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More House Dems balking at ending Bush tax cuts for rich

Even as President Obama is mounting a strong stand in favor of letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire, and even as he's signaling that it will be a major campaign issue, more and more vulnerable House Dems are bolting in the other direction.

Here's a quick rundown of Dems in tough races who are coming out against ending the tax cuts for the rich:

* Rep Jim Himes of Conneticut says he supports a termporary extension, because earning $250,000 annually "does not make you really rich."

* Rep Bobby Bright of Alabama came out against ending the tax cuts, because "a vast majority of my constituents ... don't believe in tax increases on anybody at this point in time."

* Rep Ron Klein of Florida wants a one year extension of the tax cuts, including those for the rich, because "right now, our top economic priority has to be job creation."

* Rep Gerry Connolly of Virginia says the tax cuts should remain because the recovery remains "fragile."

* Rep Gary Peters of Michigan wants the cuts to continue lest we "jeopardize economic recovery."

* Rep Harry Mitchell of Arizona says he "strongly" opposes letting the tax cuts lapse because "we need to encourage investment, not discourage it."

Along these lines, a question for you readers. Most polls show public support for letting the tax cuts for the rich expire. But these are national polls and don't tell us what's going on in these marginal districts. What I'd be interested to know is if there's any evidence that supporting the President on this is as toxic in these districts as these Dems seem to have concluded it is. What is it like on the ground? Is this really all that risky a position to support?

By Greg Sargent  |  September 9, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  economy  
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Comments

Greg: This is a dead-bang winner politically and policy-wise. Without a veto threat Obama's position is meaningless. Just talk, like saying he was in favor of the public option while doing nothing to make it happen. Time is running out for Obama to show he has the courage to lead. The fact that so many Dems are already in opposition to Obama is telling on several levels.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

* Dem Rep Gerry Connolly of Virginia says the tax cuts should remain because the recovery remains "fragile."

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

If the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy were really doing what they were supposed to do: add jobs, and increase revenue; then why did we end up with just the opposite?

Also; the Tax Cuts are still in place now, but they did not prevent the economic meltdown, or turned things around.

If the Tax Cuts had delivered on what was promised they would do, then Bush would never have had to get the TARP bailout of Wall St. Robber Barons, would he have?!

I see no reason to keep Tax Cuts that did not create jobs, and did turn an annual budget deficit, into a massive annual budget deficit.

I would settle for the economy we had, before the tax cuts, than the one that ensued after the tax cuts took effect.

Why should we have to borrow another 750 billion dollars, over the next ten years, to pay for tax cuts, that contributed greatly to our economic collapse, and have contributed nothing to job growth, or deficit control?

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

These Dems are idiots! I would urge anyone who lives in their districts to call and flood their offices with emails warning them that if they vote against letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire they can forget about getting reelected. Someone should ask them to explain how these same tax cuts for the wealthy which have been in effect for 9 years has done anything but, produce deficits? As Paul Krugman said a few months ago, if you give him a tax break he's going to save it but, if you give the middle class a tax break they will spend it which stimulates the economy.

Posted by: roxsteady | September 9, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Wbgonne - I'd argue the opposite. The fact that so many dems are for a tax cut for the wealthy makes it that much harder for Obama to issue a veto threat. If he did, and lost on such a high profile issue that would be a knock against his leadership, more so than if he didn't issue such a threat.

Posted by: calchala | September 9, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

LET ME BE CLEAR


This entire discussion is a little silly - NO ONE in America brought Islam into this conflict.


Osama bin Laden and Al Queda BROUGHT ISLAM INTO THE CONFLICT.


ANY rational person would find it wrong to bring religion into a war - and use it as a justification to start a war.


THAT is exactly what has been done.


NO ONE in American started this war - Al Queda and the people in the Muslim world who supported them started the war.

I would also like to point out that there has been a lack of clarity in the REASONS why Al Queda is fighting the US.


Surely, the American press is partially to blame on this issue - because the American press is reluctant to dicuss the Israeli - Palestinian issue as a CAUSE FOR THE WAR ON TERROR.


That is a religious war too - one religion is fighting people of a different religion - WHO IS TALKING ABOUT THAT ???


All I can say is GROW UP - the democrats have become SUCH CHILDREN in the past few years - from their childish criticism of Bush to their False Charges of Racism.


The democrats could be MORE MATURE - and MORE HONEST. The democratic party has become such a joke - the American People don't even want to listen to them anymore.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 9, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

I posted some questions at the end of the previous thread to which I am sincerely interested in your answers.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 9, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Jim Himes represents Fairfield County which is a very high cost of living area. 250k doesn't get you to first base in Greenwich or New Canaan.

