Senator Kent Conrad has a couple of ideas to help lower the deficit, but like everything that the Senate has done on budgets over the last two years, it’s not serious. In fact, even Democrats agree that it’s not serious:
Senate Democrats are using their proposal to raise taxes on millionaires as a stalking-horse to force Republicans to accept other tax increases.
Democratic officials privately acknowledge that raising personal income tax rates on the wealthy has little chance of passing this Congress. However, the politically popular idea is a key part of the Democrats’ strategy to attack the deficit and gain concessions from Republicans.
Democrats are mulling two proposals to include in their budget plan: ending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for families earning more than $1 million a year or imposing a surtax of 3 percent or 5.4 percent on millionaires and billionaires.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) included a 3 percent surtax in a draft budget plan he circulated last week. That plan also called for a relatively even split of spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who described the breakdown as 50-50.
Recall from The Hill’s poll Monday just how popular a 50/50 split will be with voters. Only 13% of respondents approved of raising taxes at all. Among those, just a bare 13% thought that a 50/50 split between taxes and spending cuts would be a fair settlement. Democrats in the Senate already looking at a tough 2012 election cycle won’t buy it, let alone Republicans who have solid backing on spending cuts.
Claire McCaskill is one of the most endangered Democrats in the upper chamber, and she declared the idea a dead letter before it even makes it into a bill:
“I don’t think it’s realistic that would ever pass; I think we’re trying to find a negotiating point,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said of a budget proposal with an even ratio of spending cuts to tax increases and a surtax on millionaires.
If they want to find a negotiating point, it might be helpful to find one that has a prayer of being taken seriously. Especially by Senators in their own party.
Of course, this is just the latest in a span of almost two years where Senate Democrats have proven themselves entirely unserious on budgeting. Despite having complete control of Congress and the White House, the Senate has not passed a normal budget in more than 18 months. They still have control of the Senate and the White House, and they’re offering no solutions to the most critical issues facing the electorate, except for “negotiating positions” that only a fringe support. More people believe in UFOs than would support the proposals that Senate Democrats will use to waste even more time, rather than actually solving problems and passing budgets on time.