**UPDATE: The House Democratic caucus has voted to reject the president’s tax cut deal. Developing…
Note: Still waiting on the Miami Herald to update the opinion page online. When they do, I’ll post my column from today, on the Obama tax deal.
Fact: Republicans are fighting to extend tax cuts for the rich in the face of strong public opinion opposing just that. Fact: Democrats waited too long to do much about it. Don’t ask me, ask Bloomberg and Lawrence O’Donnell …
First to Bloomberg, which just took a poll confirming what every other poll has shown: a strong majority of Americans OPPOSE extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Per Politico:
In a Bloomberg News poll released Wednesday, nearly 60 percent of Americans surveyed said they favor the elimination of the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans. One-third said they strongly favor the elimination of the cuts, while 18 percent said they strongly oppose the discontinuation of the cuts.
Conducted before, during and after Obama’s negotiations with Republicans, the survey found strongest support for the tax cut scenario preferred by many Democrats. In the poll, 34 percent said they would like to see Congress extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class but not for those earning $250,000 or more.
Another 16 percent said they would like to see the cuts become permanent for the middle class and extended for the rich for the next two years.
More than a quarter of those polled said they would like to see the tax cuts expire at the end of the year. Nineteen percent said they want the cuts to be made permanent at all income levels.
The national telephone poll, conducted by Seltzer & Co., surveyed 1,000 adults Dec. 4-7. The error margin is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
(By the way, the poll also found that Americans care far more about jobs and the economy than about the deficit… and Gallup has a poll out with almost the opposite results — 66 percent approving of the Obama-GOP deal. Go figure.)
The polls may be behind the belated feistiness of Congressional Democrats, who were afraid to vote on tax cuts before the election, but who in the last week have discovered their spines — with many vowing to oppose the Obama compromise with Republicans that extends all the Bush tax cuts for two years (Bernie Sanders says he’ll filibuster the deal in the Senate, though it’s not at all clear he has 41 votes to do so.)
Lawrence O’Donnell has spent the last two nights taking down liberal commentators who also oppose the Obama deal, but who to a person, either are fine with letting all the tax rates — including those for the middle class — go up on January 1st, or who, in the case of out-going Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida — simply refuse to answer the question of what they’d tell low income taxpayers if their rates were to go up in January.
From the Last Word blog:
During a press conference yesterday, Obama fiercely defended his plan with the GOP, while also sliding in a few jabs. He compared Republicans to “hostage-takers” and his critics on the Left to “sanctimonious” purists who just want to prove how tough they can be. Not exactly a way to win ‘em over.
As we learned last night on the show, many liberal Democrats aren’t budging. In case you missed it, Jane Hamsher, founder of FireDogLake.com, Adam Green, founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post and Roger Hodge, author of The Mendacity of Hope, joined us to discuss the controversial move. They had so much to say, we had to split it up into two blocks.
Here’s block one:
And here’s block two:
Then last night, Lawrence tried the same thing again, only this time, Klein was backed by an economist from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Robert Greenstein, who has backed the Obama deal, and the opponents were Arianna Huffington and Rep. Grayson. Here’s block one:
And block two:
And as a bonus, here’s Lawrence demolishing Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who voted for the Bush tax cuts, and now calls the compromise … well, just watch:
So will the Obama plan pass? The answer is very likely yes. Mitch McConnell wouldn’t have made the deal if he didn’t know he had enough Republicans willing to buck Jim DeMint and the Club for Growth to vote for the plan. And again, Bernie Sanders does not likely have 41 votes to mount a successful filibuster.
But there’s no mistaking the public is very much against giving increased tax cuts to the rich. Even Wall Street seems to get this, since this morning, CNBC’s Erin Burnett reported that at least one major Wall Street bank is cutting back on CEO bonuses this year because of the “shaming” atmospherics. We’ll see if that holds.
For now, however it looks like the tax deal is moving forward toward passage, ready or not… though 54 Democrats in the House have now signed a letter officially opposing the deal. The Congressmen behind that letter say their goal is to “improve the bill, not kill it.” It seems clear that the House is going to insist on getting some say on the bill, right to the end, though apparently, Vice President Joe Biden has told the caucus that changes aren’t going to be made.
Meanwhile: Politico reports that the White House is finally using Biden for what he most brings to the table (besides foreign policy cred) deep ties on the Hill.
Double meanwhile: Obama finds new friends … among the formerly whiny CEOs and the business lobby that just spent tens of millions of dollars trying to defeat his party at the polls. How ironic is politics?
And last, but certainly not least, and with a hat tip to TRR reader Derrick, a pie chart. Ezra Klein posts the CBPP’s pie chart summing up the Obama tax deal: