Senator Bernie Sanders Takes a Stand on President Obama’s Tax Cut Compromise

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

The “Berniebuster” begins:

 

Keith Olbermann on the “Bernieniebuster” and some of the Senator’s major concerns about the proposed tax cut compromise:

Bernie Sanders on greed:

 Bernie Sanders concludes:

 Senator Sanders Statement on the Tax Cut Deal

24 thoughts on “Senator Bernie Sanders Takes a Stand on President Obama’s Tax Cut Compromise”

  1. Communists are thieves. They believe other peoples money belongs to them to do what they will with it.

    Thievery should never be dressed up as a virtue.

  2. Filibuster’s are only for Teapublicans! I jest, but for some reason, the Dems and in Sen. Sander’s case, the Independents don’t believe in fighting fire with fire. I hope he does filibuster it!

  3. While I respect Senator Sanders I must also ask the rhetorical question the better half asked as we watched an excerpt of the Senator’s speech: “If he’s serious why doesn’t he just put a ‘hold’ on the bill?”

    Any Senator could kill the eventual bill and any subsequent bill. A filibuster of a bill that isn’t even on the floor isn’t serious, it’s theatre.

  4. Elaine,
    Thanks for that Robert Reich article. I don’t care if the Pope says that this tax “deal” is a good one, it sucks. 98% of the country loses in this deal. I am bad at math and even I can figure this one out.

  5. Buddha,

    If this were an army where everyone was bound to follow the commander’s orders I’d agree with you but I think your statement presupposes a unity amongst the Democrats which clearly does not exist in our current political environment. Also, I think that the corruption is individual and systemic rather than institutional – in other words, I don’t think the Democrats and Republicans (as a whole) are corrupt, I think that some (not most) individuals are corrupt and that much of the corruption is due to how the system is set up (and can not be removed without somehow changing the system). To me, the root of the problem is that now, in addition to high information voters and low information voters, we have a much larger segment than ever before of false information voters. The rise of false information voters has led to the election of more people under false pretenses (which means, among other things, that they are more likely to be corrupt) and that this results in the destabilization of our political system.

  6. From Huffington Post:

    Why Bill Clinton’s Favorable View of Obama’s Tax Deal Should Be Disregarded
    By Robert Reich
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/why-bill-clintons-favorab_b_795405.html

    Excerpt:
    Bill Clinton seems the perfect validator for Barack Obama — which is why the president is utilizing the former president for selling his tax deal. After all, the economy boomed when Clinton was president and 22 million net new jobs were created. From a more narrow political perspective — and this is important to Democrats in Washington — Bill Clinton was reelected, even though he lost both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterms.

    But the analogy falls apart as soon as you realize Clinton’s economy was vastly different from Obama’s. The recession Clinton inherited was relatively small, and caused by the Fed raising interest rates too high to ward off inflation. So it could be reversed by the Fed lowering interest rates — as the Fed did in 1994. By 1995, the so-called “jobless recovery” had morphed into a full-blown jobs recovery. By 1996, at pollster Dick Morris’s urging, Clinton could proclaim to the American people “you’ve never had it so good, and you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

    The Great Recession has been far larger, caused not by the Fed raising interest rates but by the bursting of a giant housing bubble. In 2008, the biggest asset of most middle-class people, upon which they borrowed and that they assumed would be their nest eggs for retirement, collapsed. Housing prices continue to fall in most parts of the country. The Fed has lowered interest rates all it can, and unemployment remains sky high.

    Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom engineered by Fed chair Alan Greenspan, who felt confident he could drop interest rates far lower than anyone expected without risking inflation. The result was 4 percent unemployment in many parts of America, as well as the best jobs recovery in history.

    The price Greenspan exacted from Clinton — and a resurgent Republican congress demanded — was a balanced budget. As a result, Clinton had to give up much of his “investment agenda” in education, infrastructure, and other long-neglected means of building the productivity of average working Americans. The economy enjoyed a huge cyclical recovery.

