A Brilliant Tax Proposal To Save Democrats: The Anchor Clause

By Chris Messineo

Art by Stephen Shaw at http://www.artmajeur.com/stephenshaw/

It was only 2 months ago House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, proclaimed of Obama’s original tax plan, “If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for it”. How times have changed, or have they?

With the recent media blitz on taxes and the countdown to Republican control in the house, gains in the senate and the Bush tax cuts expiration on Jan. 1st, one might get the impression a political game of chicken has unfolded between the Democrats and Republicans; the freight train being the anger of the American citizens if no tax cut extension is passed while we flirt with 10 percent unemployment nationwide. Don’t buy into that hype.

Indeed a recent Gallup poll showed large support (66 percent  – 30 percent) for extending the Bush tax cuts for all Americans for 2 years. However when options are added to allow tax cuts to expire for the wealthy or to let tax cuts expire entirely, Americans support letting tax cuts expire for the wealthy (44 percent) over letting all American’s continue their tax cuts (40 percent) with an additional 13 percent wanting tax cuts to expire for everyone.

Republicans have seized the Jan. 1st due date as a ticking time bomb set to overturn one of Obama’s cornerstone promises. Obama has pledged not to let taxes go up on anyone making less than $250,000 per year. Simple enough right, all they have to do is filibuster anything that does not allow tax cuts for everyone and Obama is forced to give the rich a tax cut. Well not entirely.

Imagine for a second if the Democrats grew a pair. I know … try really hard, got it? Ok. Now imagine the only tax bill the Democrats propose continues tax cuts for those making under 250k. The Republicans oppose, the due date expires, taxes go up, Obama’s a liar, Americans are pissed. Take a breath. Ok, now imagine this, within the bill that Republicans are blockading exists an “anchor” clause that says if this bill is passed after taxes go up, the federal government would retroactively refund the additional taxes paid for anyone making less than $250k, and then continue the Bush era tax cuts only for those making less than $250k.

This places the advantage back to the Democrats and puts the ball back in the Republicans’ court. The Republicans would be faced with either, voting against a tax break (I’d be shocked if they did this but it would be an understatement to say the Republicans have shocked me before), or voting to uphold Obama’s promise. The beauty of this idea is that it does away with the population’s short attention span. As each paycheck is received with the higher tax rate, each citizen will be reminded of that looming retroactive refund that gets larger and larger as time goes on. Either the Republicans will be forced to pass it quickly or they will face a mounting opposition that keeps growing with every pay cycle. Then, as the Republicans have trained us to accept, the Democrats would have to filibuster any alternative the Republicans try to propose once they gain power in the house. Those who break filibuster records can’t rightly complain about that can they?

It would be the Republicans’ only option yet again. And Boehner has already proclaimed his stance in that situation. This is a win win for the Democrats however it requires that they hold to their convictions and exercise their majority (and minority) power.

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28 Responses to A Brilliant Tax Proposal To Save Democrats: The Anchor Clause

  1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Kimberly
    December 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    However, this idea would require that democrats go on tv and remind the public that republicans are resisting passage because they hate middle-class and only want tax cuts for the rich. Democrats are horrible at framing. And so, going further by trying to explain that all the missed cuts are retroactively paid i doubt demorats will even try to explain that part. All we will hear 24/7 is from republicans saying democrats are letting tax cuts go up for everyone…and no one will be saying anything else…especially the democrats who had the clever bill idea of retroactive payments.

  2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Craig
    December 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Hey guys what about the extension of unemployment benefits? That is the reason for the compromise deal for this year.

    • Ole Ole Olson
      +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ole Ole Olson
      December 12, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      I understand that this would be a terrible idea for those who cannot find jobs in this economy, at least in the short term. However, this $1 trillion tax scheme is larger than the ARRA (stimulus bill), but has none of the upsides except UI benefits. Even with that, they only last 13 months, so we will cross this same bridge a year from now. What kind of concessions will the Republicans demand of Obama then? Admitting he is a muslim who was born in Kenya?

