Democrats Propose Plan to Sidestep Anti-Tax Pledge

Responding to a vow taken by nearly all Republicans in Congress not to back any tax increase, Senate Democrats want to allow all the tax cuts to expire, then pass a middle-class cut.

Comments: 200

  1. I prefer a flat tax and a consummer tax. It is the consummers who pay the taxes for business every time they purchase a product because taxes are a part of business expenses.

    It is time for a complete tax overhaul.

  2. Flat tax does not equal simpler tax system. Add in another tax system in the consumer tax, you've just made tax lawyers and accountants very happy.

    Want a simpler tax system? Do away with FICA taxes and all the issues associated with that regressive flat tax will disappear, dropping many pages from the tax code, making IRS smaller, and making compliance so much easier for small businesses.

  3. A flat tax is unfair to the middle and lower income groups. This group spends most of their income on (non-discretionary) living expenses. A flat tax will dampen their spending capacity to a greater extent than those in the higher income group.

    A hit on the spending capacity of the middle and lower income group will be a drag on the economy. US economy depends on consumer spending to a large extent.

    A consumer tax also will be a drag on the economy for the same reason.

  4. This is a smart tactic. They should have done it two years ago.

  5. It's actually taking a page from the Tea Party Handbook. Back when the debt limit was being debated, the prevailing view here was that *that* was equivalent to "holding a hostages". Unless the Dems agree to our terms, we'll let the debt limit expire and threaten a government shutdown and renewed recession. Here, the threat is, unless you agree to *my* terms, we'll let all the tax cuts expire and threaten a renewed recession.

    Nothing new here in the world of politics----whether something is "hostage-taking" or is a "smart tactic" depends entirely on one's political point of view.

    I happen to believe that it is holding hostage in both cases and, all things considered, not a very "smart tactic" if one's goal is efficient self-government. Alas, winning one for the team, at whatever the cost, seems to be the new normal.

  6. Exactly how is this proposal by the Democrats an act of hostage-taking, when the 'threatened' outcome (remember 'sequestration'?) was already agreed to by both parties?

    If this is what it's going to take to give the Republicans the political breathing room to FINALLY work with the Democrats to do what's right for the country, then so be it.

    Call me an idealist, but I'm hoping that Senator McConnell's derision of the proposal as "...an ideological crusade" is simply a bit of political theater meant to give the GOP some cover while they give the idea some serious consideration.

    Perhaps the smarter way forward would have been to keep this proposal completely under wraps until after Election Day so as to provide the GOP with maximum immunity from the Norquist pledge, but I have to hope, against all evidence to the contrary thus far, that cooler heads are finally starting to prevail.

  7. You are suggesting a completely regressive tax system.

  8. Wonders will never cease. At last, a reasonable proposal from congress. Perhaps others will follow.

  9. Many can propose that Obama didn't allow these economy destroying tax giveaways to the rich just so that it would be an election year issue, but the economy already would be so much better off had he allowed these to expire in 2010, that it would have been a vastly better move.

    I hope they do allow them to expire once and for all because we cannot continue to afford giving away all of our borrowed money to such a small group who just turns around and lends it back to us anyway.

  10. Unbelievable that the Republicans might actually want thye USA to go "over the fiscal cliff" so they could then pretend that they were not increasing revenues .

  11. The Republicans who voted for the deal in 2010 effectively DID vote for a tax increase by making the cuts temporary. So they've already "broken the pledge." Therefore, Grover is already irrelevant. And thank goodness for that.

  12. Larry C, what we have now is a regressive tax system where those with less income pay a larger percentage of their income than those with higher income. While not perfect, this at least is an attempt to move forward. Doubly important is what happens in November. More Democrats in the House and Senate would send a messsage to a Tea Party dominated GOP that their hysteria and fear isn't working.

  13. TaxMeNot, the present system is regressive with respect to capital gains, carried interest, etc. With respect to earned income (salaries, wages), it is progressive, although not ideally so. The problem with flat taxes and consumer (sales) taxes is that they are structurally regressive, hitting hardest those with the lowest incomes (who must spend most or all of their income on living expenses). In that sense, it is not a step forward. Agree about November, though.

  14. When I see 3 times more people put on disability roles than new job hires... as a taxpayer i don't care to spend one more cent. not one.

  15. The only thing left for people is to live off the government at this point.

    And democrats would rather complain that the republicans won't give them more money than figure out how to change this dynamic.

    What's wrong with this picture?

  16. What new jobs? The so-called "job creators" took the windfall from the Bush tax cuts and spent it on cbos, credit default swaps, and other financial junk that was leveraged to the high heavens. It's when money that is taken OUT of a business is highly taxed the investment INSIDE the business is encouraged and jobs really are created.

  17. What a surprise, the 112th Congress of the United States playing chicken with the world economy at stake yet again.

  18. Let's get the Fair Tax and have everyone pay the same rate, do away with all the tax regulation and loopholes. Take the power away from the politicians. Reckonthatis.com

  19. Mitch McConnell: “This isn’t an economic agenda. It’s an ideological crusade.” Now THAT doesn't pass Grover's laugh test.

  20. Really and truly, why would anyone listen to Cheney, given the disaster that he sheparded to the country to during his years in office. He is a tool of the military industrial complex. In addition, I am convinced he has a screw loose and borders on or in fact is sociopathic.

  21. Bad move by the party to take advice from Dick Cheney. He lacks any credibility.


  22. Agree. He is the epitome of sleaze and the poster boy of call that is wrong with the Republican Party.

  23. 2/3 of americans want raising taxes on the rich to be part of our economic solution.

    raising revenue is an essential part of our continuing to be a nation that rebuilds and reinvents itself and provides essential services for its citizens.

    republicans are traitors. more beholder to some dumb pledge than to serving the citizens of our country while being beholden to the constitution.

  24. This maneuver is so obvious you have to wonder why Obama allowed the ridiculous Bush tax cuts to be extended. Those cuts have failed their stated purpose and shouldn't be permitted to go on one more day. We can always cut taxes but it took an incredible effort by Clinton, Perot and the Congress to equitably raise the taxes that finally balanced our budget after decades of profligacy and denial.

  25. If I remember correctly, the tax cuts were extended because it was the only way the President could get extended unemployment benefits through.

  26. bring on the taxes,,,,,the military industrial complex, and rich have ruined the country ,,,time for a roll back,,,,,we want to know who and where all the off shore accounts are ,,,and tax,,,and penalize the owners

  27. I am in favor of tax cuts for the middle class; however, there needs to be a plan to gain control of our debt problem. The timing of when to cut taxes and when to reduce debt is important.

    Below is an excerpt from a book that has its forward written by George W. Bush called The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs. "...At the same time, while warning of the consequences of spiraling federal debt, the book cautions against deficit reduction as an immediate goal, saying tax increases and spending cuts in the short term could strangle growth. “Reducing the debt is critical,” Mr. Glassman wrote in the book’s introduction, “but growth comes first.”..."

    The total plan requires stimulating first and implement the planned debt reduction later. Implement a stimulus package that focuses on investing in things that will help us compete, like transportation infrastructure and upgrading the internet, improving education, alternative energy.

    Develop the plan to reduce the debt now. This will be a confidence builder. The American public watched as our leaders failed to reach agreement on a long-term plan to solve the debt problem. Our citizenry are doubt whether it will ever be fixed. This must be put to rest.

    We must address the mortgage crisis and the precipitous drop in home prices. As home prices fell, so did the net worth of a large portion of our population. This should be addressed using very little of the tax payers money. More: http://goo.gl/4vlR3

  28. So why didn't we grow 4% under President Bush's leadership? If he knew how to do it, why didn't it happen? It didn't happen and this new book is baloney. Bush IS the problem here. He and his Republican cohorts ruined our country with two wars fought on credit and the prescription program. He had no way to pay for those three things and we are facing the consequences today. Bush left our country in ruins when his time was up. I very much wish he'd just stay at his faux ranch, shut up and try not to be scared of the horses. He and Cheney should both be in jail - along with Grover Norquist who is a traitor to this country as are all the Republicans who have signed his pledge.

  29. We do have to find a way to nget around the Republican stonewall. Yes, a complete tax overhaul would be great but it will never pass the stonewall. Now that the former VP has spoken out against military cuts, who will speak out for those affected by the cuts in social programs?

