Some now, and some next year. (more…)
No, I will not fig leaf this by pretending that having this budget originate with the Congressional Progressive Caucus makes for a meaningful distinction. The CPC has 72 sitting Representatives, and had oversight over half of the standing committees in the last Congress; even in this one they make up 37.5% of the Democratic caucus. Progressives may be a fringe group out there in the larger world, but in the distorted maniacal funhouse reality that Congress operates in they have to be taken seriously. (more…)
To summarize: $92.6 billion in spending (7% increase over last year’s); $9.2 billion deficit over eighteen months (half in the first six months, the other half in the next twelve). Brown is requesting $7 billion in new taxes, mostly from raising the sales tax again (to 7.75%) but with a faux-populist-friendly soak-the-rich* (actually, soak-the-small-business-owner) increase to 10.3%. Or the state can ‘cut’ an additional $4.8 billion in educational aid (he’s already planning to reduce poverty assistance by $4.2 billion): the most increased spending appears to be in tax relief/local government**… and education. In other words, that cut would actually be mostly in a projected increase in education spending, which means that it’s not really a cut at all.
Or, to summarize the summary: Brown’s bailing out the municipalities; and he’s trying to blackmail the Californian populace into a tax hike to pay for it by threatening to wipe out an increase in K-12 education funds if they don’t vote said hike in. See how that works? Increase spending in a line-item; then call the threat to remove that increase a ‘budget cut’ and use it to justify a ‘temporary’ tax. It’s a great scam; or, rather, it was a great scam twenty years ago, when there was more give in the system. Today, it’s just kind of alarming. (more…)
In a socially-acceptable way, of course: ie, via another hike in the tax on tobacco. The “Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative” – a name whose hint of subtle menace should make small-government types involuntarily shiver – looking to raise it by a buck a pack, because… well, pretty much because they want people to quit smoking, and taxing it through the ceiling is supposed to accomplish that. And it might… except for one minor little detail. You see, Maryland’s state sales tax on tobacco is currently two dollars; over in Virginia it’s thirty cents.
You do the math.
Personally, I’m not entirely certain why the Obama administration is so adamant about raising taxes on small businesses, but they’ve at least abandoned their previous position where a possible early end to Bush-era tax breaks (now scheduled to expire in 2012) was on the debt ceiling negotiating table. Unfortunately, the White House is still adamantly refusing to accept the pesky objective reality that there are no Magical Revenue Generators that will allow the country to boost the tax-to-GDP revenue ratio to 25%, forever. In other words, the Democrats don’t want to even think about making spending cuts, and they’re reacting to exasperated Republican calls for them in precisely the same way that pigs react when you don’t refill the trough with swill.
I know that people out there get exasperated with the GOP some times, but if there’s been a better contrast in recent memory between Bad and Worse* than in the comparison of this Congress to the last one, I can’t think of it offhand.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*More like Not Perfect and Hideously Awful, in my personal opinion – but I sometimes have to factor in a certain institutional pessimism when I write stuff for the VRWC.
William McGurn would like you to grasp it firmly, please:
[NRO's Reihan Salam], a policy adviser at the pro-market think tank Economics 21, observes that the revenues Mr. Obama needs to pay for his agenda fall in the rung just below the super-rich—that is, Americans earning between $100,000 and $200,000. The political problem is that this is a block that went Republican by 56% to 43% in 2010.
[TNR/Brooking Institute's William Galston] cheerfully supports raising taxes on those with incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 to support progressive policies and help tame the deficit. He is simply honest enough to know that Mr. Obama cannot get the top 2% of income earners to pay for everything he has promised to do.
Stupidly promised to do, by the way. Just to make that clear: insanely increasing spending to the point where you’ll have to explicitly break an explicit promise:
…is, well, insane. And stupid. And naive. And kind of ignorant. I can keep this going for a while, but you get the drift. (more…)
Allahpundit calls House Democrats “a gang of cheap losers” for folding like this, and it’s hard to disagree: apparently, all that rhetoric about tax cuts for the rich can easily be trumped with an additional ethanol subsidy. To which I say, drink deep: because in a world where Al Cubslayer Gore is talking about ending that kind of pork, the odds that it’s going to get renewed by the House next year is dropping precipitously.
Also, out of curiosity: is there anything that a Democratic politician will stand his or her ground on? I mean, personally I have to take a somewhat detached view about what slop the President has to feed to his pigs in order to get them to stop squealing; the GOP currently has no effective control over that aspect of domestic policy. Still… there’s more than the slop for Democrats, right? – But if there is, why can’t I figure out what it could possibly be?
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: You cannot make me respect someone who will not respect himself.
The fascinating thing about the upcoming Obama tax hikes – and I imagine that the irony that if the Democrats had just made Bush’s tax cuts permanent in the first then they wouldn’t be in this mess right now hasn’t been lost on the Democratic leadership* – is that they’re hardly inevitable. The current ratio is 255/180 Democrat/Republican in the House; 58/41 (Kirk needs to be seated, still) in the Senate. The Democrats can easily pass a bill that will ensure that people’s taxes will not automatically rise in January; and they can pass it whenever they like.
And, really, the Democrats know this. They’re just being petulant about the fact that the Republican party is disinterested in indulging the Democrats’ desire to not face the consequences of their party’s actions earlier in the decade. Because this is what happens when you adopt a strategy of ‘kick the can down the road:’ eventually, you meet up with the can again.
And sometimes people won’t let you have another kick.
(Via Texans for Sarah Palin) But it’s tax hikes for the wealthy (540 billion over 10 years), so that’s all right, right? At least, it’s tax hikes for the wealthy today. And what gets redefined as ‘wealthy’…
Key House Democrats decided Friday to raise taxes on the wealthy to help pay for health care legislation, capping an up-and-down week for President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.
Democrats on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee agreed to a new surtax that would start with households making $350,000 a year and begin in 2011, said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.
…well, that’s up to Charlie Rangel.
Have a nice morning!
Crossposted to RedState.
To sum up the New York Times article: New York Democrats in the Assembly have come to an agreement with New York Democrats in the Senate and the New York Democrat in the Governor’s office to raise state taxes on all incomes above $300,000/year. This is felt to be the best way to handle the looming 3.2 billion deficit in taxes from the previous projected budget – as opposed to, say, spending 3.2 billion less next year. Meanwhile, Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver went to some trouble to make certain that this tax plan did not include tax offsets for homeowners; the suggestion that this is for partisan political purposes is, of course, scurrilous. So, no doubt, is the observation that this tax bump is going to be squarely hitting small businesses at the same time that some of them are going to get hit on their federal tax burden as well.
And, of course, it is completely unfair to point out that New York’s economy is critically dependent on the collection of talent, capital, and organization that was already in poor financial health even before this new development. I am given to understand that the inhabitants of Wall Street tend Democratic in both contributions and elections. It’ll be interesting to see how many times they can be kicked before there’s a general reassessment of that policy. Presumably it won’t happen right way, if only because it takes time for people to admit to themselves that they actually do have class interests, and they’re not voting them; but patience is a virtue.
As for the rest of New York, I ask what I asked the Washingtonians earlier: how’s one-party rule working out for you guys?
Crossposted to RedState.