      • Vote -1 Vote +1Rick
        December 13, 2010 at 9:39 am

        A year from now is a different animal. I can’t say about anywhere else, but the economic floodgates have opened in Texas. Oil fields are booming, trucking is expanding, construction is starting up on major projects and expansions. In a year this recession could already be fading into memory.

  3. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1daniel
    December 12, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    how do you pay more for unemployment with less money raised in taxes…?

  4. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Peter
    December 12, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    There have already been two votes in the senate. one let taxes expire for everyone over $250k. The other let taxes expire for everyone over $1,000,000. Both were voted down by republicans.

    It’s already apparent the republicans value tax cuts for the rich over the other 98% of the country. Too bad the democrats don’t have the balls to seriously call them out on it. Instead we’ll get this compromise, which is essentially us paying off the republicans rich friends.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1Joe
      December 13, 2010 at 8:26 am

      you are right the dems need to let taxes go back up and even raise them more on the filthy rich. It’s not like the filthy rich can charge us more for their goods and services so that we end up paying for their tax increases or it’s not like they might just retire early and leave this country all together and leave less fortunate people with the gov bills to pay. Which is why there is no arguing at all. In fact I think we should make the filthy rich pay for everything b/c after all they all were just given their wealth. It’s not like they went out on risk and started their own business and became wealthy off their own ideas. That doesn’t happen anymore. Because everyone knows they are given their wealth by their parents who were given their wealth by their parents.

      • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Rick
        December 13, 2010 at 9:45 am

        Most filthy rich are multi-generation rich that do nothing but collect trust-fund checks. Trust-funds fed by investments in massive multi-national legal corporations. Most of these people in the top 2% could have their tax-rated TRIPLED and never notice the difference in what they have to spend on yachts and sea-side cottages in Italy. They have had their extra money for 10 years now – 10 years of the highest unemployment since the great Depression, as well as 10 years of consistent job loss – many overseas, by corporations then given tax-breaks by the Bush admin. The corporate CEOS who got the largest bonuses on the largest gains are CEOs of corporations that laid off the largest numbers of Americans. Tell me again why we should continue to reward them?

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  6. Vote -1 Vote +1GregK8
    December 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    The only problem with this is that after the deadline passes, the Republicans can introduce a different bill without the anchor in it and vote for that. There is nothing that says that if they hold up this bill until they take over, that they have to implement the bill already introduced. Nice try though.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1Jeff Byrnes
      December 13, 2010 at 6:23 am

      Of course there is; the Dems can just filibuster any other bill. Just like the Republicans have been doing.

  7. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1J
    December 12, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    It’s a good idea, but none of it matters because of this one fact:

    The Democrats do not know how to control the message.

    I lean to the left myself, but I have been absolutely amazed at how poor the Dems are at framing the debate. Meanwhile, the Republicans are absolutely masterful at it. Even when the Dems get good things done, the narrative is negative.

    The Republicans are also very comfortable making completely contradictory statements — Stewart’s team is absolutely great at digging that kind of thing up — but it doesn’t matter: the public’s attention span doesn’t merit logical consistency or integrity. Just way what needs to be said in the moment.

    Until the Dems figure out how to manage the narrative, it doesn’t really matter what good they do.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1Jack
    December 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    The Dems should try fighting for their constituents like this for once. Especially something that was a cornerstone of their platform when they were elected to power.

  9. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1ma1achai
    December 12, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    so… in your best case scenario, the Democrats fail to get the tax cuts extended for anyone *and* the unemployment benefits are not extended. Americans are pissed and know that the Democrats are ineffectual in their responsibilities.

    Then… when the Republicans take over, if they are forced to accept this plan, they would be the ones signing off on the returned tax cuts and retroactively return payments to the taxpayers… oh, and extending the unemployment benefits to millions.

    Brilliant plan… if everything went exactly as planned, the Repubs look like the heroes and the Dems look like the heels.

