11/6/10

The Do Nothing Lame Duck Congress

At least with the Bus tax cuts, surmises Gleckman:
It is hard to imagine Congress simply leaving town without addressing the tax cuts in some way. Both parties risk a huge backlash if they don’t act. That’s why I’m betting Congress extends the tax cuts for just a few months so they can resume their bickering again next spring. This is execrable tax policy, but it just might serve everyone’s political needs.
The gist is that Republicans don't want to extend the tax cuts or earners under $250,000 without extending the tax cuts for those making more than $250,000. Since the cuts are set to expire on 12/31/10 for everyone, Gleckman thinks that Congress will at least get its act together long enough to compromise for a brief extension, mostly because Democrats are feckless and afraid. But, here's the thing- the Republicans just won the an election John Boehner becomes Speaker of the House in January. The House is his problem then and any action taken or not taken would fall squarely on the shoulders of the Republican leadership. I see no reason for the Democrats to do anything different from what the Republicans did during the health care debate- refuse to compromise in the Senate about extending all of the cuts. If Democrats keep pointing out that they have a plan (Obama's plan not to extend cuts for the rich) over and over and over inexorably, but the Republicans don't want to pass it, then the problem is John Boehner's. By slowing down the process and bogging down the national debate such that Republicans have to defend the LeBron James-Goldman Sachs tax cut extension (it's the new "death panels!"), the Democrats can highlight the notion that Republicans are being unreasonable in their defense of the rich at the expense of ordinary Americans.

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