• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Where’s the Tax Bill?

    A developing problem with this secret compromise among leaders in the House, Senate and White House with regard to extending tax cuts for all is the fact that nobody has seen the agreement. Where is it? Why can’t the American people see it? We have read news reports about what is in the agreement, yet we don’t have a copy of it.

    I just called sources in the Senate, and they tell me that rank-and-file Members of the Senate have not seen a copy of the compromise. Senator Jon Kyl (R–AZ) told National Review Online yesterday that the tax deal could be taken up “as early as tomorrow.” Politico reported yesterday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said “I’m hoping that in the next day or two that we can be on that.  In the meantime, we’re going to try to work through the other things that we have.”  This bill could be on the Senate floor later today.

    When are we the people going to be allowed to see this deal cut by elites? When are other Senators going to see the deal? Most likely it will be the moment the legislation hits the Senate floor.

    This belies both parties’ promise of transparency. Both Republicans and Democrats have complained about procedures that don’t allow 72 hours for Senators and House Members (and the American people) to review bills. It seems that leaders in both the House and Senate are prepared to hold hands and pass this bill without the input of the American people.

    Politico reports that a “few more” tax provisions need to be added to buy votes to get the bill over the 60-vote hurdle of a filibuster:

    But three senior Senate Democratic aides conceded that [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid [D–NV] would ultimately find enough Democrats to break a filibuster, if they are able to add a few more tax proposals targeted as the middle class and as long as Republicans continue to stand behind the deal.

    The Hill reports that Senator Tom Harkin (D–IA) wants the extension of unemployment benefits to be extended even more.

    Harkin would like to see unemployment benefits extended for two years instead of 13 months, as Obama and GOP leaders have agreed. Harkin said the extension of unemployment benefits should mirror the two-year extension of tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest individuals and families.

    Politico also reports that Senator Reid is trying to add online poker gambling to this legislation:

    Reid is trying to use the tax cut package President Barack Obama brokered with Republicans to legalize online poker, POLITICO has learned—a move that could further complicate the deal Obama announced Monday.

    What else is on the table to be added to the bill? We will not know until they are voting on it. Remember Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D–CA) words that “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it”? It looks like the American people will find out what is in the bill well after it is signed into law.

    Yesterday, the House passed a rules change (215-194) on something called “Marshall Law.” The House passed H.Res. 1752, the Same Day Consideration Rule. This rule waives all transparency requirements in the House and allow bills to come up in one day, without any hearings, significant debate, or any time to review.

    Here is how this may play out over the next 72 hours.  The Senate is expected to take up an existing tax bill on the Senate calendar. They will strike all the provisions in the bill and then schedule a vote on the complete substitute to that bill. Senators Bernie Sanders (I–VT) and Jim DeMint (R–SC) have pledged to filibuster the bill; therefore this may extend the amount of time that the amendment is considered on the Senate floor. If the Senate passes the bill, then it is sent to the House. With Marshall Law adopted in the House, House leadership can pass that bill in one day. It is possible that this radical change in tax law could be on the President’s desk by Friday or Saturday.

    Whether you are for this plan or against it as reported in the press, it is an outrage that House and Senate elites are trying to pass it without the participation of the American people. Even though Obamacare did contain many provisions that were inserted into the bill at the last minute, the American people were allowed to debate and participate in that process for several months. We just found out about the Obama tax deal this week, yet some in the Senate want to vote on it before the end of the week.

    This act by Congress would violate transparency promises and the idea that the American people have a right to participate in the legislative process. This process needs to be slowed so that average Americans can grant consent to their elected officials to move forward with this package of tax items, which reportedly approaches a scored cost to the federal government of about $900 billion.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Where’s the Tax Bill?

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      I say scrap the bill. As usual, the federal government is out of control. The example of this legislation shows that congress has not learned the lessons of the election. If this passes it is directly against the will of the people. How can a tax rate extension end up putting the country ever deeper into debt? It is supposed to spawn more economic energy. I do not see this bill doing that.

      If we wanted real reform, let’s ask this question. What would happen if we got rid of half of the federal workforce?

      I will use the $123,000 average pay a federal employee gets and the latest estimate of nearly 2.7 million federal employees.

      The savings – if not redirected elsewhere in the budget would be a staggering $166 billion each year. This means America would keep $166 billion rather than send it to the District of Columbia to be wasted. And we are not talking about the periphery of additional cost savings to the American people by such a dramatic reduction (free Metro fares, free education, free in-building child care, reduced office space, etc..)

