Once again at the 12th hour a deal is reached. Over the next several days we will get more details on this deal. Here’s what I think that we have:
Bush tax cuts: The deal would extend all of the Bush tax cuts for incomes below $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families, while reinstating the Clinton-era 39.6 percent tax rate for income above those thresholds. It will also push the capital gains rate on investment income back to 20 percent for income above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families. President Obama had asked for an extension of rates only for incomes below $250,000.
Stimulus tax credits: Three tax credits expanded as part of the stimulus will be extended for one year as part of the compromise. The America’s Opportunity Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit collectively benefitnearly 20 million Americans each year, and extending them was a priority for Obama and Democrats. Republicans allowed all three to expire in tax legislation earlier this year. (more…)
Here is Jon Stewart’s closing speech at his Rally to Restore Sanity. (As I mentioned in my comments earlier today, on this blog, I will insist on a reasonable discussion. I’m happy to discuss the issues with anybody. I will not put up with name calling. It just isn’t necessary. As a matter fact, it is unnecessarily inflammatory. Therefore, certain comments may mysteriously disappear if I don’t think they’re civil. I’m happy to have people disagree with me and others on this blog. It has been said before that it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. I appreciate everyone who reads my blog. I’ve now been doing this for over five years. In the early days, the blog was awful. I’m hoping that I’ve gotten much better. I enjoy the comments and the banter and I look forward to another five years. Again, I appreciate everyone who follows Where’s the Outrage?)
The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker–and, perhaps, eczema. And yet… I feel good. Strangely, calmly, good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us, through a funhouse mirror–and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist, and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead, and an ass shaped like a month-old pumpkin, and one eyeball.
So why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle, to a pumpkin-assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable–why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution, and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?
We hear every damned day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done. The truth is, we do! We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don’t is here (in Washington) or on cable TV!
But Americans don’t live here, or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done–not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.
Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do! But they do it. Impossible things, every day, that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make. (more…)