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View Diary: Senate deals on fiscal cliff, House action pending (296 comments)

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    •  OMG! A Plutocracy/Dynasty Preservation Bill. (45+ / 0-)

      Obama traded an eternity of tax breaks for the rich for a year of unemployment benefits.  This is a status quo bill.  Preserves income inequality through the disgusting, absolutely disgusting breaks on cap gains and dividends and estate taxes.  THere is nothing here.  My God, I wporked for this, voted for this.  Obama could have simply gone over the cliff and negotiated the defense cuts in trade for unemployment benefits..  Unfucking believeable.

      GOP Wars against: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Immigrants, Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, Women, Unions, Workers, Unemployed, Voters, Elderly, Kids, Poor, Sick, Disabled, Dying, Lovers, Kindness, Rationalism, Science, Sanity, Reality.

      by SGWM on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:05:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, I have to agree. (18+ / 0-)

        The Bush Tax cuts were bad for the US.  They gave rise to nearly half of our accrued deficits.   And now they are law FOREVER.  Someone will have to convince me that the restoration of rates to people over $450k a year will significantly change the trajectory of the deficit each year and debt.

        This changes the ability of government to do anything new without having to invoke individual exemptions which we will continue to fight over every 90 days.  They moved the cliff down the road for one year for most of the exemptions put in place during the recession.  They moved sequestration down the road for 90 days.  

        Now what does Obama have to negotiate against the sequestration?  Nothing.  The Republicans will try to remove all cuts to the military and replace them with cuts to social programs.  The only advantage he has is Democratic obstructionism of any changes to sequestration in the Senate.  So we get the sequester 90 days later.  Big f**king deal.   We will be doing this nonsense forever.

        Mitt Romney rides off into the sunset in his Audi.

        by captainlaser on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:14:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not yet they're not (7+ / 0-)

          I'm still hoping for a meltdown and failure in the house, then we start over with a new congress in a few days.

          If it passes,

          The good (imo):

          -Taxes return to Clinton levels for $400/$450k, higher than I wanted, but I can live with it.  

          -PEP & Pease

          -Permanent AMT patch

          -Doc fix

          -Extension of biz tax breaks and some individual tax credits

          -Extension of unemployment

          The bad:

          -Indexing the top brackets to inflation?  Eff that!

          -The estate tax cut is utter bullshit and permanent, so it will never go up again.

          -Cap gains and dividends need to be taxed as ordinary income at least, heck, there should be even more tax on them.  Why do we tax income we actually WORK for more than passive income on investments?  This makes me seething mad.

          In the end, this isn't the worst of all possible outcomes, but I think we'll ultimately be better off just going off the cliff.  It'll hammer the economy and milk prices short term, but I think the pendulum will swing right back in a little while.  I'll trade short-term pain for better long-term policies...  Unfortunately, politicians on a 2yr election cycle don't think like that...

          I want this to fail in the House.  I still think we'll do better with the next congress...  but I wouldn't bet money against it passing anymore.

          •  Tax rates don't return to Clinton era levels (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SGWM

            Dividends remain taxed at 20% for people making more than $400/450K.  Considering a lot of the money people who make that much comes from dividends, that is a real shitty outcome.  

      •  "Eternity of tax breaks"? I don't think so. (14+ / 0-)

        And the Senate bill is not "status quo" and it is not "nothing." It raises individual tax rates at the top. It raises capital gains rates. It restores estate taxes, albeit at a $5 million threshold. Is it an ugly compromise? Yes, compromise with today's GOP is, by my definition, too, ugly.

        This bill puts off many serious problems, but do you honestly believe the Senate and House would have voted for the Grand Bargain/Progressive package that your comment suggests you want? You might have been willing to forego middle class tax cuts and the extension of UC benefits, for example, but not a lot of the rest of us.

        With the greatest respect, we can't go to war on everything with everyone who doesn't agree with us.

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:17:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (8+ / 0-)

          While I find it hard to get excited about this compromise, it is far from nothing.  For the first time since 1990, we actually saw Republicans (most of those in the Senate) vote for an income tax increase.  That's still pretty significant.  And getting the rate increase for incomes above $450k is a progressive victory, even if it isn't quite the $250k we wanted.  It's not a bad compromise, though.

