ZOOM FATIGUE: Cyndi Lauper says she's ready to leave video calls behind. pic.twitter.com/FNORsUGeyv
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) September 27, 2021
Obviously I have no inside knowledge here. It is simply my impression that she a) has no interest in embarrassing herself or her party, and b) knows what the fuck she's doing.
— Seth Masket (@smotus) September 26, 2021
it's not $5 trillion and it *is* polling well. otherwise this is a perfectly responsible thing for a news show to tweet https://t.co/z3lHawsh8y
— Gerry Doyle (@mgerrydoyle) September 27, 2021
it has been fun* to watch objections to stuff like this shift over the years from the principle of "we can't afford it"** to "helping people is actually bad"
**we can https://t.co/F5Zj5f8iux
— Gerry Doyle (@mgerrydoyle) September 27, 2021
Democrats are growing frustrated by the focus on the proposed $3.5 trillion price tag for President Biden's massive expansion of social programs, saying they intend to fully cover the cost of the legislation. Republicans call the measure fiscally reckless. https://t.co/Fa1ljGIg3q
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 26, 2021
… Defending a bill not yet fully drafted, Democrats are determined to avoid a deficit financed spending spree. They are growing frustrated by the focus on the proposed $3.5 trillion spending total, arguing far too little attention is being paid to the work they are doing to balance the books. Biden on Friday said he would prefer the price tag described as “zero.”
“We pay for everything we spend,” Biden said at the White House. “It’s going to be zero. Zero.”
But the revenue side of the equation is vexing, and it’s emerged as a core challenge for Democratic bargainers as they labor to construct one of the largest legislative efforts in a generation. Their success or failure could help determine whether the bulk of Biden’s agenda becomes law and can withstand the political attacks to come.
Republicans, lockstep in opposition, aren’t waiting for the details. They’ve trained their focus on the $3.5 trillion spending ceiling set by Democrats, pillorying that sum as fiscally reckless, misguided, big government at its worst…
Part of the problem for Democratic leaders is the lack of a consensus about which programs to fund and for how long. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., acknowledge the price will likely come down and say they have a “menu” of revenue raisers to pay for it. But without certainty on what initiatives will be included, no final decisions can be made.
“This is not about price tag,” Pelosi said Thursday. “This is about what’s in the bill.”
Biden and administration officials stress the plan is as much about fairness as dollars and cents. By taxing the wealthy and corporations, they hope to fund paid family leave and child tax credits that help those reaching for the middle class, all while adopting environmental and economic policies that help the U.S. compete with China. But the haggling over a final spending target is overshadowing the policy goals they are trying achieve…
Opinion: Taxing the rich is super popular. Democrats should talk more about it. https://t.co/rD2bFy9sor
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 27, 2021
… Republicans are opposed to requiring big corporations and billionaires to kick in something, just as they refuse to fund the Internal Revenue Service to enforce existing tax laws. Every Republican on the ballot in 2022 who opposes any increase in taxes on the super-rich and corporate scofflaws will likely confronted with a question: Why are you protecting super-rich donors and corporations from paying taxes?
On Thursday, the White House hammered home the message in a written analysis: “We estimate that the 400 wealthiest families paid an average Federal individual income tax rate of 8.2 percent on $1.8 trillion of income over the period 2010–2018, the years from the last decade for which the necessary data are available.” Administration officials also stated, “Two factors that contribute to this low estimated tax rate include low tax rates on the capital gains and dividends that are taxed, and wealthy families’ ability to permanently avoid paying tax on investment gains that are excluded from taxable income.” Under the Biden plan, that would go up to a modest 26 percent for families making at least $1 million a year…
The reconciliation bill addresses both ends of the spectrum. It forces the super-rich to contribute to the treasury and common good while also reducing or eliminating costs for middle- and low-income Americans. In other words, this was part of Biden’s mandate (to the extent he had one) and contributes to his effort to make certain that democracy works for the average person.
If the great challenge of our age, as Biden says, is between authoritarianism and democracy, then reducing inequality and the influence and power of the wealthy is essential. Call it an antidote to resentment and raging right-wing faux populism.