This won't be a long diary. No real analysis. Just a rant. But Dick Durbin, supposed liberal, Senate Majority Whip, voted for the Catfood Commission report. What the hell was he thinking? If this is the Senate leadership, we are cooked. I never thought I'd see the day when Baucus was a better Democrat than Durbin.
Durbin issued a statement explaining his vote. Frankly, it is incoherent nonsense that buys into Republican memes that are totally lacking in truth.
I'll address just a few of these below.
Just a couple of points -- with more time, we could take this apart, and I'm sure those more knowledgeable than I am will, piece by piece.
The commission dramatically reduces these tax earmarks and uses these funds to reduce our debt and to lower our personal income tax rates. We restructured critical deductions for health insurance, mortgage interest, charitable giving and retirement credits to make the tax code fairer and provide valuable tax relief for middle-income and working families.
So a commission designed to reduce the deficit slashes the top tax rate by almost a fourth (35% down to 28%). Explain the logic of that one, please. While doing away with or curtailingt tax breaks that actually ae helpful to the middle class, like the mortgage interest deduction. And while doing nothing about tax incentives to send US jobs offshore.
Social Security is the most important social program in America. The commission creates an actuarially sound program for an additional 75 years. It increases the minimum benefit for the lowest income Social Security recipients and adds a much needed increase in benefits for those above the age of 85. It raises the retirement age one year to 68, 40 years from now, meaning no one above the age of 28 today would be affected and the retirement age would be 69, 65 years from now. To protect those in manual labor jobs who cannot wait to retire, we create special benefit package that will still allow for early retirement.
Social Security is irrelevant to the deficit. It's running a surplus. There was no reason to address it at all, except that the right-wingers behind the deficit hysteria hate the program and want take advantage of shock doctrine disaster capitalism to kneecap it. That any Democrat would sign on to this is a disgrace. The majority whip? Unthinkable!