Posted by: sold2u | September 9, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Greg, what's up with the non-stop stream of negative posts from a Dem perspective?

Do you have anything positive to say?

Are you cheerleading failure and division in the Dem party just for fun?

Are you being distracted by the right wing meme of the hour?

Are your editors forcing you to write on these topics?

Seriously, what is it?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"What I'd be interested to know is if there's any evidence that supporting the President on this is as toxic in these districts as these Dems seem to have concluded it is. What is it like on the ground? Is this really all that risky a position to support?"

It is when you talk to you're a Democrat politician and you talk to your donors and your friends at the golf club, apparently. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

My sense is that when a congressman says "my constituents are against an upper-bracket tax increase," what he's really saying is, "My max-out donors, the guys I spend three hours a day with on the phone and in whose living rooms I hold countless wine and cheese fundraisers, these are guys whose taxes I can't afford to raise."

Take a district like Connecticut's 4th, where $250,000 "isn't really rich" -- that may be true, but what is objectively true is that median family income in that district is around $100,000. In Greenwich, one of the district's wealthiest towns, the median household income is around $130,000. It's one of the highest median family incomes in the country, but still a far cry from $250,000. And of course, reverting to pre-2001/2003 rates would only affect marginal income above $250k for families, so the family making $300,000 would really be talking about a tax increase of 4.6% on $50,000 -- or $2,300. To be sure, that's not nothing. But it's also not soaking the rich, even the not really rich.

I think one thing that ought to be done --- and ought to appeal to members from these affluent districts --- is increasing the number of tax brackets. $250,000 is wealthy by national standards (98th percentile), but does it make sense for a family pulling in $300,000 to be in the same upper tax bracket as a family pulling in ten times as much at $3,000,000? It would be an effective way to raise revenue while taking some wind out of the sails of the argument that a quarter million a year isn't rich.

Posted by: jhorton87 | September 9, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Here in Ohio the Dems are on the run. Our unemployment has been over 10% all year, and I think that is the main focus of the voter's anger.

Most people I know are not in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy, but the area I live in has turned into Tea Bag Heaven, and many of those certainly believe that cutting taxes for the wealthiest will not help job creation. I find that startling since no jobs have been created by those tax cuts yet.

Posted by: DinOH | September 9, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Wbgonne - I'd argue the opposite. The fact that so many dems are for a tax cut for the wealthy makes it that much harder for Obama to issue a veto threat. If he did, and lost on such a high profile issue that would be a knock against his leadership, more so than if he didn't issue such a threat.

Posted by: calchala | September 9, 2010 1:17 PM

Calchala: Obama can't lose because no one can prevent him from vetoing the legislation. Obama can, however, choose to lose by declining to exercise that veto power. I think that's where we're at. Obama states his "position" but does nothing to make it reality. So Obama hopes to get the benefit of appearing populist without actually being populist. It's very cynical, frankly.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Just want to add to my previous comment, that most of the local paper blogs are about 50/50, with a few of the really moronic (socialism, Kenyan, etc.) opinions thrown in.

Posted by: DinOH | September 9, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, a "nonstop" stream of anti-dem posts?

you serious?

is it not valid to question Dems who are supporting bad policies?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 9, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The Pelosi-Obama-Reid (POR) economy kicked in during the latter part of 2007, when its architects decided that starving the economy of energy by refusing to allow more offshore drilling in the face of $4 gas prices was a winning political position. Pelosi claimed that because we couldn't totally "drill our way out of this," we shouldn't increase drilling at all. Reid put an exclamation point on Pelosi's stubbornness by insisting that fossil fuels are "making us sick." The only thing sickened was the US economy.

What Pelosi, Obama, and Reid should do now is expand tax cuts, ditch all of the alleged "investments" in so-called "green" (read: globaloney boondoggle) technology, open up Alaskan oil and gas exploration, and watch the royalty money pour in. I know— that's way too much to "hope" that Alaskans be allowed to sell our own resources and enrich our country.

But that's the Leftist answer for everything— punish achievers to fund their distopian Big Gov Marxist pogroms. Only the most devoted Obamateur cultists buy Obama's redistributionist nonsense anymore.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 9, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

This dovetails with Larry Bartels' research on politicians' responsiveness to the political views of different income groups. Surprisingly (!), pols of both parties are disproportionately responsive to views of the wealthiest voters, which explains the gulf between public opinion on taxes on rich and political conventional wisdom on taxes on rich.

