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Tue Jan 1, 2013, 02:51 PM

Tom Harkin: Fiscal Cliff Deal 'FALLS SHORT' For Middle Class Families

On December 31, 2012, with toes dangling over the Fiscal Cliff, Senator Tom Harkin speaks on the floor of the U.S. Senate.






Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) railed against the last-minute fiscal cliff deal, defending middle-class families and slamming Congress for being "tied in knots."



"I'm disappointed to say that in my opinion, this legislation that we're about to vote on falls short," Harkin said. "First, it doesn't address the number-one priority: creating good middle-class jobs now. Unemployment remains way too high. This bill should include direct assistance on job creation measures." Harkin also criticized those who want to "redefine the middle class as those making $400,00 a year when, in fact, that represents the top one percent of income earners in America."



"The idea that people earning $300,000 to $400,000 a year could not pay the taxes they paid in the 1990's, when the economy was booming, is just plain absurd," Harkin said. "But that's what we're being told, that people who make $300,000 or $400,000 a year simply cannot pay the same taxes that they would have been paying in the Clinton years."



Harkin was one of eight senators to vote against the deal. Others included Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).HuffPost's Jennifer Bendery and Sabrina Siddiqui reported earlier on details of the deal:



Under the deal brokered by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Congress would permanently extend the Bush income tax cuts at $400,000 and below, keep the estate tax threshold at $5 million and extend unemployment benefits for one year.
It would also temporarily delay the sequester -- i.e., billions of dollars in across-the-board spending cuts -- for another two months. The cost of continuing current spending levels will be paid for through an even mix of tax revenue increases and later spending cuts. Half of those cuts will come from defense spending; half will come from nondefense spending.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/fiscal-cliff-deal_n_2348269.html?1357008347&utm_hp_ref=politics






cont'

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/01/tom-harkin-fiscal-cliff_n_2392609.html


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12 replies, 1122 views

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Reply Tom Harkin: Fiscal Cliff Deal 'FALLS SHORT' For Middle Class Families (Original post)
Segami Jan 2013 OP
red dog 1 Jan 2013 #1
indepat Jan 2013 #4
TheKentuckian Jan 2013 #10
PSPS Jan 2013 #2
bvar22 Jan 2013 #6
Jim Warren Jan 2013 #8
mzmolly Jan 2013 #3
bvar22 Jan 2013 #5
Autumn Jan 2013 #7
Jim Warren Jan 2013 #9
TheKentuckian Jan 2013 #11
woo me with science Jan 2013 #12

Response to Segami (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:06 PM

1. Keep the Estate Tax threshold at $5 million?.....Bullshit!

Obama should have tried to get a much lower number, $1 or $2 million at the most.

This one was a clear victory for the GOP & the top 2 percenters.

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Response to red dog 1 (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:33 PM

4. A clear victory indeed. Keep the $32,000 social security threshold in place for decades more

with no indexing, but index the $5,000,000 estate tax threshold to inflation. Is something wrong here or is this fair and balanced?

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Response to indepat (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:59 PM

10. Backdoor chained CPI type tactic.

If you can't limit the increase in individual benefits then just cap the overall growth of benefits and over time the value will be minimal.

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Response to Segami (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:08 PM

2. He's certainly right about this new and bizarre definition of "middle class"

It's always surprised me that, seemingly out of nowhere, the definition of "middle class" became $250K a year. Depending on what that represents (i.e., married, single, etc.,) that puts you in at least the top 5% (the top 1% if single.)

I guess there are a couple of ways to look at this. Since the median household income in the country is around $50K, we have one of two situations:

1. The definition of "middle class" income is laughable and absurdly high; or,

2. It really does take 250K to live a "middle class" life today and we've got a very serious problem with wages in this country.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:22 PM

6. THIS 2007 candidate knew $250K wasn't "Middle Class".



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Response to PSPS (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:41 PM

8. Bingo

and as a working class Democrat this has been driving me nuts, how 'middle income' has morphed into 'middle class'." Course, lots of folks in a privileged and comfortable position seem not to notice regardless of their political affiliation.

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Response to Segami (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:31 PM

3. I adore Tom Harkin.

But, if the critique noted in his statement, is the best critique available, I can live with the deal.

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Response to Segami (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:17 PM

5. THATS what I'm talking about.

Simply NOT giving the Republicans everything they want
is NOT a VICTORY.
That does NOT move the ball back to The Left.
It keeps inching it to The Right.

