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The GOP is going to have to accept that Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will expire at the end of this year—and according to conservative pundit Byron York, they know it:

York says Republicans are "pretty nervous" about taxes because:
  • Obama ran on a platform of ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy—and won.
  • If we go over the "fiscal cliff" and all Bush tax cuts expire, they know that the president will propose extending tax cuts for income under $250,000—and they don't want to "find themselves in the position of defending tax cuts for the highest income brackets."
  • They are pushing tax reform in the hopes of avoiding that scenario, but failing that, York said it's "unclear" whether they can stay unified in opposition to extending just tax cuts below $250,000.
  • As far as tax reform goes, Republicans want something like what Mitt Romney proposed: a cap on deductions. (York didn't go into detail on whether Republicans would push for the other part of Romney's plan, which was to lower tax rates by 20 percent. Obviously, it was the rate cut that created the biggest problem with Romney's plan, not the cap on deductions. Obama has already proposed a similar, but more modest, cap and Democrats are interested in pursuing the idea now that Republicans are floating it.)

Whatever ultimately happens with tax reform, the key point here is that Democrats are in an excellent position to finally eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. It's not that Republicans are going to suddenly endorse the Democratic position, but they don't seem to have the heart to once again hold middle class tax cuts hostage in order to cut taxes on top earners. And the reason they don't have the heart to hold them hostage is that they realize that President Obama and Democrats are serious this time, unlike at the end of 2010.

Bottom line: the only thing that can stop the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expiring is if the White House or Democrats get cold feet. And the good news is that there's no sign of that happening.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:45 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I see Stenny Hoyer without his shoes on (7+ / 0-)

    Some cold feet brewing.

    •  Give R's the "lowered rates" (3+ / 0-)

      but "pay" for them and then some by treating (as they should be) cap gains and dividends as ordinary income.  That is effectively the biggest tax preference in the code and any reform deal that doesn't include them shouldn't make it out of the starting gate.  If they are really concerned for small businesses, this would be the test.

      •  I respectfully disagree completely (4+ / 0-)

        The tax rate fight is highly symbolic and more.

        If we cave on that, even if more revenue from the rich is expected to be raised, most people will think we got taken again.  Rates are easy to understand, the other stuff is complicated.  And many people don't really understand what cap gains are and don't get them or dividends.

        Another reason for letting the higher bracket rate rise is that this will break the hold that Norquist has on the Repubs, which long term is as important as any other aspect of this issue.

        And even after the rates go back up for the rich, we might still be able to get cap gains and dividends as ordinary income.  In fact, expiration of the Bush tax cuts will already raise those rates back up to over 25%.  That should also be allowed to expire.

        So DO NOT AGREE TO LOWER RATES FOR THE RICH !!!!

      •  That was one of the options in Simpson-Bowles (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery, Womantrust, jm214

        But I think we can get hung up too much on tax simplification. Simplification is a good thing - we have a wackily complex federal tax system and the complexity allows creative ways to game the system via tax shelters.

        However, if you are actually concerned about the deficit, simplifying the tax code while holding revenues neutral is just a distraction. It is not moving the needle on the deficit, necessarily. It is also not clear you are coming out with a more progressive tax system, although that is possible.

        I think we should concentrate on having a tax system that comes close to actually paying for our government, or at least narrows the budget deficit over time, and that reverses some of the huge shift towards income inequality we have had recently, by putting more of the tax burden on those who can afford to pay.

  •  Soledad O'Brien with Jason Chaffetz (40+ / 0-)

    This morning on CNN, Chaffetz showed up on the set with Soledad.  I switched it on just as she asked him to outline a compromise deal he could live with.  He basically trotted out the Republican position.  She asked him about increased taxes on the rich, Chaffetz deflected to "reform" with lower rates and a broader base (i.e. taxing the poor more).  She pressed and he trotted out ending deductions.  Which ones, she insisted?  He flew into a word salad, sweat beading on his brow.  He sounded exactly like Mitt Romney in a debate, with a moderator actually pressing for specifics.

    At one point Soledad expressed happiness Chaffetz was live on set with her, "so I can poke you when I'm going to interrupt for more details."  She poked him on the shoulder.  

    It's always nice to see actual journalism on the teevee.  You gotta wonder when Republicans will flee from her in fear, since she corners them as well as anybody on teevee.

    Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

    by Dallasdoc on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:54:34 AM PST

    •  Unfortunately, repeated humilation doesn't (7+ / 0-)

      work with Republicans.  As a congenital contrarian, I am rather skeptical of the current zeitgeist that Obama has all this political capital that the Repubs can't combat.  We've been here before.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:13:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not about political capital (16+ / 0-)

        It's a matter of who wants what.

        In 2010, Obama needed to still finish up a lot of legislation and a strategic arms treaty.  He wanted some kind of stimulus too.   So he bent on the tax cuts and got almost all of the rest before the end of December.

