Clyburn and DeMint: Two peas, one pod

Yesterday, after reading about the split between Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint on the tax cut deal, I Tweeted this:

So I see Jim DeMint is siding with the most liberal Democrats on the tax cut deal. No surprise there: Extremes are extremes…

Today, I get this release from Jim Clyburn:

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) released the following statement on the vote before the House on Obama’s tax cut package.

“While I am pleased that the tax package approved by the House tonight extends important tax cuts to middle-income families and unemployment insurance for millions of Americans,  adding $25 billion to the deficit to give a major tax benefit to the estates of the richest 6,600 families in America made it impossible for me to vote for the final package.   This measure does not create a single job or stimulate the economy in any way.

‘I hope that as we move forward and our economy continues to recover, we will restore some fairness to the tax code and reduce the burden we are putting on future generations.”

As I said…

Lots of people go through life thinking of Republicans as “the other side” if they are Democrats, and vice versa. Me, I tend to think of the ideological True Believers as the “other side,” the folks with whom I tend to have a knee-jerk disagreement.

The fact that DeMint and Clyburn are both against this deal that President Obama made with (some) Republicans makes me predisposed, on a gut level, to like it.

Of course, that is in some ways irrational, akin to a partisan response. Only with me, I’m being reflexively, emotionally UnPartisan. There is much to dislike in this deal. Such as what? Well, take a look at the national debt. How am I supposed to feel great about a “compromise” that means MORE spending and LESS tax revenue (unless, of course, it has a stimulative effect on the economy and leads to MORE revenue, which I sincerely doubt at this point, since we’re mainly talking about simply continuing current practices)? Not that I’m against continuing unemployment benefits, or against continuing the tax cuts (and I truly could not care less that rich people also get the tax cuts — this obsession some people have with what other people “get” is most unseemly). It’s just the sum total effect that concerns me. (To paraphrase something Tom Friedman famously said about George W. Bush, Just because the Tea Party believes it doesn’t mean that it’s not true. The “it” here being the idea that ever-deeper deficit spending is something to worry about.)

But when you have the pragmatic Obama on one side of an issue, and DeMint and Clyburn locking arms on the other side, my gut pushes me to go with Obama. It’s just a little quirk I have.

5 thoughts on “Clyburn and DeMint: Two peas, one pod

  1. Phillip

    I too would have held my nose and voted for the bill. I also suspect that many No votes on both sides of the aisle were cast with the knowledge that the bill would pass, allowing some to “protect themselves” with the base, whether liberal or Tea Party.

    Though you and I agreed the bill should pass, I feel that you fall a little bit into framing some of the issues by using assumptions which you might want to rethink. For example, if you realize the tax cuts were not the status quo, but instituted at a time of budget surplus, then “re-instituting” them as it were at this time of budget deficits becomes no longer a question of “an obsession some people have with what other people get,” but instead is “can we afford to give people a big tax cut, and if so, who in this economy needs it the most, who needs it the least, and where is the revenue coming from?”

    The “sum total effect that concerns [you]” is created in large part by the success in duping well-meaning folks like yourself into framing the tax debate as middle-class and working poor wanting some kind of “punitive” action against the wealthy. (This is why some folks like our friend here WT always try to take the argument to a personal level, incidentally, to try to delegitimize the argument and make it seem like some kind of class envy—despite the fact that many millionaires and billionaires agree they don’t need these re-instituted tax cuts). If you step back and realize that the tax cuts were not the status quo and ask yourself instead, “what can we afford?” then one looks at the issue very differently.

    At the end of the day, my heart is glad Bernie Sanders spoke for 9 hours on behalf of those who don’t get spoken for much these days, I wish my President could speak like that but I also realize that neither he nor the Congress are really in charge of this country, so we have to “get real.” Thus, I’m also glad the bill passed. We can have the tax argument again in 2 years.

  2. Lynn T

    I don’t think I’m obsessed with what other people get, but I realize that “trickle down” economics don’t work, and tax cuts for the rich aren’t going to generate federal revenue. I also see that we have a large deficit. Someone will have to pay that down eventually. My guess is that the someone is me. I don’t mind paying my share. I mind paying Warren Buffett’s.

  3. Doug Ross

    Calling it “tax cuts for the rich” is part of the problem. The “rich” are just paying the same high rate as others do, without a higher rate kicking in at the high income level.

    All we are talking about is them not paying a higher percentage of each dollar above some arbitrarily defined income level. There is no tax cut, just a prevention of having tax rates for that highest bracket RAISED to what they were ten years ago.

    The “rich” are paying far more total tax dollars than a poor person or middle class person pays.

    Here’s some examples.

    Net income after deductions and exemptions: 25000
    Taxes owed: 3301
    % of income for taxes: 13.3%

    Net income after taxes: 50000
    Taxes owed: 8631
    % of income for taxes: 17.6%

    Net income after taxes: 400,000
    Taxes owed: $117,644
    % of income for taxes: 29.41%

    So using the current tax rates, a “rich” person earning $400K pays $100,000 more in taxes than someone making $50K. Surely that’s enough, isn’t it? And that “rich” person basically works Monday and half of Tuesday for the Federal Government while the guy who makes $50K only works til 3:00 on Monday as a indentured servant to government waste.

    Rich people pay plenty of taxes. What we need to do is cut spending so that everyone can pay less.

  4. Nick Nielsen

    What bothers me most about the bill is that the Republicans are already saying they will call it a tax “increase” next year when the Social Security tax is due to go back to its original level.

    The truly stupid part is the 40- and 50-something fans of talk radio are all for it.

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