OK. Our backs are against the wall. The progressive preference (and that of over 75% of the American people) is to extend the Bush tax cuts for income under $250,000 permently and let the additional tax cuts for those over $250,000 expire. But do to either the Weeble White House's inability to fight or as Nate silver writes the Dem's "not very strong" position, we have three outcomes to expect:
There are essentially three possible outcomes in the debate: first, that the tax cuts are extended for everyone; second, that they are extended for no one; and third, that they are extended only below some threshold, most likely $250,000 for couples (although alternatives like $500,000 and $1 million have been proposed).
But as a wise Jedi once said: "There is another"
See you after the jump.
As Nate analyses:
The way in which Republicans would rank these outcomes is clear. Their first preference would be to extend the tax cuts for everyone. But presumably, when push comes to shove, they’d prefer to extend some of the tax cuts — on incomes below $250,000 — instead of ending all of them.
It’s a little bit more difficult to identify the preferences of Democrats, because there are more divisions within the party: between the president and Congress, between moderate Democrats and liberal ones, between Democrats who are electorally vulnerable and those who aren’t. It is safe to say, however, that on balance, the Democrats would prefer to extend the tax cuts only below the $250,000 threshold, and not above it.
This is also the most popular choice among the general public. Four recent polls — from CBS News, Gallup, The Associated Press, and CNN — find an average of 49 percent of Americans preferring this position, versus 33 percent who would rather see all of the tax cuts extended and 14 percent who would like to see all of them expire. (Another 4 percent are undecided.)
But is there another way that the Dems could satisfy their original goal without the downside of having all the cuts expire and the Republicans picking up the cudgel come election time saying the Democrats raised your taxes?
What about passing the Middle Class cuts under Reconciliation and letting the tax cuts over $250,000 expire?
The Middle Class Tax Cuts would be extended for another 10 years, OK not permanent. (But what legislation is truly permanent?) In 2020, we will have to deal with the fact that these tax cuts affect deficit.
But the Bush Cuts for those over 250K: History.
If you are going to kick the can down the road, do it right.
And if you are going to play hardball with the Republicans, use their rules.