        In 2011, the real problem was the debt ceiling, but also the national conversation was 100% about austerity and so he was trying to accomplish a couple things beyond not having the country go into default

        1.  Be seen as a "serious" player in the deficit cutting game
        2.  Make the Rs break the "no tax" pledge.

        He failed at #2, mixed success at #1, but the attempt did allow him to pivot to a jobs message once the debt ceiling crap was over.   Also, quite frankly, he was done trying to legislate at that point.  He knew congress would no longer move an of his policy goals, which freed him up to stop being nice and conciliatory.

        In 2012 lame duck, the consequences of inaction are worse for the Rs than the Ds, especially if they get the blame for the inaction resulting in defense cuts and taxes raised for everybody.

        Obama seems to be setting the stage for the right frame on this, with his messaging.   But his hand is a lot stronger when, as we're starting to see, liberal groups, unions are pressuring him to not put things on the table.  The Senate has already taken SS off the table.  He can go in the negotiations "Sorry guys, I'd like to be all 2011-bipartisan and shit, but if Pelosi and Reed won't pass it, I guess we'll just have to go off thecliff".

        Meanwhile, remember, if the house Rs splinter on a deal Pelosi can accept, she only needs 25ish votes from the R caucus to pass something worthwile.   Such a splintering is more likely in 2013 than now, but it's not impossible now.

        •  Not sure what Obama & Dems "want" (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ichibon, sea note, phonegery, Eric Blair

          But I think that what Repubs really want is to slash entitlement programs, and the tax cuts were always a red herring they were going to "cave" on to get what they really wanted. Rich people rarely pay the full top rate with all the ways around them so it's more of a symbolic "loss" to them.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:32:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No one pays "the full top rate" (0+ / 0-)

            because it is the top MARGINAL rate; the highest margin.

            Everyone (almost) gets their exemption and standard deduction amount tax free, even you.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:23:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for the interesting comment (4+ / 0-)

          It is refreshing to read you thoughtful description how a different political landscape means different goals can be sought employing different political strategies.

        •  I agree with this, but did you forget the impact (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Womantrust, greblos, Eric Blair

          of OWS on the national conversation?  It may have eventually fizzled out, but was a huge factor in shifting the focus from austerity.

          •  I forgot to mention it in this post (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bythesea

            But no OWS is huge, it is a lot of how Obama got to run on a "raise taxes on the rich" platform in 2012, and is part of the ongoing pressure that can only strengthen his hand.

            What OWS is doing in the Hurricane Sandy aftermath can only help their goodwill and longer term influence.  OWS has a kind of soft power...it doesn't hold a candle to the weapon Teahadists have with the way they primary anyone who compromises even a little.  But soft power is still power, and it may prove more effective in the long run at getting policy done.

            •  But they are not getting credit (0+ / 0-)

              in the News.

              They need something to identify them like a outer vest* with an occupy symbol on it. That would at least show up in visuals.

              The media is just showing that as neighbor helping neighbors with out showing that it is a message.

              Like dayglo orange like highway safety workers wear — with black symbol of fist.

              I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

              by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:34:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  However even before they started (0+ / 0-)

            Obama and Geithner were fighting world wide against austerity — with little success in Europe.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:25:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  "Sorry guys, I'd like to be all 2011-bipartisan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jm214

          and shit, but toooooooooooo late, ____uckers!

        •  Wow, greblos, you get it! I have (0+ / 0-)

          been in despair that no one seems to see that Obama did well in the lame duck 2010 session and the pivot in 2011 that had Obama taking advantage of his getting a Congress focused on deficit reduction.

          He just didn't realize how full on crazy they were.

          Problem: Moody's just said fix before 2013, not just defer or we will downgrade.  2nd: When does Boehner get reelected  — or not?

          Thought for the day. If Rs split in vote for speaker, could Dems unite and vote in Pelosi?

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:19:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think Moody's matters (0+ / 0-)

            The downgrade anyway after the debt ceiling, primarily due to R obstruction, was a nonevent -  interest rates are still insanely low for US govt debt.

            If I was Obama, I'd just ignore their posturing.  Our creditors will decide on their own whether the USA is a safe bet.  I don't think the rating agencies have as big an impact there as they may think.  

            Regarding the speaker, the constitution doesn't have anything to say beyond the House chooses it.  It could even be somebody not IN the house.  In practice I think that a successful attempt to nominate a minority party member to the Speaker would result in a constitutional crisis (instant court challenges etc).

            Here's what happens to individual reps who buck their party, per wikipedia:

            "It is expected that members of the House vote for their party's candidate. If they do not do so, they usually vote for someone else in their party or vote "present". Those who vote for the other party's candidate often face serious consequences, up to and including the loss of seniority. The last major instance where a representative voted for the other party's candidate was in 2000, when Democrat Jim Traficant of Ohio voted for Republican Dennis Hastert. In response, the Democrats stripped him of his seniority and he lost all of his committee posts."

      •  Must confess I worry the same thing... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery, Womantrust

        Too many past instances of giving away the store to start the negotiations.

        Please get a spine this time guys.....you have the whip hand....USE IT!

