The line I remember in the song playing from my iPod today was, "sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same." This is exactly where I am today. (I may be of a different mind tomorrow.) Right now, I want a President who is willing to hold fast.
A few weeks ago, I watched Warren Buffett, Ted Turner, and Bill and Melinda Gates go on television and, in my words, ask to be taxed more. Powerful figures in the public and private sectors came right into my living room and said, extend cuts for lower, middle, maybe even the upper middle class but let cuts lapse and increase taxes on the rich. (Again, my words.) Was this interview not showing in Washington? Now, I do not believe that these four Americans speak for all members of the 1% who collectively have more wealth than 95% of the population combined. (Or, put another way, the group that will truly benefit from extending Bush-era tax cuts.) But, Warren's gang was pretty compelling.
I am the first to admit that I am prone to significant character swings these days. One moment I am the loyalist who will stand by my President no matter what. This me hopes that what is happening today is part of a long play. Compromise today for some return I am completely unaware of tomorrow. Then comes the swing. The "negotiation" yields a reinstatement of an estate tax at 35% (a reduction from 55%) which moves compromise rapidly toward accommodation. (Of course, the tax is only applicable on estates greater than $5 million so Warren's gang will potentially have even more to figure out what to do with.)
Here's what I am really wondering. During the negotiation, did someone at the table say, "when did $250,000 become our official benchmark?" When 99.32% of all tax returns are at $500,000 or below (adjusted gross income according to the IRS web site), maybe we should consider adjusting the mark. How about taking a small step and just making it a million? Personally, I'd like to see someone step to the microphone and say, "we think those making a million a year deserve a break. We should extend their tax cut to help the economy." Really? I don't make close to a million but, even at my level, my spending is not determined by my tax rate.
So, what's a Democrat to do? Today, I plan on doing what I feel is imperative in a time like this - I plan to hold fast. I invite my President to join me.
The views expressed in this story do not necessarily reflect the views of the Democratic Party of Evanston.