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So, the Democrats are not going to force a confrontation with Republicans over Bush era tax cuts until after the midterm election.
The left blogosphere, Olbermann and Maddow, and Chris Hayes of the Nation think that congressional Democrats are simply weak and ignorant for letting this opportunity slip away. Democrats, they say, don't have the courage of their convictions. Democrats, they say, are wasting a great opportunity to feature the differences between the two parties.
I'm not so sure.
Let's think about it.
All Bush era income tax rates expire in 3 months, which means that if nothing new is passed legislatively, everyone's taxes will go up come January.
President Obama has made it clear that he wants tax cuts for those making less than $200K per year extended, and he wants the tax rates on those making more than $200K per year to revert back to Clinton era rates. Obama says that extending the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy will add $700 billion to the national debt over ten years....and, he says, we can't afford those particular cuts.
Of course, extending tax cuts on those making less than $200K per year will add over $3 trillion to the national debt over ten years, an amount which is four times the amount "saved" by ending tax cuts for the wealthy. So there's that bit of dissonance.
The latest polling shows that Americans are in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy and keeping tax rates the same as they are now for everyone else. It would seem, then, that Democrats should go forward before the midterms.....introducing legislation to accomplish just that, forcing Republicans into what would surely be a clinic on the distinctions between the two parties. Republicans represent the rich, Democrats represent everyone else who isn't rich.
But I think the reality is something altogether different.
The most important point to remember here is that Democrats do not have 60 votes in the Senate. Republicans have set new all time records for filibustering in the Senate since Obama took office. The Republicans most distinguishing characteristic the last two years has been their obstructionism.
Is there anyone out there who thinks that Republican Senators would not filibuster (prevent legislation from being debated, amended and voted upon) legislation which raised taxes on their base, America's wealthiest?
In the same way, does anyone think that Republicans in the Senate would not prevent legislation which extended tax cuts for average Americans from being debated and voted upon? If Republicans did not filibuster such a bill, Democrats could pass the popular extension for all but the rich right before the midterm election.....motivating the Democratic base to come out and vote.
My argument is that Republicans would not permit any legislation ending or extending Bush era tax rates to move past their filibuster threat, especially so before the all important midterm election.
That's why the House didn't want to take up the legislation on taxes before the Senate did. House Democrats can count.
But liberals argued last night that, even though nothing could move past a GOP filibuster in the Senate, Democrats should fight to do it anyway. Force a token vote, as it were. Force a spectacle. Give the corporate media something to talk about just before the November election. At the very least, Democrats should make it clear by fighting, that they stand for something.
Seems reasonable. Except that we aren't living in reasonable times, and haven't been for a very long time.
Remember the Townhall Bustups, the "death panels", the wall-to-wall Tea Party coverage, the daily rush to "report" Sister Sarah's every Tweet and Facebook posting, the Serious discussions over every insane statement made by Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck, the Drugster?
In other words, how do you think America's corrupt corporate media would cover a token Democratic Senate vote to raise taxes on the wealthy? Wouldn't "reporters" rush to "report" on each and every conservative assertion that Democrats were raising taxes on millions of Americans? Wouldn't our failed media entertain every breathless wingnut utterance suggesting that Democrats are, indeed, taxers and spenders?
Of course they would. Village media, as they have for 20 straight months, would bash and ridicule Democrats and Obama relentlessly if Senate Democrats forced what could only be called a token gesture cloture vote right before an important election.
Borrowing a phrase from war criminal, Donald Rumsfeld, you go into an election with the media you have, not the media you would like to have. And ours is more corrupt today than it has ever been.
You would think that progressive bloggers, Nation editors and MSNBC talkers would know all that......but just like with the Tea Party followers.....they seem to only want the political theater.
With today's worthless propaganda specialists in mainstream corporate media, I think it's wise to be careful what you wish for.
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