          And, assuming that this thing passes the House, the capital gains tax increases are still pretty significant when they are combined with the new taxes on investment income that kick in as a result of the ACA.  In essence, the tax on capital gains will be 18.8% for those earning between 250k and 450k (married rates), and 23.8% above that.  Considering that the rate varied between 20% and 28% under President Clinton, I don't feel bad about this aspect of the deal at all.

          On the other hand, I don't like the fact that this compromise locks in favorable treatment of dividend income -- while that rate will go up to 23.8% (from the current 15%), that is far, far below the 43.4% it would have gone to if nothing had been done.

          And the compromise on the estate tax is also pretty unappealing.

          So...not great, not horrible.  I guess that's generally what compromise means.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:28:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dividends are the real disgrace (6+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ferg, Noodles, shaharazade, 10xor01, bdop4, TexasTom

            Dividends were historically taxed as ordinary income, a low rate for smallholders and a high rate for the plutocrats who got most of them.  The "theory" behind lowering the rate was "double taxation", that corporations paid 35% tax on income already.  But of course that's merely theoretical; corporations get so many breaks that few pay more than 25%, and many pay closer to zero even though very profitable.

            So the slight boost in dividend taxes compared to Bush rates was a small improvement on a very bad situation.  It may in fact be one of the biggest victories McConnell really wanted, much more important than nominal rates on "earned" income.  The truly wealthy don't earn their money, it's mostly dividends and capital gains.  So a 75% rate on earned money would only tax sports and movie stars, lottery winners, and similar new-money bonanzas. Those who can and should pay more are outside of the bracket system and alas remain there.

            Capital gains on assets held over a year were historically taxed at normal rates after a 50% deduction.  That was also not fixed, though the new rate comes close to that anyway.  That was generous in the old rules and probably overdue for reform, though I'd allow indexing of long-term gains to make up for inflation.

          •  I (5+ / 0-)

            have to go down as cautiously optimistic on this compromise. Cutting it off at 400 and 450k isn't what I hoped for, but inflation has changed past dollar brackets, the former Clinton era circa 1997 250 k cut off is now nearer 400k when adjusted for the cost of living, so that's bearable imo.

            I'm disappointed by the pay roll tax not being included. Last year was terrible for me, if judged solely by income I joined the working poor. My budget is so tight, with so little margin for error, the payroll tax going back up will affect my standard of living. But it also gives me ownership in the benefits, my benefits, that much more. I'm willing to pay for my Social Security and Medicare, I think we have to be willing to do that, even if it hurts a little. And if things get better before I retire I'm willing to chip in a little for other people's benefits too.  

            At some point we're going to have to do something about cap gains, carried interest, dividends. It's mnorally and economically indefensible for those items to come at such a low bracket. But if this passes as is I can stand it.

          •  Can We Please... (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks, kefauver, sxp151, bdop4, misterwade

            stop saying the Republicans voted for a tax increase?  We've gone over the fiscal cliff.  Taxes have already, automatically, increased.  

            They are voting for a tax decrease.  It's what they naturally do and it keeps it in perspective that they really haven't sacrificed anything....yet.

            "The only hope is to keep the Republicans from shredding the safety net one hostage crisis at a time." - Kentucy DeanDemocrat

            by Senor Frog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:25:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They framed it as a tax increase. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TexasTom

              Technically, you're right. But this is a major bone that will forever stick in their craw. It's a tacit admission that a progressive tax is a just tax. Over time, Democrats/Liberals/Progressives can build on this to create a truly equitable income tax. That's a huge win, any way you cut it.

              That is not to discount the negatives, including the losss of levrage to fight for more change. But that's a fight we now know we can win, at the ballot box.

              IF. If we don't lose heart, or allow ourselves the luxury of disengaging. If we remember always that this is a war we're in, and don't get too caught up in a single battle's rise or fall. And most importantly, if we can keep finding ways to pass the baton down to a younger generation.

              •  They're Already Reframing It (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Free Jazz at High Noon

                “Not having read it all, I’m not endorsing it. But right now, as explained, it doesn’t violate the pledge,” Norquist said. “We need to go back and at the end of the day make sure that the tax cuts are made permanent for everybody, but that’s a fight for the weeks and months to come. This is progress, making 84 percent of the Bush tax cuts permanent.”
                “If you were a Senator, you’d vote for it?” Blitzer asked.
                “Yes,” Norquist said.

