Republican tax cuts for the wealthy, to pass with Stabenow’s support

Remember a few days ago, how I told you that I was proud of our Senator, Debbie Stabenow, for standing up for her constituents and vowing to fight against the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich, which haven’t worked to stimulate the economy these past ten years, and which would put our country about another trillion dollars in debt, necessitating drastic cuts to social services? Remember that clip from Rachel Maddow’s show that I shared with you, in which a defiant Stabenow said the following:

We have to be willing to draw a line in the sand and say we aren’t willing to go any farther. And (we need to) be willng to walk away if they’re willing to hold the country hostage, for $700 billion more in debt, for an economic policy that’s going to cost us jobs, I think. I think we need to be willing to walk away.”

Well, guess what?

According to the Detroit Free Press, this afternoon Stabenow joined 82 other Senators in voting for that same proposal that she told us a few days ago was bad for America. (Michigan’s other Senator, Carl Levin, I’m happy to say, voted against the meansure, along with Sanders, Leahy, Feingold, and a handful of others… at least for the time being. In what could be considered related news, Levin also said to the press yesterday that Obama lacks the willingness to fight.)

The following, on this afternoon’s vote, comes from the Washington Post:

President Obama’s tax package easily cleared its first hurdle Monday, with the Senate voting overwhelmingly to move forward with the bill. But the real battle awaits in the House.

The final Senate vote will not be known until at least Monday evening, because the vote is being kept open for several hours to accommodate senators whose travel was delayed by a Midwestern snowstorm. But with about two-thirds of the chamber voting, the measure had passed the 60-vote threshold late Monday afternoon.

The procedural vote clears the way for a final vote Tuesday on the package, which Obama negotiated with Republicans and would prevent tax-rate increases from hitting most American workers starting Jan. 1…

So, start dialing, and let your Congressman or Congresswoman know how you feel. It looks like it’s now in their hands. It’s doubtful that they’ll stop it – House leaders have said as much in the press – but I suppose anything could happen. And we don’t have anything to lose in trying.

Now that we have all the depressing stuff out of the way, here’s a little something to cheer you up – video of Bernie Sanders as he kicked off his 8+ hour speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Friday.

So, here’s a question for you… Who do we have to run against Stabenow the next time she’s up for reelection? Do we have any real Democrats left in Michigan?

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  1. Mike Shecket
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Do you mean real Democrats, or real Democrats who can really win statewide election in Michigan?

  2. Knox
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Everything has shifted so far to the right that the only “real” Democrat we have left is a “Socialist”.

  3. Glen S.
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I still haven’t forgotten that, in July 2008, Stabenow also voted “Yes” on updates to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Security Act (FISA) that gave telecommunications companies “immunity” from prosecution for spying against U.S. citizens. (In contrast, Senator Levin wisely voted “No” on that bill, as well.)

    Definitely time for a primary challenge against Stabenow.

  4. Pete Murdock
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    @Glen S

    And don’t forget that when Stabenow was in the State Legislature she was the deciding vote that brought us Proposition A.

  5. Edward
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Who do we have to go against her? As much as I like Michael Moore, he’s unelectable. And I don’t want to see Feiger in the Senate. Granholm? Seriously, we don’t have a very deep bench in Michigan. Who am I forgetting? Do we have any millionaires in the state that aren’t Republicans, and don’t sell Amway?

  6. Kim
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    A letter from Bernie:

    I want to take this opportunity to thank you very much for contacting my office in opposition to the recent tax deal struck between President Obama and the Republican leadership. Frankly, the response from Vermonters and Americans all across the country was far beyond anything we could have imagined. As of this writing, we received a total of more than 10,000 phone calls and 9,324 e-mails. More than 98 percent of the responses were in opposition.

    In my view, this huge outpouring of concern was not just about this harmful bill. It went deeper than that. It was a cry from the middle class who are deeply worried about the future of our country and where this agreement, and similar type bills, will lead us in the years to come.

    At a time when we have a $13.7 trillion national debt and the most unfair distribution of income in the industrialized world, why are we giving huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires? Is there no end to their greed? And does anyone really believe that this will only be a two-year agreement with no future extensions?

    Why should we be significantly lowering rates on the estate tax when it applies only to the very, very richest people in this country, the top 0.3 percent? The richest 1 percent already owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Isn’t that enough?
    With the American people deeply worried about the future of Social Security, why are we diverting $112 billion from the Social Security trust fund in order to provide a ‘payroll tax holiday?’ Why is a Democratic president adopting this position, which has long been held by Republicans who want to eventually destroy Social Security by choking off its funds? With the Republicans coming to power in the House in a few weeks, why should anyone not think that this ‘one-year’ diversion will be made long-term or permanent? According to one major senior citizen organization, this action could be the beginning of the end for Social Security – the most successful anti-poverty program in the history of the United States.

    It goes without saying that we must extend unemployment benefits for the millions of working families who, in the midst of this terrible recession, are about to see them expire. But why is this considered a ‘concession’ when for the last four decades Democrats and Republicans have always worked together and agreed that benefits must be continued when the unemployment rate is higher than 7.2 percent. This is not a ‘concession’ on the part of the Republicans. This is a continuation of long-held, bipartisan policy.

    In conclusion, I believe that we could have reached and should reach a better agreement that represents the interests of middle class and working families of our country.

