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Political Animal

April 09, 2012 8:45 AM

Buffet Rule Tax Day Push

By Ed Kilgore

Usually the week leading up to April 15, the federal income tax filing day, belongs to conservatives who have the change to score uncontested goal after goal against an unloved and unlovable tax system, and more broadly, the public commitments that make it necessary.

But this year, it looks like Democrats will for once try to take the initiative with a “tax fairness” campaign that will have the added benefit of directing public attention to Mitt Romney’s balance sheet. Here’s Jonathan Wiesman’s description:

President Obama and Senate Democrats will kick off a coordinated pressure campaign on Republicans next week ahead of a tax day vote on legislation to enact the president’s “Buffett Rule,” which would ensure that the rich pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.

Mr. Obama will travel to Florida on Tuesday for a speech on the Buffett Rule, named after the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, who has made a point of saying that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. The Obama campaign will hold Buffett Rule events in other swing states that day, and Senate Democratic leaders have encouraged Democratic senators to get involved with those campaign efforts….

The push comes ahead of a procedural vote on April 16 that will decide whether the Senate will even debate the bill, and Democrats give it little chance of reaching the necessary 60-vote threshold.

Wiesman’s article goes on to debate whether the Buffet Rule specifically, or “fairness” generally, is a winning election-year economic message.

I think this sort of argument falls prey to the amazingly persistent and pernicious idea that whole issue areas “belong” to one party of the other. No, it doesn’t make much sense for tax fairness to become an overriding issue for Democrats this year. But it makes even less sense for Democrats to fall mute or try to change the subject every time Republicans talk about taxes.

SOURCE

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Crooks and Liars
By Heather Monday Dec 21, 2009 10:00am

From The New York Times–Health Bill Passes Key Test in the Senate With 60 Votes:

After a long day of acid, partisan debate, Senate Democrats held ranks early Monday in a dead-of-night procedural vote that proved they had locked in the decisive margin needed to pass a far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s health care system.

The roll was called shortly after 1 a.m., with Washington still snowbound after a weekend blizzard, and the Senate voted on party lines to cut off a Republican filibuster of a package of changes to the health care bill by the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada.

The vote was 60 to 40 — a tally that is expected to be repeated four times as further procedural hurdles are cleared in the days ahead, and then once more in a dramatic, if predictable, finale tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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If President Obama is truly serious about changing the way Washington operates, he’d begin to aggressively hector the entourage of lawmakers that I’ve not-so-affectionately nicknamed the “Coalition of the Corrupt and Spineless” (COCS) — the Democratic Senators who have very obviously been bought off by the healthcare lobby, along with other almost-as-awful Democrats whose cowardice is only matched by their weakness of will.

Throw down, Mr. President.

Maybe even do one of those big Hollywood movie style presidential speeches, like the one at the end of The Contender in which President Jeff Bridges calls out that slippery douche Congressman Gary Oldman in front of a joint session:

“I am not free of blame. Right from the start, I should have come down here, pointed a finger your way — pointed a finger your way and asked you, “Have you no decency, sir?” Yesterday, I met — Mr. Runyon, you may walk out on me, you may walk out on this body, but you cannot walk out on the will of the American people.”

There can be no denying that the COCS are flagrantly and unapologetically legislating against — what’s the word? — overwhelming super-majority popular support for the public health insurance option. And why is that? I can’t recall another example in recent memory when the collusion of lobbyists, corporate PACs and members of the United States Senate has been this obvious. We can only conclude that the COCS are entirely ignoring the will of the American people because they’re hiking the Appalachian Trail with the healthcare industrial complex.

What other excuse might they have? To date, not a single senator in the COCS has explained this disparity, chiefly because it’s such an awkward and transparent illustration of the very worst side of Washington — the side that President Obama pledged to help mitigate.

(more…)

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