                Read more: http://www.politico.com/...

                "The only hope is to keep the Republicans from shredding the safety net one hostage crisis at a time." - Kentucy DeanDemocrat

                by Senor Frog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:39:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Grover is desperate, his influence waning. (0+ / 0-)

                  Grover Norquist is gloating that middle class tax cuts made it? Come on, his only objective was - and is - to beggar government. This Senate bill doesn't do that.

                  But Grover is never gonna admit he has peaked and is on a downward trajectory.

                  2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                  by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:19:10 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Middle class tax hikes are necessary (0+ / 0-)

          Most of the actual dollars associated with the Bush tax cuts went to the middle class (there are far more people in that class and relatively few rich people). Raising taxes on only people who make more than $500k or whatever (even $250k) will do little to get us out of the fiscal hole.

          At some point, sooner or later, fiscal responsibility is going to be forced on us and it may be very unpleasant.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:29:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No one's saying proceeds from the top rates... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks, bdop4

            ... will care for the fiscal hole. The most effective contribution will be a rising economy.

            Let's get the horse before the cart.

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:17:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shaharazade

              That's been the mantra since the Bush years. It never really works out (it appeared to work during the Clinton years, but the 'surplus' was only due to a fraudulent financial bubble).

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:36:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're pretty hard to please. Debt is ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shaharazade

                ... unthinkable, is it?

                2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:04:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Debt is death (0+ / 0-)

                  I consider the budget deficit to be a theft from our children.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:40:10 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

                    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                    by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:11:42 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Because it eventually must be... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...paid off or defaulted, both scenarios future taxpayers will have to deal with because of our irresponsibility today.

                      Thomas Jefferson opposed the concept of inter generational debts for this reason.

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:36:31 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You're discounting the reward (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        TRPChicago

                        We are in the process of building something for the future generations. It is equally wrong to fail to do that when judicious borrowing can give us that opportunity.

                        •  What are we building (0+ / 0-)

                          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                          by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:31:23 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  A better America for those kids of yours and mine. (0+ / 0-)

                            You must not have been very happy about US debt since about, what, 1980 or 1985?

                            Few businesses can - or do - finance the results of tooling up their innovations and expanding their capabilities out of revenues from their customers. No one I know has ever bought a house without incurring debt.

                            No, I don't think households or businesses are good analogs for government. (I expect libertarians do.) But government has many more responsibilities, most particularly "to promote the general welfare." While that may not be an affirmative grant of legislative power (the notion has scared conservatives for ages), it certainly is an overarching goal.

                            Yes, our current level of debt is bothersome. Is it a tragedy? Nope. Can it be reversed? Yes. Are other priorities more important with a very slow recovery? Definitely.

                            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                            by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:15:02 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  You'll condemn generations to a miserable existenc (4+ / 0-)

                    If you think you can pay off the debt through austerity. Only rebooting our economy through investment in our infrastructure and labor force will creating more jobs (i.e., taxpayers) that will in turn generate the revenues to make a serious payment on our debt.

                    We also need to cut waste. The three biggest targets: the MIC, corporate welfare and for-profit healthcare industry. All three have been afforded protection in one form or another. Both parties are to blame for that.

                    •  Infrastructure (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      soros

                      To make what?

                      Infrastructure is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It's a tool. If you already have a road, airport, whatever you don't need a new one.

                      The stuff you make with the infrastructure is the important thing.

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:09:23 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Your tires are gonna hit the same potholes ... (0+ / 0-)

                        ... as everyone else's. You may not care, but we do.

                        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                        by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:20:42 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Fixing potholes (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          soros

                          Isn't the stuff of national economic success. It's the kind of thing you do as necessary.

                          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                          by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:37:29 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes. Have you seen the roads and bridges? (0+ / 0-)

                            Water supply lines and and sewer mains? Waste and water treatment plants? Out of sight, out of mind?