        Grand Bargains are great, but only if the end result is really something GRAND!!!

        Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

        by dweb8231 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:55:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So, are they admitting Obama and the Dems (3+ / 0-)

      have some POLITICAL CAPITAL on tax cuts for the rich?

      And cutting deductions for home mortgage, et al (Schedule A Itemized Deductions basically) will barely put a dent in rich people's taxes.  Another WHOPPER of a CONSERVATIVE lie.

      I've done enough taxes in my lifetime (accounting geek here) that they know their audience has NO CLUE what the real world impact of just removing those deductions from the wealthy (Already in place, btw, through the AMT or Alternative Minimum Tax).

      Yes, Romney knew the people he was talking to were clueless.

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:13:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In an Op-Ed piece this morning in the NYT (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery, michaeloberg

        by Robert Rubin (An Op-Ed with which I don't agree) he did one thing that I like.  He thoroughly tore up the arguments that tax reform (eliminating mortgage, charitable, etc. deductions) would work.  Doesn't raise anywhere near enough money and they wouldn't last anyway as pressure groups would move quickly to get them reinstated.

        Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

        by ratcityreprobate on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:38:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. The AMT (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ratcityreprobate, Eric Blair

        (Alternative Minimum Tax) may  kick in on your middle class level income, too.  By the time you add the tax on 85% of your Social Security benefit,  you get to pay  more than a fair amount of taxes. It's a dent,  not a killer dent, but a dent in  retirement income based on Social Security and savings.

        Time is a long river.

        by phonegery on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:58:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Grover Norquist was on CNN this morning, too, (4+ / 0-)

      repeating his mantra when asked whether he'd be okay with lawmakers breaking their pledge a little: nobody pledged anything to me, the pledge was to the constituents. IOW, no, he wouldn't be okay with it. He continues to deny that the majority of voters agree with Obama on raising taxes on the rich as they returned a Republican majority to congress.

      Something else to watch out for: the primary "loophole" I hear being targeted for closure is the home mortgage interest deduction. I believe that, once again, this will hit the middle income earners harder than anyone. I'd like to see some advocacy for ending the carried interest deduction that privileges hedge fund managers!

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:25:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Deductions, shmeductions (9+ / 0-)

        the whole tax reform balloon is a total clusterfuck. A lame duck Congress is going to work all of that out in the next month? Will there be a graduated home mortgage interest deduction up to a cap, or just a cap? And that's just for starters, because from there we move onto charitable deductions.  

        Tax reform policy such as this shouldn't be decided while flying by the seat of one's pants. It would be so much simpler to do one thing, and one thing only: pass a bill extending the Bush tax cuts only for those making less than $250,000. Hell, the Senate has already passed the bill.

        Please, oh please, wingnuts, do run someone really, really conservative in 2016 -- and pen for us the opening chapter of "The Way of the Whigs"

        by Yankee Patriot on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:43:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Numerous observers have noted that politically... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ratcityreprobate, phonegery

          it is far easier, in relative terms, to get to agreements on rates than it would be if you got into the weeds of trying to decide on which deductions to cut...since every one of those would fire up an army of lobbyists claiming we'd all die if that deduction got cut.

          Home owners and real-estate agents and appliance manufacturers and building supplies for mortgage deductions...

          Churches and charitable organizations for charitable deductions....

          etc. etc. etc.

          Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

          by dweb8231 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:58:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's another problem (3+ / 0-)

            with the deduction cap. Romney was proposing it with a 20% tax cut. Without that a deduction cap would hurt more than keeping the Bush Tax cuts for self employed people---IOW the smallest of small businesses.

            In my case, as a self employed family, we can deduct our insurance costs which are almost equal to our mortgage costs, and if we couldn't we wouldn't be able to afford our insurance, not to mention our house payments.

            And so yes, unless that cap is so high it only applies to the wealthy, a deduction cap is witchy territory.

            "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

            by StellaRay on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:32:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We need to insist on defining (0+ / 0-)

              "Small Business."

              The Repubs, I read one place meant those with fewer than 100 owners. I've also heard those with fewer than 10 owners. I have also heard those with receipts of less than $10 million or $5 million a year.

              The "small business" label seems to have a lot of room for hedge fund and investment brokers. The last preference bill, the one about not investing on insider knowledge for legislators had an exclusion for relatives. I call it the Mrs Eric Cantor Protection Act. It could be called the Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan Enrichment Act.

              Apparently the "Small Business" label will be fashioned to cover the Koch Brothers' Empire.

              I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

              by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:50:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Good catch. This is exactly what the Pres (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener

          is calling for. Looks like the gopers are getting squeezed (I hope).

        •  The Bush tax cuts don't affect those (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          phonegery

          That level of tax reform is not on the lame ducks' schedule. They are faced with doing (A) something or (B) nothing before the Bush tax cuts sunset into oblivion. So the lame ducks will be looking at the much more simple issue of extending some of the cuts or none of them.

        •  Don't misjudge working on with (0+ / 0-)

          speaking out about.

