now, might just hand the House back to Boehner.

In fact; Boehner might just have been trying to mousetrap Pelosi into doing that. Despite what he said on Sunday, he is not going to deliver a single Republican vote, for to pass the middle class tax cuts, only.

That is why Speaker Pelosi has been taking a vote count in her own Caucus, and also listening to the concerns of the endangered Blue Dogs. She needs some of their votes to pass the bill, and that would help the Republicans to defeat them, and take back the House, would it be worth it, or would it be better to wait until after election day, and then come back and pass the bill?

Posted by: Liam-still | September 15, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

According to Wiki the median income in Matheson's district is $45,583.

Posted by: ncaofnw | September 15, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

while I do sympathize with this blue dog the answer is that many on both sides support letting them lapse. Most people know that we cannot afford the luxury.
I really wish the pols and pundits of Washington would bother listening to at least the first 45 min. of Washington Journal on Cspan.
You get the opinion of both sides of average people. the questions are important like today's which was on the tax cuts.
this would give many scared dems the courage in knowing that people have the common sense to know that the cuts need to stop.

Posted by: vwcat | September 15, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Liam writes....

"I bet he does know how the issue is polling in his district, and if the polls were in favor of it, so would he be."

I would have been more inclined to agree with you on this before I learned yesterday that the "small business" argument that the GOP keeps making applies to less than 2% of small businesses, and a large percentage of that 2% are the lobbying firms.

So when I hear a Blue Dog echoing that feeble argument, I have to assume that Mr. Matheson is putting the interests of his lobbying friends above those of his district.

I could be wrong, but there's something counter intuitive about the notion that the people in a state like Utah are just itching to help rich people across the country keep their huge tax breaks.

Posted by: elscott | September 15, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The country never turn left in 2008 - and yet Obama refused to see what the American People really wanted.


Instead Obama decided to jam permanent far left-wing changes onto America.


Obama is a disgrace to this nation - no one who holds public office should have that kind of attitude toward the American People.


The American People deserve better.


When the economy is bad, the American People deserve a President who DROPS EVERYTHING AND WORKS ON THE ECONOMY, DAY IN AND DAY OUT.


Instead, Obama said to the nation - he "didn't come to Washington to do" such things - Obama was there to do "big things"


Obama told the American People that unemployment HAD TO WAIT -


While Obama stroked his own ego - and tried to do this "big things" - which would only result in a DRAG ON HIRING - and further hurt the economy.


Anyway - this is what the democrats have done. It is a mess - and the American People are against all this.


.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 15, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"Asked how many people in his district fell into the above-$250,000 category, Matheson answered: "I don't know the answer to that."

So much for his superior knowledge of HIS district!!!!! Matheson is just another cowardly blue dog...they should change their names to blue kitties if you get my drift.

You all can slam wbgonne all you wish but from my perspective he/she is far more accurate than most posters here. Obama appears wishy washy not as a leader. Before you jump me as well, the operative word "appears"...and we all realize how important perceptions are.

Again Maureen Dowd wrote a piece this week about her Republican sister Peggy..called when Peggy left Barry.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/opinion/12dowd.html?ref=maureendowd

One of the independent voters Obama will be trying to charm over the next two years is my sister, Peggy, a formerly ardent Obamican (a Republican who changed spots to vote for Obama).

Disillusioned with her beloved W. over Iraq and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and the disdain for bipartisanship, she gave her affections — and small cash infusions — to Barack Obama in 2008.

But she has lost a lot of faith now, saying she might vote for Mitt Romney over Obama if Romney is the Republican nominee in 2012. (Sarah Palin shouldn’t count on her vote though. In Peggy’s words, “Are you nuts?”)

