Bush tax cuts
Other than making a great decision to repeatedly quote CG&G's own Bruce Bartlett, what did Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) actually accomplish with his 9-hour speech against the tax deal this past Friday? Did he...
- Change any votes?
- Force the leadership to change the tax deal so that it was more to his liking?
- Demonstrate enough Democratic disagreement with the deal that the White House felt the need to revise it?
- Demonstrate a new coalition with Republicans that made it clear the deal in doubt?
- Stop the Senate from considering the deal?
- Stop the Senate from considering anything else?
- Make it clear that he was able and willing to stop the debate from occurring by using the tactic again?
The answer to all of the questions above is a resounding no.
Why didn't he actually filibuster and stop everything from proceeding? Yielding the floor on a Friday evening?
Here is Austan Goolsbee explaining the President's rationale for the tax cut deal. My comments are after the break.
Over at the Huffington Post, Sam Stein regards me as skittish about the recent tax deal. Can a broken record really be skittish?
I haven't been skittish about the Bush era tax cuts -- I have been quite clear about wanting them to expire.
I haven't been skittish about the payroll tax holiday -- I have suggested it as part of a green tax swap, offset by other revenues and not as a short-term stimulus measure.
I haven't been skittish about what is conspicuously absent from this deal -- a means of paying for it over the long term and productive investments in public infrastructure that should form the backbone of it.
The person who has been skittish, sad to say, is President Obama. Consider a counterfactual -- imagine that the President had no veto power and was required by the Constitution to sign all pieces of legislation that passed both Houses. How would this tax deal have been any different? How much less could the Democrats have gotten out of it?