November 3, 2007

LOSING NEVER GETS OLD FOR THIS CROWD:

Mukasey all but a shoo-in for approval: Two Democrats on the judiciary panel express concerns but say they will vote to confirm him as attorney general (Richard B. Schmitt, November 3, 2007, LA Times)

Michael B. Mukasey appeared on Friday to be all but assured of becoming the nation's 81st attorney general when two Senate Democrats broke ranks and said they would support the retired federal judge to head the Justice Department.

While acknowledging serious concerns about his views on interrogation techniques, Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles E. Schumer of New York said they would vote to confirm Mukasey when the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up his nomination to succeed Alberto R. Gonzales on Tuesday.

In separate statements Friday afternoon, the lawmakers praised the 66-year-old New Yorker for his legal heft and independence and said they believed he would be a powerful antidote for the Justice Department, still reeling from Gonzales' two-year, politically charged tenure.


Senate Democrats Facing a ‘Pay as You Go’ Problem (EDMUND L. ANDREWS, 11/03/07, NY Times)
Senate Democrats face an agonizing choice in the days ahead: find a way to raise at least $50 billion in new taxes, or undermine their most important rule for enforcing budget discipline.

With the end of the year fast approaching, Congress has to pass another one-year fix to prevent the alternative minimum tax — a tax originally created to make sure millionaires paid income taxes — from engulfing about 23 million households with incomes as low as $50,000.

Democrats and Republicans alike want to prevent that increase, just as they have in the past, but the one-year cost has ballooned and Democratic “pay as you go” rules now require Congress to make up for the lost revenue.


Posted by Orrin Judd at November 3, 2007 8:33 AM
Comments

Senate Democrats face an agonizing choice in the days ahead: find a way to raise at least $50 billion in new taxes, or undermine their most important rule for enforcing budget discipline.

I know it's crazy, but couldn't they also cut spending by $50 billion? Or do their "paygo" rules only apply to taxes, but spending can always be increased?

Posted by: John Thacker at November 3, 2007 10:56 AM

There actually are glimmers of light on the issue of taxation. To start, Americans are generally very negative on new taxes and skeptical precisely because of experiences such as the alternative minimum tax. AMT, which began in the 1960s to target a few rich folks, now is hitting millions of Americans.

The second point is that more and more people are asking what effect will a given tax increase have on economic growth. The economy is growing, tax revenues are growing without an increase in tax rates and people are starting to make this connection -- encourage growth and we will all have more money to address the problems we face.

Finally, there is a growing understanding that corporate taxation is a competitiveness issue. Our corporate tax rates are high compared to many other developed countries.

In terms of spending, our democratic system is not very good at holding spending down, although the past year has been pretty good because spending grew about 2.7%, which is approximately the rate of inflation.

It should be an interesting time, but I actually have a bit of optimism that our leaders in Washington may actually do the right thing for once.

Posted by: Kurt Brouwer at November 3, 2007 12:08 PM

taxes are too low for most folks to care much.

Posted by: oj at November 3, 2007 2:33 PM
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