Tax Cuts For The Rich Painful Cuts For The Rest

Dave Johnson

Already passed by the Senate, the House probably votes today (late addition — maybe not) on extending the tax cuts for the rich and permanently cutting the estate tax to a very, very low level.

It is hard to convey just how dispiriting this is to progressives who worked so hard to reach and persuade people and get them to the polls in 2008 to vote for “change.” The “change” was not supposed to be about giving even more breaks to the wealthy and big corporations while doing less for the rest of us. This came at us out of the blue. Let’s start now getting ready for the next fight so we’re not totally on the defensive.

The Congress is ready to pass tax cuts for the wealthy, and the President not only will sign it; it was his deal! (?) But just two weeks ago we were not talking about tax cuts for the wealthy; we were all engaged in the fight to stop the gutting of Social Security, the middle class and the poor in the name of doing something about budget deficits.

Two Weeks From Deficit Panic To Deficit Increase

Think about the contrast. Just two weeks passed between an urgent national panic about deficits and the Congress passing huge tax cuts for the wealthy, adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit. Well, maybe not a complete contrast, because Social Security was on the line in the deficit battle and also in this tax cut deal, through a back door.

And a few weeks before all of this, we all suffered through that mass attack of ads in an election funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from “anonymous.” How many nasty smear-ads did you see, talking about how socialist Democrats want government health care and “cut $500 million from Medicare?” Guess who the “anonymous” money was from. If you think it was really from people who want to prevent cuts to Medicare, well …

The Congress elected by that “anonymous” money and those ads isn’t even in office yet, yet we already watch as huge tax cuts for the rich are passed into law.

The Netroots Fought

The Netroots organized a fight on this. The blogs rallied opposition. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee was able to get ads on the air. The House Progressive Caucus rallied on the side of We, the People. But it wasn’t enough, and it was a defensive fight after tax cuts for the rich were suddenly thrown at us from our own side, of all things.

There are worse fights coming. Let’s get ahead of this. Let’s start now to reach a wider audience than just our online community. That online community is millions of people, but it is not enough.

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