          A lot of work has been done over the years. Now is the time we should ALL be talking to and writing our Congress Critters especially any that are Republicans.

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:10:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  only hits the middle class (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery

        You lose deductions on a second (or third, or fourth..) anyway when you fall under AMT.  

        It will only hit them on money they borrowed to purchase a primary home.  Interest rates are now down to less than 4%.  How much is it going to cost if you have even a million dollar jumbo loan?

        Peanuts compared to their wealth from capital gains and dividends.

        You and I on the other hand.......

      •  Norquist is a Poopie Head (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ratcityreprobate, phonegery

        To use a technical economics term.

        Besides, changes in deductions and clever ideas like that will put us in the same place they always do:  

        The rich, like Romney, will hire accountants and develop tax avoidance schemes to get around them.

    •  Got to end preferential 15% rate for dividends (6+ / 0-)

      That would be a 20% increase (from 15% to 35%) on divident income for the very rich, which insubstantial.  These people get millions in income from dividends.  Increase cap gains to 1/2 of the ordinary income rate.  

      The cap on deductions is a good idea if it includes everything that reduces your taxes below the ordinary income rate on AGI less the personal exemption and is coupled with an increase in the rate on investment income.

      But beware of measures to "broaden the base" or increase the zero bracket anount.

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

      by Mimikatz on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:26:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whatever the rate - all income is taxed the same (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mconvente, condorcet

        earned income, investments, gambling, gifts...

        No more setting up your kids with tax free or tax-deferred income for life.

      •  in other words you are saying (0+ / 0-)

        no deductions at all for anyone.

        You would be broadening the base big time. Absolutely breathtaking. Unless you don't really mean what you say.

        And a 20% increase of the 15% rate would be to 18% not 35%.

        Increasing the 0 bracket amount would REDUCE middle income taxes but would be hardly noticeable the higher up in incomes you go.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:41:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You can "broaden the base" without (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, LilithGardener, Womantrust

      going after the poor, treating cap gains/dividends as ordinary income (something Reagan did) also gets you there.  I think R's may be willing to deal on investment tax rates and we need to call them on it.

      •  no, Reagan just raised cap gain a bit. (0+ / 0-)

        To 28% iirc.  Not same as ordinary income.

        The cap gain/dividend taxes would be the LAST thing the Rs want to lose. The Bush tax cuts cut them; that's why they are fighting HARD to keep the Bush tax cuts.

        Mitt and Ryan overplayed their hands by trying to cut them further. What really pissed me off is that NO ONE in the media  asked what he meant to do about cap gains and dividends. I really do wish he had discussed that at that little fund raiser we got an unedited peek at.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:25:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the Soledad O'Brien/Jason Chaffez clip (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc
  •  It's up to Obama - the Dems in the Senate won't (8+ / 0-)

    get cold feet unless he does.  Let's hope Obama really meant all the things he said at all of his campaign rallies about not allowing the tax cuts to be extended for the super-rich.

  •  Let 'em expire. (24+ / 0-)

    Let the "Obama tax cuts" begin in January.

    I wish that President Obama would plunk down a "whole binder full" of tax legislation, a new jobs/infrastructure bill, and so on, right now, and go on the road, asking Americans to support it all.

    "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

    by CitizenJoe on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:56:36 AM PST

  •  I truly hope you are right..... (16+ / 0-)

    cause I can`t remember too many times when the Dems were in the drivers seat and really took advantage of it. Or, at least it just feels that way. My fear is we will "reach across the aisle" and compromise away the advantage. I shudder when I hear the words "Grand Bargain"

    Politics is like driving.... (D) forward, (R) reverse.

    by Tribecastan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:57:08 AM PST

  •  15 Legislative days left not the mythical 49 (8+ / 0-)

    You don't re-write the Tax code and get it passed by both houses in 15 Legislative days

    Geronimo!

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:59:27 AM PST

  •  Not sure I like cap on deductions (5+ / 0-)

    The devil is in the details of course, but I could see such a cap hurting people with big medical expenses and inhibiting large donations to charity.

    •  Yes, but (5+ / 0-)

      The uber-rich avoid paying a lot of their taxes by using these deductions.  So capping deductions should theoretically capture more of their income as taxes.

      "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

      by Brian A on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:08:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But it's not specifically targeted at the rich (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery, Brian A

        It will affect some, it won't affect others, and it will hurt many middle class and working poor.

        Whereas ending the tax cut for income over $250,000 is perfectly targeted only at people who make over that amount.

    •  Agreed, as incomes inflate from inflation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Killer of Sacred Cows

      You could see what nominally now only affects wealth soon affecting middle class

      --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

      by idbecrazyif on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:09:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The ACA really addresses much of the (4+ / 0-)

      medical expense side.  Much of what qualifies for "charity" these days is actually "not".  Especially when it comes t large donations.  

      Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

      by nsfbr on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:19:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  See discussion in today's NYT: (4+ / 0-)
      The Third Way proposal would limit tax deductions to $35,000 but would exclude charitable giving. Universities, foundations and other philanthropies have been the biggest impediment to passing Mr. Obama’s more modest 28 percent limit, which did not exclude the charitable tax deduction.
      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

      by Inland on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:29:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Blair

      As I said in a comment above, a cap on deductions will hurt small business people more than the wealthy.  The medical deduction is huge for our family as we are self employed and pay almost 18,000 a year in health insurance.  This is only affordable for us because it's 100% deductible.

      I've read a $35,000 cap has been floated.  This wouldn't even cover the combination of our mortgage and medical, to say nothing of our many other business expenses, not to mention the state tax deduction, the property tax deduction etc etc. (And if you can't deduct those two, you are agreeing to allow people to be double taxed on the same money.)

      No, this cap deduction thing sounds good till as you say, you get into the details, at which point it quickly becomes political quicksand.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:44:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't even sound good (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StellaRay

        I give a lot to charities and would lose much of the value of my deductions.  Actually the alternative minimum tax is essentially a deduction cap and I would much rather pay a higher rate than have to pay the AMT.

        I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

        by Eric Blair on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:52:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could beleive this (8+ / 0-)

    but I don't. The Rethugs will just keep trotting out the same old "Trickle Down/Don't tax the job creators" B.S. that's been working perfectly for them for so long now. As long as they can keep fooling enough idiots into believing it, they have no reason to ever stop doubling down on it.

    As for the Dems, we've seen before what kind of a fight they put up on our behalf. I expect a lot of smoke and noise, and then another "compromise" that sells us a little further on down the river, just like always.

    Here's hoping that my pessimism based on experience will be proven wrong, just for once.

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:01:07 AM PST

    •  Agree 110%. (4+ / 0-)

      It amazes me how short people's memories are when it comes to politics.  So far, nothing has changed except Obama who turned Repub critic for the re-e-lec-tion season.  It's a matter of time before that transient conversion completes its cycle imo.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:15:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would have agreed in the past... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        S F Hippie, StellaRay

        but this election showed me something I wasn't ready to believe:

        American voters are no longer buying the GOP trickle down.  It was Romney's plan for the election.....he tried repeating it in all kinds of guises, but in the end, the electorate understood, and Obama and Clinton helped them realize, that what the GOP was selling was Bush economics and they clearly realized that Bush economics had been in operation for a decade and had created a disaster.

        Enough of them now KNOW that the concept does not work and cannot work.  The math just does not compute and there is no hard evidence that it has worked.

        I was afraid the voters would drink the Kool Aid again, but the fact that Obama won despite the negative economics he had to battle with for the past four years, indicates that they are just not that stupid...even though Rove and Romney and Armey were operating on that principle.

        Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

        by dweb8231 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:04:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't Throw Us In That Briar Patch. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm sure Democrats can come up deep enough cuts in the social safety net for Republicans to accept the tax rate on the rich.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:07:56 AM PST

  •  Riiiigggghhhttt ..... (5+ / 0-)
    Bottom line: the only thing that can stop the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expiring is if the White House or Democrats get cold feet. And the good news is that there's no sign of that happening.
    I'm betting the Dems/Obama will give something significant away in advance - the cold feet equivalent of putting on socks (not to be confused with putting on those comfortable shoes we heard Obama talk about when the unions were getting hammered in Wisconsin).  They will cast it as an act of good faith (excuse me while I laugh my coffee out my nose).

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:10:53 AM PST

    •  That old "comfortable shoes" thing, Really?! (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sure you're aware that many involved with the Wisconsin Recall did not want Obama anywhere near the place.

      You know, it's one thing to be a substantive critic of the president, it's another thing to hold on to every disappointment and grudge for dear life.  

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:56:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is such an easy call, Obama has a royal flush (12+ / 0-)

    Please don't fold it, POTUS.

    Let the cuts expire first (unless the Repubs agree in 2012 to middle class rate extension only, under $250k).

    Then, in 2013, put forward the Obama Tax Cut bill again.  Don't even look at other deficit reduction issues until the Obama Tax Cut is passed.

    Forget a package deal in 2012; you'll have to give something up to get the Repubs to agree to the middle class tax cut, which they are going to have to give up anyway with nothing in exchange; they are totally bluffing.  Just take the 15 yard penalty, then it's a new first and 10 but you're 15 yards closer to their endzone.

    Sorry to mix the poker and football metaphors.

  •  I know we're worried... (3+ / 0-)

    but just remember, Obama is a brilliant man and, more importantly, a brilliant politician.  I believe he understands (far better than I do) how much he has to loose, and how little he has to gain, by caving to the Republicans.

    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:26:22 AM PST

  •  Regardless, we still need to hold those feet (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, conniptionfit, mconvente

    to the fire.

    Just to be extra sure they won't get cold at the last minute.