Posted by: jhorton87 | September 9, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Further to the point: If I am correct about Obama's strategy -- populism in name only -- then it is not only cynical but stupid because it won't work. At this point no one really cares what Obama thinks or prefers, people are waiting to see what he will actually do.We've been down this road before on health care. It barely worked then and it definitely won't work now because that's a one-time-only trick. Either Obama wants to be president or he doesn't. Either Obama is willing to use his power or he isn't. Right now it doesn't look like it to me. I will be thrilled to be proved wrong, however.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Kaddafi,

You've posted that so many times you can just write POR like a lawyer.

Hey, look:

A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that former prisoners of the C.I.A. could not sue over their alleged torture in overseas prisons because such a lawsuit might expose secret government information.

The sharply divided ruling was a major victory for the Obama administration’s efforts to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy powers. It strengthens the White House’s hand as it has pushed an array of assertive counterterrorism policies, while raising an opportunity for the Supreme Court to rule for the first time in decades on the scope of the president’s power to restrict litigation that could reveal state secrets.

===

Hooray for Kaddafi totalitarianism!

Posted by: Papagnello | September 9, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"is it not valid to question Dems who are supporting bad policies?"

Of course it is valid.

But what's the point?

Everyone knows that the Dem party is a big tent and has people who disagree on substantive matters.

I am not questioning the validity of the post, I am questioning your -- or your editor's -- editorial decision-making. I don't get it.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

* Senate must pass small-business incentives, Voinovich says *

Retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said he plans to help push a package of small-business incentives through the Senate next week, a move that would give President Obama and congressional Democrats a key victory on the economy in the final weeks before the November midterm elections.

In an interview, Voinovich said he could no longer support efforts by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to delay the measure in hopes of winning the right to offer additional GOP amendments. Most of the proposed amendments "didn't have anything to do with the bill" anyway, Voinovich said, and amounted merely to partisan "messaging."

"We don't have time for messaging. We don't have time anymore. This country is really hurting," Voinovich said. If a single amendment to reduce paperwork for business owners is considered on the floor, Voinovich said he told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that he would add his vote to that of 59 Democrats. That would give the majority party the 60 votes needed to overcome possible a GOP filibuster and move the package to final passage when Congress returns to Washington next week.

[...]

The package of tax breaks and other incentives includes a new loan fund that would encourage community banks to provide up to $30 billion to small businesses, improving access to credit - a problem hurting small businesses in Ohio, Voinovich said. He cited the case of a constituent whose business was turned down for a loan by 42 banks.

"We don't have time anymore to play games," Voinovich said. "I happen to believe these small-business people can't get money to save their souls."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090903599.html

At least SOMEONE takes the economy seriously.

Thank you George Voinovich, ffs.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

All

No one in this country is against Muslims - they are against our country being ATTACKED.


Sorry - but some liberals do not seem to respect that.


All this talk about islamaphobia - and the polls - linking this to that -


NONE of that would have happened without the attacks.

How about if we say the Japanese DID NOT attack Pearl Harbor -


It was REALLY Japanese radicals - using Japanese nationalism as their cause.

This entire discussion is so stupid.

The mosque should NOT be built - and everyone should just let adequate time to pass AFTER the war is over to wounds to heal.

I will point out again - THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT THE MOSQUE FLARED UP AFTER THE BOMB WAS PLACED TIME SQUARE IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR - WHICH COULD HAVE KILLED 3,000 MORE PEOPLE.

The liberals FORGET THAT -


It is time for the liberals to simmer down - and go quietly while THEY GET VOTED OUT.

.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 9, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

There is basically no risk for Obama to veto an extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest. A big majority of the voters are for a repeal of those cuts. OTOH, it would spell the end of any thought for a 2nd mandate. Come on! Sparing the wealthiest in these tough times for the rest of us? There are no RATIONAL basis for that.

That said, I completely agree with jhorton87: more income tax brackets ought to be implemented in the upper echelon. A dude who makes 3 millions versus another who makes 300K taxed at the same rate is just plain ludicrous.

Posted by: grosmec | September 9, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

jhorton and Bartels are right. Its not news that the wealthy exert an inordinate amount of influence on politics. Campaign donations are one large factor in this, of course, but not the only one. This has basically been the case for all of human history, but I really think the middle class is generally unaware of how deep this goes or is at least unwilling to come to terms with their relative powerlessness.

I think this is related to how successful Reagan-era Republicans were in convincing the middle class to support policies favorable to the rich by promising them (someday!)entry into their club.

