Tales from the Trail

Liberal millionaires to US: Please hike my taxes

moneySome liberal millionaires are putting their money where their mouths are: they are calling on Democrats to stay true to their word and allow the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire next year.

Joining the likes of Warren Buffett and George Soros, a calling themselves “patriotic millionaires” want President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats to raise their taxes to levels before former President George W. Bush cut them in 2001.

“We have done very well over the last several years,” about 50 millionaires including several early Google Inc. executives and the founder of IAC’s Ask.com, say in a letter to leaders. “We don’t need more tax cuts, and we understand that cutting our taxes will increase the deficit and the debt burden carried by other taxpayers.”

Obama wants to let lower tax rates expire above the first $200,000 of an individual’s income but has been clashing with Republicans, and some in his own party, in Congress on a deal to prevent all taxpayers from seeing hikes on January 1.

The group is asking policymakers to extend the higher rates for those making more than $1 million. New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has suggested that benchmark, as have some others.

Pelosi takes on Chamber of Commerce over campaign spending

The phrase “Buy American”  may be taking on a new connotation in the rough-and-tumble battle over corporate financing and the midterm congressional elections.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been pumping lots of cash into the campaign, received multimillion dollar donations from some major companies as it fought against government policies, the New York Times reported Thursday.

pelosi“They give new meaning to the term “Buy American”…  they want to buy these elections,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said when asked about the article in an MSNBC interview.

Republicans turning up the heat on tax cuts

An election-year debate over tax cuts and deficits is heating up as Republicans press for extending all of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts and Democrats debate what to do against the backdrop of a slow economy, huge deficits and feared shellacking in the November congressional elections.

USA/House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that Democrats support extending tax cuts for the middle class, but allowing the tax breaks for the wealthy to expire in order to help bring down huge budget deficits.

House Republicans immediately fired off an email to reporters saying “Pelosi announces tax hikes on small business.” Republicans argue that allowing tax rates to rise on individuals making more than $200,000 and couples with incomes above $250,000 amounts to a tax increase on small business since many small entrepreneurs report business income on their individual tax returns.

Pelosi cracks whip for healthcare votes

USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSI“I never stop whipping,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday.

She was, of course, talking about the virtually non-stop quest for healthcare votes.  (Sorry were you thinking something else?)

“There’s no beginning, there’s no middle and there’s no end. My life is a constant whip operation,” she said to laughter at yet another event to promote healthcare reform on Capitol Hill.

People not familiar with the process for getting votes on Capitol Hill often think of arm-twisting, when in formality it is a whip operation with someone who actually gets the title “Whip.”