  30. You have to find a way, then, to get around the American voter.

    Democrats created this situation. American voters reacted.

  31. Sen. Patty Murray and President Obama apparently WANT to run America over he fiscal cliff. This will destroy investment and jobs, without a doubt. It is a kind of political insanity.

    Do they really hate success that much?

  32. This article uses the phrase "the rich" several times to characterize families earning over $250,000 - not just when quoting Democrats, but in the Times' own voice. What methodology does the Times use to decide who is "rich"?

    Presumably you know what it's like to obtain food, clothing, shelter, education and health care for a family with children in a place like NYC. An income of $250k for such a family is nothing to whine about, but it is laughable to call them rich.

    The notion that families earning $249,999 are middle class while that next dollar strips them of that honor is silly political talk. The Times should report on it, for sure, but shouldn't be buying into it.

  33. So True:

    Yep, a dream for those making $25K per year with 2 kids and getting EBT

    Dangerous to pit money n the hands of people who make horrible decisions.

    Thats what the housing bubble was caused by. People with big eyes.

  34. $250,000 is a quarter of a million dollars. As my husband works two jobs and I, with my college degree, do janitorial work, we would be thrilled to make $250,000 a year. Vacations, college tuition for our daughter, an upgrade in housing, not worrying about medical calamities.... Oh my.

  35. Sounds like the subtext in this grand allegory is "we'll vote for the middle class tax cuts in January. To do that we need your Democartic vote in November to eliminate the auto filibuster in the Senate." Sounds good to me.

  36. Congress insists on avoiding an attempt to balance the budget in favor of tax rate pandering. Apparently as long as our deficits parallel Europe's, a trillion here, a trillion there, is okay. Negative interest rates may contribute to this unprecendented retreat from responsibility. The "defense" industry wail of woe is just beginning.

  37. Norquist is an anti-American thug who ought to be prosecuted, not worshiped. This idea accomplishes exactly what ought to be accomplished. Do it.

  38. Grover Norquist needs to learn how to be an American.

  39. The President and the Democrats in Congress should follow the plan to let all the Bush era tax cuts expire as scheduled. The GOP leadership has shown they are not interested in any 'Grand Bargain' to reduce spending and increase revenue. They have all signed the pledge to Grover Norquist. Take the GOP at their word. The Republicans who wrote Bush tax cuts in '01 and '03 designed them to expire. Let the law expire as planned, then move to cut taxes for those under 250K.

  40. Grover Norquist? I have seen him on Meet the Press and am bewildered why anyone would sign a pledge to him. How can legislators promise to follow Grover Norquist and abandon their oath of office? They may say that these two promises are not in conflict. I could not disagree more. We cannot serve two masters. One cannot promise to represent constituents and support and defend the Constitution and then promise not to raise taxes no matter what, especially when it will harm our country.
    McConnell may say that the Democrats are acting ideologically. What are the Republicans doing with Grover Norquist's pledge? McConnell has told us his priority these past three years. He thinks his job is to get rid of President Obama. All other duties to his constituents and to our country are secondary to defeating Obama. This sounds more personal than ideological. This may be thinly veiled prejudice.
    What of the rest of the Republicans? Are they willing to be the historical waterboys for Grover Norquist? "I was faithful to Grover Norquist" sounds very pathetic. Congressman------ the faithful servant of Grover Norquist? McConnell should consider how very pathetic this sounds. It will be added to his leadership legacy: McConnell abandoned 200 years of Senatorial precedent and applied all of his efforts to defeating the President and preventing any compromise while remaining faithful to Grover Norquist. Good work? How embarrassing!

  41. No one can serve two masters. Either you are bound by your oath to the Constitution, or by your promise to Mr. Norquist. If the latter, you are unfaithful to your oath to the Constitution, and deserve to be kicked out of office.

  42. I don't think the prejudice is thinly veiled at all. I think it's pretty darned obvious.

  43. President Obama had the opportunity (with a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate) earlier in his term to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire yet he did not. Now it's the 2 minute warning and there is no consensus as to how to handle this potentially catastrophic problem. Where was the strategic planning by this Administration? Maybe a little less time on the War on Women red herring, Gay Marriage, and suing states for voter ID laws and enforcing immigration laws and more time focusing on the elephant in the room that is our dismal economy. None of the President's proposed budgets have been passed even with the Democrats in control of the Senate. That speaks volumes.

  44. His first budget produced was as president. That might explain it.

  45. Obama let the tax cuts remain as part of a deal to get more, much needed stimulus. The tax cuts for the rich was the concession given to Republicans in exchange for economics benefits for middle and lower classes.

  46. Actually, all those "red herrings" are talking about the basic freedoms of our nation. Voter ID laws are a major program to keep minorities from voting. Discrimination against gays should be an offense to everyone.
    And the Democrats had a small majority, not enough to override the obstruction of the GOP on every issue.

  47. I didn't vote for Grover Norquist, did you? This pledge is a blatant example of how outside interests run Congress. The constituents of these Congressmen would do well to examine what other special interests their Congressman actually represent. These pledges made by elected representatives to one person seem unconstitutional and a bit treasonous, in fact.

  48. Dear Congress,

    When I apply for a loan the bank wants to know if I have a beneficial and productive purpose for the money. If you apply that standard to tax cutting and the subsequent borrowing it makes necessary, you fail. Please keep this in mind.

    Also, I thought that swearing an oath to some other power, foreign or domestic, regarding how a congress person would conduct his or her government duties, was treason? How does a congress with 535 members conduct impeachment proceedings against the great number who have aligned themselves with Grover Nordquist?

  49. The pledge is not to Grover Norquist. If you actually bother to read it, the pledge is to the American people not to raise taxes.

  50. What I would like to see before anything about taxes is the IRS returns of every senator and congress men and woman on all sides, but they would never go for it. In my book there are many who may be tax cheats, and we could get rid of some of them as they are not doing anything for the country now or in the near future.

  51. Convenient that left out of the conversation a two main points.

    We have not had a federal budget passed in almost 4 years.

    Neither Republicans or Democrats will put money towards the debt because they both love spending borrowed money and empowering themselves with American Tax dolars.

  52. Did you read the budget proposed by the very serious Mr. Ryan? It would have destroyed our country entirely? That's why no budget has passed, because the GOP refuses to sit at the grown up table!

  53. Congress doesn't need to pass a budget - they do everything through appropriations that can ignore a budget even if there IS one. The House HAS passed the Ryan budget over and over - and IT increases the deficit while eviscerating Medicare. Win/win for the anti-Americans in the Republic Party.

  54. Let the tax cuts expire for us all.

    At least we'll finally have shared sacrifice and a small step back toward providing the government with enough revenue to do the things we so desperately need done.

  55. Do you really think that increasing the capital gains rate from 15% to 30% is not going to affect small business development?

  56. I would not call adequately funding the government a "sacrifice". What we have now is a sacrifice: to line the pockets of the wealthiest few.

  57. BOAC, yes, based on pre-tax cut history, I really believe that reversion of the capital gains rate will have virtually no impact on small business development. Sure haven't seen many new small businesses since the cut, have you?

  58. More and more data showing that tax rates don't have the impact that we have been led to believe.

    Reagan increased taxes in his last 5 years and economy kept chugging.

    Bush Sr. and Clinton raised them some more and economy kept chugging (and deficits came down).

    Bush Jr. cut massively and private sector job growth was weakest in decades (and deficits returned).

    Just not seeing the correlation between tax cuts and growth. Am seeing correlation between tax cuts and income inequality.

  59. Here is the explanation:

    Low tax rates do not cause anyone to invest, because just holding the profits costs the low tax percentage, and there is NO RISK. at 10% tax rate, $1.00 profits pays $0.10 tax, and owner keeps $0.90.

    HIGH tax rates, (say 50% or above) would force a business owner to make the following decision:

    A. Hold $1.00 in profits and pay $0.50 in tax, keep $0.50; or

    B. Invest some of the profits in growing the business (new equipment, additional wages, additional advertising, whatever additional business expense), deduct the expenses from profits, and pay taxes only on the remaining profits.

    Example: $1.00 in profits, less business expense of N percent of profits (say N = 30%) leave $0.70 taxable. Tax at 50% = $0.35. That leaves $0.30 invested (tax free) plus $0.35 cash profits remaining.

