Bush tax cuts have expired, no law has replaced them

Now that the Bush tax cuts have expired, the negotiating ground has radically shifted. Or should have.

Update: You can still try to screw this up in the House if you’re so inclined. Phone numbers here.
________

Snarky headline, but I thought you needed to hear that, since apparently no one else on the planet has noticed. No, a handshake between Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell is not a new law, despite what you’re reading in the papers. And yes, the negotiating ground has changed, despite what you’re reading in the papers.

So with the Bush tax cuts already expired and out of the way (I’m going to bold that expression every time it appears, just so you know it actually happened), U.S. citizens are now subject to a tax increase. So starting from here — now that the Bush tax cuts have already expired —  let’s see how we can get a real middle class tax cut passed … you know, like we discussed a thousand times before, almost a thousand years ago. Here’s my pretend-Obama’s letter to the Republicans:

Dear John & Mitch:

You screwed up. I don’t have a bill on my desk, and it’s past midnight. You know what that means … new rules.

So I’m offering you the following bill in the House and Senate, good as of today, January 1. You remember January 1 — that’s the day the Bush tax cuts expired. My bill:

1. We’re going to reinstate the Bush tax cuts on the first $250,000 of income for all Americans. You lost your shot at $450,000, which I never should have offered you.

2. We’re going to tax capital gains and “carried interest” at 25%. You lost your shot at 20% by not sending me a bill in time.

3. We’re going to extend the child tax credit and the college tuition credit for five years, individual and business tax for two years, and the Medicare “doc fix” for one year. The Alternative Minimum Tax will be permanently fixed. Just like you agreed to before you blew it by not sending me a bill in time.

4. We’re going to extend unemployment benefits for a year. Just like you agreed to before you blew it by not sending me a bill in time.

5. We’re going to raise the top tax rate on baronial estates to 55 percent, with a $2 million exemption. You lost your shot at 40% when you blew it.

6. We’re going to renew tax breaks for businesses and for renewable energy purposes, just like you agreed to before you blew it.

7. We’re going to delay the sequester for one year, not two months from now when you can play Debt Ceiling games with it. Do you think I’m crazy?

8. AND I’m going to tell the American people every single day, starting this very afternoon, that their tax breaks are in your hands.

Now for the rules. Here’s how we play the game in 2013, now that the Bush tax cuts have expired and no new law has been passed:

poker_wikipedia_320px-Holdem■ If you pass that bill in both houses without amendment and send it to me for signature, I’ll be happy to sign. Props to you.

■ If you don’t pass the bill, I send it back to you with one change — that $250,000 becomes $245,000. And I make sure people know who’s blocking their tax increase.

■ If you don’t pass that bill, I send it back to you with one change — that $245,000 becomes $240,000.

And so on.

Have you figured this out yet? I suggest you pass that first bill. Remember, I’m talking to the American people every day. And the Bush tax cuts have already expired.

Your friend, Barack

P.S. You really did blow it, you know. Try playing these games at Debt Ceiling time and I’ll hang the consequences around your neck like an engine block — totally your fault.

This is how pretend-Barack plays the game after January 1, after the Bush tax cuts have already expired with no new bill. Unless they’ve changed the constitution, or we don’t have rule of law, or something. Or unless Barack had something totally different in mind — and totally different masters to obey (dare you to click).

GP

To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • John

    Talk about chaos! Tax administration seems to be terrible in the US.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hattie-McDaniel/100000168609787 Hattie McDaniel

    I wanted to do my homework on this. So I googled …”Who suggested the sequester,” and found the following…

    “The Obama White House, for example, described the bipartisan debt deal that included sequestration as “a win for the economy and budget discipline.” The Obama administration described sequestration specifically as a “strong enforcement mechanism to make all sides come together.”

    “The Bush tax cuts expire as of 1/1/2013, the same date that the spending sequester would go into effect. These two events together will force balanced deficit reduction. Absent a balanced deal, it would enable the President to use his veto pen to ensure nearly $1 trillion in additional deficit reduction by not extending the high-income tax cuts.”

    As the sequestration cuts became closer to reality in 2013, Obama began describing the mechanism as a “meat-cleaver approach” approach to deficit reduction that would cripple the economy and result in middle-class job losses. He had already begun blaming Republicans for the automatic cuts.”

    But like I posted earlier, the GOP have been repeatedly threatening to “Shut Down the Gov’t” again like they did in 1995. And we all know this. So this Obama agreement to go along with the sequester idea was being used, only in hopes that all sides could “come together.” before such a measure was ever needed. But of course we all know that never happened. Now the country is once again being held hostage by the GOP in order for the rich to get richer, while we seniors, poor and disabled continue to lose on all fronts.

