Friday, December 10, 2010

The Tax Cut Debate Rages On

While his base rages, Obama faces tax-cut reality

Reality strikes. President Obama spurned the advice of columnists Paul Krugman and Katrina vanden Heuvel and agreed with Republicans to extend the current income tax rates -- the so-called Bush tax cuts -- for another two years…….

This has infuriated liberal Democrats like outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., but they share some of the blame themselves. THEY PROBABLY COULD HAVE PASSED THEIR VERSION OF THE TAX BILL EARLIER THIS YEAR, before the economic recovery stalled in the spring.

But with the economy faltering, there's a strong argument against raising anyone's taxes -- strong enough to have persuaded many congressional Democrats.

Obama had to abandon his goal of raising taxes on high earners NOT BECAUSE REPUBLICANS OPPOSED IT BUT BECAUSE NOT ENOUGH DEMOCRATS SUPPORTED IT. Pelosi couldn't summon up a majority on the issue back in September, and Harry Reid could get only 53 of the needed 60 votes this month.


Everything that has happened in the past two years is basically the Democrat’s responsibility. They had huge majorities in both Houses of Congress and what they didn’t pass wasn’t the fault of the Republicans. If they had passed a budget this year as the Constitution requires, they could have used reconciliation to pass the version of tax cut extensions they wanted since it only would have required 51 votes in the Senate. The democrats are pointing the finger at President Obama while they should be pointing at themselves.

Obama and the Democratic Revolt

For agreeing to a temporary extension of all the Bush tax cuts, President Obama is now facing a FULL-FLEDGED REVOLT WITHIN HIS PARTY. The responses from congressional Democrats have ranged from chilly to angry to threatening.

One asked, "Could we have a little fight before we cave? Why go right to surrender?" Another accused Mr. Obama of saying, "let 'em eat cake." Another called the compromise "an absolute disaster" and "an insult." Another complained, "we got screwed."

Liberals outside Congress are even more bitter. MOVEON.ORG DEMANDED DEMOCRATS NOT "CAPITULATE TO THE GOP ON THIS TERRIBLE DEAL." Some have talked of primary challenges to Mr. Obama.

It won't be easy for Mr. Obama to push the compromise through Congress. Nancy Pelosi doesn't see where the votes will come in the House. Harry Reid's spokesman says simply that the majority leader "plans on discussing it with his caucus."

Despite all this, Mr. Obama should actually find a sizable constituency for his plan among democrats. BY MY COUNT, ROUGHLY 50 HOUSE DEMOCRATS HAVE ALREADY SIGNALED that they may sign on to a compromise like the one announced this week (39 would be needed to pass the bill).

In a man-bites-dog moment in September, 31 DEMOCRATS SIGNED A LETTER TELLING MS. PELOSI THAT NOW WAS NOT THE TIME TO RAISE ANY AMERICAN’S TAXES. It was smart politics. As a new poll from American crossroads (a group with which I’m associated) has found, Americans believe—BY A 4-TO-1 MARGIN—THAT RAISING TAXES IN A RECESSION WILL HURT GROWTH, and that tax rates should stay where they are so employers start hiring again.

For all the noise by the left, that is all it is right now—NOISE.

Some conjecture on the Bush Tax Cuts extension

Count me as surprised and wrong on the shape of the Obama-McConnell tax deal.

Given the certainty that any tax-rate extensions would be temporary, I THOUGHT THEY'D BE EITHER FOR THREE YEARS OR ONE YEAR. I thought the Obama campaign would prefer to run without having to re-fight the same tax-rate battle. Totally wrong. BARACK OBAMA WANTS THIS FIGHT.


Could happen. You might even mark Mr. Obama as the 2012 favorite—if, like Bill Clinton in 1994, he stiffs his party's left and embraces the new political center whose blueprint was just drawn for him by his own Bowles-Simpson deficit commission……

Ghosts of the Democratic past—Hubert Humphrey, Al Smith—have been known as Happy Warriors. BARACK OBAMA IS A CLASS WARRIOR WITH EVERY FIBER OF HIS BEING. AND HE ISN'T HAPPY.