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

    by Killer of Sacred Cows on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:36:41 AM PST

  •  I wish to call out an exciting trend I see. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conniptionfit, PsychoSavannah

    Rhetorically speaking, we are increasingly able to sever "tax cuts for the super-wealthy" and "tax cuts for everyone else." Time was, until fairly recently, the phrase "tax cuts for the job creators," implied universal "low taxes." The politicians and paid chatterers just aren't getting away with this sleight-of-hand anymore.

    This new, sharpening rhetorical distinction has made possible the wide passage of Proposition 30 in California, which raises desperately needed revenues for public infrastructures by TAXING THE WEALTHY. Back that one up and let it replay: by a wide margin, voters in this state just approved an old-style progressive tax.

    This new dissociation between tax cuts for the 1%, and tax cuts for the 99%, will show up in political maneuvering soon to take place around the Bush tax cuts, as well.

    We are well on the way to destroying a decades-old Republican talking point that's been as powerful as it is pernicious.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:50:35 AM PST

  •  Unlike 2010 (4+ / 0-)

    DADT isn't on the line
    Strategic arms limitation isn't on the line
    Dream act and first responder 911 medical payments aren't on the line
    Economy is in better shape now than then, so Obama won't feel as pressured to sneak in some stimulus (cutting the SS witholding)

    and also

    Obama is never, ever going to face another election
    2012 was a better congressional year than 2010, and the 2010 lame duck isn't the legislative opportunity that 2010 was, when he still had blue-dog based house and senate majorities.

    So he can give the Rs a finger and veto anything he doesn't like, because the worst case of having every damn thing expire is better than most of the alternatives.

    Obama would like to improve medicare/SS by raising the tax caps and perhaps applying the taxes in full to capital gains.  He'd like the buffet rule in place.  He'd certainly like to eliminate some loopholes from the tax code(eg offshoring jobs, oil subsidies) and maybe add some tax incentives for things like education and clean energy.   I think he'd like a cleaner budget plan than the sequestration allows.

    This is why he's negotiating.  The current cluster of things expiring on Jan 1 2013 is better than status quo, but far from perfect.  His hand is MUCH stronger than in 2010, when it was all about trying to get legislation passed on a variety of key issues, where this time it is about the best possible long term outcome, with a friendlier congress coming into office in 2013.

  •  And here in California... (7+ / 0-)

    there was a piece that looked at what the GOP must do if they don't want to completely be irrelevant in California.

    "It's going to get worse before it gets better," predicts Matt David, a Republican consultant who managed moderate Jon Huntsman's campaign for the presidential nomination and was communications director for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    "We have to change our positions on social issues. We have to embrace the Republican philosophy of less government. And that means less government in people's personal lives."

    "It means," David continues, "embracing a woman's right to choose and gay marriage and sensible immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship. And we have to speak out against the extremes of the party, against the Rush Limbaughs, who make outrageous comments that alienate young voters, moderate voters and minority voters, including Asians and Latinos."

    ....

    Tony Quinn, a Republican political analyst, denounces "the anti-tax zealots who for years have been tail-wagging the old flea-bitten Republican dog. Well, now, there is no dog; only fleas."

  •  Why not go back to Eisenhower's 90%? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    With the odd Paris Hilton, rock star and pro athlete exception, the rich did not get to be rich by being stupid.

    If taxes go up on the rich, will this result in more revenue?  Or will the rich defer income, hide income or move income overseas?

    I'm not Trolling.  I once worked for a company that moved manufacturing to Taiwan, a country whose residents are almost as prosperous as Americans.  

    But the Taiwanese don't need relatively high corporate income taxes to fund illegal wars or Medicaid for people that weigh 400 pounds.

  •  GOP keeps saying taxing the rich taxes small (0+ / 0-)

    business, which creates jobs.

    Couldn't an answer be to grant a substantial tax credit to a rich person for every individual that he employs?

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:23:26 AM PST

  •  The sadness of that interview is stunning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trueblueliberal

    They both actually seem really resigned. It's amazing.

    2012: It's about the Supreme Court. Follow me on Twitter @farrellmcmanus

    by HarlemUSA on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:26:07 AM PST

  •  There's a theory that extremely plausible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mysoreback

    That Repubs always knew that they'd have to eventually have to lose the tax cut for millionaires battle, and that it would be worth it as misdirection and a bone to throw Dems as they fought for what they've really been after all along, which is to slash entitlement programs. I.e. pretending to be fighting to preserve the tax cut enabled them to "give up" on it, in exchange for having Social Security, etc., cut.

    I 100% believe that this was their strategy all along. And a smart one too. Will Obama & Dems be dumb enough to fall for it? Do they care enough?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:26:17 AM PST

    •  Brilliant take! (0+ / 0-)

      Have you tried to be on a negotiation table! The art of "giving up" without actually giving up..Good one..