    The Republicans have their argument UPSIDE DOWN.. Under their argument, the owner wins, and does not have to invest ANYTHING to keep his profits (which generates NO JOBS). And THEY want to run the business tax rate to ZERO.

  60. I agree with Guykk,it's nobody but the end users(consumers)of goods or services pays for everything,no matter how you termed it. Corporate tax,Taxes on wages ya tips,Sales tax,CEO's salaries & hefty bonuses,Unemployment expenses both on personal & corporate side all comes out of consumers pocket's. Corporate world crying false on name of business expenses as they pass them on to consumers while pricing goods/services for sales. Greed sense no boundaries & want to grow exponentially to reach beyond earthenly horizons. My point for greedy folks is-accept some limits playing fair to your consumers called Mainstreeters because if you don't know it,your grave will end it there.

  61. End all the tax cuts and sort it out after January. Everybody needs to get some skin in the game to focus on needed reforms.

  62. Statistical data does not support the idea that undue, exorbitant wealth by a few is providing jobs. People blame the president yet they claim that wealth accumulation at the top provides those jobs. Where r the jobs ?

    Salaries and benefits of corporate CEOs as a multiple of the average factory worker's.
    1980 30 times
    1991 130-140 times

    Personal income tax rate for top bracket
    Years Percent
    1945 91%
    1946-63 88 [The years when our economy boomed.]
    1964-81 70
    1981-86 50
    1988 28
    1991 31
    2006 17% - Compare this with the years 1946 - 63 when our economy boomed. Has that wealth accumulation at the very top now resulted in a healthy economy?

    Bush tax cuts for wealthy cost the U. S. $2.6 trillion in the last decade. Of all industrialized countries, we rank the lowest (22nd) in equality between rich and poor. By 2002 U. S. ranks 93rd among industrialized nations in income disparity between our rich and poor, worse even than banana republics: Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

    Historian: Gar Alperowitz: Speaking of the present:
    1% owns just about half all the investment business capital. 5% owns 70%. And the top, 400 people, not percent, 400 PEOPLE own more wealth now than the bottom 185 million Americans taken together.

  63. "1946-63 88 [The years when our economy boomed.]"

    Yes the good old days. There is a yearing by many to return to them.

  64. Let the Bush tax cuts expire, for everyone. Raise the rates (to at least 40%) on any family making more than $200,000. Go into the tax code and eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, which was a major reason for the housing bubble.

    Wake up, America. This country is falling apart from lack of revenue. It's going to be a short fall from the penthouse to the outhouse for this country unless we do something on the revenue side.

  65. Yours is a recipe for continued economic malaise. And by the way, the housing bubble was caused by Democrat legislation which mandated loans to unqualified borrowers, not the mortgage interest deduction which has been part of the tax code for at least 50 years.

  66. Agreed RE: the mortgage interest deduction. Ditto with the child tax credit, and deductions for employing household servants.

  67. Here's another idea: How about the Republicans choose between the two pledges that they have made. Are they going to uphold their pledge to do what's right for America, or are they going to uphold their pledged to Grover Norquist. If they choose the latter, then charge them all with treason.

  68. A pledge to someone who is not even elected by the American people is nothing other than treason. They should be tried for treason.

  69. I think Washington is a comedy.
    Yesterday a long sitting US Senator asked the Fed Reserve Chief what he is going to do fix the economy? I guess they recognize that both parties have no real solutions.

    Another US Senator is posing more regulations for our banks re: JP Morgan losses. However on the initial meeting no one asked when the positions were to ultimately roll off, was a reserve being taken in the event of possible future losses? You most ask: do these individuals know what options are, what a model are, what risk management is, what are responsibilities of public auditors {they never had them testify] and lastly has Senator excused him/herself because he/she have a potential conflict of interest having receiving contributions from JPM Chase

    Our problem isn't tax returns, birth certificates, etc - it is Congress and no President can fix that as the champion of change even admitted he could not - IT IS CONGRESS

  70. This brilliant plan is straight out of the Department of the Painfully Obvious (DOPO). These games for some perceived political advantage may seem relevant inside the Beltway. They look foolish from out here and raises again the question has Congress lost its relevance.

  71. Let all the tax cuts expire, I don't believe for one minute that it will cost any jobs or the economy. We had a projected surplus under the Clinton tax rates, we hear about gloom and doom and the republicans so "no to new taxes" well lets face it we cannot tax cut our way to paying off the debt. Even if there is more revenue, if you don't tax that revenue enough to pay the bills then there will be a deficit. We can't continue to fight multiple unfunded wars, we can't continue to ignore our responsibilities to the poorest and most unfortunate in society to pay for millionaire tax cuts. Instead of cheap talk by the republicans about paying down the debt, then put the money where your mouth is!

  72. The supposed surplus under Clinton should be seen for what it really was, i.e., a modest lowering of the rate of debt accumulation, but we never for a moment stopped adding to the national debt. The relation between the tax rates and the so-called surplus is, at best, murky.

  73. Republicans prefer to ignore the reality that US debt and deficit was not the cause of the financial crisis and only became issues as a result of the bailout and stimulus bills. The Bush tax cuts along with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan destroyed the work of the Clinton years and Wall Street finished the job. We have a successful blueprint for how to solve these issues and allowing these foolish tax cuts to expire is a good first step.

  74. "destroyed the work of the Clinton years "

    The work of the Clinton years endures. We still have NAFTA. We still have Glass-Steagall repealed and trade relations with China are still normalized. Now that's a blueprint.

    All of these were signed off by Clinton.

  75. I am agree with some of your points, but The Financial Crisis and real possibility of another Great Depression was adverted because of the Bailouts and Stimulus Bills started by Bush. When the treasury decided to let Lehman Brothers fail, it froze the financial system worldwide and caused a need for even more intervention. Also, although the wars did add to the deficit, the real cause of the surplus being depleted was Bush's actual plan, He said that the tax cuts he proposed was to give the surplus back to the people. So it was a deliberate act. Of course, they continued spending and waged two wars.

  76. Remember that these wars were totally UNFUNDED, as well.

  77. Tax cuts for all, or tax cuts for none. We are all equal.

  78. Or, as democrats would like us to believe now, we are all "one".

    Except, of course, when we are not, such as in the cases of identity politics and class warfare.

  79. Think of where we would be if none of the tax cuts had ever occurred. Our national debt would be far less and we would be on the road to recovery. Perhaps if taxes were very high, people in congress would be persuaded to spend less. I do not recall that taxes ever being a problem in our economy. I am sure that our present problem is over spending.

  80. If we are all equal, shouldn't we all pay the same tax?

  81. When was the decision made to turn over our congressional tax policy to Grover Norquist, lobbyist, crony to convicted felon Jack Abramoff, and proponent of "drowning government in a bath"? Funny, I don't remember voting for him.

  82. All Obama has to do is "just say no" to any effort by the Republicans to extend tax breaks for the 1%.

    Then what is Grover going to do? Stamp his feet?? (Troll.)

  83. Can someone please explain to me why Congress pledging away some of its powers is not treasonous?

  84. Certainly.
    Congress has not pledged away any power. Rather, various members of Congress have declared a firm position. The only likely reason you allege treason is that you don't like that position. If some great number of legislators had pledged "no increase in pentagon budgets," I suspect that your condemnation might disappear.

  85. I think there desperately needs to be a top to bottom overhaul of our tax code. What the Democrats are proposing is politics as usual. Not any better than what the Republicans are proposing. What this nation needs is real tax reform not band aids.What happened to hope and change. We lost hope and change did happen. We have two political parties that would rather take this country and themselves down in flames than to cooperate and pass legislature that benefits the people of this country. And two political candidates for president slinging mud and half-truths at each other. Pitiful.

  86. The president punted on Simpson-Bowles. He is not the person to transform the tax code. Never was. He is, for the most part, impotent without Pelosi and Reid behind him doing all the real legislative head bashing and arm twisting.

    Perhaps we should be thankful for that. Who knows how much larger the tax code would grow were a democratic "solution" to be proposed?

  87. False equivalency. A fair amount of hope and change did happen (health care, fair pay, economic salvations), but got lost in the din of the right wing scream machine. The rest of it got stonewalled by Republicans hell bent on stopping it.

    Meanwhile, what Obama is slinging is at worst a whole truth wrapped in half true facts, while Romney is slinging pure mud and lies. Yes, there are unfortunate similarities, but the differences are profound.