Peggy thinks the president has done fine managing W.’s messes in Iraq and Afghanistan. And she lights up at the mention of his vice president, Joe Biden. But she thinks Obama has to get “a backbone” if he wants to lure her back to the fold. “He promised us everything, saying he would turn the country around, and he did nothing the first year,” Peggy says. “He piddled around when he had 60 votes. He could have pushed through the health care bill but spent months haggling on it because he wanted to bring some Republicans on board. He was trying too hard to compromise when he didn’t need the Republicans and they were never going to like him. Any idiot could see that. "

Perhaps Liam and others believe wbgonne is actually Maureen Dowd's sister Peggy. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 15, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Why do politicians of both parties so determined to inflict yet more suffering on the masses and yet more goodies on the few Americans who could actually afford to help out the nation's balance book?

This "oh the poor small businesses" is a pure canard, a talking point to find some reason to give NEW ENORMOUS TAX CUTS TO THE RICH, all the while crying that the country's broke. Seeing this pure 'I got mine FU" attitude from the Republicans is one thing, but why would someone who wants this kind of government-for-the-rich would call themselves a Democrat is truly beyond me.

If there is no concept of civic duty, including paying more taxes when you're vastly more rich, then America really is an empire going down in the flames of it's own greed.

Posted by: Bullsmith1 | September 15, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps Liam and others believe wbgonne is actually Maureen Dowd's sister Peggy. :-)"

ruk:

You blew my cover, Bro!

Posted by: wbgonne | September 15, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"According to Wiki the median income in Matheson's district is $45,583."

Yup, I just scoped that out too.

According to this ranking chart, UT-2 is very much a "middle of the road" district in terms of income. Probably towards the bottom of the top 1/3. Or, in other words, there are well over 100 CDs with a higher median income.

http://www.proximityone.com/cd.htm

He really DOESN'T know his own district.

Or doesn't care.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 15, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Great line from Delaware Republican Party Chairman Tom Ross...

"I could buy a parrot and train it to say, ‘tax cuts,’ but at the end of the day, it’s still a parrot, not a conservative."

Of course on the positive side...a parrot has more intelligence than the average tea bagger!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 15, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne...if it's not too personal could you enlighten me as to whether you are male or female. Not that it has any bearing on your opinions, which I always find cogent and on target...but I feel a bit silly referring to you as he/she. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 15, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"He was trying too hard to compromise when he didn’t need the Republicans and they were never going to like him. Any idiot could see that."

I'll admit I never realized how cynical a majority of the Republicans were. I couldn't imagine they would have drawn a line in the sand from day one and play politics from the get go.

It'll be interesting to read the memoirs after Obama's Presidency. I wouldn't be surprised if they were floored at the Republicans stance from day 1 to never compromise and never work in unison to solve problems and instead focus all their energy on trying to tie every bit of bad news around Democrats and the Presidents neck.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 15, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, he doesn't know how many people in his district would be affected and he apparently missed the news yesterday that there's evidence that the top tier will save, not spend, a tax cut.

So why should anyone listen to him? what a putz.

Posted by: lcrider1 | September 15, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@Bullsmith...."If there is no concept of civic duty, including paying more taxes when you're vastly more rich, then America really is an empire going down in the flames of it's own greed."

INDEED!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 15, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Seeing O'Donnell win reminds me of the post turtle joke.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 15, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Mathiesen is from UTAH, the red state home of the cannibals who ate Bennet. His knees are knocking so hard, you can hear them from here.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 15, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"It'll be interesting to read the memoirs after Obama's Presidency. I wouldn't be surprised if they were floored at the Republicans stance from day 1 to never compromise and never work in unison to solve problems and instead focus all their energy on trying to tie every bit of bad news around Democrats and the Presidents neck."

Mike: I was surprised at how cynical and destructive the GOP was. Everyone was surprised. But we all got over being surprised last Spring and began dealing with the Reality that that was the way it is. The only ones who still seem baffled by the GOP are in the White House.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 15, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

First off, thanks for actually digging into this - please continue to do so. A couple of notes, for next time (if you can get a next time with someone)...

"Asked how many people in his district fell into the above-$250,000 category, Matheson answered: 'I don't know the answer to that.'"

I suggest that next time you have this sort of information before you get the Rep. on the phone. Obviously he SHOULD know that, but to be able to give him the information would put the focus back on the explination for his position.

