Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 22, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TAX CUT NIRVANA....There are times when you almost have to admire their chutzpah. Last week Senate Republicans announced that "Democrat Delays Put Millions of Middle Class Taxpayers at Risk," and today Robert Novak is gleefully going along — though nervously admitting there's a "fear" that Republicans could get the blame for putting all those cherished middle class taxpayers at risk instead. But why would the poor GOP get the blame for Harry Reid's perfidy?

Here's the backstory. Democrats wanted to pass a quick bill to patch the Alternative Minimum Tax, and Novak admits that Reid "was serious about taking action." But Republicans refused to allow the AMT tax cut to be brought up in the Senate unless four other tax cuts were also brought up. Gotta balance a tax cut with a tax cut, after all.

In other words, Democrats were perfectly happy to pass the AMT cut immediately. The only thing stopping them was Republican posturing. But somehow it's Harry Reid's fault.

Like I said, you almost have to admire it.

Kevin Drum 11:51 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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Councillor A: I propose we fix that giant pothole on Main Street.

Councillor's B through G: Not unless we can repave all the roads in our neighbourhoods.

Councillor A: But those roads are fine.

Councillor's B through G: Too bad for you.

Motorist: Damn! I just broke my axle on Main Street.

Councillor's B through G: It's Councillor A's fault.

Posted by: objectivelypro on November 22, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

I await President Hillary's first imperial proclamation, which will be to outlaw the GOP.

Won't that be fun!

Posted by: craigie on November 22, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans are losing it. My liberal friends have been saying that for a while now, but this time they are. Who told them that in a year's time they will be able to pull this on voters without getting called?

I've seen them take all kinds of calculated risks, some helpful and some not so much, but this is just absurd. Maybe their consultants are revolting on them? Or maybe infighting in their leadership is leading to bad compromises. Whatever it is, I'd like some more please.

Posted by: James on November 22, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

NO Kevin, I do not admire lyin' SOBs.

Stop giving them cover by using humor. They're destroying America and we've got to stop them.

Posted by: MarkH on November 22, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

admire them?

nah, burn em in a tire fire.

Posted by: cleek on November 22, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin argues that the Republican pols are behaving even more irresponsibly than the Democratic pols. Maybe so, but the key point is that both parties in Congress are being irresponsible.

That's why federal health coverage is a bad idea. Maybe it could work in theory. In practice it would be controlled by the same clowns who are now screwing up income tax collection.

The one area where the two parties do cooperate well is earmarks. Evidently giving our money to their backers is a higher priority than getting us our tax refunds on time.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 22, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think blame will still be laid at the feet of Democrats in Congress:

a. Congress hasn't passed tax cut legislation
b. Failing to cut taxes = raising taxes
c. Democrats control Congress
d. Therefore, Democrats are raising taxes.

Maybe* the Democrats will do something utterly stupid like force a filibuster and spend the whole time talking themselves. Again.

* Maybe they'll do something stupid? Pfff. Certainly.

Posted by: anonymous on November 22, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Like I said, you almost have to admire it."

no, you really don't.
you don't have to admire it, or almost admire it, or even suggest there is something almost-admirable about it.

look, kevin, the attitude of "it's so brazen it's admirable" is *exactly* how rove kept the press in thrall for seven long years. he told them he was going to foul, then he fouled, then he boasted about having fouled.

and he told the press that they should worship him for being so transgressive, and they did.

the only thing sicker than the republican attitude that rules don't apply to them is the press attitude that republicans are macho bad-boys who deserve worship adulation when they break the rules.

this *is* rove's game.

you should know better than to fall for it.
you shouldn't even come within an 'almost' of it.

Posted by: kid bitzer on November 22, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

I like how Novak painted Harry Reid as screwing the middle class by not allowing a vote on axing the estate tax. At least no one takes Novak seriously.

Posted by: flounder on November 22, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK


For such a value voting, moral, compassionate group these GOP guys sure fib alot. Haven't they figured out YET this is the information age and their bullshirt wont fly anymore?

Posted by: Ya Know... on November 22, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an idea, Senator Reid: PUT IT UP FOR A VOTE. For the love of God, why are you there anyway? Let THEM vote it down. Or filibuster. Or, you know, you might, actually, WIN? For once?

God you're a fucking loser.

Posted by: anonymous on November 22, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

With more tax breaks, the economy grows and tax revenues increase, or would except for Dem spending. Squawk. Polly wanna cracker.

Posted by: Luther on November 22, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Most citizens don't vote, and most voters don't pay a lot of attention to the details. Truth is whatever spin takes hold.

Posted by: coldhotel on November 22, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe so, but the key point is that both parties in Congress are being irresponsible.

yawn.

and what anonymous said.

