The Tax-Cut Vote: Economic vs. Political Victories

President Obama's controversial tax-cut package has overcome another hurdle -- with the Senate's 83-15 approval of the $858 billion plan on Monday.

37 Republicans and 45 Democrats voted in favor of the package. Among the nays were nine Democrats, five Republicans and Senator Bernard Sanders, Independent of Vermont.

Sanders, the archetypal irascible rumpled liberal, became a Twitter hero last week when he tried to filibuster the tax deal reached between President Obama and the Congressional Republicans. Some fans of the 69-year-old politician are calling on him to aim higher -- towards the White House.

The Draft Bernie Movement


"Now, at this crucial moment in U.S. history - at a time in which our economy and financial system are enduring the worst collapse since the Great Depression; the middle class is suffering and declining while the extremely wealthy grow ever richer; and good American jobs are disappearing from this country, perhaps never to return - we believe your firm and passionate voice of reason is needed in the 2012 presidential debate," says a petition posted on the website Sandersforpresident.org.

Supporters are even selling Bernie Sanders t-shirts on the gift website, CafePress. The senator probably doesn't stand a snowball's chance of succeeding Barack Obama as the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. For one thing, most Americans (69%) back the tax-cut deal, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. The Draft Bernie movement does, however, underscore the left's unhappiness with a compromise that, among other things, will extend the Bush tax cuts, reduce payroll taxes and extend the unemployment benefits of four million people.

Unfortunately, the senator and his supporters are missing a larger point here. While far from perfect, the deal does plenty of good. Obama scored some significant victories with this package -- including preserving the estate tax, which many Republicans and supporters of the Tea Party made eliminating one of their top priorities.

Proof Both Parties Can Work Together

Democrats in the House, meanwhile, are balking at allowing the bill up for a vote. But a compromise likely will happen within the next few days -- because neither party wants to be held responsible for increasing most people's taxes, and potentially leaving millions of jobless people destitute.

Obama acknowledges the bill is far from perfect -- but argues that, taken as a whole, it will help the economy. And according the president, the Senate vote on the package is proof "that both parties can, in fact, work together."

Could Obama have gotten a better deal? I don't think so. The Republicans made it abundantly clear they were against raising taxes on anyone -- even millionaires and billionaires -- in the midst of a recession. In an ideal world, Obama would have been able to tell the Republicans that helping the rich during an economic downturn was both bad economics and bad social policy.

Since the early days of the Republic the only way to get things done was via compromise, with both sides giving something to get something. These days, Obama is the one doing most of the compromising. But if he didn't take action the alternatives would have been worse.

Given the choice between political victory and a tax increase, I will take lower taxes every time. Sorry, Bernie.

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richard

Would someone on this site please comment on the fact that after every tax cut in
American history tax revenues went up. This is what happened after the Coolidge tax cut, after the tax cut proposed by Kennedy (that one was a bonanza for the rich, if anyone wants to see a tax cut for the rich check out the one Kennedy asked for which was passed after his assassination), the Reagan tax cut, and in several years after the Bush tax cuts. Lower taxes producing more government revenue has been the reason why tax cuts were passed in previous years and kept low in the years afterward and was always much commented upon. But no one has mentioned this odd fact in talking about this last tax bill.

December 14 2010 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Darrell & Donna

Anyone with any common sense know for sure that the bumbs in DC only care about re election and the EASY LIFE OF LIVING OFF THE HARD WORKING TAX PAYERS AND THEIR GREAT RETIREMENT ;THEY ARE TO LAZY TO WORK AND ARE ONLY TALKING HEADS TIME TO VOTE THEM ALL OUT OF OFFICE AND SET A 6 YEAR TERM WITHOUT A RETIREMENT;;