I don't see if you asked whether he would be willing to support the middle class tax cuts if those were the only ones to come to a vote (ie w/out the cuts for the rich). Since that's a real posibility, it's something that should be asked.

Lastly, he mentioned that he doesn't "think" letting the tax cuts for the rich expire would play well in his district. It would have been a good idea to ask if he had done any polling on the issue in his own district.

The idea that voting for a tax cut on the middle class would "easily" be framed as a tax hike on rich people - ignoring that a majority are FINE with a tax hike on the rich right now - is such a defeatist attitude, ceding the ground before the battle even starts. It really goes to show you how powerful the GOP-lean of the DC echochamber can basically brainwash folks.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | September 15, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

FROM THE MAN who thought it was a good idea to allow the mortgage market get inflated into a BUBBLE - and DID JUST THAT.


“We have to find a way to simmer down the extent of activism that is going on” with government stimulus spending “and allow the economy to heal” itself, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan told a gathering held at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Wednesday.

At this point, “we’d probably be better off doing less than more” because “you’d be far better off to allow the normal market forces to operate here,” Greenspan said. That’s largely because stimulus spending is not proving as effective as many had hoped.


____________________________________

There is a point at which a person has ZERO CREDIBILITY


There is a point at which someone should be given the door....


NO ONE in their right mind should trust this man's judgement - in fact, DO THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT HE SAYS - you will be better off.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 15, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse


sounds like Mattheson is an idiot and doesn't even understand that those making over $250,000 will be getting a permanent tax cut on their marginal rates. Anyone supporting extending tax cuts for the top 2% which I would be ok with ofr 1 year only, need to be asked precisely what Cabinet office they will be cutting to offset the loss of $700 billion dollars. Likely all we will hear is that they will cut foreign aid, whoopie. Personally Ds should say we are using the $40 billion dollar savings by ending the upper end tax cuts for a small downpayment on rolling back payroll taxes.

Posted by: leichtman1 | September 15, 2010 2:29 PM |
.....................

You are overlooking one key deciding factor. It does not matter what the median income figure is for his district. What matters is how the voters feel about letting the tax cuts expire. He lives in a Red District, that went for McCain Palin. It is probably a district that is dominated by Tea Party mopes, suffering from Joe The Plummer Syndrome. That clown was against making the very wealthy pay a bit more in taxes, even though he did not have a pot to piss in.

I bet that the majority of voters, in this blue dog's district, are against letting the Bush Tax Cuts for Fat Cats lapse.

Most Tea Party types argue against their own economic circumstances. Look at how they were calling for Government to keep their hands of their Social Security and Medicare.

That is probably the sort of addled voters the guy has to deal with. After all, they did prefer McCain, and Palin. Sweet mother of God, Palin?!

Posted by: Liam-still | September 15, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Median income in 2007 dollars is about $55,000 about 10 percent child poverty, 8 percent overall poverty

Posted by: ncaofnw | September 15, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

in response to this:
================
Most people know that we cannot afford the luxury.
==========

So let's get this right. We cannot afford the luxury of letting Americans keep their hard earned money because someone has to support the spendthrift habits of the government, right?

How, exactly does that comport with freedom? It just plain doesn't.

The luxury we can no longer afford is a dysfunctional, expensive and non responsive government. At every level.

the entrenched politicians, of both parties, have to confront an angry and vengeful electorate

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 15, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein:

"Why not just level with people? Why can't Obama just sit down and say,"My friends in the other party want to extend George W. Bush's tax cuts indefinitely, which will add about $4 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. I'd like to extend only tax cuts for every American making less than $250,000. That will add more than $3 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. That's still a lot, but given our economic circumstances, I think it's worth it. But people may disagree. Another option would be to extend the middle-class tax cuts for three more years, and then let them expire, or phase them out, in order to begin bringing the deficit down. Either way, we should be clear about the choices we're making here."

