Monday, December 6, 2010

Who Has to Pay: Millionaires or the Unemployed?

Very interesting. Just read both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal articles on Washington's big pow wow this weekend, which basically covered two fronts: 1) Extending the $700 billion tax cuts for all Americans, including the top 1% who are millionaires/billionaires; and 2) extending unemployment benefits for the rest of us.

Curiously, the Republicans insist that the $700 billion bite taken out of our Treasury doesn't need offsetting spending cuts (read: schools, highways, libraries, police, firemen, etc.) while unemployment benefits do need offsetting spending cuts.

Quoting the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, on "Meet the Press" yesterday:

[And] Mr. McConnell acknowledged that there would be a continuation of jobless aid for the long-term unemployed, though he reiterated the Republican contention that the cost should be offset with reductions in spending elsewhere.

"I think we will extend unemployment compensation," he said. "We've had some very vigorous debates in the Senate. Not about whether to do it but whether to pay for it as opposed to adding it to the deficit. All of those discussions are still under way."

My question to Mr. McConnell is, do you only care about the deficit in terms of the lower 99%? Who pays for the $700 billion? What offsets the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts?

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