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Friday, May 11, 2007

For Wyden and Murray, budget committee meetings

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D, usually-Ore.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have been named to the House-Senate conference committee that's ironing out key aspects of the fiscal 2008 federal budget. I don't follow these things much, but the identity of the "conferees" was voted on by the whole Senate on Wednesday. The joint committee held a public meeting yesterday, and they're huddling behind closed doors today and over the weekend. (There's no West Coast representation among the House conferees.)

One of the issues they're hassling over is how much of the Bush tax cuts to extend -- and how far -- beyond their current expiration date of 2010. Not all of those cuts are hated by the Democrats. For example, the current child tax credit, the 10 percent income bracket, and "marriage penalty" relief all have bipartisan support. But how far should those supposedly "temporary" provisions get extended for purposes of the present budget? The House conferees are pushing to make any extension of the cuts conditional on a "trigger" -- the tax breaks would be extended only if, in 2010, it looks like federal revenues for 2012 beyond are going to be healthy.

Sound dull? It does to me. The federal budget is a bit of a charade, anyway. But when these meetings hit their driest patches, I imagine that Oregon's senior senator can continue thinking up pairs of names for the twins that he and his wife are expecting this fall. Depends on the genders, of course. Lewis and Clark? Romulus and Remus? Castor and Pollux? George and Ringo? Bonnie and Clyde? Britney and Paris? Tonya and Nancy?

Comments (8)

They all ought to be extended. In addition congress should make deep cuts that directly benefit the rest of the population. Of course, along with those cuts they need to reduce spending by the same percentage.


How about applying mutuality to the timing of claiming capital gains and capital losses. So long as the option exists for a taxpayer to claim a loss without realizing a loss through concluding a transaction why not make both the loss or gain taxable each year if it can be measured?

Before Clinton approved some reductions in capital gains tax rates people actually claimed that the delay in reducing them was harming the economy because people were not trading their subject properties. They were just gaming the tax code – and the timing issue noted above -- and holding out for a better deal.

If something stinks how could it also be uninteresting? Puke for example commands the attention of anyone within sniffing range, inducing a vomit reflect in everyone.

Zach and Darius?

I think one of the worst things the GOP did when they took over Congress was to repeal the pay-as-you-go (aka "paygo") rules. Paygo required Congress to find an offset in the budget whenever they wanted to spend more or collect less. The Republicans knew they could never find enough offsets to pay for all of Bush's tax cuts, so they just repealed the rule, arguing that tax cuts generate more revenue, not less. (Whether you believe that is true or not, repealing paygo allowed them to spend this "additional" revenue before it ever materialized.)

Paygo is a totally wonky issue, but the fact that it applied to Clinton is one of the main reasons he ended his term with a surplus, and the fact that it doesn't apply to Bush is one of the main reasons he will leave office with a massive deficit.

aron & nora?

Ron and Nancy (in honor of the Reagans)?

I wish deficit spending wasn't always referred to as a "tax cut" when it will eventually all need to be paid back with interest. I know I'm not cutting my expenses by using my credit cards to pay my bills, but Bush and the media would love us to think otherwise.

The combined train wreck of the exploding national debt and compounded interest doesn't get nearly the attention it should. I'm doubtful about the benefit that Bush's tax shifting has caused, and I'm a worried about how much damage it will cause when we eventually have to pay it all back. Taxes will have to be raised to cover what was deferred, plus pay the interest.

Don't call it tax cuts when it's really deficit spending.

I thought it was common knowledge it's female twins ... probably I'm out of the loop ...

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