      The percentage of taxpayers to the total population is about 36%, meaning there are 114 million taxpaying households. This means each taxpayer would keep an average of about $1,500. A small state like Vermont has a population of 621,760. Vermont is in an economic hardship. The state employees have had to accept a 3% reduction in their pay. Vermonters are sacrificing. If we apply that percent to the Vermont population, the taxpaying population can be estimated as 228,647. With that population keeping an average of $1,500, the Vermont economy would gain about $340 million dollars. In April, VT had an unemployment of 23,000 people. If that $340 million were spread over these people, they could earn about $15,000 each. Not a lot, but it does illustrate that if VT had an additional $340 floating around the unemployed people could almost disappear as there would be enough money in the market to support most of them having a job. All by the virtues of the free market and not the government. The cascading effects would provide an additional needed godsend to the state. The state could almost eliminate the heavy cost of welfare and unemployment to the taxpayers. This in turn could be kept by the VT taxpayer which in turn can be used to employ even more people.

      To further illustrate the benefits of having this money floating around in the economy and not DC, I will use the economy of my small home town of Cabot, VT (pop. 1200 +/-). Cabot would gain $648,000 annually. How many decks, home additions, driveway improvements, and new cars would that purchase if the taxpayers living in Cabot were able to keep their $1,500 they earned? Obama would call this stimulus. However, it would not be in the form of a federal check. It would not need a single federal employee to administrate nor would it need oversight. Best of all, it would not be subjected to federal corruption nor redistribution to political friends of the White House. It would simply stay where it belongs – with the people who earned it.

      With all the consuming and building, how many people would pick up jobs? $648,000 would only fund 5 federal employees in the District of Columbia. In Cabot VT, it would employ 16 young eager people at a comfortable starting salary of $40K. These people in turn become taxpayers and consumers and thereby spawning more economic energy.

      There is a wealth divide between the Greater District of Columbia area and the rest of the country. Since 9/11 the Ruling Class in DC has gained an average of 32% in their household incomes. The rest of the nation has gone down by 5%. It is clear that DC has greatly benefitted from the “crisis” that hit our shores nine years ago, and it is now time to end the greed. A 50% cut in the federal workforce – across the board can be absorbed by shifting responsibilities back to the states, privatization, consolidating similar functions, eliminating redundancies and increasing efficiency and outright closing out programs that are no longer needed. The American population has suffered enough and has nothing more to sacrifice. It is time for the federal government to recognize that. They have the resources to do their part. This proposal assumes we keep about 1.4 million federal workers employed. The question is why is this not enough?

      The point here is that the largest argument in eliminating a significant portion of the federal workforce would be a disaster to the economy as it would put over a million people out of work is wrong. More jobs will be created at the local level then lost at the federal level. Rather than the Greater DC area being the only benefactor of the post 9/11 economy as it is right now, the entire nation can get jump started and growth can start once again. Right now, the very expensive federal government has priced itself out of a job and so long as it continues as is, it will continue to hurt the country.

      Serving the nation is supposed to add value out of personal sacrifice. The federal employees and congress have been takers of the public wealth for their personal gain for nine years now. Their very presence is taking value out of the nation. Public service is no longer the altruistic ideal that it has been 20 years ago. Now it is a greedy enterprise of personal gain. It has gone too far and is bankrupting the nation.

    2. Jeff says:

      keeping the current tax rates does not "cost" anything …

    3. Jeff says:

      If your boss told you that next year you would be paid 5% more and then today said that was not going to happen does any rational person think it "costs" you anything ?

      This idea that an ever increasing theoretical "baseline" is the way to measure costs is simply sematic games …

    4. Pingback: Today in Washington - December 9, 2010 | RedState

    5. Pingback: » Financial News Update – 12/9/10 NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

    6. Pingback: Today in Washington – December 9, 2010

    7. Earl, QUEENS, NY says:

      The Democraps seem to be hostage takers!! They’d rather see the unemployed lose benefits and tax hikes on everyone rather than let people keep more of what they earn over $250,000. In reality, there are not enough millionaires or billionaires to pay for the democraps’ addiction to profligate spending. So they have to keep lowering the income level at which you’re considered wealthy. If the democraps really hate the so-called rich so much, why don’t they just raise their own taxes to, say 90% of what they earn over $250,000?? LOL!! These phony rich democraps won’t do that!! Of course they’ll pay the lower Bush era tax cut rates if they pay at all!! We know many democraps are tax cheats who get away with it!! And I’m tired of hearing the class envy game being promoted by democraps. Thou shall not covet, but if you do covet, I say covet the phony rich democraps, who refuse to give up their own wealth. At least Republicans (normally) don’t condemn others for wanting to be successful. And while it’s easy to envy those who have more than you, ask yourself – what good does it do you to see other people’s money confiscated?? It won’t make you any better off. These democraps don’t want to ‘spread wealth around’!! They want to spread poverty and misery around!! If they get their way, only the elite democraps will be wealthy or well off!! And don’t forget how some democraps got rich. Al Gore made millions by peddling the global warming scam. JD Jerk Rockefeller inherited most of his wealth instead of working for it in a real job!! As to the unemployed, they should understand that, were it not for the policies of the democraps in CONgress over the past 2-4 years, the unemployment rate would be far lower, and there’d be no need for all these benefit extensions. Don’t blame the GOP for the millions of jobs lost. Blame the democraps, who will not take responsibility!!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.