I'm not saying this would be some sort of political coup. But I don't think it would be a political loser, either. And, at the very least, it would be honest, and contribute to a clearer discussion."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/09/what_id_like_to_hear_obama_say.html?wprss=ezra-klein

Candidate Obama did exactly that: He treated people like adults and told them the truth whether it was pleasant or or not. That was one of the main reasons I supported him so vigorously. President Obama has become just another politician and Americans don't like it. Y'all are missing the boat if you can't see that the primary problem for the Democrats post-election has been a dearth of presidential leadership. Argue if you like, but that it how I and many other people see it. Obama seems to think he is a referee, not a participant in the fight. Whatever the theoretical merits of that approach to the presidency, it is a colossal failure now, where the economy is poor and people desperately want forceful leadership.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 15, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@Mike...."I'll admit I never realized how cynical a majority of the Republicans were. I couldn't imagine they would have drawn a line in the sand from day one and play politics from the get go."

Wow candor and honestly...how refreshing.

I can easily understand how you might have felt there were still some R's left with a conscience. And I was with you there for a short while...but it began to add up pretty quickly...beginning with Sen Demented's famous "Obama's Waterloo" email.
This was the most craven example of an elected "leader" approaching one of the single most IMPORTANT issues of our time without even the PRETENSE of trying to solve the issue..but simply going for personal, and party political gain. I've often thought how much better the U.S. would be if S.C. had been allowed to secede.

Then add a failure of response to Palin's "death panels"....all the talk of rationing when we already have rationing...

But the thing that left me most upset with the way the W.H. managed the HCR debate was when Grandpa Grassley hit the trail to proclaim the evils of "pulling the plug on Grandma" all the while he was carrying the latest Glen Beck and shillling for the ulitimate grifter. And HE was supposed to be one of the leading R's helping to forge bipartisan consensus.

Hindsight is 20/20...but clearly it is ALL of our faults for not paying attention to the R's. It's not like they hid the fact they planned to obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. But again if you gathered the R leadership in a room...and love of country was gunpowder...these folks wouldn't be able to blow their noses!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 15, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Rich Americans Save Tax Cuts Instead of Spending, Moody's Says"

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-13/rich-americans-save-money-from-tax-cuts-instead-of-spending-moody-s-says.html

[excerpt]
"'Policies that temporarily increased the after-tax income of people who are relatively well off would probably have little effect on their spending because they generally would be able finance their consumption out of their income or assets without such a change,' CBO director Douglas Elmendorf testified to Congress on Feb. 23.

On the other hand, tax relief for families with 'lower income, few assets and poor credit would probably' spur spending, he said."
--------------

In other words, the tax cuts for the wealthy will provide negligible, if any, economic boost.

Posted by: associate20 | September 15, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING NEWS


Boehner endorses Tea Party


Boeher says ALL candidates have to work together - and work with the people who are newly active in politics.


Sounds like a unity message to me.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 15, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

What is the median income level in Appalachia? The more underdeveloped, and poor a region is, the easier it is for Republicans to persuade them to vote against their own self interests. All they have to do is play the Triple G card, over and over.Deal out God, Guns, and Gays; and most of those poor and uneducated people will vote against their own economic interests, every time. Throw in a Willie Horton, A Socialist Muslim Nazi in the White House, or a Mosque in New York, that is going to come down to Kentucky, and pee in all their moonshine stills, and you will lock up their votes, every time.

It is not The Economy Stupid. It Is The Stupid, Stupid!

Posted by: Liam-still | September 15, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The Blue dogs KNOW they don't want to talk about the economy


They KNOW that any discussion on taxes leads directly to people talking about Obama's performance on the economy.


The Blue Dogs KNOW that Obama is a disaster.

Why is this difficult to understand ???

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 15, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"Moderates don't think it's a political winner at all, because it will be portrayed as a tax hike,"

Will be portrayed? By whom? He already did it! Why doesn't he portray it as the people who made the most money over the last 10 years paying the same tax rates they did in 2000.

Dems don't know how to speak in direct, active-voice sentences.

Posted by: Mimikatz | September 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Steve Forbes is my favorite kind of conservative - (with apologies to Barry Switzer) he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/09/the-unraveling-of-steve-forbes.html

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Re Matheson: About what I would expect.