This is a worthwhile read.

Write offs for Corporations in the Tax Deal

Deep thinker Alan Grayson opens his mouth and changes feet.

Rep. Alan Grayson (d-Florida): So THEY ARE GIVING A 100 PERCENT TAX CUT TO LARGE CORPORATIONS ONLY. And I mean large corporations only because small corporations already get to write off $250,000 of their investments, but no more than that. So taking this tax cut that was meant, this tax benefit that was meant for small corporations, and they're applying it to Microsoft, they're applying it to GE, THEY'RE APPLYING IT TO HUGE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS TO CUT THEIR TAXES TO ZERO NEXT YEAR, because some people in the White House evidently think that the real problem with the U.S. economy today is that corporations aren't making enough money.

Ezra Klein, Washington Post: I CAN’T AGREE WITH REP. GRAYSON’S OPINION on the business tax cut. That tax cut isn’t a secret. It was first proposed by the Obama administration in September. WHAT IT DOES IS IT TAKES INVESTMENTS, YOU USUALLY GET A DEDUCTION FOR THAT OVER TIME, AND INSTEAD OF GIVING IT TO THEM OVER TEN YEARS, IT GIVES IT TO THEM IN ONE YEAR. So, you’re trying to pull investment forward from the future into 2011. OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS THAT WOULD COST $30 BILLION NOT $150 BILLION, AND IT ISN'T A ZEROING OUT OF THE CORPORATE TAX RATE. I take his point that, you know, you can argue that corporations pay too little already, they have mountains of profits they're sitting on, and so there’s arguments about how effective it will be. But it isn’t, IT ISN’T JUST A GIVEAWAY. It's an attempt to try to move investment from the future to here. And that does make some sense in the current situation when they have this level of profits they could spend if they wanted to.

Let me see. Democrats complain that corporations are sitting on money they’ve earned. So they sweeten the pie by letting them deduct any money they invest next year all at once. And any money they invest will spur other companies to build products. This actually seems like a level headed plan to create jobs and spur growth. Grayson is a moron.

David Brooks on the Bush Tax Cuts extension

I OPPOSED THE ORIGINAL BUSH TAX CUTS. But I support a temporary extension now. Let's think about the circumstances. WE'RE IN A HORRIBLE ECONOMIC CLIMATE. The entire business community thinks the government is out to destroy them. DO WE THINK RAISING TAXES ON SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE IS GOING TO IMPROVE THEIR WILLINGNESS TO INVEST AND TAKE RISKS?

In other words, the economy did fine in the Clinton years with a 39 percent rate. Eventually, we should return to that. But THIS IS NOT THE MOMENT TO TAKE ANOTHER SLEDGEHAMMER TO MARKET PSYCHOLOGY.

I'm actually a little depressed by Democrats' inability to think dynamically about this. Yes, the rich have made a ton of money over the past decades. They could probably afford to pay more. But some percentage of them really, really cares about tax rates and THOSE PEOPLE WILL CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR IF THEY THINK THE U.S. HATES BUSINESS and if they think they won't get to keep their profits

Brooks is a come late to the party conservative who liberal tend to like.

A House Party of NO

House Democrats voted Thursday to reject President Barack Obama's tax deal with Republicans in its current form, but it was unclear how significantly the package might need to be changed.

BY VOICE VOTE IN A CLOSED CAUCUS MEETING, Democrats passed a resolution saying the tax PACKAGE SHOULD NOT COME TO THE HOUSE FLOOR FOR CONSIDERATION as written, even though no formal House bill has been drafted. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., introduced the resolution.

Said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas: "If it's take it or leave it, we'll leave it."

The vote will at least temporarily stall what had seemed to be a grudging Democratic movement toward the tax package.