Posted by: jbossch | September 9, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

SaveTheRainForest.

Why do you double space between every sentence?
You can save that for when you are taking dictation from Gov. Jan Brewer.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Jim Himes’ Bubble-Era Politics

We have just gotten through one bubble, but in the process created another one. The first was a financial bubble and the second, which grew out of the first, is a government bubble. Perhaps our experience of living through two bubbles in such close succession can help us draw lessons about how bubbles work and what we should do about them.

First, the illusion of unlimited resources makes it impossible to establish priorities and make sensible decisions. Borrowers could take advantage of free money from lenders who were offloading the risk onto others. The illusion of limitless and risk-free financing made it possible for borrowers and investors to think we could have it all.

Second, bubbles end – Badly. It cannot go on forever so it doesn’t. Once the last patsy is onboard, a bubble ends. Our financial bubble is ending and our financial markets are reverting to making sense.

Our next bubble is government. Our government seems to think it can have it all. For a while, it can: each new program can be a “right” because it doesn’t need to be a priority. There is no need for priorities while everything appears possible. Our government has found its patsies in its accommodating creditors, taxpayers, and future taxpayers.

This too will end – sooner or later and a higher or lower cost. Post-bubble, we will re-familiarize ourselves with the fact of resource constraints. We will prioritize. It will be an exciting period for public policy in which serious people will have to convey reasons for their best ideas and convince others of their wisdom.

Jim Himes is a politician of the bubble era – he is the representative of unlimited government to Fairfield County and a symbol of the excesses of our past. Watch for him to appropriate an “independent” label in the coming months. While we should sympathize with his efforts to distance himself from his extremist record, we cannot allow him to become independent of reality. He votes with Nancy Pelosi over 95% of the time; that is not an independent record. It is a record of profligate spending that we cannot sustain. Times have changed. Our families cannot afford Himes anymore.

Posted by: ccdemuth | September 9, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Toxic to some large contributor, I'm guessing.

Posted by: Mimikatz | September 9, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010
Thanks for that. Glad to hear Voinovitch is finally doing something right by Ohio.

Posted by: DinOH | September 9, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"Surprisingly (!), pols of both parties are disproportionately responsive to views of the wealthiest voters, which explains the gulf between public opinion on taxes on rich and political conventional wisdom on taxes on rich."

In a word: plutocracy.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Again...not to muddy this debate with FACTS but...
* The Bush tax cuts have contributed to revenues dropping in 2004 to the lowest level as a share of the economy since 1950, and have been a major contributor to the dramatic shift from large projected budget surpluses to projected deficits as far as the eye can see.
* The tax cuts have conferred the most benefits, by far, on the highest-income households — those least in need of additional resources — at a time when income already is exceptionally concentrated at the top of the income spectrum.
* The design of these tax cuts was ill-conceived, resulting in significantly less economic stimulus than could have been accomplished for the same budgetary cost. In part because the tax cuts were not as effective as alternative measures would have been, job creation during this recovery has been notably worse than in any other recovery since the end of World War II.

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1811

I do concede however that the $250,000 mark is problematic based on the location of the taxpayer. $250,000 is a fortune in Florida...it barely pays the bills in Manhattan, San Francisco and other isolated pockets of expensive living and average higher incomes.

The solution has been suggested by several already...either create more brackets...or perhaps allow a cost of living exemption for someone living in one of these uber expensive areas.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Big O just sees the world through political eyes. Don't be fooled. He just supplied a huge $200 Billion supply-side tax cut in order to curry favor with the big money boyz. In return, they let him make some political hay by telling the middle class that he's "giving them" favorable income tax treatment while tax cuts for "the rich" expire. He may just have bought himself a trip back to the White House. When the likes of Cramer start praising his policies, start asking yourself why.

Well it looks like Americans might be in the mood for getting fooled again if they believe they are being helped. It's Hopium all over again. He's actually cheating the US middle class and giving gifts to big biz. Here's why.

Most of the R&D tax cuts will flow straight to upgrading and expanding investments in China and other developing economies where large US corporates derive their profits and compete for new markets. Huge overcapacity still exists in the US and domestic demand is expected to grow anemically because of structural, social and economic problems. It makes more sense to design and manufacture and sell abroad, and export to the US as demand materializes.

Here's a PERFECT example hot off the presses today (as in AFTER the R&D tax cut announcement):

Ford cancels plan to move SUV plant from Germany to US

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-09/ford-said-to-cancel-plan-to-move-kuga-production-to-kentucky-from-germany.html

There'll be some very limited small potatoes benefit in the US and they'll hype it to the moon: 10 jobs created in Sheboygan! 15 in Toledo! 20 in Union City! Booooooyah!

