Friday, December 17, 2010

Well, we lefties lose again

So what else is new?

Working people, to be sure, will average about a thousand bucks in reduced payroll taxes. It will be more than twice that for those up near the top of the income cap — or above — and it seems inevitable that the new Republican majority in the incoming House will try to extend the 2% discount next year. That will leave Democrats with a choice of stopping it in the Senate and looking like the Grinch who stole Christmas 2011, or helping the Republicans defund Social Security. Great compromise, Barack. Great politics. Brilliant.

Then there are the Bush tax cuts, which the Republicans will want to renew or, more likely, make permanent, just about when you come up for re-election. Why defund just Social Security when they can defund the entire "evil" government? Maybe you were too young to be paying attention in the days of "starve the beast," but I hope you have the guts to let all the cuts expire then, even if it means you won't be Our President anymore. If you honestly think you can redo the whole tax system, even if you have the full six years, you're crazy.

Anyway, the Reagan tax restructuring of 1985 — "simplification," we were told — just accelerated the transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the rich. I don't think you'd do any better, even if you really want to do better.

Since there's so much underutilized productive capacity these days, there's only one sensible way for businesses to use the tax incentives they're getting for new capital equipment — buying automated tools to replace workers. Isn't that exactly what we need at the moment?

Frankly, I don't give a damn about the change in the inheritance tax, but it's likely to leave a sour taste in a lot of middle class mouths. Now, of course, you're sucking up to business interests even more than before. What happened? Did a smidgen of populist rhetoric hurt their feelings?

You make me sick.

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