Friday, December 10, 2010

Mark Begich Signs on With Bernie Sanders to Challenge Obama Tax Giveaway to Billionaires

A friend alerted me in an email to this article that has just been posted at The Nation's web site:

The senator concluded his remarkable 8.5 speech with a call to action. "If the American people stand up and say, 'we can do better than this, that we don’t need to drive up the national debt by giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires,' (if) the American people are prepared to stand – and we’re prepared to follow them – I think we can defeat this proposal," he declared. "I think we can come up with a better proposal which better reflects the needs of the middle class and working families of our country and, to me, most importantly, the children of our country. And with that, Madam President, I would yield the floor."

The senator was not alone in his sentiment. He was supported on the floor by an old progressive ally, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, and by a moderate Democrat, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, who does not always make common cause with the democratic socialist senator from Vermont.

Landrieu referred to the agreement the White House is trying to force the congress to accept as "almost morally corrupt."

For the most part, however, Sanders held the podium Friday, speaking calmly and in great detail about his specific objections to the tax-cut deal and about his broader concerns about federal policies that favor the wealthiest Americans while neglecting working families.

Sanders's speech capped a week in which Democrats in the House and Senate raised became increasingly vocal in their opposition to the deal that President Obama initially advanced as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

--- snip ---

In a letter circulated by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, the senators said: "We have grave misgivings about the recent tax agreement. We hope that the Senate can improve on it. We look forward to working with you to ensure a vote on our amendment to strengthen Social Security in lieu of bonus tax cuts for people who are doing quite well."

They also offered an outline for a plan that would to restore tax rates on income over $1 million per year to the Clinton-era rates, and to dedicate the resulting revenues to shoring up the Social Security trust fund.

The White House will push back against any amendment strategy, fearing that changes might endanger Republican support for the agreement.

But the letter gives Reid a bargaining chip. He has a numbers problem. In addition to the eight signers of the letter—Merkley, Landrieu. Alaska's Mark Begich, Hawaii's Daniel Akaka, Ohio's Sherrod Brown, Minnesota's Al Franken, Colorado's Mark Udall and California's Barbara Boxer—several other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus have voiced strong objections to the agreement.

Sanders continues to talk of using a filibuster strategy to block the proposal. And her [sic] Vermont colleague, Patrick Leahy, has been bluntly critical.

Good for Mark!


HarpboyAK said...

FINALLY, Mark does what's right. Or at least signs a strongly worded letter saying so. But then we know what strongly worded letters from Senators can accomplish. Just look at what the strongly worded letters from Senator Leahy about uconstitutional crimes by Bush and Cheney did!

Anonymous said...

The progressive wing cracks me up. This is the tally I got from the bill:

Payroll Tax Cut ($120 bn)
13-month unemployment benefits extension ($56 bn)
Boost EITC, Child Tax Credit, & College Credit ($40 bn)

Extend Tax Cuts for People >$250K ($75 bn)
Estate Tax Modification ($88 bn)

STUFF EVERYONE WANTS (in theory): $385 bn
Extend tax cut for people <$250K

Elections have consequences unless they turn out wrong I suppose. Even with this deal the left is getting most of what they want, and certainly more than they're throwing to the right. This is a realistic deal.

I think it is hilarious how the far left is pillorying Obama, while Obama simultaneously is wrinkling his nose at the political necessity of moving to the middle. It doesn't look like he's going to successfully tack to the center like Bill Clinton did at this point, but the far left isn't happy with him either. The guy just can't win...

Frankly, I wouldn't mind it too much if the whole deal is scuttled and taxes just go up for everyone. We're flooring the accelerator on the way to a fiscal crisis and cans can only be kicked down the road so long before the credit markets start upping rates.

Anonymous said...

How is a payroll tax cut something Democrats want? Only according to the White House. The rich get a $2000 tax cut from it, which they did not get from the Making Work Pay credit it is replacing.