Allegedly Democratic senators Kent Conrad (ND), Ben Nelson (NE), and Evan Bayh (IN) apparently will vote to extend all the Bush tax cuts, including those of the mega-wealthy, for two more years, which probably means they will be extended two more years. I take these three are afraid of being accused of “raising taxes” before a midterm, so they’ll throw responsibility under the bus.

10 thoughts on “Disgusted

  1. “Bye-bye” Bayh ain’t runnin’. He’s cashing in what chips he’s got, and calling in all favors and debts, and taking off until he decides the country is worthy enough to have someone like him be elected President.
    The rest, I’m afraid, are also examples of simple self-interest disguised in deficit-hawk feathers. The other Senators who oppose eliminating the tax cuts are all millionaires, so, for THEM, it’ll be like a tax increase.
    And when they tell us “we’ll” have to tighten our belts, they don’t mean “them” as a part of “we,” they mean the “WE” that ain’t a part of “THEM.”
    A simple economic tale, as told by a simpleton, signifying nothing…

  2. I’m with gulag – the other 2 aren’t up until 2012, so all 3 would be free to vote the conscience if they had one.

  3. Bush tax cuts while taking an enormous amount of money out of the Fed budget are worth a mere $1,000/week to the top 1% of us. $52,000/year is chump change, four nights at a tony hotel, a couple of bottles of wine…to the 1%. (By comparison, the tax cuts are worth about $1.50/week to the rest of us – not likely to put a hell of a lot of food on the table.)

    So do the mega-wealthy really think Congress is doing them a big favor by increasing their income, on average, by $52,000/year? If they do, their obscene wealth is certainly not due to any mental superiority.

  4. As I understand it, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire on their own. A few blue dogs in the Senate intending to filibuster their repeal can only delay the expiration, not enact any extension of them.

    The Senate procedures badly need to be reformed. The very idea of requiring super-majority consensus is ridiculous in a country as polarized as this one. Under such a system, as long as the opposition party is willing to make an ass of itself and lie repeatedly, the majority won’t be able to accomplish much of anything.

    I strongly favor the proposal to change the filibuster mechanism to a progressive vote decay model. You start at 67, 65, 60 or whatever super majority you want. Then for every day that passes on a filibustered bill, the required super majority shrinks by two or three votes. Eventually you hit 51 (or lower), in which case, 51 votes are required.

    The Senate has other big issues, such as secret holds. I have no problem with Senators placing a delay on bills in principle, but the system as set is ripe for abuse. A name needs to be set on any hold — anonymous blocking of Congressional activity is wholly unacceptable. It prevents all accountability, and accountability is something we desperately need more of today in our society. Furthermore, holds should be limited in duration and number. Senators shouldn’t have the power to stop bills for more than two or three days at most, they shouldn’t be able to hold more than one bill at a time, and they shouldn’t be able to hold more than a total of five or six bills in a single session of Congress. These kinds of strict limits are absolutely essential to preventing systemic abuse.

    Even with these limits an opposition party may still be able to mostly shut down Congress for a while. But it would require the open spectacle of Senator after Senator picking up the hold as it expires and rotating it to a new member of the opposition, until eventually they have run out of members, holds, time, or public opinion. This would be much better for the public discourse, especially if you require that a Senator be present on the congressional floor to actually place a hold to begin with.

  5. It seems to me that Ben Nelson has done nothing this year except to prove he is NOT a Democrat and cares very little about the average American. I think the man is an A-1, first class Jerk.

  6. The ECONOMY, stupid. Here’s the problem. Consumption is down – demand for goods and services is off. Business doesn’t feel any need to hire, and they don’t have any incentive to expand, build or hire. Business is hoarding capital until things change. All of this hits the government with a double whammy – increased need for emergency services (unemployment and food stamps) while revenues decrease.

    The Kensian answer to break the cycle would be to use government spending to create consumption which results in hiring – hiring puts more money in the pipeline which creates even more demand… Unfortunately, the Iraq war combined with the Bush tax cuts pushed the deficit high enough for the GOP to exploit a deficit panic with voters. The will for any second stimulus isn’t there – and there won’t be any chance – particularly after the November elections.

    We are screwed until 2012. By then, the deficit will actually be to high to discuss a second stimulus (or one large enough to work). We are going to have to pursue this on a ‘class warfare’ basis. Obama and the Democrats in Congress are going to have to come out and say after 2010 – you won’t get help you need from your government because the rich won’t pay their share. Higher unemployment and new tent cities and soup kichens are the gift of the GOP. ‘They’ – the rich and the GOP who answer their call – are to blame for the misery. I believe it’s gonna get miserable – the depression is just starting.

    If the GOP takes the House and Senate, Obama should sign every law they produce – but before he does, he should say. “This bill is corporate welfare which won’t create jobs but will increase profits for big Business.” As Congress cuts benefits for those in need, Obama should say – we COULD pay to feed the hungry and heal the sick – but the GOP are withholding it for the benefit of the richest 1%.

    In all this misery, there might be a path that could be made popular with the voters to penalize business for ‘sitting’ on large amounts of capital – tax cash that’s retained by business – and provide incentives to force business to invest in expansion that creates jobs. In other words push business to ‘use it or lose it’ – Invest in business that creates jobs (even at a break-even) or get taxed at a HIGH rate for sitting on profits.

    The trick would be to make it a populist movement in 2011/12 – blame the rich for the lethargic economy and make it stick at the ballot box.

  7. Typo, Doug: should be “Keynesian”.

    And I agree with what you say ought to be done. But should the brain dead right take control of either House or Senate, we won’t see anything constructive. It will be all investigation all the time. (See Bachmann’s idea to pursue McCarthyite “investigations” against Obama). Never mind that for eight years, the White House housed two demonstrable (war) criminals with the help of many “little Eichmanns”. The right will use their power to stall delay even more, They don’t care about anything but being in control, i.e. the control of a small elite, who spit on the tea baggers who kiss their rings.

  8. The Senate has other big issues, such as secret holds. I have no problem with Senators placing a delay on bills in principle, but the system as set is ripe for abuse.

  9. I try to be as big-tenty as possible about these things, but really, if you’re for tax cuts for the richest people you’re really not a Democrat.

  10. I read where the Budget Accounting Office says that 105 billion dollar would be saved/recouped in the first year of eliminating the tax cuts for the wealthy. That’s 5 billion more than we’ll be spending in Afghanistan this year. Maybe if the wealthy have to pay for our pending defeat in Afghanistan..they might decide to put an end to it. Sorta like a strategic default…If it’s costing you more money than it’s bringing in.. just bail out.

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