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Today St. Luis Public radio KWMU broadcast our Missouri senatorial delegation’s somewhat muddled thoughts on the President’s proposed tax deal.

Claire McCaskill, as usual, says as little as possible as deliberatively as possible:

So, I’m gonna continue to drill down and look at it very carefully, make sure that what we are doing is very stimulative. Frankly, that extra bonus for the multimillionaires, that’s not very stimulative. If it were stimulative we would have had a lot of jobs created the last decade and we haven’t.

Let’s see … McCaskill’s going to have to “drill down” to figure out how stimulative giving a hundred thousand dollar minimum tax break to each American millionaire might be? Somebody should acquaint her with the fact that economists are already on the record that there’s little stimulus to be found in that quarter. It’s actually common knowledge, which is why the Republican rhetoric is so hilarious and will cost them dearly in the long run. And why isn’t she worried abut the effect on the deficit? This is a woman who opposed a program proven to be  stimulative, the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, because it wouldn’t be “fiscally prudent.”

Kit Bond, on the other hand, sleepwalks it in:

And I expect if this bill goes through it is going to generate the jobs. And I think it is simple economics 101 and I am disappointed that some people don’t understand that. No jobs are created by raising taxes.

Glad to know that Kit’s got those expectations. Not likely to be realized though; as those of us who actually took economics 101 know, the relationship of tax policy to economic growth is just a little more complex than he realizes. Ample evidence exists that tax cuts don’t always create jobs – if they did, the Bush tax cuts would have done so over the ten years they were in force. Instead, after years of lack-luster performance, we are in a employment crisis.    

Interesting fact: Missouri has 55,000 households that earn over $200,000. It has around 280,000 unemployed. Whose spending do you think is going to do the most for the economy? Believe me, those 55,000 aren’t going to do that much to provide an alternative for the 280,000 who need jobs – real stimulus is the only thing that will do it.

Interesting question: Who are McCaskill and Bond working for? The 55,000 households that would see their tax on income over $250,000 increase? Or those of us who muddle along – including the 280,000 who won’t muddle along too much longer without continued unemployment subsidies. How much longer will we put up with pols who would even consider holding the welfare of the majority hostage to the welfare of their wealthy pals.

Later thoughts …. Reading this over, I am not sure that I made it clear that I think the problem is that our Senators are seriously considering a deficit-busting deal that would give away $133 billion in tax breaks to 4.8 million people on the GOP side, as opposed to $214 billion in tax breaks and other provisions to benefit 156 million people on Obama’s side. It costs too much for the amount of stimulus it will provide, it’s unfair to the working poor, and there are too many risky elements – setting a precedent for raiding Social Security payroll taxes, for one.

An elegant solution: let all the tax cuts expire, come back in 2011 and introduce legislation for a middle class tax cut and let the GOP oppose that if they dare! The only issue that gives me any pause when I consider this suggestion is that of the unemployment benefits extension, but I truly believe that if they were willing to fight, the Democrats could get benefits extended for a lot less cost.