Republicans are going bonkers. They're trying to portray as a flipflop Sen. Blanche Lincoln's remarks today that while she leans toward extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class, that she thinks the super wealthy can pay more. The tax code needs more balance, she says. I think a better characterization of her statement today is coming to her senses.
Remember, strictly speaking, that the Bush tax plan provides for tax increases next year. The only way he could make his budget work was to have cuts expire and not show a devastating impact on continuing budget balancing. He actually signed, with Republican majority support and that of some boneheads like Lincoln, a plan that would bring,. among others, a whopping increase in the estate tax, far more than any Democrats want. It was a trick, of course. Now they're trying to spin it as tax increases, though they enacted them. Lincoln, at least, is ready to step back from that ruinous plan as far as the fat cats are concerned, now enjoying their lowest tax rates in decades and claiming an ever-increasing segment of the economic pie.
I sometimes think the Democrats should just sit back and say, "Let the Bush tax increases take effect as he wanted and as the Republicans voted. But we'd like to add this one little ol' rider to ease the burden for middle class folks. Call the roll."
Lincoln, meanwhile, is calling out Boozman for skipping today's event so he can get ready for a fund-raiser by Sen. John Thune, he who would end Social Security as we know it, support a 30 percent sales tax (the real effect of the 23 percent "fair tax") and more terrible stuff.
LINCOLN NEWS RELEASE
1. Congressman Boozman, last week you backed out of today’s Arkansas Economic Developers candidate forum in Hot Springs after learning you would appear jointly with Senator Lincoln. How did you spend the day?
2. Senator Thune, do you, like Congressman Boozman, support a national sales tax of 23 percent on everything South Dakotans and Arkansans buy?
3. Senator Thune, you voted for Chairman Lincoln’s historic child nutrition bill as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Will you urge Congressman Boozman to support it?
4. Congressman Boozman and Senator Thune, you voted against Chairman Lincoln’s disaster aid for farmers in the House and Senate, respectively. What are your plans for helping farmers and giving Arkansas the economic boost it needs? [University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture economists estimated $400 million in direct crop losses for Arkansas ag producers from the 2009 floods. That led to the loss of 3,700 jobs and $102 million in lost wages. Other activities, such as reduced household spending, were reduced by an additional $202 million, for a total economic impact of more than $700 million.]
5. Senator Thune, like Senator Lincoln you made funding requests this year for special projects on behalf of your constituents. What do you think of Congressman Boozman’s one-year pledge to not fight for federal resources for his constituents?
6. Senator Thune, as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, do you acknowledge that the Chairman of that committee plays the leading role in writing the next Farm Bill?
7. Senator Thune, do you agree with Congressman Boozman that the Republican budget plan (“Ryan Roadmap”) to privatize Social Security is a “thoughtful and serious effort”?