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Scrooge Senate Screws People! No Millionaire/Billionaire Left Behind while Franken Calls Out the Big Fat Hypocrits!

[Welcome, C&L readers! And please consider returning tomorrow at 3PM Eastern for one of our continuing series of live blogs, this one with Paul Street. --lambert]

FDL’s David Dayen does a good job covering the Senate’s expected but heart-numbing vote in their Saturday session. Dayen includes Al Franken’s clear, passionate and statistically-backed youtube statements on the awesome hypocrisy of the Republican “austerians.” Worth a listen. The latest Quinnipiac poll, Franken asserts, reported that 65% of Americans wanted this vote, to extend tax rates for those earning $250,000 or less per year. But, what the hey ... the Senate defies not heeds the will of the people. One more time.

The Republicans united along with a small handful of Democrats to block. The vote was 53-36. The Dems who voted no were Jim Webb, Joe Manchin, Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Russ Feingold. (Shit, Russ!)

Most compelling for me was Franken’s calling out the Republican “fig leaf” about how ending tax cuts for the rich will harm “mom and pop stores.” I hear this argument frequently and stubbornly from my conservative friends.

Franken asserts that if the Republicans cared about “mom and pop” operations, they would have supported the Small Business Jobs Act as well as the Hire Act to find jobs for the unemployed. But the Republicans scare tactic is to rally concern among their base for “small businesses” (using spin and technicality) when the businesses they are really protecting are the likes of Bechtel, 1/5 largest company in the US, or the Koch brothers $100 billion company or the Wall Street high flyers, etc., etc., etc.

The vote would have saved, according to Franken, $700 billion. Reducing the deficit was the BIG promise in the recent electioneering. According to Franken these hypocrit-austerians just put an additional $9,300 debt on the head of every child in America. Franken:

According to the Economic Policy Institute during the past 20 years, 56% of all income growth went to the top 1% of households. Even more unbelievably, 1/3 of all income growth went to just the top 1/10th of 1%. The wealthy have done extremely well for themselves over the past 20 years. Unfortunately this is while the Middle Class has done decidedly worse.

Franken wrapping up his statement: “Where are our values????" and later, “... so, I ask my colleagues, what are we doing here????”

We know what they are doing there. They are representing their corporate benefactors and screwing the people, yet again.

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mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

as they were set to. We pay marginal rates remember so there is no such thing as a middle class tax cut. The tax cuts in dollar terms is much better for the wealthy than anyone in the middle class or certainly the working poor. And, the cuts on the first 250k in income also add to the deficit. These are not particularly stimulative cuts. If the Democrats had any interest in really helping the working poor and the middle class there are far better, stimulative tax cuts and credits they could explore.

This is all kabuki anyway. Obama and the Democrats didn't really want to allow a return to Clinton-era taxes, which shows you how far they've fallen.

carissa's picture
Submitted by carissa on

I'm another one for letting them all expire. I did the math a few weeks ago and we can afford the small amount that we would lose weekly.

I'd rather see the country get back on its feet.

On the other hand, when they passed these tax cuts way back when, I knew then that the PTB would never let them go back up.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

Bill Clinton actually raised taxes. All these guys had to do was sit back and let the cuts expire. They didn't have to lift a finger.

carissa's picture
Submitted by carissa on

On the other hand, by insisting that the tax cuts continue for 98% of the tax paying public, the Democrats have accepted the R framing of taxes as a "burden" and let the camel's nose under the tent for extension for all.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

but I have the feeling the party's over in this country. I hate being all doom and gloom, but we've got two more years (at least!) of this congressional baloney with a president who is more than happy to enable it. Plus, no guarantee that it'll get better with the 2012 elections. In fact, it could easily get worse!

Meanwhile, millions of people are jobless, broke and/or homeless (or close to it). How's all this supposed to get fixed? Especially when nothing's going to change any time soon.

Sorry to go all Debbie Downer on you, lib. But it's hard to be optimistic these days.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Wonder how low a bottom the U.S. has to hit. You are right. This won't be a hairpin turn to recovery, and when will the wide turn even begin, with Obama's love addiction to his eternal rejectors and Congress in the pocket of moneyed pimps.

I have argued with the "duped by austerian double-standard" anti-liberals about this Republicans-are-trying-to-save-small-businesses crap. It is a real mantra. The gridlock of group think.

Started to hum the rubber tree plant song. Got any pics of rubber tree plants for plantitode series? MY planti-tude of the day. :)

Submitted by libbyliberal on

and if the ant can move those rubber trees, we -- individual by individual -- can turn the ship of state around. :)

Elegant pic. I love the baby leaf within the leaf. Whole new metaphor born! You are right about the symbolism! Well done.