Importantly, though, Dems could do a lot to improve the discourse and messaging on taxes. A couple misnomers which get pushed in GOP talking points (and Matheson is happy to reiterate) below:

-"Ending the tax breaks for those over $250k will hurt small businesses" - WRONG - We are talking about income taxes, not corporate tax rates. If a small business owner grosses more than $250k, yes, his top marginal rate will increase, but it shouldn't matter what his occupation is. Rich is rich.

-Also, ending only the tax cuts for earners over $250k only STILL MEANS EVERYBODY GETS A TAX CUT. It is shocking how many people don't understand how marginal rates work. Those making over $250k will still pay the lower rates on all the money they make under $250k. Everything above will have the new rate applied.

There are many more, but I am hoping we can get some better discussion going on this.

Posted by: jbossch | September 15, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@Liam...."It is not The Economy Stupid. It Is The Stupid, Stupid!"

I certainly take your point...with one caveat...The economy is what has EVERYBODY upset and scared sh8tless. The stupid are not as normally energized..and the stupid often times simply stay home...time to swill another six pack. But now the stupid are angry because their standard of living is falling like a rock, they STILL can't afford health care...2014 or whenever HCR kicks in means nothing to them. They have somebody DIFFERENT in the W.H...different color...weird name...and of course to them he is Muslim...or at minimum a Muslim lover..and not a patriot.
Add in the despicable folks like the Koch brothers, DICK Armey, Faux news, Limberger to fire these folks up...and you see what we are up against.

The stupid are fired up and ready to vote...can we shake the apathy out of the rational folks.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 15, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

TheBBQChickenMadness


250 K


__________________________


Yes, we are talking Utah here - but the truth of the matter is we are talking COMBINED FAMILY INCOME of 250K


And that means much DIFFERENT things around the nation


It is just not NEARLY as clear-cut as one might imagine.

I stand by my statement that ANY discussion that can swing back to the discussion of Obama on the economy is BAD for all democrats.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 15, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of people are okay with raising taxes on the rich, but don't like doing it now.

People ask a simple question: Will raising taxes on the rich (and small business) help or hurt hiring? You can argue it doesn't affect small business in any meaningful way until you are blue in the face. If it isn't going to positively help hiring, people are going to be lukewarm about it.

I think people are fine with the idea of leaving taxes on the rich the same until the economy is back on its feet in a couple of years. Of course political junkies are well aware of what two years from now means, but most voters are not, and they aren't all that interested in the beltway inside-baseball stuff anyway.

Posted by: sold2u | September 15, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

When MSNBC decided to give "The Last Word" to O'Donnell, they just did know what they were doing..............

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 15, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@jbossch Excellent point!!! Yes EVERYBODY will get a tax cut...only the marginal rate would be affected.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 15, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

ruk-

Well, one way to fire up rational folks is for the TeaOP to keep getting nutbars like Angle and O'Donnell to run.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | September 15, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

n other words, the tax cuts for the wealthy will provide negligible, if any, economic boost.

Posted by: associate20 | September 15, 2010 3:04 PM |

...............

I have been pointing out, as a self evident truth, that those people do not create jobs. They sit on their money, until consumers create a demand, and then they invest. They never trickle down.

That is why it is far better to put the money in the pockets of the working class, because they will spend it, out of necessity, and that money will percolate up, to the point where even the fat cats will see their profits increase.

The Fat Cats were Fat Cats before Bush gave them the tax cuts, other wise they would be of no use to them. All Bush did was make the greedy bastards, even fatter.

They have their tax cuts now, so where are all the jobs, that the cuts were supposed to produce, and where are the increased revenues, that they were supposed to deliver?

Trickle down is a sick joke.

Percolate Up, is the way to go.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 15, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@sold2u "I think people are fine with the idea of leaving taxes on the rich the same until the economy is back on its feet in a couple of years."

You may THINK that but you have no evidence to support your thoughts. On the other hand six consecutive polls have shown that people are in favor of letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire. Again public opinion COULD be on the side of the Dems...if they grow a pair.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 15, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

To all Democrats


I wouldn't get all crazy about Christine O'Donnell


Because you go all crazy, let me ask - when was the last time you were in Delaware?