So we just gave away another $200 Billion. But worst of all, we haven't addressed ANY of the structural issues that are crippling the US economy now, preventing jobs creation and growth.

Guess we'll have to wait for things to get really ugly before anybody wakes up."

Posted by: Papagnello | September 9, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

If it helps deprive their opponents of a talking point that has potential for real traction in their districts then have at it I say -- and I might even go so far as to allow that they may know their districts better than I do. Talk is cheap and so are safe votes. And I would rate the chances of Bush tax cuts actually being made permanent by this congress and/or signed into law by this president as being precisely zero.

Posted by: CalD | September 9, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

sold2u:
And how many people in those two cities make under $250,000/yr? Himes used to work for The Giant Vampire Squid. Does that surprise you?

Posted by: Calvin_Jones_and_the_13th_Apostle | September 9, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I wish to remind Progressives that the Dean compete in all fifty states plan, which lead to taking over The House worked, not because Dean suddenly discovered another fifty progressive congressional districts, that some how were in the habit of electing conservative Representatives. It worked because most of the new seats were captured by Conservative Democrats. Without them, the House would still be controlled by the Republicans.

Reality Check:

Approximately 48 House Democrats are up for reelection in Congressional Districts that were all carried by McCain/Palin.

Let that reality rattle around inside your heads for a moment. Think about it: those Democrats won in districts so Conservative, that even during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they still opted for the McCain/Palin ticket.

That is the political reality of what those Democrats are facing in their own districts. They know best, where the district stands on issues,such as the Bush Tax cuts, so we have to allow them the freedom to not commit political suicide.

Once again;

"All Politics Is Local" Tip O'Neill

And never more so than when a Democrat is trying to hold on to a seat that he won in a District that went for McCain/Palin. Better to let them run as conservatives, and keep the house majority, than to let the Republicans take over, and completely block all of President Obama's future efforts, and start holding a lot of mischief making hearings and investigations.

No liberal could win, where those Blue Dogs won, so you better settle for that, because the alternative is far worse.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

C/o Nate Silver:

Issues Highlighted on Web sites of Democratic and Republican Candidates in 33 Toss-up Districts

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/fivethirtyeight/drissues.png

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/democrats-arent-running-from-health-care-but-what-are-they-running-on/

Here is the conclusion graph and I think this sums up the state of politics today very succinctly:

"Democrats have criticized Republicans for their vague agenda – and certainly the Republicans have not articulated anything as succinct as the Contract With America, which aided their exceptional performance in the midterm elections of 1994. But Republicans do appear to have a message that is at least reasonably clear to voters, and reasonably consistent from one Congressional district to the next: pick us, and we’ll repeal health care, secure the border and reduce the size of government. Democrats, meanwhile, who two years ago seemed to have a glut of agenda items, are now having trouble articulating to their constituents exactly what a Democratic vote would gain them. Perhaps that’s why Democrats are having trouble both with the sizable number of voters who are dissatisfied with both parties and in motivating their base."

THIS is why it pisses me off to no end that the "Professional Left" is busy chasing the Republican meme of the hour.

Democrats have stopped being FOR things.

The Democratic Outside the Beltway bloggers and pundits -- who are in no small way responsible for helping drive the Dem narrative -- have utterly failed in their critical role of supporting the Democratic agenda.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"And I would rate the chances of Bush tax cuts actually being made permanent by this congress and/or signed into law by this president as being precisely zero."

So now we're talking about whether they will be made PERMANENT. When did that happen? Was it immediately after word leaked that the WH was making a deal to extend the cuts for 2 years? Sorry for the snark but this seems cynical to me. The question is whether the cuts for the wealthiest are going to expire as scheduled. Or not.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne "In a word: plutocracy."

Yes indeed. A couple of days ago I illustrated this very point with plenty of facts and statistics and the specific example of Rick "The Scu&bag" Scott literally buying the R' nomination for the Florida Governors mansion with 50 million of his own money.

Tao pointed out that we have always lived in a plutocracy...specific example..Joe Kennedy buying the Presidency.

While I agree with tao what has happened to our nation. Is it that the plutarchs (FDR, Kennedy et al) have simply grown more selfish. Or is it that the Corporations have finally taken over? Like the renegade computer in 2001 a Space Odyssey.

Again...FACTUALLY speaking...the middle class was growing from 1945-1980...since then it has been shrinking. Some righties..including people I respect like Kevin wish to argue that perhaps..but the middle class is still doing fine...it's just that the wealthy have acquired more wealth.