                            "Infrastructure" - essential but unlovely - is typically the last thing politicians, particularly local, county and state politicians want to spend their capital (note word) on. Yet much is dated, in various failing conditions. It's stuff you do before you have to do it ... before the bridge collapses.

                            (See, e.g., the Tappan Zee bridge in the NYC area.)

                            We have a lot of productive and valuable workers waiting for jobs that are lying fallow for want of funding. As for "economic success," that's a fuller employment economy than we've had for several years. America depends on it.

                            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                            by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:07:48 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Debt can be life (0+ / 0-)

                    The ability to borrow turned my life around. That's a cold, hard fact. And while that's on an individual level, it applies on larger levels as well. Managable debt is a result of borrowing to increase your leverage over present circumstances. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, and potentially much that is right. Yes, there's risk associated with borrowing, and yes, it needs to be done judiciously. But let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater!

                  •  Conservatives Should Have Thought of That (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Free Jazz at High Noon

                    when they charged two wars and a series of tax cuts on the national credit card, all of which were done at the behest of the 1%. But now it's "our" debt.

              •  "Only due to a fraudulent financial bubble"? (0+ / 0-)

                Well, that's one person's theory, but to this person that's a vast oversimplification. And not a particularly well thought out one at that. Are you seriously suggesting that we are where we are because of the dot comm bubble? Compared to the financial meltdown we've just experienced it barely registers!

                •  I am suggesting... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...that Clinton's "budget surplus" was mainly caused by the dot.com bubble (though to give credit where credit is due, his tax policies were certainly good as well).

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:02:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Fact check: it lowers estate taxes etc (6+ / 0-)

          including cutting the rate on big dividends almost by half, from 39.6% to 20%.  Unearned income should NOT be taxed at a lower rate than wages.

          The Bush tax cuts have expired, the Clinton rates are current law.

          There's no such thing as a free market!

          by Albanius on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:43:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Now we can call it the Fiscal CAVE -nt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Boris49

            There's no such thing as a free market!

            by Albanius on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:48:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Funny, Obama even campaigned on that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DSPS owl

            a little bit. Not nearly as much as he should have, given the traction that statement has with the public:

            Unearned income should NOT be taxed at a lower rate than wages.
            Well, Donald Trump is whining about the deal. Maybe that's a silver (or at least Mylar) lining.

            And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

            by Pale Jenova on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:43:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Here's my question. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          qofdisks

          Would YOU have been happy to get the progressive package that so many here were advocating for?  Or would you have complained that it was "too much" if by some miracle it had gotten passed?
          I suspect that you'd have been thrilled, like so many others here, if a more progressive package had passed.
          So here's my second question: why spend your energy justifying a shit sandwich?  Why waste your energy sneering ot those of us who tried hard to get something better?  Wouldn't your energy have been better spent actually helping and supporting a more progressive package, and directing your energy toward figuring out what we can do better next time.  Because what you're saying here boils down to "Sit down and shut up!  This is the best you'll ever get, and more than you deserve!"

          •  He's not saying sit down and shut up (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kefauver

            He's just saying that it's a compromise he can live with and people should consider that opinion. No need to put words in people's mouth. It's like me saying you want him to shut up and sit down if he doesn't agree with you. I hope that's not the case.

            He also asked a question that hasn't been answered yet. What bill would progressives be happy with that could pass the Senate and GOP controlled House? Even after the fiscal cliff there's no guarentee of a significantly better deal. I'd bet extended unemployment would die because it hurts the economy in the short term, thus hurting the Dems and Obama.

            Mark Levin (crazy right wing radio host) last night was blasting McConnell and Boehner as weak, disgusting sellouts. Progressives saying the same about the President. If everybody is pissed then maybe it's a good deal.

            •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kefauver

              "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

              by Oliver Tiger on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:29:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Many People Here Believe Waiting 4 New Congress (0+ / 0-)

              And going over the cliff was the answer.

              Problem with that is millions lose employment insurance, we still have a GOP-controlled House that will not negotiate in good faith, and we risk another recession.

              People are dreaming if they think gaining a dozen more Democrats in the House will allow all of our progressive dreams to come true.

              This site becomes a fantasy land by the day.

