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Bernie Sanders calls upon Americans to stand up and say, "We can do better than this . . ."  My contribution to the consideration of alternatives is below the fold. And I hope yours will be in the comments.

I've been thinking a lot about the tax "compromise" and mostly, I've been thinking of it as another incident of failing even to put up a fight. It's been discouraging, at best; but wallowing in discouragement isn't all that useful, and I've been heartened by what appears to be the House Democrats' insistence that changes be made before passage. The changes proposed in the estate tax aspects of the proposal begin to improve it, but to my mind, they don't do anywhere near far enough to make passage acceptable.

I hate the Social Security tax holiday for the reasons widely discussed elsewhere -- it will be politically impossible to return to current rates once the "temporary" lower rates expire. Thus the future of Social Security will be threatened by this proposal and as much as I want stimulus, I want this approach stricken from the plan.

What could work for me, however, and what I haven't heard discussed at all, would be a provision making the tax cuts for households earning less than $250,000/year (or even some lower number) permanent. I don't love extending the higher earners' tax cuts even for one day; but I would be willing to compromise on a two-year extension of those cuts if the lower-earner cuts were made permanent right now. Then, when the vote to further extend the higher earner cuts comes up just before the 2012 election, the choice would be clear and, one hopes, would give Democrats the opportunity to clarify the difference between Republicans and Democrats -- if such a difference still exists.

I grew up knowing the Republicans were for the rich and Democrats for the people like my family -- family farmers, wage workers, the poor. I remember campaign songs from more than a half century ago that chided Republicans about trickle down economics. They are still singing that old trickle down theory. It hasn't worked up to now, and it won't work this time either.

What we need, I think, is to get behind some changes to this proposal that will make it acceptable. What are your ideas? And how can we advance them -- quickly?

Originally posted to Alice Olson on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:17 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    We don't differentiate between them and us. It's just us. -- Barack Obama

    by Alice Olson on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:17:42 AM PST

  •  There is no permanency... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Sunspots

    in tax cuts.  All it takes to eliminate a tax cut is a vote to increase taxes.  In the thought of we are all in this together, I would rather see no tax cuts being extended rather than all tax cuts being extended.  We all have a responsibility to share in the tax burden of our country.

    •  Yes, but there is impermancy, and that's what (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, Seneca Doane

      brought us to where we are in this debate.  So, let's take away the impermancy of the middle class cuts. That's all I'm saying.

      I too would prefer total repeal of the cuts rather than total extension of the cuts. But that's not a program we're going to get the Democrats in Congress to support. My diary is a search for something that might actually pass.

      And, btw, I've no objection to paying taxes, I do it every year and, until our recent retirement, my husband and I were in the group that is benefiting most from this so-called compromise. But, I yearn for a return to a progressive system. The wealthy used to return a significantly greater portion of their good luck earnings than they have since Reagan.  Ahhh, the good old days.

      We don't differentiate between them and us. It's just us. -- Barack Obama

      by Alice Olson on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:51:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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