  88. What persuasion couldn't achieve, may be, threat of allowing the Bush era tax cuts to the rich and attendant military spending cuts could do. For, when normal treatment fails to cure disease, shock therapy might work.

  89. Obama shouldn't have signed off on their extension in the first place. He did so for the sake of political expediency.

    How's the weather in Jaipur? Not good? It's all W's fault.

  90. "Job-creators" a bogus term invented by the wealthy. A pledge to whom, Grover Norquist a lobbist? The rats are after the cheese again.

  91. Do we need any more evidence of the true nature of the Republican party than when they consider allegiance to one man rather than to the citizens they are supposed to represent? I think not! The Democrats need t carry through on their plan and not cave in to the rabid right of the rich.

  92. The Democrats want to cancel all of the Bush Tax breaks and any threat by the Senator is worthless because they want everyone to pay more taxes. We need to stop this increasing dependency on bigger government. I don't like the socialist movement our President is bringing to the American people. Where did he get his thinking on this?

  93. Did you miss the part about the spending cuts? That makes government smaller, not bigger.

  94. This is probably the best outcome we can expect given the political realities of the day, but obviously it isn't enough. The Bush-era tax cuts need to expire on the top three brackets to make any real impact on the deficit. That would still leave people making less than $85,650/year unaffected (and couples making less than $142,700), who represent the vast majority of consumers, and this is where growth in the economy will come from because growth comes from consumer demand, not 'job creation'. Disposable income in the hands of the majority is the real engine of growth.

    Those making more than these levels need to understand that the small sacrifice that a slight tax increase (back to previous levels) is simply an investment towards their future prosperity and the debt they owe to a society that has allowed them to achieve a solid middle-class existence, something that is relatively rare in this world. But of course politics will not allow for this, so...

  95. Children playing with fire is the best way to summarize the knuckleheads in the Democrats. Both parties need to ignore thier extreme ideology and get to work. That presumes they actually understand the issue, which is doubtful.

  96. So Sub chapter S corps can expect to pick up 90% of this mess..I guess after 30 years in business this makes sence?. looks like at least 5-6 people on my staff will have to be put into a part-time position or let go here. lets average that to 6 million more people cut or sent into the unemployment line..if they play it right..that should do wonders for this country

  97. Why?

    In my Sub S I am taxed ONLY on my net profit. How does reducing your employment expense change your overall calculus? Doesn't it actually increase the net profit on which you will be taxed?

    I hire as many employees as I need based on the demand for my services, not based on tax policy.

    This is the Republicans' "Big Lie"...

  98. While this is a very clever political workaround, ultimately it does nothing to solve the problem: The tax system is a mess and needs to have a major overhaul.

    Unfortunately, that would mean that our representatives would have to do real work for the people that elected them. Because of the loosening of campaign finance regulations, representatives on both sides of the aisle are already bought and paid for.

    Anyone who feels that "their" side is the "right" side has buried their head in the sand. All of the pledges, all of the social "issues", and all of the protesting do nothing but take the average voter's attention away from focusing on the real issue: effective government for America.

    The more the focus is on maintaining the current tax structure, campaign financing and the politics of posturing, the lower the possibility of dealing with the issues that would allow American to move forward.

    I only hope that those forces that corrupt the system understand that there will ultimately be no winners - and only losers - until the system is fixed.

  99. By signing that pledge Republicans have forfeited their independence of judgment and their ability to work for bi-partisan reasonable compromise on fiscal policy to a right wing ideological movement that allows no compromise. This ipso facto makes them unqualified to represent the people in Congress. Such hard line ideogical affiliation may have its place in a multi – party parliamentary system where the ruling government’s tenure is dependent on party discipline and losing a vote on a bill can lead to the fall of that government. But in our wide –umbrella, two party system with its fixed terms, rigid ideological adherence is a roadblock to the spirit of compromise needed to make good policy. I hope Democrats will make the GOP’s affiliation with Norquist’s pledge toxic for GOP candidates seeking election to the House or Senate this fall.

  100. Get rid of the Bush tax cuts. They were a mistake in the first place.

  101. When was Mr. Norquist elected into office?
    Gee, I must have missed that election.

  102. $250K in NY, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, DC, Miami is definitely middle class. It may not be the middle of middle class, but it is certainly in there.

    If you add up all these MSA's, that is a large chunk of our population.

    Using tax dollars to fund government jobs (and benefits and pensions) is a dead end.

    Consumer spending and confidence are key short term drivers of the economy, with limited but efficient regulations (Grade F for this admin) for small business to prosper and invest.

    Here's a news flash--most of the "rich" are small business owners. They employ people and pay loads of taxes (Google keywords "taxes self-employed"). They put everything on the line and to see themselves persecuted by one party for such economic behavior is at its core, very un-American.

    It's an easy but destructive political strategy to pander to the 47% who pay zero or negative taxes, making them think they are being victimized to get their vote. Why not vote out of envy and "stick it to the man" right?

  103. Way to ignore the other 50% of the problem!

    While I won't dispute the adverse effects of over-regulation and taxation on small business owners (by which I don't mean 5 guys running a hedge fund), you are sidestepping the fact that these folks are not the intended targets of this Administration's policies. The true targets are those businesses and individuals who have amassed obscene profits at the expense of EVERYONE else.

    And please don't bother with the tired rhetoric about punishing success, when US taxation policy since the Second World War has done NOTHING but reward success by lowering the top tax rates from over 90% to the current 35%.

    There can and must be an honest and intelligent debate about reforming the tax code so that small businesses are not unduly burdened, but to simply dismiss such modest tax increases on the very same crowd that has benefited so handsomely from decades of supply-side largess is to willfully ignore the very real declines in purchasing power that have decimated America's once-mighty middle class.

  104. TNC,
    Since South Carolina gets $1.35 back from the federal government for every $1 it sends to Washington, I see an immediate way to save some dollars. Perhaps we could reduce that $1.35 to 61 cents, which is what NJ gets back for its dollar. No one is suggesting that it is bad to be successful, but those who are the "haves" in this country need to pay their fair share. It's how the system works. Look at the shift of wealth to a smaller percentage over the past 30 years. You don't have to be a genius to see where this leads in terms of the health of our society.

  105. Did you know that "small business" is defined as up to 500 employees? Is that what you think of as "small"? Those who would be affected by the $250,000 cut-off are a tiny fraction of all truly small business (of which I am one). And even for those, their taxes would only go up on the income OVER the first $250,000. Hardly a dramatic, end-of-the-world scenario.

  106. Republicans have sold their souls to Norquist, a lobbyist for the super rich, in return for more contributions to their election campaingns.They would rather take the country over the "fiscal cliff" than stop supporting the millionaires and billionaires. This is shameful.

  107. C'mon, does anyone really believe that the solution to our budget problems doesn't involve a mix of tax increases and spending decreases? We should be proud to pay our taxes, especially now when they are going to be put towards improving this country's finances and future stability.

  108. Is Mitt proud to pay his taxes?. He sure does a good job at avoiding them.

  109. Romney is a good example of one of the tax problems we have: the wealthiest are able to pay less tax because they can use their money to game the system. You see countries like Sweden that have high taxation but competitive economies as well. Critics like to point out that those countries are more homogeneous and smaller than the US, but it just proves that higher taxation can be done without totally gutting economic viability.

  110. Norquist, I don't remember voting for him. But then Rove's kind think they own and run the government. Obviously they don't believe in representative government.

  111. Who needs al qaeda when we have patty murray?
    Retail sales were down for the third month in a row, and worse than the weakest analyst projection. That's the first time this has happened since the 2008 recession. Decisions are made by business to hire or not and by consumers whether to spend or not right now against that backdrop, and now Patty Murray comes out with this pronouncement. Ms. Murray, who apparently doesn't belong in any elected office, needs to carefully consider the strong possibility in the next few months the economy will go over the cliff, the republicans will take both the senate and white house, in a replay of 2008 with the tables turned, and she and her buddies are left on January 1st with a situation much worse than she bargained for.

  112. Shame on you for pronouncing that if someone doesn't tow the same line as you, they are a terrorist. That's the kind of thinking that keeps America falsely divided and ensures deadlock.

  113. What would you say about somebody who yells "FIRE" in a crowded theater? I'd say the term "terrorist" is proper & applicable whether I agree with them or not. It's the same for somebody threatening to throw the economy off a fiscal cliff while it has one foot in the grave & the other on a banana peel. That individual in both cases, is Patty Murray.