              Have you written your Chained CPI/Social Security Betrayal/Obama is a Caver diary today? 100's already have. What are you waiting for?!

              by kefauver on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:44:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And who says we GET that "new Congress" in '14? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kefauver

                We thought we were going to get a new Congress last November, but gerrymandering blew out that possibility, even though Dems got 1 million more votes than GOPhers! Do we all just hold our collective breath until '14? Not a brilliant strategy, to my mind...

                "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

                by Oliver Tiger on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:53:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  There is no eternity in tax rates; they can change (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackClouds, J M F, qofdisks

          It may be a bit of a technicality, but there is no such thing as a permanent tax rate.  No Congress can bind a successor Congress.  The new Congress or a future Congress can change any if these rates or any other aspect of the tax code.  And they may, if they do really try to do tax reform,

          All people mean by saying that this or that tax measure is "permanent" is that unlike the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, these have no built-in sunset provision.  The unemployment benes and some tax credits are for one year, and the stimulus low-income credits are for five years.  The rest have no sunset.  But they can be changed IF Congress has the will to do so.  A big if, to be sure.  But nothing is locked in forever.  

          In the next fight the GOP will want to end the defense sequester and cut entitlements, and the Dems will want to extend the debt ceiling and get more revenue.  Both sides may look at tax refirm as a way to get things they want.  We are not at the end of any of this.

          The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

          by Mimikatz on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:21:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well said! (0+ / 0-)

          Am I pleased with everything in this? No! To my mind, we should have held the $250,000 limit. Then again, this is what compromise looks like, young'uns! No offense to Tom Harkin, but we can't ridicule people like Richard Mourdock saying "Compromise is when people come around to my way of thinking" and then demand the same standard with a straight face... and merely hollering, "But we're in the right" doesn't make it okay.

          And if you're still pissed, consider this: If Boehner can't get this one through, not only is he dead in the water and out of the Speakership (and maybe out of the House altogether, because he will probably resign), but any non-Red state GOPher who votes against this package is going to be out of a job in 2 years.

          "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

          by Oliver Tiger on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:28:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Estate taxes at a $5 million threshold. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          qofdisks, Ramoth

          Yes, but that's for individuals.  $10 million exemption for couples.  Way too high IMO.

          The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

          by DSPS owl on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:33:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The give away (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashoil

          This bill will give away all the leverage the progressives will have when in two months the sequester debate will begin. These will be the permanent taxes for the top 1 percent and only five years for the rest of us. We must all take the pain now, so that our children will not have to inherit this problem. The whole income tax process must be looked at. It is time for all of us to let our representatives in congress know what we want our federal taxes to fund.

        •  Immediate Middle Class 2% Hike! (0+ / 0-)

          So thoughtful to ignore the Payroll Tax Holiday.  Won't it sell well at the polls!  The Fecal Cliff:

          Oh well. So much for aggregate demand.

          Again, again, again, one reason why Democrats suck so very badly is that they defend programs when they should be defending households. All that matters to poor schlubs like us is the money in the coffee can in the middle of the kitchen table. If the Democrats take a bill out of that can by cutting Medicare, so we have to pay more for medicine, or they take a bill out by shrinking our take-home pay, it doesn’t matter. Money is fungible! The only thing that matters is how much money there is in the coffee can.

          And if the Democrats wanted to defend households, they’d have a program that looked like this:

          1. NOT ONE PENNY OF CUTS to any social insurance programs

          2. Any cost savings to be returned to beneficiaries as increased services

          3. Reduce the Social Security eligibility age to 60, so young people just forming households can get jobs

          4. Age-neutral benefits, so the shameful and immoral system where benefits get progressively worse the younger you are is abolished. How can we be doing this to our own kids?

          Amen.
      •  just a reminder (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TexasTom, belle1, Jack Hare, Boris49

        taxes are now higher on the wealthy than they were yesterday.

      •  You forget the permanent AMT fix which (4+ / 0-)

        directly effects the middle class. You also need to read the bill more closely to see the tax increases on $250,000 and above come in the deduction cap. Also, it will make more palatable the tax increase if the President goes for raising (or eliminating) the cap on SS.

