Senate Dem tax proposal not even serious to Dems

posted at 2:44 pm on May 18, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

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.


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But like everything that the Senate has done on budgets over the last two years, it’s not serious.

We need stronger language to convey the situation: They aren’t serious SANE

Chip on May 18, 2011 at 2:50 PM

But like everything that the Senate has done on budgets over the last two years, it’s not serious.

Huh. I wasn’t aware that they did anything budget related…serious or not.

search4truth on May 18, 2011 at 2:53 PM

When are these guys going to cut the crap and grow up? I don’t care which party you belong to, you were sent to DC to work. I would fire anybody if they pulled this stuff in my company.

Sincerely PISSED!

GrayDog on May 18, 2011 at 2:54 PM

It seems like Obama and his merry band from the National Progressive Workers Party have only one solution to every problem – More Taxes!

Democrats: Just a One-trick pony Unicorn.

Chip on May 18, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Posts like the just hurt the Democrats self-esteem, Ed. If you want them to succeed, you have to give them reassurance and give them small goals they can achieve. The Republicans have been doing that by letting them pass little two week budgets. With some practice they could eventually graduate to doing a whole year’s budget at time.

pedestrian on May 18, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Senating is hard.

Akzed on May 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM

It’s not like we are $14 Trillion in debt or anything…

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on May 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Hmm, I might be willing to support taxes on over a million per year, I’d have to do the math.

See, I think there’s certain 7 or 8 digit number, over which most of the people making more than that annually are liberals or bailout babies.

The trouble is nailing that down, since most of the polling considers everyone who makes more than 100,000 before taxes to be “the rich” and over 200,000 to be “the super rich.”

HitNRun on May 18, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Everything done in DC is based on strategy. How can we get the other side to look bad? How can we get our side to look good? All in the name of RE-ELECTION. Nothing is done in the name of the country and the job of running such country.

I am completely tired of ALL the games. I thought that message was clear last November. Apparently not.

The only person in all of Washington that strikes me as serious about anything is Paul Ryan.

jjjdad on May 18, 2011 at 3:01 PM

The other day, I re-read a WSJ article from late December that discussed a recent study of debt reduction efforts of developed countries over the past 30-40 years. Generally, the efforts often failed, but those that succeeded incorporated spending reductions/tax increases that averaged 7/8 coming from spending reductions and 1/8 coming from tax increases. This 50/50 split horsesh*t is nonsense–it won’t get us anywhere.

BuckeyeSam on May 18, 2011 at 3:03 PM

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.

“Present.”

The modern Dem party is beyond pathetic. Obama is the ultimate Dem “leader.”

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…

visions on May 18, 2011 at 3:04 PM

“All revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives”

Blue slip. The Senate can talk all day long about raising taxes. It means nothing.

BobMbx on May 18, 2011 at 3:09 PM

GrayDog on May 18, 2011 at 2:54 PM

I agree. They’re acting as if they’re owed this job, rather than as an elected official to do the work of the tax payers, who pay their salaries.

ENOUGH!!! Vote them out, and let’s get some decent people who actually care about their country, and aren’t afraid of hard work!!!

capejasmine on May 18, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Despite having complete control of Congress and the White House, the Senate has not passed a normal budget in more than 18 months

and the gop senators are not pouncing on this because?

hello?

cmsinaz on May 18, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Hey but dear leader got OBL and has a nifty new T-shirt for ya…senate schmenate

/

cmsinaz on May 18, 2011 at 3:14 PM

When are these guys going to cut the crap and grow up? I don’t care which party you belong to, you were sent to DC to work. I would fire anybody if they pulled this stuff in my company.

Sincerely PISSED!

GrayDog on May 18, 2011 at 2:54 PM

That might be your inpression. Their impression is they were sent there to be re-elected. That’s top priority in both parties. The rest is just window dressing and trying to create perceptions that country comes before career ambition.

a capella on May 18, 2011 at 3:14 PM

ending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts

I see the Democrats still seriously believe that the way to sell a position to the public is to blame problems on GWB. If that’s their selling point, they’re toast in 2012.

jwolf on May 18, 2011 at 3:23 PM

It’s not even a negotiating point it’s a talking point. It won’t be long before they are using this while talking about how Republicans support lower taxes for millionaires and billionaires. From there it’s just a small step it’s just a small step (a very small step for Democrats) to call defeating the surtax a “tax cut for the rich.”

Stephen Macklin on May 18, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Why should anyone pay more taxes. Until the government is serious about cutting spending–you’d have to be out of your mind to give them more money. What are the odds that a tax increase will go to paying the debt? Probably close to zero. Reagan made a similar mistake with amnesty. He held up his end but the dems bailed on their promises. So, why should we trust them?

ReaganWasRight on May 18, 2011 at 3:34 PM

“Democratic officials privately acknowledge that raising personal income tax rates on the wealthy has little chance of passing this Congress …

“I don’t think it’s realistic that would ever pass; I think we’re trying to find a negotiating point”

Tax increases aren’t going to solve anything. That the Dems have a genetic-like aversion to spending cuts pretty much guarantees any tax increases won’t solve the economy crushing deficits and mounting debt.

That the heck would a successful negotiating point to allow for, Claire? Would it by any chance be to reduce spending cuts for today and maintain a higher annual budget just as has been the Dems policy for the last 5 decades? How does that solve the problem that 50 years of Dem policy has now saddled us with?

And as for taxing the rich, that concept is just stealth taxing of everyone. Most of the rich will still maintain their net income level ( they have the wherewithal to do so, unless they go Galt, which then just exacerbates the revenue problem) and pass the increased cost to them down the system to those who are the customers of their products and services.

Unserious is not the right word for Dems. Malevolent is.

Dusty on May 18, 2011 at 3:39 PM

I suspect that the Democratic losses in 2012 are going to be even more dramatic than even by our conservative estimates, especially if proposals like this keep coming down the pike.

Not quite like shooting fish in a barrel, but pretty close.

itzWicks on May 18, 2011 at 3:51 PM

The best way to get this done is to put out ads, in the 21 states with vulnerable Democrats, and those states where the Democrats are retiring and start running ads:
“Is this what we vote for from our Senators?” It’s about time to start playing hard ball with these idiots. If Republicans were doing this, our infamous “free press” would be all over them. Every one of their hometown newspapers would be running a story about how the Senate hadn’t passed a budget yet, etc. Well Republicans don’t have the press to do their job so they might as well deal with it and do it themselves.

bflat879 on May 18, 2011 at 4:08 PM

itzWicks on May 18, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Your theory would imply that Repubs are smart/tough enough to capitalize on the Dems foolishness.

jjjdad on May 18, 2011 at 4:08 PM

I remember when Kent Conrad was a reasonably sane public servant.

southsideironworks on May 18, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Last year when Chucky Schumer slapped down the same proposal of ‘taxing millionaires’ he pointed out 2 things. He did it very quietly of course. The first was that it would take the pressure he wanted on slamming higher taxes on the ppl making 250k. The other was that it simply raised to little money. Aparently ~10 billion is all they project to get.

So, their plan is to cut 10 billion and raise 10 billion? what about the other 1,580 billion?

Freddy on May 18, 2011 at 4:12 PM

The Dems will never get serious until Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling – thus taking away their credit card.

SHUT IT DOWN!

GarandFan on May 18, 2011 at 5:46 PM

The other day, I re-read a WSJ article from late December that discussed a recent study of debt reduction efforts of developed countries over the past 30-40 years. Generally, the efforts often failed, but those that succeeded incorporated spending reductions/tax increases that averaged 7/8 coming from spending reductions and 1/8 coming from tax increases. This 50/50 split horsesh*t is nonsense–it won’t get us anywhere.

BuckeyeSam on May 18, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Check. The 50/50 plan is ridiculous, in that tax increases of that magnitude would throw a wrench into the system and decrease revenues even further. It’s a progressive rathole.

slickwillie2001 on May 18, 2011 at 6:11 PM