Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The people's will

The latest polling from ABC/Washington Post shows that a substantial majority of the public favor restoring 1990's tax rates on the top 2% of earners, and that an even larger majority (two-thirds!) strongly opposes raising the eligibility age for Medicare to 67.

So why, we might ask, are Republican counter-proposals for avoiding the so-called "fiscal cliff" still refusing to agree to the Democratic position, the position that President Obama practically staked his re-election campaign on, that the Bush tax cuts must end for those making over $250,000 per year? And why the Republican focus on cutting benefits to Medicare benefits for seniors, from Republicans who practically staked their election campaign on an attack on the administration for cutting Medicare benefits? (Remember all the talk about the $700 billion supposedly taken from Medicare to fund Obamacare?)

What gives? The House of Representatives is supposed to be the body of government most responsive to the people's will. If would be one thing if the Republican House leadership could make the argument that despite the people's will, their representatives need to be the grown-ups and make the tough decisions necessary to balance the budget. But the Republican proposals don't do a better job of balancing the budget than the Democratic proposals. They do a worse job, in fact. The savings from increasing the age of Medicare eligibility are paltry compared to the revenue gains from raising the top marginal income tax rate from 35% to 39%.

It's time for Republicans in Congress to pay heed to the idea that we live in some semblance of a democracy. If for no other reason than that polls also show that the public knows exactly which side they will blame more if the parties fail to make a deal before the end of the year.


13 comments:

  1. My view, let the Bush tax cuts expire. I want to see "fairness". That means everybody pays more and the most wealthy pay the most. Ours is a progressive tax system and fair. Let the cuts expire. My combined income with wife is less than the average teacher in the state of California (and no bennies) so it will affect me. But it's fair and I am willing to do it.

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  2. You're in a pretty small minority. And I guess you don't accept the prevailing view of economists that if we let all those tax cuts expire, that would probably throw the whole economy into recession. But what you are suggesting might happen if the parties can't make a deal.

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  3. I am not dismissing tough times ahead. I expect that. Progressives have always wanted to do away with Bush tax cuts, so lets do it. I find it disegenuous that progressives are all of a sudden worried about raising taxes. They are not. To just raise taxes on those making over 250,000 is non sensical and does nothing but fund government for eight days. The real reason to do it is to rally the base. That is wrong. Buck up!

    Why are you concerned about a recession right now? We are headed for something much worse. Ahhhh ... I remember, there is an election in 2014 and again in 2016. Progressives are about getting and holding raw power; not problem solving. Obama wants off the cliff. he wants to raise taxes on everyone; always has. He won, it's his baby. Lets do it.

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    1. The point of my post is not really about whether or not we should raise taxes and on whom. I have no axe to grind on that issue. Like I keep trying to explain, I don't do policy much. The point of my post is about democracy. The point is that our government should in some fashion reflect the people's will, especially on an issue that is about general perceptions of fairness. Right now the Republicans in the House are blocking what the people want, and my prediction is that eventually they will give way because their position is untenable, not as a matter of policy, but because it does not reflect what most people want.

      And your view that we should just let all the Bush tax cuts expire, while interesting, is even less relevant because there is hardly any support, either in Congress or among the general public, for that view at all.

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  4. <>

    Outwardly, among politicians, you are correct. But that is only because they want to be re-elected.

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  5. I used to be a cynic like you, but then I decided when I started writing this blog, that I was going to stop assuming the worst about politicians, and instead start from the assumption that they all just want what they think is best for the country. Crazy, huh?

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  6. I'm not cynical. Just the opposite. I am see the bright side in almost everything and most people and always have. I do value truth. Tax and spend Progressives have wanted to do away with the Bush tax cuts for almost a decade. I know because they tell me on TV in print and in person!

    It makes no difference to me whether you include yourself in that group or not. Or, if you do some years and not others. But I think it's fair to say the Bush tax cuts have been a burr in the Dems party's side for longer than nine years!

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  7. "The point is that our government should in some fashion reflect the people's will, especially on an issue that is about general perceptions of fairness."

    I see, kind of like the passing of Obamacare when the overwhelming percentage of Americans were against it. C'mon, Joe.

    "Right now the Republicans in the House are blocking what the people want, and my prediction is that eventually they will give way because their position is untenable, not as a matter of policy, but because it does not reflect what most people want."

    My view is that there will be a deal.

    For revenues, tax rates on those making over 250,000 will go to about 37%. Deductions will be capped out at about 50,000.

    For spending, minor cuts to Medicare and reimbursement to providers; as well, the age will be raised from 65 to 67.

    The screamers on the left will scream "traitors" and the screamers on the right will scream "traitors". Those of us who have been saying for years that compromise will happen will knowingly nod.

    What a waste of time. I'd almost rather be wrong and see us go over the fiscal cliff so our elected officials suffer a steep price while scrambling to undo what they themselves constructed.

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  8. The overwhelming percentage of the public were never against Obamacare. President Obama was elected in 2008 on a platform of reforming health care. He could not have been clearer about that. And it also couldn't have been clearer in the 2012 campaign that one of the main issues we were deciding was whether or not to repeal Obamacare. And while at times there have been narrow majorities against this specific law, remember that a lot of people were against it because it didn't go far enough, and a lot of other people were only against the individual mandate. When you ask people about specific parts of the bill, such as whether kids should be allowed to go on their parents' insurance until age 26, or whether insurance companies should be allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, health care reform has always had very strong popular support.

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  9. "When you ask people about specific parts of the bill, such as whether kids should be allowed to go on their parents' insurance until age 26, or whether insurance companies should be allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, health care reform has always had very strong popular support."

    Yes, you are correct. I favor those parts of the bill, and as you know, I think Obamacare is one of the poorest written and poorly rolled out bills of all time. As well, the public was lied to by Pelosi and Reid about what was in it. I am dead set against it and bitter about lies. The majority of Americans have felt like I do.

    The fact that Obama was elected in part on a campaign to change health care is true. But that doesn't change what I just wrote.

    Just because I hire somebody to pull weeds in my yard doesn't mean they are justifed to pull the flowers and trees while pulling only part of the weeds.

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  10. As far as the 2012 canpaign and election? You have strayed far from the truth. Obama and his surrogates didn't even talk about Obamacare during the campaign. It was striking since that was supposed to be his major accomplishment over the first four years!

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    1. Obama did talk about it, but he didn't have to talk about it that much. Every speech Romney gave he promised to repeal Obamacare. Everybody knew what was at stake.

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  11. There certainly was no reason to talk about a subject more than half the voters were unhappy with. Why would he when the top topic was "raising taxes on the wealthy". That is what he won on and that is fine with me. Now lets let everybody take their medicine.

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