So it looks like the Democrats are going with the Curl Up In A Fetal Position Plan on taxes, apparently deciding not to hold any vote at all. Greg Sargent thinks the party lacks balls, and draws a comparison to the health care debate. But it's not a god comparison. Health care reform was upside-down in the polls last March. Passing it took "balls" to the extent that democrats had to realize that the damage of not acting, at such an advanced point in the process, outweighed the damage of acting.
On taxes, the Democrats' current position is the sellout. Their position is to pass a major tax cut on all income under $250,000 -- a totally unaffordable policy. Having balls would mean letting all the tax cuts expire after promising to extend them for the middle class.
"Commence Self-Destruct Sequence..." by Jonathan Cohn:
Via TPM Media, it sounds like Senate Democrats have decided to adjourn without taking a vote on extension of the Bush tax cuts, in part or in whole. A TPM reader counts the ways this will play badly:
Obviously, they'll have handed the Republicans a gift for the fall elections -- a message that "Democrats failed to do anything to prevent the coming tax increases, but we will!" ... But it gets worse than that, because without ending on the tax cut vote, which win or lose is an electoral winner for Democrats, the final note of this Congress is going to be the failure to pass the defense authorization with DADT repeal and the DREAM Act attached. And that cuts both ways. ... the LGBT community is left mad and dispirited. But more important for the midterms, independents are now left with an image (fostered by the media) that the Democrats imperiled funding our troops because they kowtowed to "special interests" (gays, immigrants) with these amendments.
Yup, sounds about right to me.
"Dear Dems: Grow a pair (part 973)" by Greg Sargent
With all signs pointing to an epic cave by Dems on whether to hold a vote to extend the middle class tax cuts, it's worth resposting this video message to Democrats that went viral when Dems were debating whether to take the plunge and pass health reform via reconciliation:
"They Don't Want To Hold the Damn Votes..." by Steve Benen:
As legislative strategies go, this one seemed pretty easy. President Obama's tax policy -- the one he ran on in 2008; the one polls find to be popular -- wants to give a tax break to the middle class, while letting top rates for the wealthy return to their Clinton-era levels. Republicans have threatened to hold that proposal hostage unless Dems agree to extend tax breaks to millionaires.
The smart move for Democrats, it seems, would be to hold a vote on Obama's proposed middle-class tax breaks -- before, you know, the election -- and dare Republicans to reject it.
But Senate Dems apparently don't want to do the smart thing...
"What are they smoking?" by David Kurtz:
Among the many wrong-headed reasons for not voting on middle class tax cuts before the election, this one is the one that puts me over the edge: After getting shellacked at the polls in the midterms, Democrats can come back in a lame-duck session and pass the tax cuts then.
"Eh, Just Wrap It Up, I Guess" by Josh Marshall:
A senior Senate Democratic aide tells us a vote on tax cuts pretty clearly ain't gonna happen before the election. "Absent a stunning turn of events, we're not going to do tax cuts before the election," the aide just told our Brian Beutler.
And the House meanwhile seems still to be in the mode of 'We won't do it unless the Senate goes first', though we still await that meeting early this afternoon at which they seem likely to make a final decision. But if they are in wait for the Senate mode, that would suggest the Dems, collectively, are putting the kibosh on the whole idea.
That would suggest that they're going to go with the 'If we don't do what the Republicans are saying we shouldn't do, maybe they'll cut us some slack' theory.