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Nov 09 2011

Congression Game of Chicken: Super Committee Insane Tax Proposal

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Scarecrow at FDL observed this morning, “Dems discover GOP is nuts. Who knew?” I have no idea what took them so long but I am worried that they will just enable the insanity by going along with INSANE ideas like making the Bush tax cuts permanent for tax increases that will impact on the already tax burdened 99%.

Brian Buetler at TPM thinks that the Super Committee is heading for a catastrophe:

A key member of the Senate Democratic leadership team has openly predicted the panel will gridlock and fail, and placed the blame squarely on Republicans.

As GOP committee members met privately, Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen – a Democrat on the panel – told Bloomberg, “You need to close some of these tax loopholes and you need to generate additional revenue. And so that balance is going to be important. We saw the dueling letters just last week. We had a bipartisan group in the House that said, ‘Look, everything is on the table including revenues – tax revenues.’ And within 24 hours you had 33 [Republican] Senators say, ‘no new net tax revenues.'”

Republicans responded with a trial balloon, provided first to Wall Street Journal editorial writer Stephen Moore. “One positive development on taxes taking shape is a deal that could include limiting tax deductions, perhaps by capping write-offs on charities, state and local taxes, and mortgage interest payments as a percentage of each tax filer’s gross income,” he wrote. “In exchange, Democrats would agree to make the Bush income-tax cuts permanent. This would mean preventing top rates from going to 42% from 35% today, and keeping the capital gains and dividend tax rate at 15%, as opposed to plans to raise them to 23.8% or higher after 2013.”

That “trial balloon” is in now way a “positive development” for the economy or the 99%:

This isn’t offered as a concession Republicans are willing to make in exchange for entitlement cuts – a key Democratic demand. It’s designed as a concession Republicans are willing to make if Democrats will agree to make all of the Bush tax cuts permanent – and thereby throw away an enormous amount of leverage they have over Republicans who are committed to extending them.

Democrats, thus, would be expected to agree to throw in entitlement cuts anyhow , just because. And to underscore the downside, the non-partisan Congressional score keepers would likely score this as a giant budget buster – not the trillion-plus-dollar deficit reducing deal the panel is supposed to be pursuing.

Yes, this is another version of the insanity of the last 30 years that keeps getting a resuscitated like a bad plot in a porn flick. And the Democrats are just realizing that this latest rewrite is INSANE:

A Democratic aide with knowledge of the GOP offer called their ideas “ludicrous”

“This is another effort for them to spin that they are being reasonable, but what they’ve put on the table is so insanely unreasonable that I actually think it moves the ball in the opposite direction,” the aide told NBC News.

“It’s devious, because it looks in some respects reasonable on the surface, but it’s a totally unreasonable proposal.”

According to the aide, in order to raise $300 billion in tax revenue and lower the top individual tax rate to 28 percent, you would need to “decimate all tax expenditures” and increase taxes on capital gains and dividends, something he doubts Republicans would support.

It’s unclear whether the $300 billion would be part of a deficit reduction deal with overall savings north of $2 trillion, or, more likely, a minimum package of $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. Aides are split over how lofty of a target to set.

The aide also noted that CBO has reported that making the Bush tax cuts permanent would increase the deficit by $4 trillion in the next 10 years.

The reality check here is that you cannot raise $300 billion dollars in tax revenues and drop the top rate to 28 percent without touching capital gains and dividends. Republicans really want those Bush tax cuts made permanent do badly they are willing to pretend that they are throwing Grover Norquist off the bus. Reality, Grover, while feigning strong disapproval, is most likely praying that this passes.

 

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