        What I am most curious about is just how all those decrying this bill believe we could have gotten more with the House firmly in GOP control? They have a super majority over there. Just how do Democrats overcome that with completely Progressive legislation? As it is, the House passing this deal is not a sure thing given we need at least two dozen Republicans to vote for it and most all the Democrats. It is unrealistic to believe public pressure will make a huge difference. Obama won only fifteen districts held by Republicans. That is well short of what is needed in the House for leverage.

        Besides getting the GOP to break their tax pledge, if this bill passes in the House, it also will require Boehner breaking the Hastert rule. This could potentially be exactly what is needed to loosen the GOP reign of terror (along with filibuster reform).

        For Christina's America

        by DWKING on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:19:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's MUCH Worse Than That! (14+ / 0-)

        HERE's the worst part of the bill:

        The tax on capital gains and dividends will be permanently set at 20 percent for those with income above the $450,000/$400,000 threshold. It will remain at 15 percent for everyone else. (Clinton-era rates were 20 percent for capital gains and taxed dividends as ordinary income, with a top rate of 39.6 percent.)
        We don't have a problem with the rich, (the 1%). Our real problem is with the top 10% of the 1% (richest one-tenth of a percent), i.e.the Koch brothers of the world who have skewed all the rules to favor themselves. If some stock speculator or real estate developer makes $10 million, who cares? Those guys are NOT the reason real wages have been going down for working people for 40 years.

        It's the SUPER rich who are creating all the super-pacs and bribing Congress.

        90% of the problems with America are due simply to the efforts of the top 1% of the 1% since 1967 to lower their tax burden and raise taxes for everybody else -- in the most regressive manner they can achieve (ex: state lotteries, Social Security withholding capped at $105k, sales taxes, etc.)

        The 39.5% tax rate on capital gains, plus treating capital gains like ordinary income was BY FAR the most important part of the entire EXPIRING Bush Tax-giveaways for the rich.

        We desperately need to treat capital gains as ordinary income and raise the top rates to at least 50%. Let them howl! The BEST economic times in American history were the 40's and 50's when the top tax rate for multimillionaires was 90%!

        That's also why the Estate Tax raise is so completely unimportant, and the estate tax is the only good part of that horrible, horrible deal. Sure they're giving up some revenue by allowing couples with a NET $10 million in assets to avoid estate tax.

        But, the top 1% of the 1% are the ones we REALLY need to hit with the estate tax, and THEY won't be helped at all by a mere $10 million exemption! That's pocket change to the Walton Family, which is why the super-rich were quietly funding all the right-wing efforts to eliminate the estate tax altogether.

        Because, NOTHING short of total elimination of that tax will help them at all. They have estates between $1 BILLION and several $BILLION, so saving $5 million or $10 million is virtually worthless to them.

        That's also why raising the income tax on individuals earning $400k rather than $250k is also unimportant. That's only exempting some small fish, not the Koch brothers.

        But, its also why capping capital gains tax rates at 20% is BEYOND HORRIBLE!

        Forget the sequester garbage. It's the capital gains tax capitulation that is the problem, because it PERMANENTLY LOCKS IN the never-ending concentration of wealth in the hands of the top 1%!

        •  I for one, welcome our new super-rich overlords (4+ / 0-)

          We can have 99% of the population living in poverty and 1% super rich aristocracy. Who needs that pesky middle class?

        •  Only dividends were going back to regular income (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Blair

          Capital gains in the clinton era was 20%

          Just saying.  I agree that the loss of the dividend revenue is the biggest hit we took in this deal over the status quo, but your statement on capital gains is inaccurate.

          •  We Need HIGHER Capital Gains Tax Rates! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Albanius, J M F, bdop4

            The income for the top .1% is almost entirely long-term capital gains. That's why treating capital gains as ordinary income is so important.

            Capping total income subject to tax at 39.5% as in the Clinton era is at least a step in the right direction.

            That's the part that's objectionable. The capital gains tax rates were always too low of course, the top marginal rate should be at incomes over $10,000,000 and it should be 90% not 20%! Hell, they could make it $20,000,000 and it wouldn't matter. It would still hit the Koch brothers which is what's important.

            We can NEVER get our democracy back until we take away 90% of their unearned money and redistribute it to the middle class in the form of benefits, infrastructure development and a direct government industrial program designed to produce full employment.

