Thursday, July 22, 2004

Most. Political. Administration. Ever.
You will probably want to read this several times to try and get some sense out of it
The White House helped to block a Republican-brokered deal on Wednesday to extend several middle-class tax cuts, fearful of a bill that could draw Democratic votes and dilute a Republican campaign theme, Republican negotiators said.

Okay. Stop reading it now. Don't hurt yourself. You can't squeeze sense out of nonsense. Blood, turnips, all that.

The president's people are showing themselves to be more cynically and nakedly political than even I believed possible. I didn't think they could get any lower; I was wrong.

What are at stake here are three popular tax cuts that genuinely helped the working classes: the $1,000 child tax credit, the reduction in the "marriage penalty," and an expansion of the 10-percent tax bracket. These were minor parts of the 2001 and 2003 tax cut packages intended to make the larger cuts for the rich and very rich (
Bush's base
) more palatable to the rest of us. These cuts are set to expire at the end of this year. Most members of congress are willing to extend these cuts. The only real debate was over whether to link them to cuts somewhere else or extend them without conditions. House and Senate Republicans worked out a deal last week that many Democrats agreed to (extend the cuts for a limited time without conditions). With a clear majority of both houses in clear agreement, that should have been that.

Enter the White House (via NY Times).
Republican Congressional officials said the administration did not want a deal that Democratic lawmakers might support, giving them a tax-cutting credential, too.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, had already said he would retain most of Mr. Bush's middle-class tax cuts, and many Democratic lawmakers said they would vote for a modest extension of the tax cuts even if the extension was not paid for.

"If the Democrats had been on the same side, it would have taken a lot of arrows out of the quiver,'' said one Republican staff member.

Via Washington Post.
Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. put in a round of angry phone calls Tuesday night, several Senate aides said. Then White House counselor Karl Rove and Bush himself called GOP tax writers yesterday urging them to kill the deal.

"I won't officially pronounce it dead, but let's put it this way: It is expiring," said a senior Republican tax aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail backroom negotiations.

The administration would rather abandon its tax-cutting principles and hurt the working classes than allow Democrats to take any credit for something that might be popular, especially in an election year. These people would have made Nixon feel dirty.

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