Last week I noted that no members of the Missouri Democratic House delegation had signed onto a letter to Speaker Pelosi from Blue-Dog Democrats in the House who are in favor of extending all of BuschCo’s upper bracket tax cuts. As far as I know, this is still the truth – a list maintained on Politico has not been updated to show any of their names. Nor, as of Sept. 18th, had Claire McCaskill’s name been added to the list of six Democratic Senators known to be in favor of extending the Bush goodies for the upper crust.
While this is good news, it could be even better. Today, via DailyKos, we learn that 36 House Democrats have signed onto a letter written by House Progressive Caucus members Mary Jo Kilroy, Alan Grayson, and Raul Grijalva, which calls calls for a vote, “before Congress adjourns in October on repealing the tax cuts for the top two percent, and making the middle class tax cuts permanent.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if some of our Missouri reps signed on?
Can we convince our Missouri Democrats to stand up and act like leaders? Leaders don’t resort to protective camouflage – or at least smart ones don’t when there’s no reason for them to hide. Letting tax cuts for those with incomes in the top 2% expire is not only the right thing to do, it’s a politically smart strategy.
The text of the letter and the signatories over the fold:
Dear Madam Speaker:
Last decade, President Bush rammed through Congress a multi-billion dollar give-away for the wealthiest Americans on the backs of our nation’s middle-class. In the process, the aforementioned Bush tax cuts eviscerated an unprecedented budget surplus and weakened our nation’s fiscal health. As the Bush tax cuts are set to expire, we respectfully urge you to bring to the floor, before Congress adjourns in October, a vote on President Obama’s recently proposed tax plan: permanent tax cuts for the middle-class while allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans to expire, using any additional revenue to close our budget deficit.
We must show the American people that our Democratic Majority stands for them — people who have worked hard, played by the rules and depend on these tax breaks to make ends meet. We also need to get serious about cutting our budget deficit by allowing the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire.
Some have argued that the Bush tax cuts help to stimulate the economy, or that allowing these cuts to expire would hurt our nation’s small businesses. This is flat out wrong. According to a recent report by the Center for American Progress, the economy boasted 132 million jobs in June 2001, the month that the first of the Bush tax cuts was signed into law. By June 2004, there were just 131.4 million jobs — a decrease of 600,000 jobs. Furthermore, a recent report from the Tax Policy Center states that, “Roughly 97 percent of small businesses would not be affected at all by increases in the top two tax rates.”
Rather, extending the Bush tax cuts will result in an $830 billion give-away for the nation’s wealthiest Americans, significantly increasing government debt, the interest on which will be paid by our nation’s middle-class for years to come. This astronomical sum could instead be used to close our budget deficit.
It is critical that we pass the Obama middle-class tax cuts — not providing an even greater lift for the wealthiest Americans who don’t need it.
Alcee L. Hastings
Mary Jo Kilroy
Sheila Jackson Lee