Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Bush tax cut debate

You know it's sad when Republicans refuse to even acknowledge that President George W. Bush and the Republicans holding both chambers of Congress are the reason we have the big deficit that we do. It's because under REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, tax cuts were given to the wealthiest Americans. This was before Afghanistan. Before Iraq. What happened in 2003? They were extended until the end of 2010. About that? The Iraq war got very expensive and the Republicans that supported it? Either they lost their seat by retiring or being defeated in the 2006 or 2008 elections. The war against the Taliban in Afghanistan was completely justified and no one disputes that. The war in Iraq? Not justifiable one bit and now the Republicans say it should not be funded because they don't wish to revert tax rates for the wealthy to the rates under the Clinton years. If I recall, this country prospered under those years.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka commented on the whole debate about the tax cuts.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said on Tuesday that his group has been "working diligently with lawmakers and the White House" about its legislative preference for the expiring tax rates. Though he wouldn't elaborate on the substance of those discussions, Turmka explained that "to date, no one that I'm aware of said that's not a good strategy, that's not good policy, and that's not good for the country."

In recent days, the union federation has led the charge to hold a solitary vote during the lame duck session of Congress, one that would extend the current tax rates for those making less than $250,000-a-year while allowing the others to revert to pre-Bush levels.

The logic has been simple. Democrats still control both chambers of Congress as well as the White House. It's in their hands to determine what bill is considered. But the strategy is not without risk. After December 31, all the current rates will revert to pre-Bush levels and Republicans have shown a willingness to allow that to happen if extensions (whether permanent or temporary) aren't passed for the wealthy as well. Asked on Tuesday's call whether he too would be willing to hold the entire tax cut debate hostage in order to insist that only the middle-class cuts be extended, Trumka didn't rule it out.

"I'm always willing to fight for good policy, remember the health care fight, we were out front fighting for what we thought was good policy. So the answer is, I believe that is the best solution and the best policy, so we will fight for it," he said. "Am I'm willing to take all the consequences that are attached to fighting for good policy."

"It is still TARP two," Trumka said of extending the rates for the wealthy. "As I said early, it is absolutely insane in these tough economic times that some people want to continue the George Bush tax giveaway to millionaires. Working people are losing their jobs, their benefits and their homes and they are the ones who need help. We ought to be focusing on job creation by giving tax breaks to the middle-class families that are going to take the money and actually spend it, not to millionaires who don't need it and won't spend it... Millionaires on Wall Street already had their party. That tanked our economy and it left Main Street stuck with paying the bill... this is not the time to be giving more welfare to millionaires."

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