  114. Just seeing Cheney on the hill gave me the creeps.
    But let all the Bush, now Obama, tax cuts of last decade fade to zero on Jan. 1. The nation needs the revenues. We owe it to our grandchildren.

  115. The Bush tax cuts were a bad idea from the beginning. They were supposed to cause a big job boom. Instead we got a huge deficit and no jobs. One part of the plan did work, though: The tax cuts made the rich richer.

  116. The tax cuts should have been allowed to expire two years ago, eliminating the "uncertainty" that the business community touts as rationale for not investing in the economy.

    American business is doing fine; stockpiling cash and paying snake oil salesman to bemoan the deficit and restrictive regulations. High unemployment is not a problem to them, they don't need to hire now; their market is 86% domestic and that market is 92% employed, so there's no incentive to open their wallets. They'll just sit back and wait for the administration to change. Corporations are immortal; they've all the time in the world, literally.

    There's no great conspiracy here, they don't need to conspire, every MBA in the world knows how to wait out a business cycle and capitalize on the spread.

  117. I love that Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, says, “This isn’t an economic agenda. It’s an ideological crusade.”

    Taken out of context, you'd think he was describing the Republicans. What the Democrats are doing is not an ideological crusade; it's a practical workaround that seems their only option for dealing with the ridiculous "pledge" of their colleagues across the aisle. It's Norquist's pledge itself that isn't economic agenda but ideological crusade.

  118. Good plan. Great policy and political strategy.

  119. The Democrats plan now is to do what the Republicans have been doing the last four years. That is, hamstring the the economy by delaying important votes to a politically opportune time, allowing uncertainty and panic, and when nothing gets passed, point fingers at the other side. I don't think it really matters who is in charge, neither party knows how to legislate or govern.

  120. I think there is a fundamental disconect between the paying of taxes and the receiving of services. It's almost as though no one wants to pay any taxes at all. So I say, let all the tax cuts expire. Maybe then people will realize that paying taxes in a modern society is a must and not a death sentance.

  121. I hope the Dems stick to this simple formula. The idea that the tax advantages of the rich lead to higher incomes of the rest, not to speak of employment, are ludicrous. During the past three years, corporate profit rates have been abnormally robust. Corporations, in David Cay Johnson's estimate (columnist for Reuters), may have as much as five trillion dollars in hoarded cash:

    "The Fed’s latest Flow of Funds report showed that U.S. nonfinancial companies held $1.7 trillion in liquid assets at the end of March. But newly released IRS figures show that in 2009 these companies held $4.8 trillion in liquid assets, which equals $5.1 trillion in today’s dollars, triple the Fed figure." That money should either be used or seized, cause frankly, corporations and the upper 1 percent are simply not doing their job, which is not simply to profit the richest, but to invest in R and D and to employ people - to in fact act as beneficial factors in the economy. Instead, they are increasingly acting as parasites.

    The bottom 95 percent should pay much less in tax, the top 5 percent, much more - which is the way income tax was set up under Wilson and the succeeding Republicans up to Hoover. As for the rich people who talk about unfairness and skin in the game - it is to laugh. Once the middle class has impunity from the law, easy access to connections and education, and the bought parcel of politicos to do one's bidding, then we can talk.

  122. Please, let all of the tax cuts expire and don't reinstate any of them. This greed caused recession will not end until the federal government has the revenue to cover a jobs program for infrastructure repair, to assist the states to maintain safety nets for the less fortunate and basic services like police/fire protection and education. In the great depression, taxes were increased on all earners to maintain sufficient revenue for jobs programs and other relief for the masses.

    There have been no long-term benefits from any of the tax cutting over the last 35 years. Nor have we benefitted from the repeal of New-Deal bank-regulation legislation.

    To fix the problem, eliminate the cap on the social security tax. Increase the medicare tax to cover the medicare shortfalls. Increase the income tax as well as taxes on investments etc. to pre 1980 levels. Then, the federal government will put the unemployed back to work. It has become obvious, over the last 4 years that the private sector is unwilling to provide jobs for US workers.

  123. I agree that the cap on FICA should be eliminated and every dollar up to a gazillion dollars should taxed.

    Further, I believe that the FICA tax and Income Tax should be charged for every dollar earned regardless of HOW it was earned; Whether from interest, dividends, capital gains; stocks and bonds and insurance. Or by whatever entity; person or corporate person.

    And taxes should be withheld the moment that money is earned (changes hands, cashed in, gains realized) the same way my wages are taxed. No more waiting until the quarter rolls around to determine whether there is an overall loss or gain.

    Sell a stock for a profit and the taxes are withheld at that instant; losses can wait for the quarter.

    Brokerage computers can handle the load, after all, they keep track of every little blip that happens around the world, and saves every transaction in which every client participates. They save all that data so that they know how much fee to charge. They can use their computers to withhold FICA and Income taxes as well.

    I can dream, can't I?

  124. Don't Senators, Representatives, the President and other representatives swear an oath to America, not Grover Norquist? Isn't pledging loyalty to another entity other than the U.S. a kind of treason? What if a group of senators pledged an oath to never wage war and the U.S. was attacked? And we are being attacked right now, aren't we?--attacked by a Congress that refuses to do what's best for America, led by these Norquistas.

  125. Actually, Norquist's pledge was to America, not to himself. It is actually called the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The "Norquist Pledge" is kind of like the term "ObamaCare" and is used by progressives as a pejorative.

  126. It sure was stupid for the Democrats not to do nothing when nothing was exactly the right thing to do when the Bush tax cuts came up for renewal last year.

  127. I think this is a great idea. The GOP has it coming.

  128. While Democrats are pushing back on the tax issue I suggest they also do the same regarding the Affordable Care Act.....IF they are willing to swallow some bitter medicine themselves. As a counter to the repeated repeal votes on "Obamacare" which the House Republicans stage ad nauseum, present a bill requiring all members of Congress to buy their medical insurance in the marketplace like all other Americans, regardless of whether "Obamacare" stays or goes and eliminate the health care for life after 5 years of congressional service which they now enjoy. In too many ways, Congress does not want to live in the same America as the people they purport to serve.

  129. Brilliant move
    1.Suggest to increase taxes before election for everybody.
    2.Do not get reelected
    3.As a minority party after election suggest to return to pre -election rates for everybody ,but people with income above 250K
    4.Suggestion will be turn down by majority party
    5.Majority party suggest to return to previous rates to everybody
    6.Accepted
    7.Repeat.

  130. I know that Congressmen can't be sued for defamation, etc for what they say in session, but can we sue them for Treason?

    I don't know the whole extent of the law but it feels like treason to read about this republican pledge to Grover Norquist. He is but one man, a lobbyist at that, and Congress is supposed to represents all its people, each crongressman his or her state.

    Set aside all this talk of tax reform, although it should be at the top of the priority list, and only think about how these men are pledging themselves to one man or coorporation, etc.

    ...
    I am not about scaring people, but I am scared.

  131. Making a pledge to do (or not do) something is very far from treasonous. (unless the pledge specifically detailed a treasonous act). Still, the fact that one man, Grover Norquist, has managed to gain thw pledges of so many politicians (238 House Republicans and 41 Senate Republicans) is indeed scary.

    What's also scary is that Grover Norquist is paid $200,000 a year for a 24 hours-a-week job in his own, non-profit, Americans For Tax Reform group, AND refuses to disclose the contributors to this non-profit organisation that has such an invasive influence on American politics.

  132. "Here, the threat is, unless you agree to *my* terms, we'll let all the tax cuts expire and threaten a renewed recession."

    I don't agree. The Bush tax cuts were intended to be temporary. That is why they are set to expire. If tax cuts are still needed then it makes sense that any new tax cuts be aimed at avoiding recession rather than furthering whatever motive Bush had. There is no reason to assume that the new tax cuts be exactly the same as the old ones.

  133. Too bad we don't have a President with real leadership abilities to craft a resolution to the fiscal cliff. I can't imagine this kind of gridlock on LBJ or Reagan's watches.

  134. Neither of them was Black. It was easier for them to get the good ol' boys, like Mitch McConnell, to get on board with them, too, because their opposition hadn't decided from Day One to make them "one-term President(s)" by blocking virtually everything they proposed. If President Obama said oxygen was a good thing, the GOP would hold their collective breath, and blame him because they suffocated themselves.

