Perhaps more consequential at the moment are the Democrats' intra-party negotiations over the Bush tax cuts. House leadership is still looking to hold a standalone vote on the tax cuts for income under $250,000. But some in the Senate -- including Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, and Claire McCaskill -- are pushing a compromise that would extend $400 billion of the $700 billion in tax cuts for income above $250,000 by extending them for everyone making less than $1,000,000. So those struggling members of the middle class making between $250,001 and $999,999 will get their tax cuts, too, and Democrats will have extended about $3.6 trillion of the $4 trillion in Bush tax cuts, or 90 percent of the total.
If that's the ultimate agreement we see on the Bush tax cuts, it'll be worth taking a moment to appreciate how far Democrats have backslid on this issue since BIll Clinton. Clinton, of course, raised taxes in the face of large deficits. The Obama campaign, by contrast, swore not to raise taxes on any family making less than $250,000, and Democrats might now effectively raise that to $1,000,000. In setting up the expectation that taxes can't go up for anyone but millionaires, Democrats take most of them off the table. And given that Republicans have no interest in taxes, either, that basically removes them as a tool of fiscal policy going forward.
This is embarrassing. And completely nonsensical.