Posts Tagged ‘tax policy’

Finger on the pulse

December 14th, 2011

The Tea Party's Bitch

On public radio this morning, I heard three stories whose rapid juxtaposition seems to illustrate perfectly this moment in our society’s life.

First, congressional Republicans were playing politics with extension of tax breaks for the working classes.  The version they passed would have paid for the tax break by freezing federal employees’ wages,  instead of the funding mechanism proposed by the Democrats to increase taxes slightly on the highest income earners.  The GOP bill also contained a “poison pill” provision that they knew would be unacceptable to the Senate Democrats and the President.   The poison pill would, if enacted, force the President to decide quickly whether to allow construction of an unnecessary and environmentally questionable oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, rather than wait until after the election.  I guess the idea is to divert attention from the GOP’s unwillingness to increase taxes on the richest of the rich for any purpose whatsoever, and to allow themselves to say the Democrats oppose both working class tax breaks and “jobs creation.”  As an added bonus, in this age of climate change they get to continue the pretense on behalf of their corporate masters that protection of the  environment conflicts with economic development.  Of course the cynicism is breathtaking.  To add to the bizarro world flavor of our national politics, later today, a Senate vote on the bill was blocked by… Senate Republicans playing politics!  But read on…

The second story was about testimony before a legislative committee by a woman in her eighties, concerning the cuts to the federal home heating assistance program proposed by the Obama administration.  Funding to help poor people buy fuel for heat would be cut roughly in half.  She was talking about what a reduction in this assistance would mean to her, this winter.  Last winter, she kept her thermostat at 60 to save money on heat.  This winter, she’s wondering what she has to give up in order to keep from freezing – food? medications?

The third story was about a local arts center, the Flynn Theatre.  It has just received an anonymous $1,000,000 donation to help replace its  squeaky seats.