So the Democrats won’t bring it to the floor because they would probably lose there (only 39 of the 258 democrats would have to vote yes for it to pass). It appears the Democrats are planning of voting not present. This will allow the Republicans to come in to office in January and pass the agreement. It doesn’t seem like a wise move on the Democrats part.

A majority of Americans feel they are worse off under Obama and the Democrats

MORE THAN 50 PERCENT OF AMERICANS SAY THEY ARE WORSE OFF NOW THAN THEY WERE TWO YEARS AGO when President Barack Obama took office, and two-thirds believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

The survey, conducted Dec. 4-7, finds that 51 percent of respondents think their situation has deteriorated, compared with 35 PERCENT WHO SAY THEY’RE DOING BETTER. The balance isn’t sure. Americans have grown more downbeat about the country’s future in just the last couple of months, the poll shows. The pessimism cuts across political parties and age groups, and is common to both sexes.

The negative sentiment may cast a pall over the holiday shopping season, according to the poll. A plurality of those surveyed -- 46 percent -- expects to spend less this year than last; only 12 percent anticipate spending more. Holiday sales rose by just under a half percent last year after falling by almost 4 percent in 2008.

This shouldn’t come as a shock. We had a poll last month (the election) which said the same thing.

More on Global Warming

How cold is it?

Gavin Partridge has supplied the details:

The central England Temperature (CET) from the 1st-7th of December is -1.9, making this the COLDEST OPENING WEEK OF DECEMBER SINCE 1879; 1879 is the coldest opening week on CET record, so this week has been THE SECOND COLDEST OPENING WEEK TO DECEMBER SINCE CET RECORDS BEGAN IN 1659.

The two-week period, last week of November and first week of December is the coldest since CET records began in 1659.

It’s going to be an even harder sell for the warmists to convince the people of Great Britain that the problem is global WARMING.

What if Chris Matthews actually told the truth?

MATTHEWS: Welcome to Hardball. I am Chris Matthews. You are a reader of the Don Surber blog. And this – is my guest tonight, SENATOR BARBARA BOXER. Welcome to Hardball, senator.

BOXER: Well it is great to see you, again Chris. Congratulations on beating CNN in the ratings.

MATTHEWS: It is like Cleveland beating the Carolina Panthers. But thanks. The president just cut a deal with the Republicans on the tax package. Why so glum, chum?

BOXER: Because this compromise extends the tax cuts for millionaires. This is unfair. Millionaires should pay more.

MATTHEWS: You say millionaires. YOU MEAN LIKE YOU? You are worth at least one million dollars, more likely five million.


MATTHEWS: Wealthy rich? You mean like John Kerry? Mark Warner? Jared Polis? Herb Kohl? Jay Rockefeller? Dianne Feinstein?

BOXER: No, no, no. I mean the really rich people.

MATTHEWS: Everyone I listed is worth at least 46 million dollars, and maybe as high as 293 million dollars.



BOXER: Well, I meant people who make a million dollars a year.

MATTHEWS: YOU MEAN LIKE ME? I make five million dollars a year.


MATTHEWS: Really. I get five million a year. DO YOU WISH TO KNOW MY SECRET?

BOXER: Please.


By this point you know that this is a spoof. It may be true, but CM would never say anything like this.

WikiLeaks fallout: Bush didn’t lie

Wired magazine's contributing editor Noah Shachtman -- a nonresident fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution -- researched the 400,000 WikiLeaked documents released in October. Here's what he found: "By late 2003, even the Bush White House's staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But WIKILEAKS' NEWLY-RELEASED IRAQ WAR DOCUMENTS REVEAL THAT FOR YEARS AFTERWARD, U.S. TROOPS CONTINUED TO FIND CHEMICAL WEAPONS LABS, ENCOUNTER INSURGENT SPECIALISTS IN TOXINS AND UNCOVER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (emphasis added). ... Chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam's toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict -- and may have brewed up their own deadly agents."

