There are some signs that Democrats may finally be getting it together and, when it comes to playing an effective role in government, approaching the task as if it is a team exercise, and one that needs to be carried out aggressively at that, rather than an exercise in individual camouflage. Case in point: The Buffett rule, which aims to insure that “no household making more than $1 million each year should pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than a middle class family pays.” According to Greg Sargent, Democrats will bring up legislation to implement the Buffett rule repeatedly, “until Republican opposition cracks.” Sargent notes that:
Dems view the Buffett Rule as a good way to make one of their most important arguments: The battle over the deficit is actually one over who should sacrifice to reduce it. Dems like this fight because they’re hoping continued GOP opposition to the Buffett Rule will starkly reveal the true nature of GOP priorities on this score to the electorate.
It doesn’t hurt that under the Buffett rule the likely GOP presidential nominee, the obscenely rich Mitt Romney, would see his tax rate nearly double. Let him see just where it gets him to whine about the Buffet rule while touting the Ryan budget, notable for the pecuniary gifts it delivers to the 1%, folks like Romney, and the hard knocks it delivers to the middle class and those dependent on the safety net.
Best evidence that this strategy will be effective? Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who has learned to be somewhat risk averse, appears to be solidly on board and, undeterred by the GOP’s stale evocation of the rich as “job creators,” has been calling for implementation of the Buffet rule during her April recess visits in the state:
“When the millionaires paid more in the 1990’s, we were creating jobs over jobs over jobs,” McCaskill said. “Compare job creation when taxes were slightly higher for millionaires, verses job creation after we gave them this tax cut in the Bush administration.”
“I’ve never seen the Republicans say there was a good time to raise taxes on multimillionaires,” McCaskill said, saying the issue boils down to the question of fairness in the tax code.
When McCaskill’s in good form, she’s very good indeed.
UPDATE: According to the the New York Times‘ Jonathan Weisman, McCaskill will have good company in this crusade. The President will jump into the fray with a speech on the Buffett Rule in Florida next Tuesday. Part of the goal is to ratchet up the pressure on Republicans in order to:
… increase the chances that some sort of minimum tax level for the rich would be part of an end-of-year deal, when the Bush-era tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 are set to expire.