Posted by: craigie on November 22, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Luckily, the media is there to report the underlying truth.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on November 22, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Notice how the Club for Greed is going after Huckaby for being a big "taxer".

Posted by: Keith G on November 22, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

flounder: "At least no one takes Novak seriously."

I respectfully disagree. The Beltway punditry obviously does. You and I, being the country bumpkins and / or ignorant rubes that we are, clearly don't count.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 22, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but what is there to admire here?

Kevin, you've used the word chutzpah before to describe the GOP's tactic of using brazen lies to deceive an inattentive public. I don't know why you would want to apply such a positively toned word such as Chutzpah or even admire to how they conduct their business.

Posted by: Jae on November 22, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrat Delays Put Millions of Middle Class Taxpayers at Risk"

That's ridiculous. Everyone knows that Tom Delay is a Republic!

Posted by: Kenji on November 22, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

ex: Kevin argues that the Republican pols are behaving even more irresponsibly than the Democratic pols. Maybe so, but the key point is that both parties in Congress are being irresponsible.

why guess?

By a 2-to-1 margin, those who see little accomplishment in Congress's first 9-months blame the inaction on Bush and the GOP more than on the majority Democrats. - Wash. Post-ABC News polls 9/30/07

Posted by: mr. irony on November 22, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

ex: The one area where the two parties do cooperate well is earmarks.

here's that 2--to--1 margin again...

Value of earmarks during GOP Congress - 2006: 28-billion dollars

Value of earmarks during DEM Congress - 2007: 13-billion dollars

(source: Citizens against Government Waste)

Posted by: mr. irony on November 22, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Gore Edwards 08: "Luckily, the media is there to report the underlying truth."

Abssolutely. It's all right there in black-and-white on page A23, in the 18th paragraph in the right-hand corner below the fold, and then continuing on page A31, right next to the big Firestone "Holiday Tire Sale" ad.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 22, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Maybe so, but the key point is that both parties in Congress are being irresponsible."

LOL... Well, sure, if you're a partisan moron incapable of independent thought. Dear heart, do tell us where in this anecdote that the Democrats were being "irresponsible," won't you? We can hardly wait.

"That's why federal health coverage is a bad idea."

Like Medicare, dear?

"Maybe it could work in theory."

Like Medicare, dear?

"In practice it would be controlled by the same clowns who are now screwing up income tax collection."

Republicans, dear? There's an easy solution: vote for Democratic politicians.

Posted by: PaulB on November 22, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Will the spread of alternative media, such as it is, make political snow jobs less and less effective?

Hey Kev, time for a post about McClellan saying that Bush, Cheney et al were in on the Plame shakedown.

Posted by: Neil B. on November 22, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

REAL chutzpah is John Bolton appearing on Al Jazeera on thursday to plug his new book. Terrorists one day, marketing opportunity the next. what a man.


Posted by: billy on November 22, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Neil B.- Pale Rider occasionally posts at my place, and he was all over the McClellan news immediately upon hearing it.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 22, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

ooh look more political blunders. Ive never even been to college and I can show up all those chumps who think they can delegate how things are run. They couldnt even successfuly impeach push cause they are scoundrals themselves. Aww forgiveness too much for you guys who don't know how to say "im sorry, I messed up, but I will make this right."

You political creeps are cowards. Yeah we all worry for our families, but there are more important things than hoping for a good outcome. By doing your duty as a person we need to make the truly right choice regardless of threats.

Here is a threat for you pricks.

YOU BETTER DO THINGS RIGHT FROM NOW ON, OR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK OURSELVES. WE ARE ONE VOICE NOW!

Posted by: nothingliz on November 22, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

I've got a stupid question. I would assume the IRS computers all run on one network. That means that once a change is made, all computers on the network would download it & reflect the change.

MAYBE SOMEONE CAN TELL ME WHY IT TAKES 10 WEEKS FOR THE irs TO MAKE THE CHANGE?

Methinks someone at the IRS is blowing smoke out his ass. Sounds like Novak is helping him/her do it, unless Novak is blowing all the smoke himself.

Posted by: bob in fla on November 22, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans playing the same old game, but it isn't working like it used to. More and more people are on to them, but like weasels, they only know one way to behave. Even when they see that the results will be disastrous, they keep making the same play. Retarded I guess.

Posted by: foolme1ns on November 23, 2007 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party is destroying American.
It's really that simple.
Yet many prefer to talk about IQ tests.

Let me amend my statement.
The Republican Party is destroying America and many Americans are aiding it in its endeavors.

That is "The Crisis"
The Republican Party is the crisis. The Crisis is the Republican Party. The worm is the spice, the spice is the worm.

When will enough American awaken? When will the sleeper awake from his slumber?

Posted by: Northern Observer on November 23, 2007 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

This was upthread... "Here's an idea, Senator Reid: PUT IT UP FOR A VOTE."

