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Republicans block tax cuts for middle class

By AFP
December 5, 2010

(AFP)

President Barack Obama’s Republican foes in the Senate have blocked a move to let Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire, rejecting in the process Democrats‘ efforts to extend those breaks just for the middle class.

Obama said he was “very disappointed” at the vote.

“It makes no sense to hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage to permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans,” he added.

In a rare weekend session that followed days of stormy debate, the 100-member Senate on Saturday fell short of the 60 votes necessary to approve the Democratic proposal of renewing low tax rates only for individuals earning up to 200,000 dollars and for families with 250,000 dollars or less of income.

The measure, backed by the White House, would have let rates on higher earners rise at the beginning of next year to where they were before cuts enacted by former president George W. Bush‘s administration in 2001 and 2003.

Republicans blocked the legislation on a procedural vote, complaining the measure failed to extend low tax rates for wealthier Americans. They want all of the tax cuts — including those that directly benefit the top earners — to be extended instead.

They also rejected another Democratic proposal to extend the tax cuts for annual incomes of up to one million dollars. A handful of Democrats voted against the two measures.

“With so much at stake, today’s votes cannot be the end of the discussion,” Obama said in a statement.

“It is absolutely essential to our hardworking middle class families and to our economy to make sure that their taxes don’t go up on January 1.”

Democratic leaders claimed that Republicans’ plan to alleviate taxes for the rich would cost 700 billion dollars over 10 years, as the United States stares down an already abysmal deficit.

“It’s also a bit contradictory to say you care about deficit reduction but not when it comes to tax breaks for the wealthiest people,” Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer told Republicans.

His Republican colleague Charles Grassley shot back: “The bottom line is this: Stop the tax hikes!”

The White House has already set the table for a final compromise, indicating it will accept a temporary extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest earners.

According to The New York Times, the White House and congressional leaders are now discussing a deal to extend the reduced tax rates at all income levels, at least temporarily, perhaps for two years.

But with some Democratic lawmakers increasingly angry at what they see as sustaining former president Bush?s economic policies, the prospects of a compromise remained uncertain, the newspaper said.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives adopted an extension of the tax cuts for the middle class but the text had few chances of getting adopted by the Senate.

In a last-ditch appeal for the Democratic plan, Vice President Joe Biden said earlier that if lawmakers failed to pass the bill, the earnings of millions of middle-class families will be significantly reduced starting January 1.

“That’s the last thing we should let happen,” Biden continued in a weekly radio address he delivered instead of Obama, who visited US troops in Afghanistan on Friday.

“After a decade in which they lost ground, middle class families can ill-afford a tax hike — and our economy can?t afford the hit it will take if middle class families have less money to spend.”

Copyright © 2010 AFP

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18 Responses to Republicans block tax cuts for middle class

  1. Almandine

    December 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Think this headline will apply thru January 1st… or is it just another push for partisan advantage?

  2. b mcclellan

    December 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    By all means extend nothing of substance or sustenance, and while you’re at it, please cut a deal.

    What the F#ck is this , a card game ?

    • Bill

      December 5, 2010 at 11:16 pm

      Of course its a card game, and the middle class is the discards.

  3. Fivebyfives

    December 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I think it’s time the real objectives come out into the open, and make the “hard choices” so many talk about. So, a short list of things to “save” America:

    1. Eliminate Social Security while keeping the payroll taxes (to be stolen for general funding as has been going on for decades anyway.)

    2. Eliminate Medicare…..all of it..while keeping those payroll taxes too.

    3. Eliminate all federal involvement with unemployment insurance. After all, charity is the realm of churches, not government.

    4. Eliminate all child labor laws, minimum wage, and the like.

    5. Set all income taxes at say 11%, for rich, middle, and poor alike. It’s only “fair” anyway.

    6. Set up permanent tax cuts to finance walled communities when the merde hits the turbine once 1 through 5 are in effect.

    7. Impose strict gun control on all citizens with incomes under $1,000,000 per year.

    OR…..

    Place all those of the “real America,” put them on a large cruise ship (they would all easity fit) and let them float offshore congratulating themselves on their brillance while their former nation burns. The might name it the U.S.S. Parasite.

    • Almandine

      December 6, 2010 at 11:11 am

      As for # 5, just eliminate income taxes too.

  4. logtroll

    December 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Let me guess… your persona sarcastica is: 1) filthy rich; 2) a corporation; and/or 3) Mr. Smith from the Matrix.