            We can't do any of these things as long as the super-rich can create their billion dollar empires that are immune from taxation.

          •  Sadly raising dividend taxes also hurts the (0+ / 0-)

            Middle class, most of whom who have pensions besides the Social Security have 401k plans.  Sadly the middle class got suckered into define contribution retirement plans and, as planned, now have a stake in the capitalist market.  Who has the balls to propose cutting workers' 401k pensions in order to spite the rich or fatten the US Treasury?  The die was cast back in the 1980's when Reagan Democrats and middle class greed ruled Washington.

            •  401K is taxed as regular income (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              smiley7, shaharazade, bdop4

              If you are a middle class person and have a tax deferred 401K or IRA, it doesn't matter in the least how your fund profit is generated, whether through capitol gains, dividends or whatever. It is all taxed as regular income when you withdraw the money.

              Total BS about the dividend tax hitting middle class people with 401Ks.

              Everything I write is within a margin of error of precisely 100%.

              by Bailey Savings and Loan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:16:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  401K Investment Income isn't taxed (0+ / 0-)

              Until you retire or prematurely withdraw it (then you're hit with a big penalty).

              Theoretically, when you are retired, your income is lower and you pay a lower tax rate.

        •  90% of all outstanding stocks & bonds (3+ / 0-)

          are owned by the top ten per cent, along with over 90% of the total wealth.

          Last night, we memorialized many of the policies that led to this untenable inequality. Temporarily staving off the more onerous effects of trickle down economics while making permanent the tools of inequality will be ultimately self-defeating for the vast majority.
           

          "extravagant advantage for the few, ultimately depresses the many." FDR

          by Jim R on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:47:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I Wish Everyone... (0+ / 0-)

          Would read and understand what you've just wrote.  I hope you cut and paste it in every related thread because it needs to be heard.

          "The only hope is to keep the Republicans from shredding the safety net one hostage crisis at a time." - Kentucy DeanDemocrat

          by Senor Frog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:44:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Wait till Obama gets his hands on Medicare and (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Blair, shaharazade, sxp151, bdop4

        Social Security in 3 months...he will have no bargaining leverage left on taxes and will be "forced" to make major cuts on both, his overriding obsession since day 1 of his presidency.

        Obama couldn't disguise his giddiness  the other day as he managed to dupe the American people and his supporters yet again and is on the verge of FINALLY achieving the overriding objective of his presidency and handing the prize neoliberal plum over to his fellow plutocrats - the remaining shreds of the Social Safety Net. The expression on his face screamed "SUCKERS!! Pulled another fast one on you! Geez, I can't believe you guys keep letting me pull the rug out from under you!"

        Accomplishments:

        - Permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts - check
        - Privatization of Healthcare - check
        - Putting Social Security and Medicare on the path to privatization in a few months
        - Privatization of education
        - Inequality increasing at a more rapid pace than under GW

        Gilded Age, here to stay!

        The Plutocrats
            United
        Can Never be Defeated!

        "It depends what the meaning of 'is', is"
        Platform of the Neo-Democratic Party
        Speaking out of one side of their mouth for the little guy, their nominal constituency, and the other for the plutocracy, their real constituency.

        by Sanctimonious on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:46:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So you voted for Romney then? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jack Hare, La Gitane, Oliver Tiger

          Great work. He would have been much more progressive.

          Maybe if President Obama had a better House (and Senate), and maybe if we came out in force in 2010 stopping the Republican redistricting, we wouldn't be in this spot.

          When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

          by PhillyJeff on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:14:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was talking about Obama, not Romney (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Senor Frog, shaharazade

            Nice try at changing the subject.

            "It depends what the meaning of 'is', is"
            Platform of the Neo-Democratic Party
            Speaking out of one side of their mouth for the little guy, their nominal constituency, and the other for the plutocracy, their real constituency.

            by Sanctimonious on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:46:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nice job avoiding HIS points (0+ / 0-)

              Where were you in 2010?

