Republicans Hold Tax Cuts for 98% of Taxpayers Hostage to Pass Tax Cuts for the Richest 2%... and Democrats Pass Up a Clear Shot at the Hostage-Takers
Democrats in Congress have decided to wait until after the election to act on President Obama's proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts entirely for 98 percent of taxpayers and let them partially expire for the richest 2 percent.
For months, Republicans have made it clear that they would try to block passage of tax cuts for 98 percent of taxpayers unless they could secure an extension of all of the tax cuts for the richest 2 percent as well.
Numerous polls show that significant majorities of Americans believe that the tax cuts for the richest two percent (those who are married and have adjusted gross income over $250,000 or unmarried and have AGI over $200,000) should expire. And mainstream economists agree with the findings of the Congressional Budget Office that income tax cuts for the rich provide less economic stimulus per dollar of cost than any other measure that Congress has considered.
While some Democratic members of Congress have said they would vote for a Republican alternative to extend tax cuts for all taxpayers, it seemed such a bill or amendment would never pass the Senate, where 60 out of 100 votes are needed to approve most legislation. It seemed that all the Democrats, and perhaps some Republicans, in the Senate would vote for the President's plan to extend the tax cuts fully for 98 percent of taxpayers if that was the only option left.
Prospects in the House were less clear since bills and amendments are approved in that chamber with only a bare majority of votes. On the other hand, even House GOP leader John Boehner said he would vote for President Obama's tax plan if that was the only alternative available.
Despite all of this, Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate decided to wait until after the election to address the matter. To be continued...