    But the economy’s underlying structure remained as it had been before, including stagnant wages for most Americans. Within a few years the middle and working class was treating their homes as ATMs, borrowing trillions of dollars in order to maintain their standard of living, and at the same time demand enough goods and services to keep almost everyone in jobs.

    Those days are over. The Democratic Party can no longer ignore critical investments in the productivity of average workers. Nor can it ignore the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the very top, and the inability of America’s middle and working class to get the economy moving again.

  7. eniobob,
    You are right that the lying about jobs has convinced the media that jobs will be created if the rich are just given their tax gift. The Bush regime lost millions of jobs. I repeat, millions of jobs after giving the wealthy their gifts. I call it Bush’s Gift to the Wealthy Maji!

  8. Slarti,

    I think the Republicans have behaved in a despicable manner. It seems they only care about the wealthy of America–not the working and middle class.

    *****

    eniobob,

    “I am surprised that the point wasn’t brought out that the tax cuts have been in place all these years and haven’t produce anything that they were supposed to,as far as jobs.”

    My husband and I have discussed this. What’s wrong with members of the press. Why don’t they “press” Republicans on that very thing???

  9. I am surprised that the point wasn’t brought out that the tax cuts have been in place all these years and haven’t produce anything that they were supposed to,as far as jobs.

    Well the trips to outer space are a little beyond my reach to,so I guess we have to get ready for the feeding frenzy of confusion and misinformation that’s waiting for us,in another few weeks.

  10. Slarti,

    I have to go with Elaine on this one. It wasn’t a tactical misstep. If it was, it was a tactical misstep on par with Hitler’s or Napoleon’s decisions to attack Russia in winter. It wasn’t obstructionism. They had the majority. It was capitulation out of the same venal self-interest the Republicans operate under on a daily basis. They didn’t want to loose their rich backers. Plain and simple. They sold out 99% of America to kiss 1%’s ass.

  11. Elaine said:

    If a party that holds a majority in the House and the Senate and has the White House can’t get a better deal–then that party and its leader have made more than a tactical mistake.

    Or the opposition party has demonstrated an unprecedented level of obstructionism…

    The Democrats may have behaved like, well…, Democrats, but the Republicans have clearly, openly, and repeatedly put their political fortunes ahead of the good of the country.

  12. If a party that holds a majority in the House and the Senate and has the White House can’t get a better deal–then that party and its leader have made more than a tactical mistake.

  13. Elaine,

    You are absolutely right that we need to know the details, but in my mind (if I were to vote on it) the most important questions are:

    1) Can we get a better deal?

    and

    2) Is this better than nothing?

    I think that the answer to these questions are no and yes, respectively, but I hope the takeaway for the Democrats is that they made a tactical mistake by their cowardice in not voting on this before the election…

  14. Slarti,

    I think we need to know all the details of the tax compromise. Evidently, individuals making under $20,000 and families making under $40,000 a year will see their taxes go up.

    You’ll Never Guess Whose Taxes Are Going To Go Up Because Of The Tax Cut ‘Compromise’
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/tax-cut-compromise-whose-taxes-rise_n_793572.html

    *****
    No provisions have been made for people who have already exhausted their unemployment benefits.

    *****
    Should our government borrow more money so extremely wealthy people can pay less in taxes?

    *****
    One excerpt from the Full Congressional Record Transcript of Sanders Filibuster regarding Social Security:
    http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=e35eddb4-0d83-4c55-92c0-e448c55526ff

    Third–and this is a very important point that I think has not yet gotten the attention it deserves–this agreement contains a payroll tax holiday which would cut $120 billion from Social Security payroll taxes for workers. There are a lot of folks out there who say: This is pretty good. I am a worker, my contribution will go from 6.2 percent today down to 4.2 percent. I will have more money in my paycheck. It is a good idea.