  • Montana

    Well..I’m a soon to be a working mom. As of Jan 1,13, between the increase in taxes (bush tax cut expiring) and the increase in health insurance, were out a little over $300 out of every ck. Thats almost $700/ month! Needless to say this president is a joke.. Not effecting the middle class, pfft. Wake up America!! If ur not paying as of Jan, u will be shortly. :/

  • GaiusPublius

    “Calming the victim while positioning the knife” is a great phrase, and a great metaphor for what’s happening. Thanks !

    GP

  • ezpz

    Got it. Thanks. It took a couple of edits, as you can see, to get what you were saying.
    My apologies.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    You’re correct of course, but Mr. Troll above was referring only to ‘soldiers’, by which I felt it was safe to assume he meant American troops.

  • ezpz

    It might depend on the definition of “casualties” which I assume includes civilians, no?

    Report: Iraq ‘Remains in a State of Low-Level War’
    Latest analysis from Iraq Body Count shows over 4,400 civilians killed by violence in 2012
    - Andrea Germanos, staff writer

    That’s in 2012 alone.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/02-8

    http://www.iraqbodycount.org/

  • GaiusPublius

    And to you, karmanot. Best for 2013.

    GP

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Wow, talk about complete trollishness. What are your sources for your repeated BS claims? Median public school teacher wages in NYC are $75,300. Refuse collectors earn much less, at $49,440 per year.

    http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/high-school-teacher/salary
    and
    http://work.chron.com/salary-trashman-1716.html

  • mf_roe

    public school teacher in NYC maximum salary is $100K with overtime at $41.98 / hr it only takes 3500 hours of overtime to reach $250K. Go back to Fox News where your math is understood.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    That’s BS. Source: http://icasualties.org/

    Iraq: 115 U.S. casualties under Obama, 4371 under Bush
    Afghanistan:1227 under Obama, 947 under Bush. (The higher number is understandable because Bush only pressed the Afghani war for about a year, then began scaling back every single operation to get ready for his war-based-on-lies in Iraq.)

    As for the cost? Both the Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan wars were started by Bush, making him primarily responsible for them and their combined estimated $3.7 trillion price tag.
    Source: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/08/15/120758/true-cost-of-afghan-iraq-wars.html

    As for outlays in the last four years, budgets — which had to be passed by the GOP-controlled House, by the way — have allocated roughly $130-160b/year, which is considerably less than twice as much on wars than was being spent by Bush and his crew of criminals.

    Next time you want to make a claim like that, try to back it up with actual sources.

  • Tommy

    A garbage man working overtime and a public school teacher in NYC make close to $250K and are not wealthy by any means. All of the people that we support who are too lazy to work are what accounts for your bullshit median income figure. Stop biting the hand that feeds you and your entitlement programs. Move to A different country if you want to be a socialist.

  • Tommy

    In FOUR YEARS, Obama has spent twice as much on wars and twice as many many soldiers have died, than under EIGHT YEARS, of Bush.

  • Drew2u

    I pity, but condemn Bush, for not being even invited into the GOP parties anymore.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Here is perfect opportunity to wish you all a better New Year and thank you for all the excellent work of the past year. No where else do we have such a superb forum for leftist, progressive views.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Have you noticed how during the last four years, the wingnuts pretend as if the GOP didn’t pass any of that stuff and George W Bush was never president?

  • karmanot

    It will be Obama, who history will credit with the annihilation of the New Deal and the end of the social safety net. Millions will suffer.

  • GaiusPublius

    Thanks, Kim. And thanks to everyone else in this thread for the kind words. I’ve been embedded on a family trip in Arizona and hanging out with bmaz from emptywheel.net. Will be back writing regularly later in the week.

    Happy New Year, all. And again, thanks!

    GP

  • mf_roe

    Politics is to civilization as religion is to spirituality. In both, the good is destroyed by deception by those who proclaim their devotion to things they actively work against. Obama is getting exactly what he values.

  • Kim_Kaufman

    Very happy to have you back, GP. Been waiting for your commentary on this. I’ve said for a long time that all the Might O really wants is to get out of office and be a smug rich guy like Clinton. This deal appears to be worse than it ever could have been because he only raised a smaller amount of revenue than he said he wanted (no surprise there) and when they get to the cuts he’ll be able to say well of course we have to use chained cpi and other benefit cuts because, well, the GOP made him do it. Doesn’t really give me a warm and fuzzy feeling on this first day of the year.

  • Drew2u

    How much revenue was lost during the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts? Also:
    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/12/31/1356591/progressive-resolutions-for-2013/

  • Drew2u

    ….because Medicare part D, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bush Tax Cuts from 2001 to 2008 were paid for, already?