Exactly.

Kevin, there is a void here that we need filled. A blog that would lift the moldering canvas off the inner workings and decisions of Congress and explain the actual shenanigans behind some of these ostensible no-brainers as they get flushed for nonsensical reasons.

There has to be much more behind the curtain, doesn't there? The only information on policy machinations like this one that get out for mass consumption are so trivial and nonsensical that we just scratch our heads and wonder how it can get any worse or juvenile.

Posted by: bigsky in Iowa on November 23, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

The "theory" is that cutting taxes increases revenue, right?

Thus, wouldn't cutting the tax rate to 0% raise infinite revenue?

I have yet to hear any wingnut tell me the "break-even" point in terms of tax %, where their theory stops holding water.

Posted by: Chris E on November 23, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

So why in didn't Harry Reid force the GOP to filibuster middle-class tax relief?

Why is he so consistently protecting the GOP image?

Posted by: Frank J Schmitz on November 23, 2007 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

I don't admire people who steal from children. Thats what these filthy criminals have done since Reagan. Unless you cut spending to to offset tax cuts, you are adding to the debt our children must someday pay off.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 23, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

CD, your argument doesn't fly in sound bite America. Thinking is required to look forward further than the next Dancing with the Stars episode.

Most Rugs don't understand what you said, and cannot quantify what it means in real time. It has nowhere near the impact on the average wingnut voter as an image of a gay black person taking away your guns and job.

Posted by: Chris E on November 23, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'm all in favor of doing nothing about the AMT, now or ever.

With the passage of time it will become a de facto flat tax. In the meantime, it puts pressure on high tax states like NY to reduce spending. What could be better?

Posted by: DBL on November 23, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, darn those high-tax states for having high-income economies. If only we could all live in low tax trailer park heaven.

Posted by: craigie on November 23, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an idea, Senator Reid: PUT IT UP FOR A VOTE... posted by anonymous at 1;42pm.

I believe the Novak column suggested that the reason Reid did not put it up for a vote is because he didn't want the Democrats being on record voting against tax breaks...

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed permitting Republicans to offer four floor amendments to the bill. Reid did not want to subject his Democrats to voting against tax cuts, including repeal of the estate tax. So the two party leaders mutually refused to grant the unanimous consent needed for the Senate to take up the bill, and the senators left Washington with another piece of work undone.

Posted by: pencarrow on November 23, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is a smart and honest guy, but his partisan blinders still shape his perceptions. Yes, the Republicans wanted to vote on other tax cuts and did not allow the democrats to do what they wanted to do. But Reid obviously delayed in getting to this point. And he refused to vote on the other tax cuts. So Kevin sees "posturing" only on the Republican side, while the truth is that there is posturing on both sides, as normal.

He also attributes "glee" and nervousness to Novak, which is nowhere in the column and only found in Kevin's mind. It is factual reporting that, of course, Kevin relies upon entirely, other than his shots at Novak. Not very impressive work by Kevin.

Posted by: brian on November 23, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

The Roman Empire had low taxes, small government, an overstretched military, and extreme concentrations in wealth and power at the time it collapsed.

It was also, at the time, the greatest economic and military power that had ever existed.

Check the precedents people.

Our social model is a recipe for disaster of epic proportions.

We are willfully and knowingly walking into epic failure.

When you're down with that, check out the collapse of midieval Japan, Byzantium before Manzikurt, Egypt's middle kingdom, Hapsburg Spain, Bourbon France, Romanov Russia, and Coolidge/Hoover's America (the collapse of the latter triggered the Great Depression, the Rise of the Nazis, World War II, and the Holocaust).

Posted by: Bubbles on November 23, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

"but his partisan blinders still shape his perceptions."

ROFLMAO.... Oh, the irony.... I wonder if dear brian thinks of himself as non-partisan? Ain't self-delusion wonderful?

"Yes, the Republicans wanted to vote on other tax cuts and did not allow the democrats to do what they wanted to do."

Dear heart, the Republicans acted to block legislation that had bipartisan support, not just Democratic.

"And he refused to vote on the other tax cuts."

Yup, because those tax cuts make absolutely no sense.

"So Kevin sees 'posturing' only on the Republican side, while the truth is that there is posturing on both sides, as normal."

No, dear, there isn't, and it's only your "partisan blinders" that make you think there is. Reid offered a straightforward vote on a straightforward problem -- a problem that both sides acknowledge and for which there are easy fixes that can easily be worked out. The Republicans weren't interested in working things out; instead, they derailed the vote.

"He also attributes 'glee' and nervousness to Novak, which is nowhere in the column and only found in Kevin's mind."

Deart heart, did you actually read the Novak column at the link?

Posted by: PaulB on November 24, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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