              "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

              by Oliver Tiger on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:59:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Here ya go (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Senor Frog, bdop4

                It was OBAMA, not the Republicans,  who created the Catfood Commission and appointed its 2 co-chairs, Blue Dog Erkine Bowles and 'Social Security is a cow with a thousand tits' Alan Simpson, both on record as wanting to dismantle and/or privatize Social Security

                It was OBAMA who kept resurrecting the far right recommendations of Simpson/Bowles even after the committee disbanded in failure

                After the Catfood Commission failed, it was OBAMA who attempted to resurrect it with the "Grand Bargain" and introduced the notions of extending the Medicare age to 67 and chained CPI to Social Security

                It was OBAMA who said before he was elected in 2008 that he wanted to "reform" Social Security and Medicare, which always means, in the parlance of the neo-Democrat and which has proven true in all his subsequent actions, that he wanted to make major cuts to both programs

                It was OBAMA who created the debt ceiling 'crisis' in the first place by not letting the Bush tax cuts expire - which they would have done all on their own if he had not intervened to prevent it - setting the wheels in motion for his various austerity commissions ala the Shock Doctrine. By making the Bush tax cuts permanent yesterday, he has set the stage for  'starving the beast' and putting in place big cuts in Medicare and SS for the 'debt ceiling' talks in 3 months time

                Ok, I've answered your question and I could easily go on and on (Obama makes it so easy!). Let's see what your defense of the POLICIES of Obama are without resorting to personal attacks (aka "where were you in 2010"), excuses, or rationalizations. Can't do it, can you?

                "It depends what the meaning of 'is', is"
                Platform of the Neo-Democratic Party
                Speaking out of one side of their mouth for the little guy, their nominal constituency, and the other for the plutocracy, their real constituency.

                by Sanctimonious on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:36:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ok, You think Obama is horrible (0+ / 0-)

                  Why did you vote for him then? Did you vote for him?

                  And please, don't say "I'm not accepting the lesser of 2 evils."

                  You had 3 choices in 2012 - Obama, Romney, and none of the above.

                  If you voted "Romney" or "none of the above," that's fine, but you need to own up to the fact that "none of the above" had zero chance of being elected and your protest vote increased the likelihood of Romney being elected.

                  If protest votes were likely to "wake up the country" and elect a congress full of Dennis Kucinich's and Bernie Sanders's I give you Bush II's first 4 years and Bush II's second 4 years.

                  Were you comfortable with the hundreds of thousands of brown people and thousands of Americans who had to die and the bankrupting of our country to "wake up America" and give us this president who you apparently think is just as bad as Romney?

                  How many more would you be willing to sacrifice in 2012/2016?

                  When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

                  by PhillyJeff on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:22:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks for proving my point (0+ / 0-)

                    "It depends what the meaning of 'is', is"
                    Platform of the Neo-Democratic Party
                    Speaking out of one side of their mouth for the little guy, their nominal constituency, and the other for the plutocracy, their real constituency.

                    by Sanctimonious on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:45:50 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks for proving my point (0+ / 0-)

                    "It depends what the meaning of 'is', is"
                    Platform of the Neo-Democratic Party
                    Speaking out of one side of their mouth for the little guy, their nominal constituency, and the other for the plutocracy, their real constituency.

                    by Sanctimonious on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:50:54 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  I dare you (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Senor Frog, shaharazade, sxp151, bdop4

            to discuss this deal (or any other bill Obama has 'fought' for) on its own merits without making excuses for Obama or engaging in personal attacks. Go ahead - see if you can  do it without sounding like a Republican.

            "It depends what the meaning of 'is', is"
            Platform of the Neo-Democratic Party
            Speaking out of one side of their mouth for the little guy, their nominal constituency, and the other for the plutocracy, their real constituency.

            by Sanctimonious on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:23:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  No need for a Repub to vote for Romney (3+ / 0-)

            Obama has been far more effective at achieving Republican objectives than Romney could have ever hoped for.

            "It depends what the meaning of 'is', is"
            Platform of the Neo-Democratic Party
            Speaking out of one side of their mouth for the little guy, their nominal constituency, and the other for the plutocracy, their real constituency.

            by Sanctimonious on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:26:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Ditto (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, Rikon Snow

      Harkin votes his convictions!

    •  i so admire your tag line (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rikon Snow

      since I just finished the H2 Sonata myself, and I believe all of Iain Banks is literally true...in the multiverse anything one can imagine has happened, is happening, or will happen somewhere sometime ;)

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