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Republicans in Wonderland

July 14, 2010 1 comment

What a tax cut might look like

I have a serious question for the GOP.

In spite of Senate Republicans’ recent refusal to extend unemployment benefits for ordinary Americans struggling through a deep recession, Senator Jon Kyl recently told Fox News that deficits caused by tax cuts didn’t have to be paid for because they spur the economy.

WALLACE: We’re running out of time, so how are you going to pay $678 billion just on the tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year?

KYL: You should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes. Surely congress has the authority and it would be right, if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending. And that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.

[Think Progress]

When asked about this, Mitch McConnell backed up his colleague, going on to explain that he believes, in spite of CBO reports to the contrary, that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans actually increased federal revenue.

“That’s been the majority Republican view for some time,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told TPMDC this afternoon after the weekly GOP press conference. “That there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”

[TPMDC]

Here’s what I want to know. If “virtually every Republican” believes that tax cuts are the magic mushroom that makes federal revenue grow taller, then why don’t they support tax increases which would, by their reasoning, make government smaller?

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Troll the Ancient Yuletide Carol

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Bob Corker knows where he’s going to be on Christmas morning, and it won’t be home with his family.

Democrats will have to put up 60 votes again Tuesday morning for a procedural vote on Reid’s underlying, 2,074-page bill. A last 60-vote hurdle awaits Wednesday, and final passage of the legislation – requiring a simple majority – is set for late Thursday, Christmas Eve, if Republicans take all the available time. As of Monday they said they would.

“I am willing to stay here. The flight that I have is Christmas morning, and I don’t plan on changing that reservation,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told reporters after a meeting of GOP senators. “We potentially are getting ready to pass a bill that there’s no question in my mind is going to lead to huge deficits down the road.”

[Associated Press]

Democrats have the 60 votes to break the filibuster. The only difference it makes is whether the vote takes place now or on Thursday, which is Christmas Eve.

Truly, this is the spirit of Christmas.

Thinking Too Hard About Health Care Will Make You Sick

December 20, 2009 Leave a comment

While it’s difficult to find much of a silver lining in the compromise bill before the Senate, it’s becoming clearer with each passing day that it’s going to pass cloture. No senator from the Democratic caucus, from the right or the left, has signaled that they will vote against the bill in its present form. It now remains to be seen what House members can accomplish in either reconciliation (unlikely) or in conference committee.

With that said, I’d like to take this moment to point out a curious historical fact, and by “curious” I mean “will make you want to tear your hair out.”

A super majority of the U.S. Senate has already voted once within this decade to create and fund a nationalized, universal, single payer health care system. Enshrined within that system is a clear acknowledgement that health care is a right, not a privilege. Both Republicans and Democrats, including Joe Lieberman, have voted to create and furnish U.S. taxpayer dollars for this system at nearly every step of the way.

In case you haven’t already guessed, I’m referring to the national health care system of Iraq.

First: Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions.

Second: Individuals and entities have the right to build hospitals, clinics,or private health care centers under the supervision of the State, and this shall be regulated by law.

[Constitution of Iraq, Article 31]

Lest you think this is some aberration, something the Iraqis snuck in themselves, here is the what the Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremmer set up as the law of the land after the invasion.

Article 14. The individual has the right to security, education, health care, and social security. The Iraqi State and its governmental units, including the federal government, the regions, governorates, municipalities, and local administrations, within the limits of their resources and with due regard to other vital needs, shall strive to provide prosperity and employment opportunities to the people.

[Coalition Provisional Authority]

Not only have these senators who supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq voted to support and help maintain a foreign single payer health care system, but American troops have died for the cause.

Now, I don’t begrudge anything against the Iraqi people, but someone needs to ask the question: Why do Americans have to sacrifice blood and treasure to provide a single payer system to the Iraqis when we can’t get Congress to even talk about it here?

Categories: Health Care, Iraq, U.S. Senate

The Boehner Tax

December 19, 2009 1 comment

House Minority Leader John Boehner after returning from his vacation on the planet Mercury

Over at Daily Kos, there’s a pretty good diary about the Senate Majority Leader’s manager’s amendment (PDF), if you can decipher it.

It doesn’t make the Senate compromise any more palatable overall, but it should be noted that there are some important improvements. Most significantly, the annual limits loophole gets plugged, and most amusingly, there is a provision in the amendment being called “the Boehner tax.”

SEC. 5000B. IMPOSITION OF TAX ON INDOOR TANNING SERVICES.
(a) IN GENERAL.—There is hereby imposed on any indoor tanning service a tax equal to 10 percent of the amount paid for such service (determined without regard to this section), whether paid by insurance or otherwise.

Also, you can read about the compromise Harry Reid reached with Ben Nelson, which kicks the abortion coverage restriction down to the states to opt-out if they so choose.

Categories: Health Care, U.S. Senate

Clearing Up a Few Things

December 18, 2009 1 comment

Ever since liberals and progressives threatened to withhold their support from what remains of the health care reform health insurance company subsidy bill presently stalled in the Senate, which has been stripped down of anything which could meaningfully be called reform, supporters of the Senate compromise have put forth a number of debating points in defense of its final passage. Many of these are misguided at best and outright falsehoods at worst.

For a thorough debunking of a few of these talking points, please follow me below the fold.

Read more…

Categories: Health Care, U.S. Senate