Friday, December 10, 2010

Senate vote scheduled for Monday

The procedural vote on the tax compromise legislation will happen Monday, so the Senators will have the weekend to review it.  Scrolling though the modest, 74-page bill, I see there is a raft of "pork" added at the end.  I suspect that the Senate will approve this and leave town, so it will be take it or leave it in the House. If House members wanted to have more influence, they could have taken up this legislation any time in the last two years.

However, there is some resistance developing on the right to the package.  For example, from Charles Krauthammer:

Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 — and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package.
It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years — which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?
If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years — $630 billion of it above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts.

I would challenge his numbers. He's using the expiration of the current rates as a baseline, and I have always felt that is bogus.  We've never allowed the AMT to go unpatched for inflation, for example.  But we won't go for the permanent fix because the need for a patch offers Congress a ready-built excuse for raising other taxes to be "revenue neutral." 

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