    Of course, what would happen is that the Repubs would have a new proposal and then ridicule the Dems for not signing off. So, not only did the Dems not get it done while they were in power, but now they are being the pricks to stop it from proceeding with their filibuster.

    I love the way hard-core Dems think… they just never seem to get it right. Or is it the Repubs that just understand how to play the game so much better? Regardless, I also love not being married to either side…

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1taz
      December 14, 2010 at 12:41 am

      Who ever said this was a best case scenario?

      Except of course as the article explains, the dems would have to filibuster any alternative the repubs offer. Forgot to read that part huh? Who was it that needs to learn “how to play the game” again?

  10. -4 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike
    December 13, 2010 at 3:02 am

    You immoral socialists need to give on your failed ideology of trying to tax other people for goods that you want.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1Robutt Deniro
      December 13, 2010 at 4:00 am

      I agree with Mike. The Government should only act in ways that benefit me. I am against anything that is a annoyance to me and helps other people, but not myself.

    • +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Rick
      December 13, 2010 at 10:04 am

      You facists need to stop thinking insurance and social programs for the majority of working Americans is socialism, and come to the realization that it was Republican policies that brought this country to the brink of a second great depression.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1trans
    December 13, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Brilliant. Er… except for one little detail. If the bill *fails* the anchor clause is not lawfully binding.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1taz
      December 14, 2010 at 12:44 am

      Whats wrong with that?…. As long as it exists and can be signed, the people will push for it.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1nuriel
    December 13, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Using the word “pissed” in a column about the tax situation betrays such a
    a juvenile sensibility (and small vocabulary) that little else can be taken seriously. Kids talk like that, using “guys” and “amazing” and “pissed” and “ass” in every sentence.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1taz
      December 14, 2010 at 12:49 am

      They also take trivial discrepancies from their own view seriously enough to develop an aversion to any encompassing sensible proposal.

  13. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1blah
    December 13, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Aren’t you forgetting the fundamental problem that income taxes are in themselves oppressive and nothing more than thievery–regardless of who their stolen from. You see if America Privatizes all government functions except actual lawmaking and enforcement of those laws. Then you know longer have problems that gives any Commie-Scum a leg to stand on.

    Until Democrats and Republicans denounce their own evils which are Collectivist Utopianism or Religious Fundamentalism. There’s nothing anyone can do except allow gridlock to occur in the government so the free market can pick up their slack like it did in the 1990s.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1Joe
    December 13, 2010 at 8:29 am

    the dems just need to let taxes go back up and even raise them more on the filthy rich. It’s not like the filthy rich can charge us more for their goods and services so that we end up paying for their tax increases or it’s not like they might just retire early and leave this country all together and leave less fortunate people with the gov bills to pay. Which is why there is no arguing at all. In fact I think we should make the filthy rich pay for everything b/c after all they all were just given their wealth. It’s not like they went out on risk and started their own business and became wealthy off their own ideas. That doesn’t happen anymore. Because everyone knows they are given their wealth by their parents who were given their wealth by their parents.

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1Jay
    December 13, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Americans need to try harder and be more responsible for their voting habits. The short memory puts them back into the old dark days. Like a beaten dog looking for attention form the owner that beats it.

    Good luck with your mess.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1air max Tailwind
    December 13, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next commentair max Tailwind
    , but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1Jay Banks
    December 17, 2010 at 8:14 am

    The unemployment insurance issue is a big one. I assume that reports have indicated that this business brings their benefits for one year. While this may be good in the short run, given the depth of the recession, is this enough? It seems to me that tying some type of tax credit for compliant movers is a good thing. That is, there are sourth parts of the country – Florida, Arizona orNevada, say – where the jobs are not going to come back too quickly. Some are going to have to move, if they want better work. Finally, it seems to me that the best approach is an even one – rich people get a one-year expansion just like working people get a one year cut just like unemployed people get a one-year extension.

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