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After reading this diary I wrote to the senator asking for an explanation, describing that taking up GOP positions on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would not earn my vote and would not give her support in Missouri. I explained that for a Democratic senator to earn Democratic support, she must take a progressive stance on economic issues. If she tacks to the right on taxes there will be no reason for Democrats and independents (33% in Missouri) to choose her over Roy Blunt or whoever gets the GOP nomination. Her response follows:

June 11, 2012
Dear Mr. Hall,

Thank you for contacting me regarding tax reform.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

As our nation faces huge deficits, it is clear that there are some policies we will not be able to afford any longer,  like maintaining an unfair tax code.

Under current tax rules, many individuals who make more than $1 million annually pay a lower tax rate than middle class families.  This is because our complicated tax code allows some individuals to take huge deductions while others are stuck with a higher tax bill.

That's why I support what has become known as the Buffett Rule.  The Buffett Rule is the name that has been given to a simple principle: anyone who makes more than $1 million should pay at least as high a tax rate as a middle class family, and certainly not a lower tax rate, which is so frequently the case today.  For most people, this is a matter of fairness and simple common sense.  Unfortunately, common sense is a commodity that has all too often been in short supply in Washington.

In April, 2012, I voted for S. 2230, the Paying a Fair Share Act, which would have required that anyone who has annual income over $1 million pay at least a 30% overall tax rate.  The bill would have reduced the deficit by $50 billion over the next 10 years.  While a majority of Senators supported this proposal, the bill did not receive the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster of the legislation.

Of course, there are other ways to enact Buffett Rule principles into law.  Congress could undertake an overhaul of the tax system that simplifies the code, reduces the number of deductions and loopholes, and brings down tax rates for everyone, while ensuring that multi-millionaires bear a greater share of the burden than working class families, who are struggling to make ends meet.  I support such reform and hope Congress undertakes a tax reform effort in the near future.

Until we can pass comprehensive tax reform, Congress should pass commonsense measures like the Paying a Fair Share Act, which will make the tax code fairer and reduce the deficit in the process.  It will not solve our deficit problems, but it is a step in the right direction.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.

Sincerely,
Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

My immediate thought was that perhaps the indication of supporting the tax cuts for the wealthy was untrue and that this reply represents her position. I wrote back saying, "You obviously didn't read my question" and asked again if she intended to allow the Bush tax cuts to go on across the board or if she really is behind the Buffett Rule.  I'm awaiting the next email.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans.

    by charliestl on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 08:39:41 PM PDT

  •  Not Roy Blunt, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    I meant the other 3 stooges running against her.

    The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans.

    by charliestl on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 08:41:20 PM PDT

  •  It's a classic avoidance e-mail (13+ / 0-)

    in that it really doesn't answer your question, but tries to make it seem like it did.

    •  I don't think you will ever get a reply that (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, wasatch, Ckntfld, thomask, grrr

      specifically addresses your question.  Not unless you're a big campaign contributor or some other high profile individual.  Ask a tax policy related question, get the tax policy response.  It's just the way it is, but please do let us know if your second attempt elicits a more specific response.

      Maybe if the good Senator's office is made aware that there are hundreds of very politically active folks awaiting your next reply, you will actually get a more focused response.

      Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. Carl Sagan

      by sjburnman on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:20:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You and I don't "contribute" enough cash (0+ / 0-)

      direct to the congressional "source"... We just pay their salaries and give them tax dollars to fritter away on wars for their corporate masters gain and our perpetual loss.

      Congress only pays attention when they are "selected by corrupt voting machines" as they go thru the outside motions in their sick game of plutocracy.

      Congress does not CARE about "the little people".
      Very obvious by their lack of action on our behalf.

      •    "There is in the nature of government an impatience of control that disposes those invested with power to look with an evil eye upon all external attempts to restrain or direct its operations. This has its origin in the love of power.