In 2008, OUR MILITARY SHIPPED OUT OF IRAQ -- ON 37 FLIGHTS IN 3,500 BARRELS -- WHAT EVEN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CALLED "THE LAST MAJOR REMNANT OF SADDAM HUSSEIN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM": 550 METRIC TONS OF THE SUPPOSEDLY NONEXISTENT YELLOWCAKE. The New York Sun editorialized: "The uranium issue is not a trivial one, because Iraq, sitting on vast oil reserves, has no peaceful need for nuclear power. ... To leave this nuclear material sitting around the Middle East in the hands of Saddam ... would have been too big a risk."

Now the mainscream media no longer deem yellowcake -- the WMD Bush supposedly lied about -- a WMD. It was, well, old. It was degraded. It was not what we think of when we think of WMD. Really? Square that with what former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean said in April 2004: "There were no weapons of mass destruction." MSNBC's Rachel Maddow goes even further, insisting, against the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that "Saddam Hussein was not pursuing weapons of mass destruction"!

Bush, hammered by the insidious "Bush Lied, People Died" mantra, endured one of the most vicious smears against any president in history. HE IS OWED AN APOLOGY

So Bush didn’t lie. I hope someone tells the professional left about this.

Change we would like to believe in

Maul the Midwest. Coddle California. Dictate to doctors. Hobble health care. Ban the bulb. Cancel coal. Destroy Detroit. Grovel to the Greens.

Goodbye to all that.

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Left Coast) is out. Hail THE NEW CHAIRMAN FRED UPTON (R-Middle America).

In a demonstration of the sea change that November 2 has brought to Washington, Upton – AN AUTO-FRIENDLY, OBAMACARE-REVILING, GLOBAL WARMING CRITIC – has been given the reins over the House committee with perhaps more power to reverse President Obama’s radical agenda than any other: Energy and Commerce.

With JURISDICTION OVER THE EPA AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERIES, UPTON HAS A CHANCE TO DEAL CRIPPLING BLOWS TO OBAMA’S ANTI-CARBON AND PRO-NATIONAL HEALTH CARE VISION. In an extraordinary turnabout, Michigan will go from being in the cross-hairs of Chairman Waxman, a Green religious zealot with a Left Coast disdain for “flyover country,” to being in the driver’s seat under the 13- term Chairman Upton from St. Joseph. Upton will also be a very different chair from the last Michigander to hold the post, John Dingell, who – though pro-auto – used the bully pulpit to preach socialized medicine.

Upton seems energized by the challenge.

“I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, Whip McCarthy and the entire Republican Conference as we REPEAL OBAMACARE, FIGHT RAMPANT JOB-KILLING REGULATIONS, CUT SPENDING, AND HELP PUT FOLKS BACK TO WORK,” he roared upon learning of his coveted new post Tuesday afternoon.

Putting people back to work? What a great idea. I’ll be Obama and the Democrats wished they had thought of that.

The latest poll on Obamacare

Most voters continue to support repeal of the new national health care law and believe it will increase both health care costs and the federal budget deficit.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% OF LIKELY VOTERS AT LEAST SOMEWHAT FAVOR REPEAL OF THE HEALTH CARE LAW, including 43% WHO STRONGLY FAVOR IT. Forty-one percent (41%) oppose repeal, with 30% who are Strongly Opposed. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In weekly tracking since Democrats in Congress passed the law in late March, voter support for repeal has ranged from 50% to 63%.

Even as a bipartisan presidential commission struggles to find ways to bring down the record federal budget deficit, 56% OF VOTERS THINK THE NEW HEALTH CARE PLAN WILL INCREASE THAT DEFICIT, the highest finding since last September. ONLY 18% SAY THE PLAN WILL REDUCE THE FEDERAL DEFICIT, and another 18% say it will have no impact.

It appears voters believe they way you can tell when a politician is lying is that their mouths are moving.

Good intention and unintended consequences.

This video touches on just three, but it is entertaining and revealing.

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