    Let’s take a deep breath and let’s think about it for a second and understand what this whole thing is about. This payroll tax holiday concept, as I understand it, originally started with conservative Republicans. I know the Vice President recently made the point this was originally a Republican idea. Why did the Republicans come up with this idea? These are exactly the same people who do not believe in Social Security. These are the same people who either want to make significant cuts in Social Security or else they want to privatize Social Security entirely. Here is the point: They understand that if we divert funding that is supposed to go into the Social Security trust fund, which is what this payroll tax holiday does, this is money that goes into the Social Security trust fund that is now being diverted, cut back, in order to provide financial support for workers–but that is a lot of money not going into the trust fund.

    What the President and others are saying is not to worry because that money will be covered by the general fund. That is a very bad and dangerous precedent. Up until now, what Social Security has been about is 100 percent funding from payroll contributions, not from the general tax base. Once again, this is a 1-year program. The loss of revenue going into Social Security can be covered by the general fund. But we have a $13 trillion national debt. How much longer will the general fund put money into Social Security? Is it a good idea for the general fund to be doing that?

    I would argue this is not a good idea. This is a very dangerous step forward for those of us who believe in Social Security. But this is not just Bernie Sanders saying this. One of the more effective and I think important senior groups in America is called the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. I don’t know exactly how many but they have many members all over this country. I know they are active in the State of Vermont. I want to read to you from a press release they sent out the other day. This is the headline on it, from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare: “Cutting Contributions to Social Security Signals the Beginning of the End. Payroll Tax Holiday Is Anything But.”

    This is what they say. This comes from Barbara Kennelly. Barbara came from the House of Representatives. I have known her for years. She is now the president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, one of the strong senior groups in the country.

    Even though Social Security contributed nothing to the current economic crisis, it has been bartered in a deal that provides deficit-busting tax cuts for the wealthy. Diverting $120 billion in Social Security contributions for a so-called “tax holiday” may sound like a good deal for workers now, but it’s bad business for the program that a majority of middle-class seniors will rely upon in the future.

    That is what the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare says about that agreement and I agree with them. For all of us who understand that Social Security is life and death for tens of millions of Americans today and will be vitally important for working people as they reach retirement age, it is important that we understand that Social Security has done a great job. A few minutes ago the Presiding Officer was on the floor talking about the strong work that our Federal employees do, and he is absolutely right. Sometimes we also take for granted that Social Security has been an enormous success. It has done exactly what those people who created it have wanted it to do–nothing more, nothing less. It has succeeded. It has taken millions of seniors out of poverty and given them an element of security. It has also helped people with disabilities maintain their dignity. Widows and orphans are also getting help.

    For 75 years it has worked well. It has a $2.6 trillion surplus today and it can pay out benefits for the next 29 years. It is strong. We want to make it stronger. This payroll tax holiday I am afraid is a step very much in the wrong direction and that is one of the important reasons why this agreement between the President and the Republicans should be defeated.

  15. While I applaud Senator Sanders effort (we need 99 more like him in the Senate), I agree with Eugene Robinson – due to mistakes made by the Democrats on this issue, this is probably the best deal that they can get (and as Jill pointed out, the extension of unemployment is not something that we can afford to give up as it is the most stimulative form of spending available).

  16. As others have pointed out, the president is acting as if he were the legislature. He did the same thing with health insurance company relief act. We are supposed to have a legislature that makes our laws which the president either signs or vetoes. Here he is refusing to even reach across the aisle to Democrats, actively standing in the way of them doing their job. So I am very happy to see some Democrats opposing this deal. They should.

    The wealthy cannot only afford these tax payments, paying them will help all of our society, both in the long and short term. What cannot be traded out is unemployment compensation. If I take the heartless view that I really don’t care about other people starving and only focus on the economic benefit of UI, I would still vote for it. Every dollar of UI means two extra dollars into the economy. I will also link below to a completely heartless analysis of the tax cuts. There will be no humanitarian issues such as social justice raised in this discussion. It will simply be a factual analysis of what tax cuts to the wealthy actually mean in our economy.

    http://www.hereandnow.org/2010/12/09/income-inequality

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