Despite what other losers have mis-characterized about me...I'm NOT a wild eyed socialist out for radical income redistribution. And in fact IF the rest of the nation were doing fine and the wealthy picked up another gazillion dollars..fine....but our nation's middle class is not doing fine...some reasons...

While we have the lowest taxes we spend more on the military than the rest of the world combined. If you account for the two "off the books" wars it's actually currently at more than half our budget.

The combination of the worlds lowest taxes with the highest military budget in the world has devastated our citizens.

By devastated I mean as in DEATH! I quite literally would be dead right now if I hadn't been blessed with coverage. 8 years ago I went to the Dermatologist to have him check a mole on my back that made my wife suspicious. Indeed...it was a malignant melanoma, thankfully caught early before it spread to my lymph glands.
Without insurance I would have never gone.
There are countless cases where people without health care have died or become far sicker than necessary because they simply didn't go to the Doc until they were symptomatic.

We can afford to waste over a TRILLION $ on Georgie and Dick's excellent adventure in Iraq..yet we can't even take care of our own citizens or are own infrastructure.

Yet look at the battle we waged for lukewarm HCR with private companies...and now the battle for a whopping 3% tax increase for the top 2% of our population.

Compassion, sense of community are out...but as Gordon Gecko famously said..
GREED IS GOOD!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

WoeBegone,

Why is any issue of "critical importance" to you now, since you already stated, weeks ago, that you were not going to vote, and that you wanted to work toward establishing a third party?

Are you really a TeaBagger Trojan Horse, trying to sow dissent and discontent among Democrats?

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

So, tell me, if Democrats, including Peter Orszag, want to extend the eeeevil Bush tax cuts, does that make them right wing extremists? Oh, and Sargant, you're nothing but a hack. Bush tax cuts for the rich? I got a tax cut and I'm sure as hell not rich. Pathetic.

Posted by: renagle | September 9, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Ho hum. It's easy for the Congress critters to make noises about extending Bush's tax cuts. They'd actually have to pass legislation. Won't happen. In the meantime, they get to make noise for free.

Posted by: fzdybel | September 9, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Liam the Blog God:

Because I'm still an American. And as such I have the right to speak my opinion unless Greg tells me otherwise. And the fact that I am not following your Dem GOTV program matters not the slightest to me. BTW: Didn't you announce that you would be out knocking on doors all week?

Eejit.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

WoeBegone,

I spent twelve hours yesterday, knocking on doors, and making phone calls. I got a call today, as I was about to do the same thing, asking me to switch with another person, who needed me to fill in for them tonight. So I will get my promised canvasing done, later today, while you sit on your whiny arse doing your best to discourage people from voting for Democrats.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Himes primarily represents Fairfield County: a land of millionaires whose only concern is the fact that they are not billionaires. As such, this is a solid political/fund raising move for Himes. However, if the reps from AL, AZ and MI are so cowed and ineffectual in the face of the Republican's "bet on stupid" strategy, they have no place on a Dem ticket. True progressives have always stood for the facts no matter what. Sure, we've suffered politically for it many times, but isn't that what separates us from the Koran burners?
In the end its better to have a known enemy than a fair weather friend. I'm looking at you, Big Booby B, enjoy unemployment come Nov. you spineless son of a...

Posted by: eadsiv | September 9, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

WoeBegone,

Since you dodged this question:

"re you really a TeaBagger Trojan Horse, trying to sow dissent and discontent among Democrats?"

That makes the answer clear, and exposes you for what you are really up to.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Liam,

What do you have left to say at the doors?

"it's better than the alternative"

That's it.

Posted by: Papagnello | September 9, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

O/T:

"The United Steelworkers union launched a broad challenge Thursday against what it alleges is illegal support for China's growing dominance in the renewable energy industry. The move targets China's practices in a sector that President Obama has said is central to U.S. economic renewal."

We're getting our as*es kicked by Communists. The United States, the foremost capitalist outpost on the planet is getting taken to the cleaners by a Communist business competitor. How is this even possible? Yet another cataclysm visited upon America by Rotted Conservatism and its delivery vehicle, the Know-Nothing GOP.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Oops.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090903780.html?nav=rss_email/components

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: Not trying to stick my nose where it doesn't belong or trying to take sides, but please don't let Liam get to you.

I don't necessarily agree with you all of the time, and quite frankly I understand BOTH your and Liam's sides in this ongoing argument - but I think you're an important progressive voice on this blog and I'd hate to see you get frustrated and leave us.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 9, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The risk to these Reps is not alienating voters, but alienating donors. In close races you need all the money you can get.

