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According to the NY Times, here's the deal the Senate approved last night by a vote of 89-8.....
....tax rates would jump to 39.6 percent from 35 percent for individual incomes over $400,000 and couples over $450,000, while tax deductions and credits would start phasing out on incomes as low as $250,000,......a full year’s extension of unemployment insurance without strings attached and without offsetting spending cuts, a $30 billion cost. But the two-percentage point cut to the payroll tax that the president secured in late 2010 lapsed at midnight and will not be renewed.
Under the deal, tax rates on dividends and capital gains would also rise, to 20 percent from 15 percent, on income over $400,000 for single people and $450,000 for couples. The deal would reinstate provisions to tax law, ended by the Bush tax cuts of 2001, that phase out personal exemptions and deductions for the affluent. Those phaseouts, under the agreement, would begin at $250,000 for single people and $300,000 for couples.
The estate tax would also rise, but considerably less than Democrats had wanted. The value of estates over $5 million would be taxed at 40 percent, up from 35 percent. Democrats had wanted a 45 percent rate on inheritances over $3.5 million.
Under the deal, the new rates on income, investment and inheritances would be permanent, as would a provision to stop the alternative minimum tax from hitting middle-class families.
I want to mention here that the inheritance tax affects approximately 3000 families.....extremely affluent families. Both Democrats and Republicans catered to those 3000 families in the deal while the tens of millions of average-income workers who pay weekly payroll taxes got sucker punched. Every worker will see his taxes go up on their next paycheck.
No one knows if the insurgents in the GOP House will approve the Senate bill today. It's interesting to note that the House refused to vote on anything until after the Bush-era tax cuts officially expired at midnight last night. That way, whatever they vote on today can't be called a tax increase....instead, a tax cut. I hate these people.
Once again Barack Obama was easily rolled by Republicans. The President campaigned for months on his $250K-and-up tax increases. After Obama won the election handily, he continued to call for tax rate increases on those same $250K-and-up. But he quickly folded to Republicans, proving to his opponents that he basically stands for nothing.
And that brings me to the worst part of the deal. The sequester.
Senate Republicans successfully pushed their counterparts into delaying the sequester.....$100 billion in spending cuts in defense and discretionary domestic spending in 2013....for two months. Why two months? Because that's approximately when the country's debt ceiling is once again reached and will need raised.
Here's The Huckleberry from the Sunday talk shows...
“Why would I raise the debt ceiling again unless we address what put us in debt to begin with? I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get serious about keeping the country from becoming Greece, saving Social Security and Medicare,” Graham said today on “Fox News Sunday.”
Translation: In two months the Republican Insurgency will drag the full faith and credit of the United States out into the open and place roadside jihad-bombs all around it. Just like the same players did in August, 2011. The GOP bombs will be set to go off if Democrats don't go along with beating America's seniors in a severely conservative manner. Social Security and Medicare cuts will replace ANY cuts from the Empire's bloated defense budget.....and if Democrats and Obama refuse to go along....Republicans will not hesitate one nanosecond in destroying our nation's economic status in the world. They have already proven they will do it.
The end of this Republican Winter-Season Jihad against the American people will not be pretty. Republicans have now spared a good number of their rich constituents from deep cuts into their massive wealth. In March those same Republicans will place the burden of all the Bush-era deficits and debt onto the backs of the geezers.
To boot.....and if you can believe this comedy of effing errors.....the same Republicans who will hold the nation hostage in March will turn around and campaign in 2014 on Democrats cutting Social Security and Medicare.
Meanwhile......and this really frosts my holiday cookies.....not one goddamn thing will be done to create jobs, which is our most pressing issue. There will be no stimulus, nothing.
The second term of Barack Obama is starting out in the same way that his first term began. A centrist, pragmatic president selling the country short in the 2009 stimulus and now the 2012 tax rate cave...in order to appear bipartisan, while the minority picks his, and the country's, bones in a gleeful gutting of the social safety net while simultaneously preserving the extremely rich status of the chosen few.
But hey.....Happy New Year.