In what appears to be a depressing pattern of behavior, Senators Richard (Big Dick) Shelby & Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III once again voted to protect the super rich at the expense of the rest of us. Thanks a lot guys... NOT.
In a shocking turn of events, the Democratic bill passed 51-48, without a filibuster! This is due to an amazing miscalculation on the part of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He was sure that when the Democratic plan was placed head-to-head with the GOP "protect the wealthy" plan, senators of both parties would hasten to protect the privileges of the overclass.
Senators approved the Democratic bill by a near party-line 51-48 vote, with Vice President Joe Biden presiding over the chamber in case his vote was needed to break a tie. Minutes earlier, lawmakers voted 54-45 to kill a rival Republican package that would have included the best-off in the tax reductions.
The $250 billion Democratic measure would extend tax cuts in 2013 for millions of Americans that otherwise would expire in January. But it would deny those reductions to the earnings of individuals exceeding $200,000 yearly and of couples surpassing $250,000.
What's truly shocking is how the GOP tax plan would have affected the rest of us. At the same time the wealthiest were raking in the savings, poor & middle class taxpayers would face an increase. That's because the GOP senators who are damned determined to make sure the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy never, ever expire are totally ok with allowing tax cuts for the poor & middle class to go up:
The GOP bill ignores some tax credits for low- and middle-income families that Democrats want to extend for college costs; for some low-income couples and large working families; and for families with children.
All were part of Obama’s economic 2009 stimulus bill. Democrats say those tax breaks were meant to be permanent but Republicans say they were only a short-term response to the recession.
Um... weren't the Bush tax cuts supposed to expire, guys? Or were you just kidding then, but you aren't kidding now????
We aren't taking about a tiny amount of money for working families either. As a parent of a newly-minted college student, I can say that we totally appreciated the American Opportunity Tax Credit of $2500 that partially funded the Young Cone's first semester of college. The GOP plan would have reduced the available credit.
And while the Republicans won't admit it, the wealthy would also keep a substantial tax savings under the Democratic plan.
It included one example for a couple making $2 million in salaries and bonuses plus $500,000 from capital gains. They would get $7,080 in tax cuts under Obama's plan, which allows a tax cut to all families for the first $250,000, and $124,000 under GOP proposals, the report said.
Of course, a mere $590/month is chump change to the GOP: their plan offers this couple an extra $10,333/month to save, spend, or maybe sock away in a Swiss bank account...
Senator Schumer nailed it:
“This idea that [Republicans] don’t want to raise taxes on anyone — they’re OK to raise taxes on many middle class people as long as they get their tax breaks for the very wealthiest among us,” Schumer said. “That’s an amazing and astounding point.”
Writing for the Washington Post, Ezra Klein makes an important point:
The argument in 2010 was that the economy was incredibly weak, and we couldn’t possibly raise taxes. If the economy remains too weak to raise taxes right now — which is core to the Republican case for extending the Bush tax cuts — then you can’t raise them on the poor, who, under any accounting, need more help than the wealthy. And if the economy is not too weak and so it’s time for the extraordinary help we’re offering to end, then you can also raise taxes on the rich, who under any accounting, can bear tax increases better than the poor.
Of course, we all know why tax cuts for the wealthy are "tax cuts" while tax cuts for the poor & Middle Class are "stimulus" spending.....
Very few of us in the 99% can hope to match the spending of Sheldon Adelson, Mitt Romney's mystery bundlers, and Karl Rove's tax-exempt dark money machine.
The more money the GOP gives that crowd, they more Adelson & Company have to spend acquiring the best government money can buy.
And both of Alabama's Senators are both more than happy to make that happen.