    Thank you for your support. Let’s keep working together.

    BERNARD SANDERS United States Senator

  7. Meta
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Al Franken on why he chose to support the bill.

  8. Edward
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    It’s a long shot, but the House could still derail this. Call or write to John Dingel.

    In case he asks, here are the reasons he should oppose.

    The deal has not one but TWO millionaire bailouts. The deal will slash the estate tax, also known as the “Paris Hilton tax.” If Congress did nothing, next year the estate tax would be 55% and apply to everyone inheriting $1 million or more. But the deal reduces it to 35% and only people who inherit more than $5 million will have to pay. This second bailout will give a gigantic tax giveaway to a few thousand of the richest families in the country and add hundreds of billions to the national debt.

    The deal is a stealth attack on Social Security. The deal will lower the payroll tax—the tax that funds the Social Security trust. Republicans have been coming after Social Security for years and this cut is the biggest threat to the vital program in decades. When we need to restore the payroll tax back to its current level, Republicans will cry “tax increases” and could gut it permanently.

    For nearly one in three workers, it’s a tax increase. Nearly 50 million working Americans—including all workers making less than $20,000 per year—and millions of federal, state, and municipal workers will see their taxes go up because of the deal.

  9. Glen S.
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    NYT: “The final vote in the House was 277 to 148 after liberal Democrats failed in one last bid to change an estate-tax provision in the bill that they said was too generous to the wealthiest Americans and that the administration agreed to in a concession to Republicans. The amendment failed, 233 to 194 … Supporting the overall measure were 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans; opposed were 112 Democrats and 36 Republicans.”

    For those keeping track, our own member of Congress, John Dingell, voted “Yes.”

  10. Edward
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    It’s our fault for not holding his feet to the fire on this one. According to nationwide polling, however, over 60% of Americans are behind the compromise. I question that number, though, as I’ve read that over 75% of Americans were against the extension of cuts for the wealthy, but that’s what they’re reporting. People don’t like to think about the future. All they care about is tax cuts today.

  11. Posted December 17, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    The mantra of “tax cuts” has been so ingrained into people’s heads without displaying the negatives of a bankrupted government that people will support anything.

    They should all visit Hamtramck. That’s the future of poor and middle class America.

  12. Glen S.
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I first got involved with politics going door-to-door for Mondale/Ferraro in 1984, when I was still just a kid. Since then, I’ve spent countless hours — and countless dollars — supporting the Democratic Party and dozens of Democratic candidates, including Jesse Jackson, Michael Dukakis, Bill Bradley, Howard Dean, John Kerry, and Barack Obama, etc. I did so because I believed that, in general, the Democratic Party genuinely represented the interests of poor and working people, and the middle class — and was willing to fight for what was right, and what was fair.

    So, naturally, I was thrilled when Obama and the Democrats won the White House and big majorities in Congress in 2008, and very much looked forward to seeing them use the power of their mandate to enact real (and much-needed!) change.

    Instead, however, almost from day one — Obama and the Democrats have allowed Republicans, conservatives, tea-baggers, and Wall Street and corporate lobbyists to set the agenda, define the nature of the debate, and move the ever-elusive political “middle” further and further to the right …

    So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that we have now reached the point where President Obama has promoted, and a majority of Democrats in Congress have supported this disastrous “compromise” with Republicans — which will not only accelerate the massive upward transfer of wealth that has been going on in this country for decades, but also lays the groundwork for the eventual destruction of Social Security. For me, this turn of events represents not just another “vote,” not just another “compromise,” but rather, a dramatic turning point that makes mockery of “Democratic” values and the whole Democratic Party.

    Going forward, I will likely continue to vote for individual candidates (like Senator Carl Levin) who continue to exhibit some degree of integrity, and who are willing to continue to stand up for what is right — but I will certainly no longer actively support the Party, nor consider myself a “Democrat” — whatever that even means anymore.

  13. EOS
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The bill will extend tax cuts for families at every income level, renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and enact a new one-year cut in Social Security taxes that would benefit nearly every worker who earns a wage.

    Now, what is needed is to reduce government spending, to eliminate pork, and to start paying down the debt. Less government and more individual responsibility is the only path to preventing economic collapse.

  14. Glen S.
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    EOS is now parroting the same talking points as Obama and the Democratic leadership.

    I rest my case.

  15. Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Wow, when did EOS become a Democrat?

  16. Glen S.
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Question is, when did Democrats become Republicans?

  17. Kim
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Does everyone agree that Carter was our last Democratic president?

  18. EOS
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, but even more relevant to this topic, I’m not a Socialist or a Communist. I don’t envy the rich, nor do I want the government to confiscate their money. I want the government to stop spending in excess of its revenues and I want the Fed to stop printing money so that my retirement funds and my savings are not eroded by inflation.

  19. lorie thom
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink


    No, Carter was our last real Christian president. I think Clinton was our last Democrat president. Doesn’t mean he was what I wanted him to be, just that he didn’t bend over as much as Mr. Obama has in this situation.

    Obama isn’t communicating well at all with anyone – fellow dems, normal citizenry, senators, political groups and special interests. He better figure it out or this last “deal” is nothing compared to what republicans want to do and that WILL tank the economy.

    EOS…um, have you missed the lack of inflation this year? or last year? just checking.

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