Posted by: mschol17 | September 9, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

OT but interesting. Since the morning plum I've been curious about these wild disparities in polling. Of course the difference between "likely voters" and "registered" voters explains some of it...and now here's something new for 2010

We are also seeing another pattern emerge that is mostly unique to 2010: In several states, pollsters using automated methods, particularly Rasmussen Reports, SurveyUSA and Public Policy Polling (PPP), are reporting results consistently more favorable to Republican candidates than those using live interviewers.

The Kentucky Senate race is a prime example. Yesterday's CNN/Time live interviewer survey of registered voters shows a dead-heat tie (46% to 46%) between Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway. Yet surveys of likely voters conducted in August by Rasmussen and SurveyUSA have shown Paul leading by larger margins (roughly 10 points on average), with the surveys of likely voters conducted with live interviewers by CN2 Politics/Braun Research and Reuters/IPSOS fall somewhere in between (Paul leading by 5 point on average).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/09/poll-update-kentucky-poll_n_710262.html

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

schrodingerscat:

"I don't necessarily agree with you all of the time"

Ha! Neither do I. Thanks for the kind words.

In fact, I think I do understand the frustration that Liam and Ethan, among others feel. In part it's a difference of opinion in how we see Greg's blog and what we imagine the impact of our individual comments to be. For myself, I assume zero on the latter so I just say what I think. For the former, I wouldn't presume to speak for Greg.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Gerry Connolly was a weasel as chairman of the county board of supervisors. Appears nothing has changed.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | September 9, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ethan.
A lot of us are out here donating money and volunteering hours. We could use some support and encouragement from the blogs.

Posted by: Beeliever | September 9, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, how long ago was it that you could actually call China a "Communist" state? If anything they are the ideal free-market, zero-regulation, zero-workers rights paradise that American businesses have flocked too in favor of keeping jobs in America.
Apparently a few forum goons are still stuck in some 1980's textbook's version of current events. Btw, how's the weather in Kansas this time of year?

Posted by: eadsiv | September 9, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

To the question of how this is playing in individual districts - I live in Congressman Peters district in Michigan. He is a Freshman who could be in trouble this year running against a guy who doesn't actually have a plan but just is riding the anti-incumbent wave. Congressman Peters has been a strong progressive vote the last two years and I think now he is in trouble - so he comes up with this wishy washy 1 year extension bs. It's not safe being a democrat here right now but the Bush tax cuts aren;t being talked about by anyone I know (in the under $250K income range) so he's not hearing a lot of pressure from the type of people I know on this. It's probably the big money donors and the press that has him running scared.

Called his office, they confirmed the statement and tried to sell the "not wanting to jeopardize a fragile recovery" story. When asked why the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expiring would jeopardize the economy since they were in place for the collapse of the economy the poor guy answering the phone had no answer. When asked why he thought there was any stimulative effect from tax cuts for the wealthy since they save and don't spend the poor guy on the phone had no answer. When asked why someone would vote for a democrat who was being a wimp and caving to Republican talking points and policies as opposed to just voting for a Republican the poor guy had no answer. Although the last question was unfair as this is just one point where Congressman Peters has wimped out - his voting record is superior to the Republican he replaced and any republican that would replace him. I just asked it so they would maybe realize that this position might lose them voters as well as gin them voters since Dems for some reason don't understand the enthusiasm gap.

Posted by: zattarra | September 9, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

All, check out this terrific Rachel Maddow segment on Sharron Angle:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 9, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@S'scat....I agree with your post about wbgonne at 3:02. Since I DO agree with wbgonne virtually all of the time...I can breathe a sigh of relief that your not hacked at me either. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@eadsiv..."Ummm, how long ago was it that you could actually call China a "Communist" state?"

Yesterday a poster actually referred to them as Chicoms. :-) A quaint term to be sure. Luckily I am an old fart who remembers the 50's, the Korean War and that term. LOL

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Liam,

What do you have left to say at the doors?

"it's better than the alternative"

That's it.

Posted by: Papagnello | September 9, 2010 3:01 PM | R
.....................

I tell them why Democrats are way better for working class people than the alternative. I remind them of which party has rescued workers from impoverishment, over and over, when Republicans; from Hoover to Bush2 have been the ones who lead us into those disasters.

I remind them of who has always stood by labor, and who have always fought for the minimum wage, while the Republicans blocked an increase year after year.

I remind them of who established Social Security for the elderly, and who keeps on defending it from those who would try to undermine it, and punch holes in it, until it collapsed in on itself.

