a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Why win when you can lose: tax debate postponed to after election

Posted by Thomas Nephew on 27th September 2010

First they said they wouldn’t.  Then they said they would.  Now they say they won’t.  In a move that may be one of the last nails in the November coffin for Democrats, the debate about which Bush era tax cuts, if any, to extend has been postponed until after the election.  Lori Montgomery reports (“Tax-cut vote likely set for after elections,” Washington Post):

Democrats said they are counting on the pre-election impasse over taxes to ease when lawmakers return to Washington in mid-November for the first of two work periods before a new Congress is seated. Senate Democrats, who control 59 seats, will need to unite their caucus and win the support of at least one Republican to overcome a potential GOP filibuster. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, said that will be easier after the elections.

“In a September session, it’s hard to separate anything you do from politics,” said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) “And the politics ultimately triumphed. We didn’t get much of anything done. And that’s why I think, ultimately, members of the Senate have decided the best thing to do is go home, particularly those who are running.”

The thing is, debating the justice and wisdom of extending Paris Hilton tax cuts was an eminently reasonable and necessary debate to have if growing deficits are truly a concern. But set aside that it would have been good policy — it would have been great politics.

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