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Posts tagged with "taxes"

Jan 2

Avoiding the Cliff

In a rare show of bipartisanship, a reluctant House of Representatives yesterday went along with the Senate and passed legislation designed to avert the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and budget cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 1. The compromise legislation raises taxes on Americans making more than $400,000, extends unemployment insurance and buys Congress more time to address deep spending cuts.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the No. 2 man in the House, said in a prepared statement, “Today the members of the House of Representatives chose to put the best interests of the nation ahead of our own narrow self-interests. That will never happen again on my watch.”

Angry rank-and-file Republicans, many of whom held their noses and voted to support the bill, passed earlier by the Senate, echoed Mr. Cantor’s sentiments.

Rep. John Campbell of California said, “Today the American people, not the politicians and not the special interests who fund our campaigns, are the real winners. It’s sickening. I don’t know how I’m going to explain this to the wealthy contributors who rightly expect us turn the entire national treasury over to them.”

Mr. Cantor added, “At least we still have the debt ceiling to fight over. We can look forward to bringing the government into default and destroying our credit rating in a few weeks. There’s still ample opportunity to derail this recovery and throw America into recession again if we play our cards right. As soon as the new members are sworn in, we can get down to the business of making the 113th Congress even more lame than the 112th. This isn’t over. Not by a long shot.”

Nov 9

Takers

My neighbors David and Barbara are intelligent, witty and charming people of the extreme right-wing persuasion. They’re wonderful neighbors, pleasant, kind and generous. He’s 89 and she’s perhaps a year or two older. He just had a hip replacement, and she was hospitalized recently, as well. They shared a hospital room for several weeks while rehabilitating, which is kind of romantic, in its own weird way.

I spoke to David the day after the election, and he was mildly distraught over the outcome. He thinks Obama is a crook and assumes the president will raise his taxes. He hates paying taxes so that other people will get benefits they didn’t earn and don’t deserve. This is a staple, of course, of Tea Party thinking, that there are earners and there are takers, and the earners shouldn’t be forced to give up what they’ve earned so that the takers can live off it.

In the same conversation, he marveled at how much he and his wife had received from Medicare. He was certain that the medical services they had just received exceeded the amount he had put into the system. I couldn’t help needling him. “So, you like socialized medicine, then?” 

What amazes me most about this whole strain of political thinking is the disconnect. Somehow, it doesn’t bother my neighbor that his neighbors are paying taxes for his health care, but it annoys him mightily that he might have to pay for his neighbors’ unemployment benefits. If he were alone in thinking that way, we might conclude that my wonderful neighbor is a sociopath, but he represents an alarmingly large and vocal percentage of the population. Fortunately, not quite large enough to have won the election.