Love the pup but miss your shining face!

Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

And planning on demonstrating in front of Sander Levin's office 12/12, with signs against the new So Korean "FTA", against extending tax cuts to millionaires while refusing to extend unemployment bennies, against robbing SS to pay banksters, banging pots and pans, and maybe wearing an empty (paper) plate on my head....LOL.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I think the first thing to do now is to call for Obama's resignation. He's been a terrible President and betrays the people who voted for him every day. Let's get Resign Obama! going as a movement.

Hugh keeps the record of Obama scandals. Let's get his site plastered all over the web, and let's call for his resignation now! No waiting for 2012!

Submitted by lambert on

... in the sidebar. (Incidentally, I saw Billy Mitchell using a Fallacy from the Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies the other day, though perhaps that's just POGMs).

If there are several, you could crosspost here, and I'd make them into a book, just like the unemployment posts.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

lets, hugh's list (hugh-awesome job and love the framing of it!) is invaluable and so useful. I am going to group email its link to my Manhattan Greens. Some of us are talking about doing more monthly distributions of green (the color) Green lit each month and becoming more high profile in our protests. Distributing hugh's list and using that as handy Exhibit A re Obama might be effective. Maybe I will print out and bring to next Green's meeting.

Manhattan Greens, some, are supporting NYC teachers and taking on Bloomberg and his appointment of Cathie Black as new chancellor of education. She is pure corporate world. Not only has she not one molecule of education background, but her own kids and herself never even attended public schools. Bloomberg had to get a special waiver even to appoint her as if there were no qualified candidate from the world of educators who could handle the job. Great for morale, Mikey. He plucked a corporate crony and is proud of it. Part of this mayor's arrogant willfulness once again. Anti-union. Corporate rules and cronyism. As he gets ready, my gut tells me, to go on the national stage. If Obama is "quicksand man", Bloomberg is "bulldozer man." Some of his issues I admire, like anti-gun control, etc., but the corporate stuff, and his feeling "above the law" at times being richer than God. But no waffling like Obama and he has money like Ross Perot to not be as beholding. But so tired of ego not empathy and respect for people and law running things in this country.

Re Obama, I feel we need a viable candidate or party to be ready to pick up Obama's slack calling for Obama resignation, not let the Repubs fill his vacuum EVEN MORE!!! And we need a lot of lead time to do it, which means getting to it or the Repubs will gladly take the opportunity to be as votermom says, "strong and wrong!" and seduce any authoritarian followers out there, of which there are sadly many.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

is that Scrooge redeemed himself after he was visited by the Ghosts. I bet we all agree that the prospects of the Senate giving us a happy ending are extremely low. They seem all too happy to keep flogging the Bob Cratchetts and Tiny Tims of the world.

Lets -- I'm on board with resignation, but what then? We really don't have a great pipeline of liberal candidates with realistic chances at top-level office any time soon. I know many (here) recoil at the very idea that Clinton could be a left-leaning option, but regardless, she's not running any time soon (if ever). She's the only one with the support and the fundraising chops.

That's what happens when you turn a political party into a cult of personality -- everything focuses on the "savior" personality and no effort goes to building the structure and bringing potential candidates along through the system. (not that the current Dem structure would support any sort of progressive pipeline even if it were attending to party-building, but they're not even doing that).

At the end of the day, I think Ian has it right, that liberals need to repudiate Obama and be seen to do that very prominently. But the actual end result -- dump him, call for resignation, refuse to vote for him if he runs again -- isn't all that important. We either get Bush III for another term, or his Republican clone, in 2012. We can build toward 3d parties or push for alternate organizing regardless who we end up with.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

senate, unrecovered Scrooge status, sadly.

I think pushing the Green party or a hybrid as montanamaven suggests, Green-Labor, for example, rather than an individual Dem candidate, since there are so few though Franken above pleased me Saturday so (and as val says, trap of personality cult--principles above pesonality), is risky, granted, but worth it, since both war/money parties are so saturated with corruption and incapable of draining the swamp (though am sure the Dems will point to Rangel as their taking a stand ... a lot deeper swamp muck they are NOT dealing with ... and the media is just as swamp-murky as the political parties). The citizens must build a non-swamp higher moral ground by realing becoming elbows deep in pro-action now. And also call out the moral swamps of our faux reps and especially the craven media. Our drumbeat should be real MORALITY not sentimentalized jingoism or hypocritical and minimizing rhetoric! THERE HAS BEEN A GLOBAL CLASS WAR, and the minority rich ruling class are winning. IT IS A WAR ON EMPATHY. And we need to call it out and raise the consciousness among its targets. We want to survive this war and fight back, not be and have our children and their children, etc., become and remain its forever victims!