December 14 2010 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chuck

Uhmmm... there they go again! Tax cuts for the "millionaires and billionaires!" How misleading is that!?
The Democraps want to tax everyone making $200,000 or more! A farrrr cry from a millionaire! And they want to penzlize you for being married by only allowing a married couple to make $50,000 more before getting a higher tax!
The misleading media and Democraps are really trying hard to blind the average American who is to stupid to rezlize this! Come on America, WAKE UP! If they really want to show they mean business then they need to stop being the new party of "NO!" And they need to be educated in how numbers work! $200,000 is no where near a million! Are Democraps that stupid or do they belileve that Americans are that stupid!?
Oh, and by the way, I'm still waiting for someone to show me anyone who was hired by a poor erson!? Anyone? Didn't think so, like it or not, we all work either for a government body or some rich person or yourself. NO ONE WORKS FOR A POOR PERSON! Deal with the truth!

December 14 2010 at 10:21 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
GEORGE

Now this tax plan most likely will pass even if it creates more government debt.. Nothing was said about the many tax loopholes business and investors use that should be ended. Democrats would gain back some respect if they brought these tax loopholes to the publics attention and ended them.

December 14 2010 at 8:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to GEORGE's comment
warrenbent

If it was only the wealthy who took advantage of various targeted tax deducations/credits, they'd be easy to end. Unfortunately, the politicians have targeted such tax benefits at virtualy evey taxpayer in their failed attempts at social engineering. That doing so esults in pitting one American against another is of no concern to the. Increasing their own power and influence to the detriment of all Americans is their goal. As a result, almost none support a flat tax that would end such favors for all, while massively reducing the inefficientcy they produce.

December 14 2010 at 8:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
scottee

The Fed needs to be audited and ended. we need our dollar put back on the gold standard...then congress has to stop with the tax deals. we need a flat or fair tax with no loopholes, no deductions, no thousands and thousand of pages of favors and punishments, no filing, no withholding and NO SOCIAL ENGINEERING BY CONGRESS. we need to get back to economic basics because Washington is totally fiscally irresponsible! so how do we take the power and money away from Washington??? huh?

December 14 2010 at 8:08 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sfamilyent

The author appears to have the same attitude as most Americans, that extending the tax cuts is preferred. That macro economic data shows that our trade, economic and tax policies are leading to a general decline in our median income and standard of living, except for the wealthy, seems to be overlooked as more Americans find themselves struggling to make ends meet or to purchase the bare necessities... Extending the tax cuts in the absence of sound trade and economic policy is not in the best interest of our nation. Congress has some real work to do to get our nation back on the path of economic growth and stability.

December 14 2010 at 6:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sfamilyent's comment
scottee

I want congress out of the business of favoring or punishing via the tax code...but how to we do that? how do we take away their power and stop the flow of money into Washington...since both parties have proven time and again that they are totally fiscally irresponsible? and why can't we audited and end The Fed since they are not keeping our dollar strong?

December 14 2010 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
frank1946

So Berr likes the Estate Tax................and people say they oppose Slavery !

Indentured Servitude has many names by which Journalists and Politicians offer

legal hypocrisy and violate simple ethical tenants, such as "Do Not Steal".

These Fools are slaves to determinism and sentiment, not Truth ! And this man

won the Loeb Award no less !

December 14 2010 at 6:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tia121987

These are now known as the Obama Tax Cuts. Eventually they will increase taxes on the rich if they want to balance the budget.

December 14 2010 at 1:59 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tia121987's comment
chuck

Ever work for someone who was poor? Didn't think so! Why not give them a break for all the jobs they give America? Why be slanted against someone because they have more money tahn you? Oh, I get it, your a socialist!

December 14 2010 at 10:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Glenn Kromminga

This compromise or common ground agreement is the framework for many of these over the coming 2 years - economy, employment, energy, legal immigration, border protection, reasonable involvement with the middle east, etc. Let's work out what will help America recover from the Great Recession.

December 14 2010 at 1:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Samir semaan

while by giving tax cuts for everyone the president accomplishes the tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment for the unemployment benefit and that dealt with the poor in america.That is brilliant idea.

December 14 2010 at 1:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply