Saturday, May 02, 2009

Congressional Democrats Taking Bids on Their Votes, Estate Tax, Farm Subsidies, Health Care, Bankruptcy Law, Ben Nelson and Richard Lugar.

This post would have been out a lot earlier, at least 24 hours, if it weren't for my electric going out, the cloud cover zapped my internet connection and my poor old kerosine powered computer wanting to take a break.

In the 2008 elections it was pretty obvious that the country wanted change. We knew that we could expect plenty of opposition from the Republicans. We're getting plenty of that.

What's surprising is the amount of opposition that we are getting from those who are supposedly on our side.

This is from 2006:

With the 2006 midterm elections nearing and the Republicans receiving record-low approval ratings from the American public, companies and business groups are reaching out to opposition leaders in anticipation of a possible Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, or even a Democratic sweep of Congress for the first time in 14 years.

The good news for the business as usual folks is that it's working. It looks like a lot of Democrats have no problem whoring for the lobbyists.

The House and Senate approved a $3.5-trillion federal budget outline Wednesday that embraces, in general terms, Obama's top priorities in healthcare, energy and education. But lawmakers have turned a cold shoulder to many of the president's proposals to shift wealth and federal subsidies from the rich to the less affluent.

That's right, too many congressional Democrats are spreading their legs for Big Business and the rich while giving the finger to the working class.

What I find as the most egregious breach of trust by some Democrats is:

Some Democrats even defected from Obama when it came to taxing the wealthiest Americans through the estate tax.

You've heard of the estate tax, the Right calls it the "Death Tax" and says it's the evil government's attempt to tax a person for dying. Like most things the Right claims, this is just pure BS.

The estate tax actually only applies to .025% of us, I guess "of them" would be more accurate. That's .025% of the wealthiest in this country. In fact, 18 of the richest families in the country have been financing the lobbying to do away with the estate tax.

Eighteen families, including the owners of Nordstrom Inc., The Seattle Times Co., Mars Inc., Koch Industries Inc. and Wal-Mart Inc., that stand to save $71.6 billion in taxes are financing lobbying efforts to repeal the estate tax, according to a study by two groups.

Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy, which want to see estate tax rates increased to as high as 60 percent, said the families perpetrated a fraud on ordinary Americans by saying the levy constitutes an unfair "death tax." Only about 0.25 percent of Americans who die this year will leave an estate large enough to be taxed, the groups said.

That's quite a cause that these Democrats are rallying to.

Some Dems tucked their tails between their shaky legs on farm subsidies too.

The congressional budget did not incorporate Obama's proposal to cut off subsidies to farms with sales exceeding $500,000 a year, a move that bowed to the agriculture lobby and influential rural lawmakers, including the Senate Budget Committee's Conrad.

A lot of my relatives around here were farmers and trust me, the money does not go to family farms. It's not often that I agree with the Heritage Foundation. I guess it's true that if you dig through enough crap you might finally find that pony. It's from 2002, but things haven't changed.

These subsidy programs tax working Americans to award millions to millionaires and provide profitable corporate farms with money that has been used to buy out family farms. The current farm bills1 would provide even greater subsidies for large farmers, costing the average household $4,400 over the next 10 years, while facilitating increased consolidation and buyouts in the agricultural industry.2

It's kinda funny that using taxpayer money to do anything to help the working class is such a bad thing while giving this same money to Big Business and the Rich is a noble cause. But then, they can afford to give some of it back to the same politicians who voted to give it to them.

Here's another example of just how dumb some Democrats are:

Meanwhile, middle-class voters face the prospect of losing Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit -- of as much as $400 for individuals and $800 for couples -- after 2010.The budget resolution did not make room for a longer extension of the tax break.

Democrats said they had to impose that limit, at least for now, in deference to the worsening budget outlook.

Who do they think is electing them?

Most of us understand that all civilized countries have universal health care, that it works and it's less expensive than the mess that we call health care in this country. The president wants to partly fund it in this country by lowering the deduction for charitable donations to 28% from 33%. Only the rich get the 33% deduction, the rest of us just get the 28% anyway.

Needless to say, the lobbyists are having a fit over this.

Obama has defended the proposal as a matter of equity: Under current law, tax deductions are worth less to middle-class taxpayers than they are to wealthier people. For example, a middle-class bus driver gets only a 28% write-off for a $100 donation; someone in the upper income brackets gets 33% or more for the same donation.

Nonetheless, Obama's proposal is destined to fail, said Roberton Williams, a fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. "It sets up two groups to be the fall guys, and that mobilizes two fairly strong lobbies," he said.

Even the good guys in Congress can't compete with the Lobby Whores.

Today, a proposal to change bankruptcy law and allow bankruptcy judges to cram-down mortgage payments for troubled homeowners failed in the Senate by a vote of 45-51. The provision, which was introduced as an amendment by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), required 60 votes to pass. In recent weeks, support for the measure evaporated in the face of furious lobbying by the banking and mortgage industries. Prior to the vote, Durbin — who this week said that bankers “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill” — took to the floor to decry the banking industry’s influence in the cram-down debate:

On the same subject:

The U.S. Senate could have stepped up to the plate yesterday and passed an amendment to help bankruptcy judges help homeowners. Instead, twelve Democrats joined all the Republicans in the Senate--including those two supposed 'moderates' from Maine that we hear so much about--to defeat the amendment.

Just so you know that Democrat Lobby Whores are not just a figment of my overactive imagination:

Sen. Ben Nelson said Thursday that he will oppose the creation of a government-run health insurance plan as part of a health care overhaul, contrary to the position held by many of his fellow Democrats.

The company Nelson finds himself in is laid out clearly: business, the insurance industry, and Republicans. Of course, this isn’t surprising, considering his campaign donation history. Open Secrets says Nelson received $608,709 from the insurance industry in 2007-2008, making the insurance industry his biggest donor group, more than lawyers and even lobbyists.

And our newest Democrat doesn't seem to understand what the hell is going on. If you want to call yourself a Democrat then you ought to at least try to act like one.

Specter (Pa.) on Thursday voted against a controversial bill that would have rewritten bankruptcy laws — a bill cherished by Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) — just a day after voting against the Democratic-written budget.

It's funny how anything designed to help the working class is termed controversial. Anyway, Democratic leaders are somewhat less than livid. "Aw shucks, he's just being independent".

Democratic leaders said Specter's "no" votes simply confirm his independence.

I think we need new leaders.

To quote a great American, "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo Possum 1971



  1. Eh. Politicians are politicians. The only thing I fear is when we don't keep a close, wary eye on them. It's all part of human nature.

  2. When even genuine, sincere politicians get to D.C. they allow themselves to get co-opted by the system just to get some of their own pet projects underway. It's the nature of the beast, I guess. No less sad and shameful for that, but it's how the political wheels get greased.

  3. The estate tax is double taxation. You're taxing the after tax assets of dead people, that is they've already paid taxes on the income used to acquire those assets. Then upon their death those assets are assessed another tax. It's ludicrous.

    You do it because you're jealous. Jealous of their success and you want to punish them. You do it because they supposedly can "afford" it. So what? And your statistic about how few folks are affected is misleading; you know Barry is going to let the Bush tax cuts expire and the death tax is going to slam down hard on everyone with more than $750,000 is assets in 2011. That's a whole lotta people.


I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)