  • mf_roe

    Median household income, 2007-2011 $52,762
    $250K is very well off in terms of what most Americans have to survive on, just who the fuck do you think is responsible for paying the bills?

  • Tommy

    Yes let’s raise taxes on families making more than $250k because $250k makes you obscenely rich in the northeast and they should bear the burden of this administrations addiction to spending.

  • mf_roe

    But the herd mills and bellows as the slaughter pens are prepared, the mavericks don’t really matter, most will be consumed with little bother.

  • mf_roe

    No need to declare himself, the people that matter to him know his true self just fine.

  • lynchie

    He has no guns to stick to. GOP knew all along he would cave just as he has done on every other issue that required a President to stand up and face the nation and be strong. His cave on gun control was a perfect example of not having the guts to do the right thing regardless of what 4.5 million NRA members want. Why doesn’t he just declare himself ans republican and get it over with.

  • lynchie

    No one will read a real letter so we can pretend just like O pretends to represent the left.

  • lynchie

    This is all designed to make you feel better since goiing off the cliff was about the stock market not what they cared for the middle class and poor. SS has been a topic of conversation for 4 years now it is coming and it will be a lot worse that you imagine.

  • lynchie

    No I can feel it going into my back between the 2nd and 3rd rib. Fuckers are using a rusted, dull knife.

  • condew

    A great deal will be accomplished in Obama’s second term; none of it good. Social Security and Medicare will become as much a fantasy as this letter.

  • condew

    It’s after the election. We all know that only candidate Obama listens to his supporters, but he’s gone forever. Now we are stuck with President Obama, who throws everyone who supported him under the bus. Not that Romney wouldn’t be worse; but we do not have a friend in the White House.

  • MichaelS

    OF COURSE GP’s post is pure fantasy — he even calls it “pretend-Obama”. GP is not naive at all about how the Repugs have gamed Obama (or perhaps, how Obama has gamed us). My point is that we’re being naive if we think, as the previous post asserted, that we WON’T be held hostage in two months, and that precedents mean anything to this gang of political terrorists.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Seriously, yes: If you have Democratic Representatives in the House, call them and tell their staffers their bosses should oppose the bill because it’s anti-progressive and trades permanent changes favoring the rich in the tax code for short-term anemic concessions for the poor and middle class. Remind them that their presidential candidate ran on a $250k threshold (which is still too high), not nearly half a million bucks a year. (Exaggeration, sure, but what the heck.)

    If you have a GOP Representative, use Tea Bagger talking points about holding the line on tax increases, deficits, socialism or whatever.

    Why do this? Because in case you haven’t noticed, the proposals have gotten steadily less awful with each passing week. At present, there’s no increase in Social Security or Medicare eligibility ages, nor chained-CPI on SS pensions.

  • mf_roe

    Rule of Law, how quaint. We are ruled by privilege and you have NONE. All that is happening is “calming the victim” pretending to protect while positioning the knife.

  • perljammer

    Oh, please. If John A’s post was naive, then GP’s post is pure fantasy. Where in the history of the current administration should we look for evidence that anything remotely resembling what he’s suggesting is anything more than a political wet dream?

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    You have my vote, Gaius, but honestly, I think Barack is every bit as complicit in this as Republicans and I hope against hope that he doesn’t give away Social Security.

  • Savage8862

    Perhaps you should be president than the weak-handed one we are now stuck with. I have never seen anyone cave so fast to a party factually known to be obstructionists. Obama says he won’t negotiate for the debt ceiling yet we all know he will and the Republicans know he will. Mark my words here, severe cuts to social security benefits and a rise in the retirement age will be the law of the land in two to three months depending on how long Obama wants to drag out the inevitable.Also there will be severe cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as well thrown in – just because Obama wants that bi-partisan deal. My hats off to the Repubicans for this big win and gthe bigger win in the next two to three months with the debt ceiling.

  • CaProgressive

    A “pretend letter” is all you’ve got?

  • MichaelS

    THANK YOU, GP! The previous Americablog post about the current negotiated deal is naive, I believe, at best. Once again, BO has given away the shop. OK, not the whole shop this time, only half the shop. But this he has all the advantage — and you’re absolutely right that he’s setting us all up for a DISASTER hostage-taking in two more months.

    The markets won’t react positively to this current deal… Once they see that another hostage-taking will occur in two months, they’re going to be VERY skittish until that deadline passes. And with good reason.

  • SoLeftImRight

    If only your pretend letter were real. I love it. It’s what the president should be doing, and being very public about it. I don’t understand why he doesn’t realize he has a mandate, and the public backs up the sort of stance you are proposing. Cheers, GP!

  • douglas01

    They are still playing games and I’m really pissed that Obama did not stick to his guns. He caved and now the GOP knows he will cave, nothing will be accomplished during the 2nd term.

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