Where IS the Democratic Vision??!!!

If the Democrats had put some Democratic Positions On-the-Table,
I would be more than happy to start the Horse Trading.

As it stands, the Democratic position is:
How Much do we give the Republicans?

This is a shamefully pathetic position from which to Start the Dealing
considering that the President & The Democratic Party WON a HUGE Popular Mandate in November.
The Party leadership has set the table, and any "DEAL" at this point will only benefit the Republicans.

I hate to be the guy saying this,
but we are better off at this point if the Democrats do NOTHING.
The last 60 days have been a Monumental Fuck Up by the Democratic Party Leadership.
Wasted Days & Wasted Nights.

What Obama and the Democratic Party Leadership FAILED to do over the last 2 months was to put a Democratic Party Vision for the Future On-The-Table.

Instead, the Whole Fucking Debate is about what the Republicans want to do,
and How MUCH Obama is going to let them do.

This is NOT a "VICTORY" for a President who WON in November with a MANDATE from the People.
NOW, if Obama meets Boehner 1/2 Way to Plan B,
THAT will be touted as a WIN.

WHERE is the DEMOCRATIC PARTY VISION for The FUTURE?
THAT should have been On-the Table on Day ONE, the focus of all the TV Talking Heads and the focus of the National Dialog,
NOT Boehner and Plan B.

Things like:
*Lowering the Retirement Age to 62

*Raising the CAP

*EFCA

*Stop Federal Funds to Private Universities,
and DOUBLING or TRIPLING the funding for Public Universities

*Forgiveness of Student Loans

*Stop Subsidies to Oil Corporations

*MORE regulation of Wall Street

*EXPAND Medicare

*MASSIVE Jobs Programs, a la Republican President Dwight Eisenhower

*Medicare? allow Medicare to negotiate prices with Drug Companies

*Transaction Taxes for Stock Trades

*VAT Taxes or 15% Tariffs for Imported Manufactured Goods (like Europe)

*Fair Competition Regulations (Sherman Act)
that let Mom & Pop (small locally owned businesses) compete with WalMart
(Big Boxes) on a level playing field

*Not JUST let the Bush Tax Cuts expire, but go back to the Pre-Reagan Tax Rates

ALL that and MORE should have been put On-the-Table on DAY ONE.
THEN say to Boehner and the Republicans....
"OK. NOW lets talk compromise."

As it stands NOW,
with ONLY Losses for the Democratic Party possible in any "deal",
I say, NO DEAL,
and weep over another Missed Opportunity.

Oh what could have been.


"If we don't fight hard enough for the things we say we stand for,
at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them."

--- Paul Wellstone


photo by bvar22
Shortly before Sen Wellstone was killed


Solidarity!

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:26 PM

7. ^ This post right here ^

should be able to have a thousand recs.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:43 PM

9. Agree

1000

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:02 PM

11. What a fuckin post!

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Response to Segami (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:08 PM

12. What an obscene joke, to pretend this is a win in any way.

Last edited Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:56 PM - Edit history (1)

Not only does this measly public relations tax increase on "the rich" affect only a small fraction of the wealthy who should be paying, it is insulting in its size and the overall amount of money it does collect. Especially when compared to the amount of money that will be squeezed from Americans who have already been knocked down and robbed over and over and over again.

The numbers are obscene. It will collect 600 billion, out of more than FOUR TRILLION that the White House seeks to collect over the next decade. Guess who's in line to be soaked for the rest?


It is a cruel joke. It is beyond cynical and obscene to pretend that this is a win in any way. *Especially* when the deal is considered in its entirety, and *especially* considering how we got here, how the possible outcomes were narrowed from the start, and how our Democratic President participated in narrowing them.

We are admonished that we are the victors *even though* these numbers spell outrageous pain and unfairness for most of us. We are admonished that we are the victors *even though* the Military Industrial complex will continue to be fed like a pig. We are admonished that we are the victors *even though* corporate sop will continue shamelessly, and *even though* the game was rigged from the outset to ensure austerity as an outcome.

We were hosed. And we were hosed cynically and deliberately, by corporatists in both parties. You can't spin lipstick onto this pig. We have seen this game too many times before, and we are sick to death of it.

Real change will come only when Americans look clearly at how the game is rigged from the start in every single negotiation, how the possible options are artificially narrowed from the start, and how every negotiation moves us rightward. Every. Single. One.

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