Monday, July 31, 2006

Fooling the Voters - New York Times

Fooling the Voters - New York Times: "July 31, 2006
Fooling the Voters
The two bills passed by the House last Friday and Saturday reflect a single Republican electoral strategy. Representatives want to appear to have accomplished something when they face voters during their five-week summer break, which starts today, and at the same time keep campaign donations flowing from special-interest constituents who are well aware that a great deal was left to do.
One of the bills was a pension reform measure. The other was a grab bag that contains three main items: an extension of the expired tax credit for corporate research; a $2.10 an hour increase in the minimum wage, to be phased in over three years; and a multibillion-dollar estate-tax cut. That�s the deal House Republicans are really offering � a few more dollars for 6.6 million working Americans; billions more for some 8,000 of the wealthiest families.
It is cynical in the extreme. Extending the research tax credit is noncontroversial, yet pressing. A minimum wage increase is compelling � morally, politically and financially � but Republicans generally oppose it. And the estate-tax cut has already failed to pass the Senate twice this summer. So House Republicans linked it to the research credit and the minimum wage, hoping to flip a handful of senators from both parties who have voted against estate-tax cuts in the past. Democrats who vote against the estate tax, Republicans think, can be painted as voting against a higher minimum wage.
This is an attempt at extortion. There is no way to justify providing yet another enormous tax shelter to the nation�s wealthiest heirs in the face of huge budget deficits, growing income inequality and looming government obligations"

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