    I would be impressed by the Democrats if they would now let all of the tax cuts expire as a result of the Republicans arrogant bluff. I do not expect to be impressed by the Democrats.

  5. Fivebyfives

    December 5, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I would also be impressed if the Dems did so, but I’m not holding my breath. There is on my part quite a bit of anger and frustration behind the sarcasm. And yet, I wonder if one could open up the “representatives” and see their true ambitions. And all kidding aside, I don’t think my little agenda would be far off the mark.

    It would be impressive also if President I-kiss-my biceps-in-the mirror Obama stopping admiring himself and grow a pair. Or, as I suspect, admit he is a Trojan Horse for some sort of corporate Plato’s republic.

  6. griff

    December 5, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Dogs and ponies. Welcome to the show. Much to do about very little. Almost 14 trillion in public debt and this is the best they can do? Argue over a few billion in trivial tax code tinkering? Makes it look like they’re “doing some thing” though.

  7. Bill

    December 5, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    If anyone can show me just one person who earns over one million dollars and whose life style will be altered by ending his tax cuts, I’ll stop being upset.

    What kind of country have we become where the rich get tax cuts but the unemployed do not get continuation of benefits and those on Social Security do not get a small cost of living raise. I think we should ban social security payments to anyone whose gross income is over one million dollars before adjustments and increase by 47.58% the social security payments to anyone whose sole income is those social security payments. Cheaters should lose the right to any payments for 5 years.

    It is inexcusable to abandon those who try to get jobs or improve their lives. It is pathetic to continue to fund the excesses of the wealthy at the cost to the poor. I don’t want to hear that crap that the church bears the responsibility for these people. We Americans bear that responsibility, we who have more owe it to those who have none. This is not socialism, this is human kindness. This is being a good person. This is what good people do for other good people.

    We seem to have misplaced our kindness, our caring, our sense of responsibility. It is time we found it again.

    • Almandine

      December 6, 2010 at 12:42 pm

      Clearly, class warfare is still in style…

  8. b mcclellan

    December 6, 2010 at 12:10 am

    This is what ” good be do ” for even the bad,.
    Vive le France.

    Don’t fool your out, look !

  9. woody188

    December 6, 2010 at 1:17 am

    $1 trillion per year in war funding, another $780 billion per year to the DOD.
    $13 trillion this year in bail-outs and stimulus.
    These bozos fight over $70 billion per year and act like it will make a difference.

    • Guardhouse Lawyer

      December 6, 2010 at 9:23 am

      “These bozos fight over $70 billion per year and act like it will make a difference.”

      Spoken like a true liberal.

      $13 trillion. Now THAT’S a number that you cannot support as fact.

      • woody188

        December 6, 2010 at 8:41 pm

        Here’s from 2008, and it’s only increased since then. You might note $8.5 trillion plus $5.2 trillion is more than the $13 trillion I spoke of. I was making a conservative estimate. We also know now the Federal Reserve has doled out nearly $9 trillion, not the $5.2 trillion they said in 2008.

        And my point is they ignore the real savings of ending our foreign wars of choice and nation building in the Middle East, and “saving” banks that deserve to go bankrupt while gutting social services and increasing taxes, which is killing the middle and lower classes. But hey, Israel will get it’s billions in foreign aid again I’m sure. And the Pentagon will only get a 1% increase for the next couple of years, giving them $1 trillion a year to kill people with each and every year.

        Money for war. Money for the rich. Austerity and a never ending debt for the poor.

      • woody188

        December 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm

        Here’s another, though admittedly it’s only listing $12.5 trillion. Guess you don’t know everything you think you do.

      • Carl Nemo

        December 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm

        Yo GHL,

        Here’s a link to debt facts that can be supported by a number… : |

        http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

        Carl Nemo **==

  10. Almandine

    December 6, 2010 at 11:08 am

    One of the best things to come out of the deal now being brokered by the big o and the repubs will be the end of the moniker “Bush Tax Cuts”. They’ll be obama’s after that and all the partisan rhetoric will have to recede into the noise. First he bought the war… and now tax policy. Ain’t politics fun?

    • griff

      December 6, 2010 at 8:11 pm

      Yeah, I was against the Bush tax cuts before I was for them. When they became Obama’s.

      I was against the war in Iraq before I was for it. When it became Obama’s.