  135. Go back to the days of a good economy and see what worked. Private education was not permitted to use public tax dollars. Vital organ transplants were considering cheating others as in Nazi medicine. Americans had fresh on their minds the cost of such behaviors. Media did not promote such behaviors or such people. Such was ignored as antagonizing those who fought to save us from the same fate. Don't expect God's blessings. Expect more bad costly bad weather. And accept the blame where it belongs. Or refuse change, repentance and die of starvation. It is God's planet and he is not catholic in religion, medicine or politics. Change is inevitable. Love your neighbor.

  136. For Mitch McConnell to accuse Democrats in Congress of ideological crusade is not just disingenuous, it's totally a joke. If the situation were not so dire, I'd enjoy Republicans' richly deserved discomfort, and if they can't bring themselves to put their loyalty to America (to which they also swore an oath) before their loyalty to Grover Norquist, then I hope Democrats do allow the tax cuts to expire. Clearly this country badly needs a wake-up call, and clearly it is going to have to be dramatic to get Americans' attention. If the President is at a threshhold of $250,000 and Republicans (and some Democrats) are at a threshold of $1,000,000, why not split the difference and make it $500,000. Maybe the members of Congress ought to watch a few episodes of "American Pickers" and pick up a few tips on how to bargain. The hardest part of all this for me as a taxpayer (who pays almost 30% on less than $50,000 a year) is not the prospect of a tax increase; it's watching the people responsible for the public trust behave so selfishly, foolishly, stupidly, and irresponsibly (not to mention mean-spiritedly); it's knowing that half or more of our elected officials are taking their policy positions from a radio host (make that hosts) on the lunatic fringe. That som many Americans actually support these people blindly to their own detriment is outrageous, demoralizing and heartbreaking.

  137. Sorry but what cliff is this? This is the worst kind of hyperbole, enabled by all the media. It's not as if Congress cannot act to ameliorate whatever "clifflike" effects it sees after Jan 1. And heck, everyone has been screaming about the deficit and here comes the chance to really fill the hole, and instead we're now falling off a cliff.

    I say let all the tax rates go up - put in a temporary fix for the lower income levels if that is needed for the economy, but long term, letting the Bush rates expire is the only way any kind of sane tax rates can be restored. Others have made that point. It's not a cliff. Stop saying that.

    One more comment - when the government keeps more money in taxes, everyone sees that as negative for the economy. Why? The government can directly spend into the economy. The extra cash of the upper class goes where? Investments, which send a chunk of that money overseas where we never see it.

  138. The cliff refers more to the sequester which would massively cut government spending in a variety of areas, particularly defense. Which is a cliff, as already financial institutions are hesitating to invest until they see the outcome, and defense corporations are preparing to lay off thousands of people, if their budget gets slashed in January. I agree that letting the tax cuts expire, and perhaps even allowing some of the spending cuts to go through as well, would put us back on the right step towards a balanced budget. But it is a cliff, as thousands of people will rejoin the unemployed next year, and those still working will see their paychecks cut dramatically

  139. Oh that fastastic word "promise." Only in a world of fantasy would people believe a Republican promise to do anything. Let all the Bush tax cuts expire and then enact a middle class tax cut.
    The tax cuts for the rich are the ransom for middle class tax cuts.
    Do not extent the cuts for the rich or expand them and all hope of getting support for a middle class tax cut after the election is dead unless the voters give themselves a tax cut by electing Democratic majorities in both houses. The price wil be the same for a small middle class tax cut, a whoppng tax cut for the rich and balance the budget with programs that the middle class need.

    We are dealing with politicians who sold their souls to billionaires and mean to abolish democracy in a tidal wave of voter suppression. Good faith is dead. American needs a new Republican party one that opposition can deal with and trust like we had 20 years ago.

  140. I've thought all along this would be the only reasonable course of action. Just let those irresponsible tax cuts for the rich expire and be done with this devil's bargain.

    Military spending cuts would be another good area to cut the deficit in these pressed economic times. We need to get out of the business of war-mongering.
    It is costly in so many ways to this country. It has caused loss of life, financial well-being, country unity and harmony is this country and brought very little in return.

  141. "Virtually every Republican in Congress has taken the pledge, pushed by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, never to vote for a tax increase — a pledge both parties see as a serious impediment to a tax compromise."

    "Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said Tuesday. “This isn’t an economic agenda. It’s an ideological crusade.”"

    Senate Democrats would "Allow all the tax cuts to expire Jan. 1, then vote on a tax cut for the middle class shortly thereafter."

    1. How can can every Republican sign a pledge that the GOP says is a serious impediment to tax compromise? Easy, if you are an ideologue, its Standard Operating Procedure. You must sometimes lie in the name of ideology.

    Since when does a pledge to an idealogue take precedence over promoting the general Welfare of We the People? Who the hell is Grover Norquist anyway? Who gave him so much power? Why are Republicans so afraid of him? Is he a member of the NRA?

    2. Mitch McConnel was looking in the mirror when he spoke. He signed the pledge, not the Democrats

    3. Senate Democrats are just as bad if they believe the GOP won't define a tax cut for the middle class as a tax increase of the rich. They ignore the fact that Mitch, Grover and everyone who signed that pledge are rabid ideologues. Merriam Webster defines ideologue as " an impractical idealist...an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology.

    This Congress is not fit to govern.

    Bruce Olson

  142. In my wildest political fantasies a bipartisan coalition of centrist soothsayers, comprised of photogenic professionals of all stripes who possess near perfect ratios of intelligence, likability, confidence, and humility, emerges from the ashes of a broken economy to calm the frayed nerves of a dispirited electorate.

    And in this fantastical scenario of mine, these charismatic sages capture the attention and imagination of a voting public no longer tolerant of the parasitic greed and intransigence that has so thoroughly corrupted both hemispheres of the political world.

    So deftly and matter-of-factly do our political caped crusaders diffuse the tensions in our public discourse that, from coast to coast, pragmatic ideas once deemed laughable, are discussed in an atmosphere of mutual respect, and, miraculously, reason suffocates ideology.

    The final chapter of this blatantly quixotic dream reveals a vibrant, fiscally-sound nation at peace within its political itself. And in this nascent, 'more perfect' union, civility reigns supreme, extremism of any sort is deemed a 'clear and present danger' to the republic, and reason, informed by both the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and the painful mistakes of the early 21st century, becomes the standard against which we measure our leaders, and, most importantly, ourselves.

    (C) 2012, Oh Puhleeze

  143. The bottom of the floor has fallen w/o a peep from congress.

  144. The Clinton tax-spending rates seemed right. We actually started to pay down the debt. We had the largest peacetime expansion of the economy in history.
    The Bush tax cuts were to create jobs and prevent recession - neither happened. Jobs were created, but not in this country. Debt has gone up alarmingly. Tax cuts do not create jobs, demand for product creates jobs.

  145. I love that pic of Cheney and the crew. Everyone is ALL SMILES! Well, at least some of us can still smile. What a joke...but not ha-ha funny...

    Once again, a big THANK YOU to the idiots who voted for Bush and put him in office --- TWICE! I'm so proud of your pea-brained, simplistic myopic view of the world. Too bad the rest of us have to live in it.

  146. I always thought this was the obvious tactic that the Democrats should use. Let the cuts expire, and the see if the Republicans are so stubborn that they refuse to reduce taxes selectively. Even if no agreement is reached, I think we'd be better off with the Clinton-era tax rates for all than with the current situation.

  147. The current tax policy and its apologists cannot-or refuse to-discern the difference between a double income family with W2 wages in excess of 250K and a hedge fund manager who takes a W2 salary of 250K, plus several million dollars of compensation in deferred pay, stock options, and other investment vehicles.

    This smacks of gross stupidity, indifference to the future middle class (which will be eventually snared by the top rate, since it is not adjusted for inflation), and political opportunism-not policy.

  148. 'Forty-four percent of people in a new Pew Research Center poll said that a tax increase on incomes over $250,000, which is what President Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing, would help the economy, while 22 percent said it would hurt the economy.

    Similarly, 41 percent of Pew respondents said that raising taxes on income over $250,000 would make the tax system “more fair,” while 21 percent said it would make it “less fair”.