And I don't mean driving through on 95


When was the last time your really spent some time in Delaware - and spoke to the people there?


And I don't mean being at the beach....

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 15, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Matheson also disputed the significance of national polls that show strong support for letting the tax cuts for the rich expire, suggesting this could be a good national issue for Dems.

"I dont know that it applies in my district or other battleground districts," Matheson said, adding that a vote for continuing just the tax cuts for the middle class would easily be portrayed as a tax hike.

"Allowing tax rates to go up when we're in the midst of a recovery from a deep recession, I don't think that plays well in a lot of districts," Matheson said.
-------------------------------

First, you "don't know" what your own district thinks on this issue?

Shouldn't you know that before taking a position?

Second, we do know that the tax cuts for the rich will not provide any notable (if any) boost for the economy. We also know that the tax cuts for the rich will add about $700 billion to the deficit.

So, if you don't know where your own constituents stand, know that they will provide little to no economic boost, know that they will absolutely add $700 billion to the deficit...

Why in the world do you support the tax cuts for the rich?

The argument that it would potentially be portrayed as a "tax hike" as the primary rationale for not voting on this is a cheap copout -- an avoidance from taking a sensible and fiscally responsible stand on the deficit.

At some point, Democrats in Congress have to pick a battle to fight.

With public opinion already bending strongly against tax cuts for the rich, with objective analyses confirming that the rich tax cuts offer no substantial (if any) economic boost, with objective analyses confirming that the rich tax cuts will exacerbate the deficit, with the knowledge that only about 3% of small businesses would be effected by ending the tax cuts for the rich, with the credibility of the argument that the economy performed well when the top tier tax rate was at the same rate in the 1990's, with the political prospects of hammering the Republicans on their deficit hypocrisy [McConnell's plan would cost about $4 trillion.], one would think that this would be a good issue to take a stand on.

Posted by: associate20 | September 15, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

in response to this:
=====
There are many more, but I am hoping we can get some better discussion going on this.

========

Well, since your initial premise is too simplistic, I can't imagine that much truth will be generated by the discussion you seek.

This is a perfect example:
"WRONG - We are talking about income taxes, not corporate tax rates"

Have you forgotten sub chapter S corps? Apparently so.

America's liberals simply cannot produce a moral or ethical rationale for hammering the most productive amongst us. They just want other people's money. It is as simple as that.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 15, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

All, check out White House's latest assault on Mitch McConnell as deficit fraud:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/white_house_pounces_on_mcconne.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@sold2u "I think people are fine with the idea of leaving taxes on the rich the same until the economy is back on its feet in a couple of years."

Not only that, but "in a couple of years" -- which is the McConnell/far-right GOP position -- puts us back in this same exact debate in the heat of the Presidential campaign of 2012.

That is simply a non-starter.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 15, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I'm sure O'Donnell is a nice woman-I just don't want any more science-denying folks in government than there already are.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | September 15, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The TRUTH


Obama is proposing a 700 BILLION TAX INCREASE -

While most Americans will see their income taxes stay the same -


OBAMA is STILL INCREASING TAXES 700 BILLION DOLLARS - money taken out of the economy and which Obama wants to use for his SOCIALIST SPENDING WAYS.

Isn't that right ?

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 15, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"Obama wants to use for his SOCIALIST SPENDING WAYS."

IE, pay off Republican incurred debt.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 15, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"Moderates"?!?!

I strongly suggest that you (and all of us) NOT use this word to describe people who think a government can run without money. There is nothing moderate about that.

To start with, you have to be dumb as a sack of hammers to believe that lowering taxes on the wealthy produces anything positive for the country.

If there is reason to believe the person proposing this isn't a sack of hammers, that leaves a sack with different content all together.

So, Greg, which sack is it for Jim Matheson?

Posted by: michtom | September 15, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: "You may THINK that but you have no evidence to support your thoughts. On the other hand six consecutive polls have shown that people are in favor of letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire."