      If you are for the death penalty, you do not deserve to be called a "pro-lifer". You are anti-choice. Just to make sure, did you support the war on Iraq?

      by Mysoreback on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:45:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ya know, it's not like Dems are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Manny, mconvente

    Pushing the end of the BUSH tax cuts for the rich just for fun.  Or to be snotty to the rich.  We NEED that little bit extra from them.  With all the job losses (engineered by the rich) the Feds have lost the income taxes stemming from those jobs.  And 93% of the gains of the recovery have gone to the 1%.  Expenses have gone up and revenues have gone down.  The rich will still get their tax cut on their 1st $250,000. They should shut up, and be glad it's not more.  And if they don't like it, there's the door.  Personally I think the tone of the place would be vastly improved with fewer of these over privileged whiners.  Might get some real work done.

  •  It fuckin better not ... (0+ / 0-)

    They won all over the place on this issue (among others).  They will be committing political suicide if they even think about capitulating on any kind of extending any tax cuts on incomes over $250K.

    They have a very real opportunity here to do the right thing, and to MAKE Rethugs play ball. They will have NO choice BUT to play ball, or face the fury of the entire nation for once again protecting only the very rich and leaving everyone else dangling in the breeze.   Emergency unemployment benefits will stop, everyone's taxes will go up, payroll taxes, everything.

    Just what people want right after the holidays (not to mention the millions still dealing with the after effects of Sandy).

    No, it's time for Dems to be the party they were elected to be.

  •  does the 15 percent cap gains rate expire too? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:29:15 AM PST

  •  I worry about the effect (0+ / 0-)

    on housing affordability for middle class folks on the coasts if these deduction limits come to pass.

    Buying a moderate house in cities like Boston, DC, metro NYC, SF, or LA is already a financial nightmare for many families, and the mortgage deduction is often what lets people step into a more walkable neighborhood, or one with better schools, etc.  

    The devil's in the details, of course, but even a $35k cap could easily hit cash strapped families with childcare expenses and student loans.  This will get worse when interest rates inevitably rise.  At 7%, a $300,000 mortgage means $20k in interest in the first year.

  •  The cap on deductions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    over $50,000, is actually very progressive.  I don't think the idea should be dismissed out of hand.  I have seen some estimates that suggest that the amount of revenue it would raise is pretty significant, and it would all come from upper income people.

    •  Progressive, yes (0+ / 0-)

      but where you draw the line really matters.  $50k would be a lot better than $35k.

      I would prefer to see them phase out deductions at high income levels rather than cap them.

      I know it's a political non-starter, but really, the caps should be indexed to local cost of living, too.

  •  I just do not agree with the apparently popular (0+ / 0-)

    notion around here that Obama has a fistful of aces in this game and he can just roll right over the top of the Republicans. Sure, he is in a strong position. But the Republicans still command a majority in the House. That is far from insignificant. At the end of the day, the deficit must be put on a downward path. To get there, we need increases in revenue and decreases in expenditures. It's important to the President to get Boehner and Co on board a deal. Ideally we want a budget passed with a big majority in favor. It would be suboptimal if we squeaked out a very narrow, bitter resolution. So I would counsel against too much saber-rattling. It's good to be committed to your part; just remember that there are people on the other side just as committed.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:37:47 AM PST

    •  The GOP is in a box on this one. (0+ / 0-)

      Democrats felt no political pain on running a campaign in which they promised to raise taxes on the wealthy.  They have the leverage of the 12/31 deadline.  Obama has the power to take the issue of the top bracket tax rates out of the equation by simply letting them expire.  The remainder of the bargaining will be on extending the middle income tax cuts and staving off some of the spending cuts in the budget control act.

      The GOP will not sign their name to any bill that raises rates, which ironically means that rates will go up higher on AGI above 250k than if they negotiated with the President.

      Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

      by khyber900 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:42:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your first paragraph is moot. The election is over (0+ / 0-)

        Your second paragraph asserts something that is somewhat belied by the noises coming from quite a few Republicans. So I am far from agreement with you on that point. The House still has a Republican majority and that is significant. Boehner has a delicate task of trying to get his folks to get beyond the last ditch defense of the rich that's killing them in public opinion. I am clearly much more optimistic than you are that he will get many, if not a majority, of his caucus to follow him up that hill. Never say never.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:37:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Proper strategy at this time: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cardinal Fang

    1.  Let the tax cuts expire, while fighting for middle class tax cut extension.  Just don't propose anything the GOP will accept.

    2.  Ram through a middle class tax cut, getting republicans to line up on the side of rich fucks.  

    3.  Negotiate tax reform from a position of strength.

    Please President Obama, take off the gloves.  If you do this, I will accept the existence of a God.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:41:52 AM PST

  •  To end the "fiscal cliff" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trueblueliberal

    you have to change existing law.  To do that you need the President's signature.

    Obama is totally in control.

    Obama can argue that the laws passed by the Republicans (end of Bush tax cuts and sequester) will all go into effect 1/1/2013 just like they wanted.  They passed these laws so let them live with them.

    They don't really want to live with the laws they passed so Obama can demand whatever he needs in exchange.

    Brilliant of Obama to handle it this way.

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
    Bottom line: the only thing that can stop the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expiring is if the White House or Democrats get cold feet. And the good news is that there's no sign of that happening.
    Good luck with that.
  •  Republicans are "pretty nervous" about taxes... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, Manny, Matt Z

    Yes, because the wealthy need so much to be more wealthy. This is pretty obscene.

