Good for CNN! They’ve dutifully fulfilled thier role as toadies to the Bush Administration, like the good little love-slave organization they are. CNN reports that the $70 billion tax cut extension is all about the Alternative Minimum Tax, never minding that of that $70 billion, only about $30 billion actually goes to the ATM while the rest goes to dividend tax cuts which favour the rich. Oh, sure, somewhere down there towards the bottom, they mention the fact that incomes over $1 million get $41,000 in breaks whereas $50,000 incomes only get $46, but that’s just so they look objective!
A bill awarding tax relief to investors and 15 million taxpayers facing the alternative minimum tax was moving toward a Senate vote as President Bush and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill anticipated a long-sought election year victory. The bill providing tax cuts worth $70 billion over five years passed the House Wednesday by a 244-185 vote. The Senate was expected to vote on the bill Thursday, and Bush is eager to sign it. The legislation provides a two-year extension of the reduced 15 percent tax rate for capital gains and dividends, currently set to expire at the end of 2008.
GOP leader Dennie Hastert points out that this is phase one of a two-part plan which will include $46 billion in cuts. Now, I’m no matha-bu-tician, but I can subtract OK. $70 billion in tax cuts minus $46 billion in cut funding still leaves $26 billion in lost revenue for the stuff they’re actually planning on keeping. And remember, none of this includes the war and it’s spiraling, multi-trillion dollar price tag.
This is what counts as fiscal responsibility in the Republican Party, these days. The question is: what effect will it have on the president’s base? My guess is not much, since it really only constitutes more of the same from the Administration and Congress at a time when Americans increasingly believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
But, while I am loath to credit Tom DeLay with anything, I will say that he made a very valid point in the last interview I saw of him. In this interview, he pointed out quite correctly that national polls mean very little indeed for Congressional races, since Congressional races rely on local attitudes in those districts that are up for grabs. The question is: what are those attitudes, and how do they affect the local candidates? You might be sick of Congress, but you may firmly believe that your representative is not to blame, thereby rendering national hostility against Congress a moot point.
Worse, partisan gerrymandering has become more and more of an issue in states like Texas, which allows a fairly easy incumbent win in the upcoming elections. Whatever else may occur this voting season, I don’t think you can look to Texas for the big shakeup. Not unless the Supreme Court decides to take up the issue of the 2003 redistricting before the 2006 elections, a highly unlikely scenario.
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