    The numbers are even more encouraging for Obama (and Democrats more broadly) among independents when it comes to ending the Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000. By a more than two-to-one margin — 41 percent to 18 percent — political independents believe ending the tax cuts would be helpful to the economy.'

    (From online WaPo article dated 7-17-12)

    So, how does the congressional GOP membership respond to this? These results certainly fly in the face of their rhetoric.

    I am surprised moreover this information was not included in this piece since it would have strengthened the balance of the reporting.

  149. I pray, PRAY, the Democrats follow through on this.
    1) the deficit would nearly vanish
    2) the additional tax revenue could be / should be diverted back to the States for infrastructure, education and financial relief
    3) They could then "fix" the tax code with a solid, responsible base of taxes from which to cut.
    3a) As much as possible, cut domestic corporate taxes to 15% or less
    3b) maintain overseas corporate tax rates, but allow any funds brought into the U.S. that can be proven to be spent on domestic hiring be taxed at domestic rate

    We might actually get out of this economic slump in less than 10-years!

  150. This is completely wrong. The deficit does not nearly vanish if taxes are raised only on those with income above $200-250k. That makes only $50-100 billion per year and the deficit is about $1300 billion.

    Even if you allow all Bush tax cuts to expire, it only raises maybe half of the deficit level per year.

  151. Cut personal income taxes to 15%,with no deductions.Set state income tax at flat 3%.Let it stay that way for decades,so no more politicians using taxes to get votes and so businesses and individuals can make long term plans.

  152. The entire benefit of the Tax Cuts is under $700 billion. The tax on those making over the $200k/250k is $85.5 billion. The deficit currently stands at $16 trillion and is accumulating at a rate of $1.3 trillion for the next fiscal year. The deficits will be greater in the coming years if nothing is done to rein in the spending. Many economist believe that the increase will cause a decrease in tax revenues, just as tax revenue collection went up after the cuts were made under President Bush. Nothing is ever so simple.

  153. Why are Democrats charting a path for Republicans to "sidestep" their ill-considered and ignorant pledge? It's their problem! Stick to the message that obviously resonates with the middle and working classes and let the "do-nothing unless the rich are protected as the priority" Republicans reap the just rewards of their own mendacity.

  154. I wonder just what percentage of repub voters actually know or care who Grover Norquist is. Do you suppose he a household name in poor rural areas that consistently vote repub? Does Mr. Norquist possess transcendent personal, intellectual, and telegenic traits that win faithful allegiance from the red state rank and file? His significance and stature are blown completely out of proportion by those who benefit most from the status quo of historically low taxes. Once again, follow the money to understand what's going on. Absurd...

  155. With this Democratic declaration, we now know that the stock market has hit its peak for 2012. Prices will go down from here, and will be at a low point in January, when the tax cuts expire. At that point, you'll be able to get stocks on the cheap, especially the dividend payers. Taxes on dividends will triple (!) in January, so those stocks will be especially hard hit.

    Then when the current tax rates are restored with the Orwellian label "new tax cuts" (per the Democrats' explicit plan) stock prices will rise again.

    This ploy by Democrats is superb for the rich, who will trade for more profits. For the ordinary 401(k) account holder? Not so much.

    Which is truly the party of the 1%?

  156. Is there a point in this Democratic conspiracy of yours when you factor in that the actions of the Republican politicians (and their pledges) aren't controlled by the Democratic party?

  157. Republican's don't like the taste of their own medicine, they didn't think we would forget the debt ceiling, the budget showdown, and all the non governing they've been doing for the last 4 years did they? These are the kind of tactics bullies respond to, let incomes go up for the rich, and then vote to bring them down for the middle class, makes sense to me, and fail to see the uncertainty in that. Because the only certainty in Washington is that Republicans will continue to waste time.

  158. The Democrat mantra of more, more, more never ends. More spending. More social services. More stimulus. More bailouts. More taxes. Anyone who believes that they will ever call for less spending or lower taxes is simply disregarding Democrat history. They are out of control spenders and they will always find ways to reach into your pocket to fund their big government agenda.

  159. Paul,
    And the Republicans are not out of control spenders? How would you describe the deficits run up under both Reagan and "W"? Clinton balanced the budget and left a surplus, which the Republicans couldn't wait to squander. Stop watching Fox and get a life!

  160. This "mantra" is more, more, more Republican than Democratic. Republicans have a far worse record on deficits than Democrats.

    Modern Republicans have increased spending (mostly for wars) while seeking more and more tax cuts (mostly for the rich). The predictable result has been a ballooning national deficit. (Remember Dick Cheney's famous quote about "deficits don't matter.")

    Republicans like to accuse the Democrats of being "tax and spend liberals." But that is a lot more responsible than being what they are, "don't tax but keep spending (pseudo) conservatives."

    Someday soon the electorate will catch on, I hope.

  161. When Republicans are willing to make serious cuts in the military budget, I might be willing to listen to their whining about social programs. And please keep in mind that federal taxes are about the lowest they've been in 50 years - the proposal is to let them rise to where they were in the year 2000 - no where near where they were in the Kennedy administration.

  162. This is just more evidence of how dysfunctional the Republican Party has become. The Democrats have to come up with a plan to give cover to the Republicans so they can keep their word to a LOBBYIST? No wonder they are called Repugnants?

  163. Finally, the Democratic Congressional leadership has a strategy. Hold to it.

  164. Why do we care what Grover Norquist demands? The guy can't manage a shave, but he's in control of our nation?! That's unAmerican.

  165. Taxes need to go up. If the deficit is a problem then people earning more than 70K need to pay more. 200K is not middle class- it is upper class. The median household income is somewhere around 50K. That is the 'middle'. We, as a nation, have spent the last thirty years cutting taxes- all it has gotten us is larger and larger deficits. We need to cut the military budget, drastically, and raise taxes. I don't care where a person lives- if they are making 200K they should be able to take care of themselves and their family. If they are 'barely making it' then they are doing something terribly wrong.

  166. Why was this delayed two years? Obama campaigning for his first term promised to allow the cuts to expire. He said the tax rates under Clinton worked well.
    We need someone to follow through and lead the country out of debt.

  167. We are currently shopping for our first home. Not knowing the size of our paycheck come January due to the uncertainty over taxes, has definitely made us be more conservative about the amount we are willing to spend. Will my paycheck remain the same, fall by 2% (if say the payroll tax only expires, but not the Bush cuts), or by a lot more? This matters. Can I spend another 100-200 on a mortgage a month? Right now I can not assume that.
    I am sure there are others thinking in the same way and being conservative about major purchases.

  168. It sounds like your household has two incomes. I have always believed that one should purchase a house with a mortgage that one wage earner could pay. That would prevent most foreclosures. I tried selling real estate for a year, but of course I didn't do very well because I just thought that clients should simply buy a house that they knew they could afford, even if they lost one income.

  169. Stop giving the Democrats so much credit. There is nothing "novel" in this approach. Both parties have been picking our pockets for decades.

  170. President Obama gets blamed for everything--even things the Republicans have suggested or previously endorsed--which shows their true colors. Since he's not a dictator but is constrained by the legislators, the Democrats in name only and Republicans have prevented him from getting the legislation needed to create jobs. The Republicans want him to fail at any cost to the American people.

    The increase in taxes for those making more than $250,000 still allows the tax break for up to $250,000. It is only the ultra-rich who would see a slight increase in taxes but the Republicans are so bought and paid for by the wealthiest in our society that they only have allegiance to them and not to America.

    Voting is the only antidote to the problems we have, since they have been exacerbated by the obstructionists voted into office--the Republican Tea Party.

  171. Plan A: Tax the rich in the name of fairness (it won't hurt us politically either, but this is just a coincidence). We are serious. We will let the economy fall off the clift! Plan B: We didn't mean to say we would let the economy fall off the clift in order to win in November. We are actually trying to help the Republican avoid a silly pleadge they made not to raise taxes. We will soak the rich after all tax cuts expire and then do what the Republicans really wanted to do all along, which is to tax the rich. QUESTION: If the Republicans really want to tax the rich, do you really think they are gaining any ground by letting the economy fall off the clift first?

  172. Romney/Norquist 2012...or is it Norquist/Romney?

  173. Why not, we've already seen that Republicans are willing to hold the government hostage to achieve their goals. I say let all the tax cuts expire, and honestly I wouldn't miss that $500 billion from the ridiculously bloated defense budget either.