    Isn't the GOP the party of Jesus?? So Jesus would take the 7-figure bonus while firing workers? Yeah, that sure sounds like the Jesus of the N.T.

    "Do unto yourself and fuck eveybody else". - Republican Jesus

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:01:10 AM PST

  •  Can we ever show confidence around this joynt? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente
    . And the reason they don't have the heart to hold them hostage is that they realize that President Obama and Democrats are serious this time, unlike at the end of 2010
    .

    The reason they don't have the heart this time is because they got their ass kicked in the elections.

    The reason they don't have their heart in it this time is because this time the Democrats hold the leverage not the GOP.

    The reason the Democrats hold the leverage is because they seriously out-negotiated the GOP during the debt-limit circus last year.

    Seriously, we don't have to wear the hair shirt all the time.

  •  you know the thing i love best (0+ / 0-)


    about discussions on 'tax cuts for the wealthy' - is that I make more money than 95% of all women in America, and I fall very far under the $250k threshold.  Which just goes to show just how obscene the Republican definition of 'wealthy' is.  Remember John McCain saying that "middle class" meant making under $5 million a year?  Yeah, that.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:13:30 AM PST

  •  What really needs to happen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Blair

    is to have the country go off the fiscal cliff...permanently.  Then we need to get rid of all the "rich people" deductions like capital gains, carried interest, social security cap, etc.  Then we need to INCREASE tax rates on the rich by another 5 or 10%, and get rid of most or all of the "rich multinational corporation" tax breaks.

    That would fix the budget permanently without having to screw over old, sick, and poor people like Rethugs want.

    Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

    by sleipner on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:18:54 AM PST

  •  Splintering the no tax coalition would deal a (0+ / 0-)

    body blow that doubles over the gop.

    Not so sure the tax pledge will be surrendered without major concessions from our side, which I do not favor one bit.

  •  No to the deduction cap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Blair

    Are you going to pay by taxing the rich or taxing people with kids, a mortgage, and who give to charity?

    Seems obvious to me, and I'm saying that as someone who would pay more taxes either way.

    "Stare at the monster: remark/ How difficult it is to define just what/ Amounts to monstrosity in that/ Very ordinary appearance." - Ted Hughes

    by MarkC on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:19:31 AM PST

  •  Obama is informed by the Clinton experience (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    Clinton took the more difficult road of raising tax rates on the top brackets in year 1 of his Presidency.  Those tax increases were featured in the 1994 Congressional campaigns, but by the time he was up for re-election, no one cared.  Furthermore, raising those rates did not hurt the economy at all and did help turn the corner on deficit spending.

    From a policy standpoint, there is no harm done to the economy and some benefits for the fiscal picture.  From a political standpoint, Obama's lift is much easier than now than Clinton's was in 1993.  

    There is no incentive for Obama to do anything except play golf for the next 2 months.  Once all the Bush tax cuts expire then the bargaining will be around extending the middle class tax cuts (AGI under 250k).  The only negotiating Obama will do on anything above AGI > 250k is if loopholes are closed.  

    As for a grand bargain, it clearly will not happen in this Congress.  There is no way Democrats would ever agree to make big decisions of that nature in a lame duck session, especially when we will have far more leverage to shape those discussions in January.  

    The discussion right now is about the Bush tax cuts and nothing more.  

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:23:20 AM PST

  •  12 years (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    S F Hippie, mconvente

    of tax cuts for "job creators"  If it really was a good plan then shouldn't we be drowning in jobs right now?

  •  sadly, we've seen this movie before . . . . (0+ / 0-)
    Bottom line: the only thing that can stop the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expiring is if the White House or Democrats get cold feet. And the good news is that there's no sign of that happening.
    There never is---right up until the point where we give the goppers 90% of what they want.

    I wish I could be optimistic, but we've been burned too many times before.

    (sigh)

  •  let's set the tax rates back to what they were (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    under that socialist liberal communist union thug, Ronald Reagan.

  •  Math is hard (0+ / 0-)

    "We don't know if the Republican's (putative) deduction plan raises taxes more on rich people," they say. Right. How could we possibly know? Math is hard! We couldn't possibly look at the numbers and figure it out.

  •  A "deduction cap" isn't a new idea (0+ / 0-)

    I don't recall when it began, but until it "phased out" in 2009, itemized deductions were limited based on adjusted gross income.

    It was generally a pretty small limitation, but the concept was there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

    by NoMoJoe on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:00:00 AM PST

  •  Here's some support (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    A Pew poll shows that a majority of Americans will blame the GOP if there is no deal.  As Bloomberg news put it,

    If lawmakers fail to reach a deal, 53 percent said Republicans in Congress will bear responsibility, compared with 29 percent who said Obama will be at fault and 10 percent who chose both sides.

    What have you done today to make you feel proud?

    by DIS on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:17:34 AM PST

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