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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 12/16/2010

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

There are 81 senators who understand raising taxes stifles growth. "The Senate on Wednesday approved the $858 billion tax plan negotiated by the White House and Republican leaders -- the first concrete product of a new era of divided government and acid compromise. The vote was 81 to 19, as Democrats yielded in their long push to end the Bush-era lowered tax rates for high-income taxpayers, and Republicans agreed to back a huge economic stimulus package, including an extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and a one-year payroll-tax cut for most workers, with the entire cost added to the federal deficit."

On 7 of 10 issues, voters trust the Republicans more than the Democrats. "But Republicans were trusted more on eight out of 10 issues in October just before Election Day and all 10 issues in late August. Still, the latest numbers still show a sharp contrast from two years ago when Democrats were trusted more than Republicans on most issues. On the economy, the issue of most importance to voters, the GOP holds a 47% to 39% edge. These findings have shown little change since early June 2009."

The House Republicans detail the millions and billions in the omnibus spending bill. A few highlights: "$575.13 Million: Amount of spending per page in the Senate Democrats' pork-laden omnibus spending bill. . . .$1 Billion: Funding included in the omnibus bill for the implementation of Democrats' job-killing health-care law, including $176 million to implement Medicare Advantage cuts. . . .0: Number of budgets passed by Democrats this year."

Is it 2011 or 2014? "Come August, the contradictions in White House messaging about the Afghanistan timeline will be unspinnable. Either the timeline will start a rapid rush to the exit as the left base wants or it will be the gradual, conditions-based withdrawal inching towards a distant 2014 deadline (followed by a long-term strategic partnership) that General Petraeus and moderates in the war cabinet have indicated."

Is Evan Bayh the 67th vote on START?

In a multi-candidate race, Rahm Emanuel leads with 32 percent. Provided he is actually a resident, he is in good shape.

Michael Steele has 15 supporters. Considering there are 168 votes, that's not very good, is it?

But 60 percent is very good, indeed. "With the Senate's final approval of President Obama's compromise tax deal -- and with the House expected to take up the measure tomorrow -- nearly 60 percent approve of its major components, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll."

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 16, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
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"There are 81 senators who understand raising taxes stifles growth."

Except that's not a true statement, as in 1993 when the Clinton administration raised taxes and the economy grew at a steady rate for the rest of the decade.

These things have to be looked at on a case by case basis. It really depends on about 10 different variables, including the type of taxes. Raising taxes NOW would be bad for growth, but there is no absolute correlation between taxes and growth.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 16, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

If we do stay in Afghanistan until 2014 that would make it 12 years or nearly double any other war in our history. For which we would have to show some trillion dollars in spending, a mountainously worthless pile of real estate that most conquerors even Alexander the Great have deemed not worth the effort, a corrupt non-deomcratic government which controls only the cities, and an as yet to be determined final number of US casualties.

(And for which you will no doubt attack the President anyway as being soft, and yet at the same time say he was "ratifying" the policies of his predecessor.)

Posted by: 54465446 | December 16, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how it might effect the polls Jennifer were the people to be given real information about taxes.

I dare you tell us what portion of gross national income the wealthiest 1% makes? Then I dare you to tell us how much taxes were collected on it?

I dare you.

Posted by: RoyVeigh | December 16, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer please stop writing deeply offensive stuff like this. It endangers our brave soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

" we should continue and enhance espionage and sabotage of the Iranian nuclear program. Every nuclear scientist who has a "car accident" and every computer virus buys us time, setting back the timeline for Iran's nuclear capability, while exacting a price for those who cooperate with the nuclear program. Think of it as the ultimate targeted sanction."

Especially since you also wrote this,

"What do I believe in? ...defense of freedom and human rights around the world."

Posted by: RoyVeigh | December 16, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse


I understand your point, but I have a question for you. Iran does not have many of what we consider basic human rights, including freedom of religion and freedom from discrimnation against women. The head of their government has imprisoned the opposition and seems bent on becoming dictatorial, or at least eliminating the free elections process.

Why doesn't that matter?

Posted by: 54465446 | December 16, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse


Of course it matters. What matters even more is that today Israel possesses nuclear weapons and therefore is today an existential threat to Iran. When Obama at his first press conference said, "should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon she could 'START' an arms race in the region" he was lying to us, he knows full well Israel already has them.
I assume Ms. Ruben knows this too which make her call for the extrajudicial murder of Iranian scientists all the more obscene. Incidentally, as far as I know there is not one piece of evidence that Iran is perusing a nuclear weapon though I personally believe they would be foolish not to.
It is laughable that Israel claims Iran with the bomb would be an existential threat to her.

Iran (and Iraq) would have been further along the road to freedom and democracy if we had just left them alone but it was for oil after all, Mosadec in 1953 and Hussein in 2003.

Posted by: RoyVeigh | December 16, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse


But Israel has had nuclear weapons for at least 15-20 years now, and has never used them against an Islamic state, nor have they threatened to end the existence of any of the same, unlike Iran.

To say that Iran Iraq would have been further along deomcracy wise, is a statement without support. Iran had a deomcracy, at least a reasonble Middle Eastern facsimile, that Ahmedinejad subverted and defied. No other Middle Eastern Islamic state has anything approaching a democracy, as we understand it, although Jordanians might argue that point.

The prevalence of non-democratic forms of government in the world synonymous with Islam cannot be a coincidence. There is no reason to believe that Iraq would ever have seen any deomcratic elements whatsoever without the US.

Our long history of dubious adventures in Iran is well established, but who can say whether the Iranian people would be worse off today if the Shah had not lost his nerve as the papier mache ruler he always was.

Thanks for the discussion.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 16, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

raising taxes stifles growth ?

Back when Bush was pushing his tax cut packages through Congress in 2001 and 2003, supporters said the cuts (which weren't balanced with spending reductions) would initiate an era in which the American economy would grow so robustly the nation would be running a surplus of more than $5 trillion at the scheduled expiration date. U.S. now is facing a $14 trillion deficit.

In sharp contrast, Former President Bill Clinton left a record surplus, despite the warning of potential economic disaster over tax increase for the wealthiest.

Posted by: hsr06011 | December 16, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse


Unlike Israel, Iran has not attacked anyone in recent history nor is she presently stealing other peoples land. We have already established that she is not an existential threat to Israel nor will she be if she obtains nuclear weapons; mutual assured destruction. Incidentally if you have any links to Iranian leaders calling for the destruction of Israel I would appreciate you giving me them. I am aware of some threats that have proven to be fabrications or deliberate misquotes.
Saddam Hussein came from a politics of muderous clans and would afford his enemies no quarter and expect none in return. However, he was the best of the post Ottoman Iraqi leaders. He held a fractious nation together something we have not been able to do. He did away with Sharia Law, initiated a literacy program for boys and girls with free education and healthcare for all. Yes, he dealt harshly with insurections including several initaiated by the United States but if you want to see how to really put down an insurection take a look at what we did to Fallujah.
We are resposible for at least 1,000,000 deaths in a country that has never done anything against us and Kuwait was the bait. Perhaps this is what Jennifer Rubin means by 'American exceptionalism'
The Mosadec government was democratically elected back in 1953 and we destroyed it. The Shah never lost his nerve because he never had any, he was entirely a puppet of the US.
Indeed the prevalence of non-democratic forms of government synonymous with Islam is no coincidence, you cannot jump overnight from a tribal society to democracy it takes time but they certainly would have been further along in their evolution had it not been for our often brutal meddling.Quite recently I realised something that has disturbed me. Not only did we deserve 9/11, we got off very far.

Posted by: RoyVeigh | December 16, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

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