I remind them of who has fought for equal work rights for all their Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Nieces, and Wives.

I remind them of who has fought to let women handle their own legal reproductive decisions, in consultation with their doctors and their own personal belief systems.

I remind them, that most fat cats do not trickle down, because if they did, they would not be greedy fat cats, and that they have had the Bush Tax Cuts for long enough to prove that they have not invested them in job creation.

And yes; I remind them of the fact that John Kevorkian Boehner and Mitch Kevorkian McConnell were in the operating room for the past two decades, and they almost killed the patient, so why would you give them another chance at finishing off the middle class, permanently.

Trickle down is a sick joke.

Democrats believe in percolation, because if you put more money in the hands of the working class they will spend it on goods and services, where as the Fat Cat will sit on it, until the consumer demand returns.

That is what I call the Republican Catch22 Economics Philosophy;

It Is Robin Hood With Dyslexia.

They take from the poor to give to the rich. The rich in turn, sit on the extra money, until the working stiffs start spending, and create a supply side demand. However; since that is not creating jobs, wage spending stays depressed, keeping demand depressed, there by keeping the fat cats sitting on their big fat assets, except when they invest in a trophy sports team, or a new vanity wife.

Trickle Down Is a Ridiculous Catch 22 Economic Theory, and we have the current Great Recession, post Bush Tax Cuts, to prove it.

Spread the word.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Ummm, how long ago was it that you could actually call China a "Communist" state? If anything they are the ideal free-market, zero-regulation, zero-workers rights paradise that American businesses have flocked too in favor of keeping jobs in America."

Wow, another loon comes in for a landing. No words to describe this level of zaniness.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 9, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

A Republican President, Richard Nixon, was the one who went to China, and Kissed Mao's Arse which has now ended up with China eating America's lunch, and loaning us back our own money, to pay for it.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, this is a cliche strewn comment thread.

Here's just a couple: rich people only care about themselves. Really? then why do liberal candidates consistently get elected in states like Connecticut? there is a description of the income levels for one county,yet how did they vote?

On the one hand someone here scoffs at the use of the term "chi com" as being outdated. Well the notion that rich people are automatically some sort of hard hearted scrooges is also anachronistic.

the next cliche is that the Bush tax cuts didn't work because they were in effect when the crash hit. Yeah? the speed limit on my local road was also in effect, should we eliminate that too? This is really a very foolish point to make. After all, how many in America would refuse a return to the economic conditions that existed during the middle years of the Bush admin?

And advocating for political suicide by incumbent Democrats is just fine by me. Please by all means insist that those members facing tough challenges hew to the liberal agenda. That should do wonders for the conservative movement in November

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 9, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

They are all flippin NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way to go Dems,(you are not Dems)

Posted by: ladyblug | September 9, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe the complete idiocy of those who have and will continue to vote against their best interests. Proof that the republicans give a rats rear end about anyone, or anything other than Power. A true plutocracy and SHAMEFUL!

Posted by: ladyblug | September 9, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

There is so much said about the need to cut taxes on the rich because it affects jobs and economic growth - but NO DATA! Economics is supposed to have some quantitative basis - so let's see some. Otherwise all the talk is just politics.

Posted by: fareandbalanced | September 9, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

PROVED BY RESULTS - Capital gains tax cuts make long term investment in manufacturing plant and equipment LESS competitive with trading for futures and stocks and derivatives etc.
HERE's THE FACTS -
1. After 1997 capital gains tax reduction from 25 to 20% manufacturing employment went down 700K 1998-2000. Counting multiplier of 3 jobs related to each manufacturing that's a loss of 2.1 Mil jobs
2. After the Bush tax cuts including a reduction from 20% to 15% in the cap gains tax rate, there were 2.8 Mil manufacturing jobs lost 2003-2005. OR almost 9 mil jobs lost including related jobs
3. BY 2007 41% of all corporate profits were in the financial sector.
THEREs more but you get the drift.

Posted by: tigman_2 | September 10, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

tigman2.. your stats on the results of cap gain tax reductions are questionable. What is your source? And maybe without the tax cuts on cap gains, the economy would have been worse.. sort of like the stimulus..
except the unemployment numbers and job creation were real. And yes I do have reliable sources to hold up my statement.

Posted by: carla2 | September 10, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The fact is, Obama's position on tax cuts may hurt some of these guys in their re-election campaigns.

But it will bolster other Democrats far more.

It's the right thing to do economically and politically.

Posted by: JustinOhio | September 10, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

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