So you say. You have to admit though, given the political environment we are currently experiencing, that seems to be a bit strange, doesn't it? How was the issue framed? What were the choices given? Were the samples random?

It seems odd that a divisive issue that is, lets face it - a cause celebre of the Progressive Left, would be polling well when the political races and polls are showing the country leaning the other way.

Not saying it isn't possible, just saying it feels like an outlier.

Posted by: sold2u | September 15, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The hell with all these Blue Dogs . Let them rot. I'd rather see 2 years of GOP rule in the House, and in 2012 run real Democrats in these districts. After 2 years of GOP economic pain many of the Indy voters will realize they've been punked. Anyway, Matheson is from Utah. Since when did that become part of the US?

Posted by: filmnoia | September 15, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@sold2u 6 outliers? Really?

I personally haven't spoken to a person..other than a few of my wealthiest friends who is against letting those tax cuts expire.

I grant you sold2u the Dems will have to battle the great right wing bs machine..but sentiment and most importantly...FACTS are on the side of letting these tax cuts expire.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 15, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Greg, it would have been interesting to hear his reaction if you had asked the congressman what he found wrong with restoring a part of Clinton's successful policies and allowing a part of Bush's catastrophic policies to expire.

AdAbsurdum

Posted by: bvision | September 15, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse


The TRUTH


Obama is proposing a 700 BILLION TAX INCREASE -

While most Americans will see their income taxes stay the same -


OBAMA is STILL INCREASING TAXES 700 BILLION DOLLARS - money taken out of the economy and which Obama wants to use for his SOCIALIST SPENDING WAYS.


Isn't that right ?


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest
________________________
actually it's earmarked for deficit reduction. no one is proposing more spending. republicans just want to call failing to renew all of Bush's temporary tax cuts a tax increase because it's a great soundbite, even at the risk of increasing the deficit.

Posted by: JoeT1 | September 15, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Republicans proposed this tax hike when they designed it to sunset after 10 years, because they knew they could never get it passed in 2001 with the expense the CBO would have reported.

Let's cut to the chase, Matheson, what is the bigger issue, the deficit, or tax cuts for the top 1%. You don't want to vote for Democratic stimulus programs because of the deficit, and you want to increase the deficit by $4 trillion to offer the top 2% a tax cut (a tax cut which is responsible for half of the current deficit, and NO, it doesn't include businesses), maybe Congress is better off without you.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | September 15, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Do the 3% of small business owners who would see their individual income affected if these tax cuts are allowed to expire pay and/or hire employees out of their personal salaries? Will they take a pay cut to hire more employees? Have they taken a pay cut during this downturn in an effort to retain employees rather than lay them off? Or are they still making the same amount they were before the crisis and holding off on hiring people until demand increases, regardless of how big a tax cut they get to keep? Since they're getting the Bush tax cuts know, shouldn't they be creating jobs right now if tax cuts to the top 3% of small business owners are supposed to create jobs, even though we have a production surplus and little demand?

Just asking. I'd ask Rep. Matheson but he probably doesn't know the answer. And even if he does he'd probably just parrot GOP talking points rather than provide real answers.

Posted by: shamey73 | September 16, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Rep Matheson is confused or possibly attempting to mislead.
His statement:
. . "I recognize $250,000 is a lot of money for an individual to make for an individual," he said. "But we're also talking about businesses. That's not a lot of money for small businesses."

What he fails to mention:

That $250,000 would have to be PROFIT - after writing off all of the Business Expenses, etc..

Later in the article, Matheson claims that he does not know 'how many people in his district fell into the above-$250,000 category.' (sheesh)

This website is probably reliable/credible:
http://fastfacts.census.gov/home/cws/main.html

According to Census.gov...
Median Household Income = $55,800
Median Family Income = $65,000
(2008 dollars, adjusted for inflation)

Search State and Congressional District on website above.
Matheson = UTAH, Second (2) District


Posted by: DAinCA | September 20, 2010 4:34 AM | Report abuse

p.s.

I wonder if Matheson is above the $200,000 - $250,000 limit??


Posted by: DAinCA | September 20, 2010 4:40 AM | Report abuse

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