  174. This reminds me of when Jimmy Carter was president. The economy was a mess, although not as bad as it is under Obama, and the democrats in Congress thinking they can tax their way out of the economic mess. It didn't work then and it won't work now. Here's a novel idea...how about cutting spending and taxes and letting the American people keep more of their hard earned dollars.

  175. You believe the chants of the neoGOP minions of the wealth oligarchs?

  176. Cut the defense budget by $250B a year, that's a good start. WE have unpaid bills, the chickens have come home, time to pay up.

  177. In their zeal to get a short-term win over president Obama, the repugs foolishly signed this agreement. Now, they have to live with it. This would be the best approach: Let ALL of the Bush tax cuts expire, let ALL of the spending cuts kick in. THEN, deal with the middle class tax cut separately. In fact, put it in place now so that it seamlessly kicks in on Jan 1, not that the repugs would let that happen. After all of that is done, there will be light at the end of the tunnel in dealing with the deficit, which could be back in surplus by 2016. Is that not supposedly what the repugs say that they want? If the Dems with all of this leverage give in to some kind of "Grand Bargain" and cut Social Security and Medicare, and give that money to corporations and the super rich, we will know for sure that the fix is in and always has been.

  178. Let the tax breaks end, let the defense budget get cut, take away the capital gains discounted tax rate and any tax advantage of owning second homes. People need to pay the price of sending thousands of soldiers into wars that never should have happened. Maybe we will think twice the next time. As for tax pledges, don't vote for anyone who signed them.

  179. Best succinct comment ever.

  180. Cooperation on Murray's plan would accomplish something for both parties--restore a little faith in Congress.

  181. No one pays the actual tax rate anyway so I'm not sure why this is such a big deal. Also, a tax cut for the middle class is still a tax cut so what is the GOP waiting for? Is it just that it's coming from Dems? This congress has the lowest rating in history and it stems from not being about to compromise on anything. Compromise has gone from a respectable form of negotiation to being considered a coward and caving to the other party. The extremes on both sides (but mostly the right) have taken too much control and the rest of America is paying for it. Be wise in your votes come Nov. and hopefully we'll get a working congress come Jan.

  182. Vote against the wealth oligarchy by electing only neoGOP and Demos who will tax them!

  183. They signed a pledge? So tear up the stupid pledge and get to work. What a bunch of babies.

  184. Let the Bush tax cuts expire.

    Empirically the "job creators" were creating more jobs in the US in the past not because of tax cuts, but because they weren't getting tax write offs for moving their businesses overseas (while taking full advantage of US tax policy and taxpayer provided infrastructure).

    Republicans don't seem to be willing to do anything about jobs without shoving some kind of crud burger into the bill, like shutting down planned parenthood and outlawing contraceptives.

    Until the crazies are removed from Congress, the least the Democrats can do is play the game the GOP way, and "do nothing", to get something done. Let's get some revenues in the coffers and get back to the prosperity of the 90's, before The Crazy got hold of our government.

  185. This is ridiculous! Are you kidding me? I do feel for the small business owner, I really do. However, please, don't sit here and say that tax policy decides you employee level. Employees are hired and fired by the demand of the market, not your tax rate.
    if people were buying your services and you needed more hands to deal with the volume, then you would hire more people and vise versa. Please, do not insult everyone by crying foul over taxes on you. Quick everyone line up to claim yourself a victim! Every applicant is eligible to receive a life size Cross so you can climb up on it and pity yourselves! By the way, poor people do pay taxes, its called the Federal income tax and they pay it every time they get a paycheck. However, lets discuss this notion, Lets make the poor live on less money so I can keep mine! Sorry Joe, I have to let you go, the new tax rates are in and it's the Country Club or your family, so you lose Joe! Hey say hi to your wife for me and don't forget to pay your COBRA payments! You are fortunate to be an American, quit whining.

  186. You are so right, its not tax policy that decides employee level its cash flow and prospects of cash flow in the future.... guess which kind of cash flow taxe are......they are negative and hurt cash flow and hence job creation. But dems ignore pesky facts and deny reality of course

  187. As a democrat, I still find this appalling. Business is scared and so are consumers. Additional brinkmanship is not what we need - we need clarity. Focusing on finding a way around the Norquist pledge while the economy burns is appallingly out of touch.

  188. there's nothing "novel" or "perceptive" about this proposed democratic approach. it is obvious now and was obvious when obama foolishly agreed to maintain the bush tax cuts in the past. let them expire by doing nothing. then propose "new" tax cuts that make sense, given our deficit.

    why is this surprising? what's surprising is that it took the dems this long to realize it was good policy.

  189. what's surprising is the number of adults who are so naive that they really think Obama has some magical dictatorial powers and can act unilaterally about everything.

    what's surprising is the number of people willing to blame Obama for being screwed over by the GOP, and totally unwilling to hold the GOP responsible for the damage they have done to 99.999% of us.

    what's surprising is focusing on Obama and ignoring the crimnals even as they continue to rob us blind.

  190. Just add one thought- can anyone say " CUT SPENDING" to help reach a common goal.

  191. Yeah, if you make that CUT MILITARY SPENDING. We spend more on the military than on everything else put together.

  192. Oh my ! Can you imagine that 98% of GOP including Mitt Romney already signed a pledge with Grover Norquist not to raise taxes on super rich like Romney or close tax haven like in Cayman Islands, Bermuda, etc. before their duty for 99% of American people?

  193. The Republicans would rather see the country fall to pieces thsan acr responsibly and enact tac reform. They will not even be honest enough to accept the fact that Bush gave his rich buddies a temporary tax break and be mature enough to allow it to end without lying and trying to call that a democratic tax increase. The republicans are a party of liars and haters and heavan forbid they should win the election.

  194. I say allow the fiscal train wreck to occur and let the Republicans pay the price for putting the rich and Norquist's pledge ahead of our country and its people. The Dems need to stick to their guns and the devil with the do nothing and obstructionist Republican congress. Maybe then we can start over and actually get the country running again.

  195. Exactly how many more Americans are you willing to see lose what little they have left so you can have a quick fix and retribution?

    And, really, if the GOP has yet to even acknowledge the reality of what damage they have already done, let along pay for any of it, why on earth would you think they'll pay any price for any further damage they cause?

    As long as they and their donors continue to profit at our expense, and they continue to get away with denying responsibility, isn't it a bit naive to think there will be any sudden revelation if things get worse? Have you missed their campaign to blame Obama for what happened before he took office?

    You're expecting scorpians to act like puppies. No matter how bad things get economically, there will be no group hug or singing of Kumbaya.

    The ONLY way to stop this is to vote so many Republicans out of office in November that they finally have to acknowledge that they will not hold major office or control until they change. Nothing else will do it.

  196. The true debate is does the federal government of a revenue problem, a spending problem, or both. If you look at the "Hitorical Tables Budget of the U.S. Government" you can decide for your self. Here are the avererage revenue and spending amounts under Clinton (1993-2000), Bush (2001-2008) and Obama (2009-2012 with 2012 estimated)

    Clinton: 1.546B Revenue 1.586B Spending 40M Def
    Bush: 2.145B Revenue 2.396B Spending 251M Def
    Obama: 2.260B Revenue 3.593B Spending 1.333B Def

    Revenue from Clinton to Bush increased 39%, from Bush to Obama increased 5%
    Spending from Clinton to Bush increased 51%, from Bush to Obama increased 50%

    So ask yourself, Should we go back the the Clinton era revenue collection, or the Clinton era spending level?

    Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/h...

  197. You can't simply look at raw spending numbers without putting it into the context of world events at the time which the US was involved in. In the Clinton era, we weren't fighting a war in Afghanistan at the same time we are rebuilding all the infrastructure we destroyed there and in Iran. If we end the 'War on Terror', and reduce our defenses to Clinton era defenses, it will be a fair comparison. To just imply that is misleading. Include some context.

  198. What I was implying is that the Bush tax cuts did not hurt revenue, it actually increased it. Yes, Bush did increase spending more than the increase in revenue, but Bush funded 74% of his increased spending, while Obama funded 10% of his increased spending. Simply increasing taxes will not lead to a dollar for dollar increase in revenue. A dollar that is spent in the private sector is spent again in the private sector at a faster rate than a dollar can be taxed and then spent to go back into the private sector.