Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tax Cut Timing is Proving Problematic for Democrats

From NY

When one party controls the White House and Congress, it controls the calendar for what gets done and when. So how is it that Democrats ended up in such a fix over what to do about the expiring Bush-era tax cuts?

That is what many Democrats are asking.

By dint of calculation and miscalculation, after mixed messages and missed signals, President Obama and Congressional Democratic leaders delayed debate until before the midterm elections. They dared Republicans to fight for extending the tax cuts for the rich and, in so doing, “hold hostage” those for the middle class. But it was Democrats who blinked as their ranks splintered in the heat of a worsening electoral climate, and they delayed any vote until after the elections.

Now, with the tax cuts due to expire Dec. 31, the debate finally commences next week in a lame-duck session, with Democrats weakened, Republicans emboldened by the election results and the tepid economy continuing to provide some argument against letting rates rise even for the highest income levels.

For every election since the Bush tax cuts became law in 2001 and 2003, a central plank of Democrats’ campaign platforms has been to repeal them for high-income brackets — to pay for other programs, like expanded health care, or to reduce budget deficits.

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