Eric Cantor: Tax The Poor!
April 25, 2012
Prominent Republican officeholders are getting bolder about saying they want to raise taxes on poor people. I have written before about the bizarre conservative meme that we need to "broaden the tax base" by raising taxes on low-income people whom the Wall Street Journal editorial page has labelled, grotesquely, "lucky duckies." This is a complete reversal from the previous conservative position that the working poor, far from paying federal income tax, should receive government payments through the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Matt Bai's Excellent Piece...Shows 2011 Was Pointless
March 28, 2012
Matt Bai’s long-awaited, 10,000-word opus on the rise and fall of last summer’s deficit grand-bargain is finally out and very much worth a read. Bai adds a lot of new detail affirming what we thought we knew—which is that Obama was ready to do a deal and Boehner wasn’t—but which got much hazier in recent weeks amid Team Boehner’s furious spin. Still, for my money, Bai puts too little emphasis on the much deeper problem looming over the whole exercise, which is that it didn’t actually matter whether Boehner was willing to strike a deal.
The Washington Post's Overly-Credulous Take on Boehner
March 21, 2012
On Sunday, The Washington Post published a long, blow-by-blow of last summer’s negotiations between Barack Obama and John Boehner over a $4 trillion deficit deal. The take-away from the piece is that Obama had a chance at a deal involving $800 billion in tax increases and trillions in spending cuts (including cuts to sacred programs like Medicare and Social Security), but that he got cold feet and backed away.
Team Romney Rallies Around Carried Interest
March 05, 2012
It has been apparent for a while now that Mitt Romney’s candidacy is less than ideal for the one percent, or the one-tenth or one-hundredth of the one percent. It is one thing to have a candidate who is committed to promoting unjust tax policies that will help you and your fellow millionaires; it is another thing to have a candidate who benefits from those unjust policies, thus making himself a poster child for reform. Romney pays a federal income tax rate of only 14 percent on his income of more than $20 million per year because of two features of the tax code.
Santorum: College Is For Losers
February 25, 2012
In the unlikely event that two of my earlier posts ("Santorum: Who Needs Public Education?" and "Horace Mann, Antichrist?") left you wondering whether Santorum was positioning himself as a militantly anti-education president, today Santorum cleared up all remaining ambiguity by saying President Obama was "a snob" for trying to make it easier for Americans go to college: There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to task that aren't taught by some liberal college professor and trying to indoctrinate them.
Obama’s Worst Year
February 10, 2012
Shortly after four o’clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 13, 2011, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner walked down the hallway near his office toward a large conference room facing the building’s interior. He was accompanied by a retinue of counselors and aides. When they arrived in the room—known around Treasury simply as “the large”—four people were seated at a long walnut table on the side near the door.
Romney's 15-Percent Problem
January 17, 2012
Would it be possible for Mitt Romney to handle the problem of his tax returns any worse than he has? By withholding them as he has, he has built up anticipation among political reporters who could generally care less about such matters. Romney's equivocating answer in the debate last night about whether he would release the returns sent Fox News' audience-response "hedge-ometer" machine literally off the charts. Then this morning he went ahead and confirmed the most salient fact in the returns: that he pays a rate of only about 15 percent.
January 02, 2012
Nothing happening right now in Iowa is as important or as revealing (not to mention as entertaining) as the outburst by Eric Cantor's press secretary during a 60 Minutes interview that aired on Jan. 1. You won't find it on Politico's home page (yet), but it really happened. Scroll to the bottom of this item to watch the relevant portion (assuming you have the patience to sit through a commercial first). Here's the transcript: Leslie Stahl: So are you ready to compromise? Cantor: So I have always been ready to cooperate.
Why Conservative Republicans Keep Rebelling Against John Boehner
December 24, 2011
The House GOP’s initial decision to reject the extension of the payroll tax cut was a bone-headed move. Indeed, it was impressively masochistic in the way it brazenly violated not only public opinion, but also the will of Republicans in the Senate, the vast majority of whom voted for the bill. But while Congressional Republicans were violating all manner of political common sense, that’s not to say that they weren’t following any sort of political logic at all.
How Are Dems Winning the Payroll Tax Cut Fight?
December 21, 2011
At first glance, it’s not at all clear that the Democrats should be dominating the PR fight over the payroll tax-cut extension that's stalemated Congress. When the music stopped on the congressional debate, the GOP-controlled House had passed a year-long extension of the tax cut while the Senate had only passed a two-month extension, and the White House had endorsed the latter.