Speakership Has Its Privileges

In other news, a group of 31 Democrats in the House have informed Nancy Pelosi that they want all the 2001 tax cuts extended, not just the ones on incomes under $250,000 per year.

But here’s the thing. I think this is a case where it’s really helpful to be controlling the Speaker’s gavel. Extending the tax cuts for incomes under $250,000 doesn’t rule out extending them later for those over that threshold. There’s obviously a lot of rhetorical gobbledygook in this debate and chances to spin this a million different ways. But voting on an extension for incomes under $250k doesn’t do anything to incomes higher. That’s just a fact. It leaves everything in place.

Republicans can say that’s ‘raising taxes’. But the vote isn’t. It doesn’t do anything one way or another. And Democrats can simply say, ‘Let’s do these now. And the election will determine what happens with the rest.’ That’s not just good politics for the Dems, it’s good civics too. Elections should be about something. And both parties seem intent on fighting the election on the basis of this division. So why not let them? If Republicans win big, they can do it in January. And the Dems who want all the cuts extended can tell voters they’re going to vote for it after the election.

The question is: are they really going to vote against extending the tax cuts for 98% people pre-election? Because it doesn’t include the other 2%. I doubt it.

Late Update: TPM Reader CL points out that I seem to have forgotten the point I myself made only yesterday: that 100% of people who pay income taxes get a cut under the Obama Plan. What Republicans want is even more cuts for people who make over $250k a year. But they get cuts under the Obama Plan just like everyone else.