Saturday, December 11, 2010

Death and Taxes

Obama has now appeared on TV and grudgingly admitted that Bush was right, and unless Bush's tax policies are continued, the economic recovery (?) is at risk.

He even went so far as to bring an ex president on stage with him to back him up. To be really effective, I suppose it would have helped if the ex president had been Bush. Actually having Clinton endorse the Bush tax cuts was a nice bit of symbolism, since the Bush cuts were put in place to get the economy out of the doldrums brought on by Clintons last big tax hike, and having Clinton endorse them is a tacit admission that raising taxes is generally a bad idea.

Actually, since they've been in effect for 10 years now, we should probably be referring to them as the Bush tax rates, and the impending Obama tax hike, back to Clintonian levels.

Meantime, back at the ranch, the congress is addressing the proposed tax bill with the gravitas we've come to expect from the biggest collection of self-absorbed porkers in the known universe. The bill is, on the extreme left, being reviled as a wholesale giveaway of the governments money to the folks who actually produced it in the first place, without acknowledging this at all. The more pragmatic among this band of thieves is imagining it will pass no matter what, and are hanging pork on it like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Subsidies galore, from high-speed rail to ethanol.

Some have suggested that the real conservatives should sit back and let the radicals have their way, as this will allow the cuts to expire at the end of the year. Everybody with a job will immediately see a reduction on their paycheck, and investors will be rewarded for buying tar, feather, pitchfork, and Tiki-torch futures. Come Jan 20, when the blowhards re-convene, the now republican majority house will be able to introduce legislation making the cuts permanent.

Here's where I can imagine this getting to be fun. The 2011 Senate will have a 53-47 Dem majority, but there are as many squishy D's as there are "moderate" R's. Additionally, the tax increase, if not dealt with, will still be there in 2012, when 19 of the 33 Senate seats in play currently belong to D's. Keeping the higher tax rates is a recipe for extinction, so it passes the Senate.

Would Obama sign it? Good question, notwithstanding the certainty of another "shellacking" if he doesn't, but members of the "reality-based" party sometimes demonstrate a tenuous hold on the concept. Still, if he's reminded often enough that he actually endorsed them, I'd give about 60% odds he'd sign.

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