Because They’re Mean, Is Why

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Immigration

See Jonathan Chait’s “Republicans Back to Raising Taxes on the Poor.” They blame the President’s immigration plan.

The predicate for this unlikely conflict is that the tax code contains a bunch of breaks and deductions that were written as temporary, but that Congress usually decides to just renew every year. Most of those breaks benefit businesses — the main one being a tax break for research and development. Also included in that package are several tax breaks for low-income workers that Democrats passed into law in 2009. Traditionally, the two parties have agreed to extend all the tax cuts together at once. It was not exactly what either party wanted — Democrats didn’t like bleeding revenue from the Treasury every year, and Republicans didn’t like extending tax cuts to low-income workers — but the compromise suited both sides well enough that nobody cared to blow it up. Now it’s getting blown up.

Brian Faler and Rachel Bade report that Obama’s immigration relief plan is the proximate cause. Newly legalized workers will pay taxes, and thus be eligible for tax breaks. “If Republicans agreed to extend [those tax breaks] now,” Faler and Bade report, “it would look like they were voting to expand government benefits to illegal immigrants.”

Yeah, those lucky duckies.

So first Republicans made the tax breaks for business permanent, while allowing the tax breaks for low-income workers to expire at the end of 2017. Since they would no longer be tied to tax breaks for the more affluent constituencies that have influence with Republicans, this would mean they would almost certainly expire. Families earning $10,000 to around $25,000 a year would lose nearly $2,500 a year — a punishing blow to the working class.

Amazingly, Democrats in the Senate like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer agreed to this plan. Before Thanksgiving, Obama threatened a veto, causing Reid to beat a hasty retreat.

Chuck needs to retire. He’s my senator, and I say so.

Meanwhile, the CEO community is apoplectic at the standoff. Business leaders by and large have occupied a middle ground between the two parties (which is an indication of how far right the terms of the economic debate have shifted since Republicans took control of Congress). They share the GOP’s general ideological aims, but don’t share its willingness to blow things up in order to achieve them.

A lot of business leaders have been pleading for immigration reform, actually, because they think it will be good for them. Still, they support Republicans.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. buddhasteps  •  Dec 2, 2014 @10:03 pm

    Being female, elderly and subsisting on SS & SSI, I do not look forward to the next few years with great hope. How long will it be before the OMG party decides that I also am expendable? Making plans for a BIG garden next year, although I may be living between the rows of it by then. 😛

  2. Doug  •  Dec 3, 2014 @8:32 am

    Most working middle-class people don’t understand the EIC. Very poor families on very limited incomes get a check from the government instead of a bill at tax time. To the GOP, this is immoral. The ultra-poor worker receives benefits but they pay NO taxes. It’s not welfare or an entitlement – it’s part of the tax code, and I guess any resident taxpayer is eligible. And migrant farm workers are notoriously low income.

    The EIC will be a target – a big one. Expect the GOP to kill it. They can do it, I would guess, by reconciliation. Voter turnout in the last election was the lowest since WWII. People who won’t figure out what is in their best interest and won’t get their butts to the polls to vote to protect the safety net they depend on to survive deserve deserve a few years of dumpster diving for motivation. Their kids don’t deserve to go hungry and they will. But after that, maybe, just maybe the ignorant expectation that somebody else will or must provide for them will evaporate and the poor will become militant voters. They have the least property and the most to lose.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 3, 2014 @9:26 am

    Yes, they ARE mean!

    But having said that, you’ve gotta give them credit for Orwellian “Double-speak!”

    In their attempts to heighten the experience while pleasuring themselves at the expense of others (poorer and less powerful “others), they can want to stick glass-shards, pumice, small stones, and metal shavings up our butt’s – but, they’ll call it the “Ronald Reagan Compassion Towards the Needy Act of 2015.”

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 3, 2014 @9:26 am

    Yes, they ARE mean!

    But having said that, you’ve gotta give them credit for Orwellian “Double-speak!”

    In their attempts to heighten the experience while pleasuring themselves at the expense of others (poorer and less powerful “others), they can want to stick glass-shards, pumice, small stones, and metal shavings up our butt’s – but, they’ll call it the “Ronald Reagan Compassion Towards the Needy Act of 2015.”

  5. dianne  •  Dec 4, 2014 @7:51 am

    Someone said after the election “our base just doesn’t have our back during the midterms”.
    As long as the Dems keep passing laws that infuriate the Repubs and then get no support from the very people they are trying to help when it would matter, it will always be two steps forward and one step back.
    I don’t know what the answer is except maybe another extended period of Republican rule to finally wake the people up to the evil that lives among us.
    I keep thinking of “Chinatown” – she’s my daughter (slap), she’s my sister (slap).
    We seem to be gluttons for punishment.



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