      Representatives of the people are not superior to the people themselves."
       - Alexander Hamilton - Federalist Paper No.15, 1787.

  •  Hey she's not outta touch. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina

    She's touched out.

    Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 08:57:10 PM PDT

  •  In the meantime, let's just do nothing and (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, Pinto Pony, kerplunk, Russgirl

    let those tax cuts expire

    Since that's where Congress's talents lie anyway

    Of course, there are other ways to enact Buffett Rule principles into law.  Congress could undertake an overhaul of the tax system that simplifies the code, reduces the number of deductions and loopholes, and brings down tax rates for everyone, while ensuring that multi-millionaires bear a greater share of the burden than working class families, who are struggling to make ends meet.  I support such reform and hope Congress undertakes a tax reform effort in the near future

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:02:30 PM PDT

  •  I tried to repost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask, charliestl

    To show me kos.  For Missouri news.  But I can't from my phone. Keep writing to her. She needs to know what we think and that we care.

  •  Isn't this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, grrr, chipmo
    Congress could undertake an overhaul of the tax system that simplifies the code, reduces the number of deductions and loopholes, and brings down tax rates for everyone
    the same thing that the GOP has been saying?
    •  The GOP's "overhaul of the tax system" Simply (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      charliestl

      means they would want to preserve and protect and "enhance" the tax system to further benefit the wealthiest citizens of the United States and tax those less wealthy even more to pay for what the wealthy are not paying in taxes.

      A Republican's greed is insatiable.

      The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

      by kerplunk on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 08:50:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is disappointing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    charliestl

    to see the economics of the whole situation so muddled.

    We're in the middle of a global deleveraging, which always follows a credit crisis.  If I'm deleveraging (paying down my debt), demand by me drops.  If that demand isn't made up somewhere (the rational policy response is to build national infrastructure since it's now cheap in a relative sense to do so), businesses cut staff and the downward spiral begins and will continue until some steady state is achieved.

    Deleveragings are long slogs.  Read Reinhart/Rogoff or some of Dalio's writings.  Not commenting on their politics, but the economics are correct and sobering.  There are a limited number of paths available to navigate deleveragings, some less painful, others very painful, but all involve some level of pain.  It's a question of who ends up feeling the pain.

    The key is to maintain some level of demand and to do that you need to put cash in the hands of people who will immediately put it into circulation via everyday consumption (not via debt pay down although some will always go in this direction).  The fact of the matter, as your income goes up, any excess cash available generally will not go to direct maintenance consumption.  It will be stashed away/invested, which in the best case is delayed consumption.  Delayed consumption doesn't help maintain demand to navigate the current crisis.

    I can get with tax simplification and all that.  But there are two goals that absolutely should be realized...

    1.  Net taxes/FICA paid by middle/low income folks should not increase and must decrease.
    2.  Net taxes/FICA paid by higher income folks should not decrease and must increase.

    That's the policy path that is rational.

    The demarcation between those groups is obviously open to debate.  As someone in the upper few percent of incomes, the statements out their that "reaching down" to (for example) $250k imposes a draconian situation on "job creators" are ludicrous.  The line is somewhere around that number, but certainly not any higher.

  •  The current tax policy is not helping the middle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    charliestl

    class. We need a progressive tax policy that funds the cost of government. I don't expect my FICA taxes to be paid by someone else. Particularly when the cut is going to pay for the increased fees/taxes and loss of services that I've incurred due to the high end tax cuts.

    We have added 3.5 million to the ranks of the (U3) unemployed and 9.5 million to the rank of the (U6) unemployed in the last 4 years. We have added $5.9 trillion to the national debt over that time. We are heading for a $23 trillion dollar national debt by 2016.

    Wall ST earned more in the first two years of this Presidency then they did in the previous 8. Corporate profits are at record highs.

    These are not growth or employment creating tax cuts. They are profit and wealth creating tax cuts that are bankrupting the country.

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