Now That's Not Really What I'm Talking About
Way to step up, Bernie Sanders, but unfortunately the impact has been stripped away.
WASHINGTON, October 1 – The Senate today will debate an amendment by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to impose a surtax on the wealthiest Americans to pay for a $700 billion emergency bailout of Wall Street.
“Having mismanaged the economy for eight years while continually insisting that the ‘fundamentals of our economy are strong,’ the Bush administration now wants the middle class of this country to bail out Wall Street,” Sanders said. “Meanwhile the wealthiest people, those who have benefited most from Bush’s policies and are in the best position to pay, are being asked for no sacrifice at all. This is absurd.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set aside one hour to consider the Sanders Amendment to raise $300 billion from a five-year, 10 percent surtax on couples with incomes of more than $1 million and individuals earning $500,000. It is the only amendment being offered to the bill.
As Bernie himself would say, "This is 'uge." It's the only amendment, which means it's offers a stark choice and a real contrast. Either Republicans are willing to let the wealthiest among us shoulder the burden for a financial crisis many of them aided and abetted, or they are willing to be reckless with the people's money. Even if this doesn't pass, it allows Democratic challengers something to run against the incumbents who refused to pay for this massive bailout.
But, and there's always a but, this amendment is being voted on by voice vote. In other words, the ayes and nays will be unclear and hidden. So the cowards who will vote to not finance the plan will pay no political price. That's absolutely disgusting. And through the unanimous consent rule, Bernie Sanders agreed with it. There's no reason to vote on this amendment if it doesn't ferret out the economic royalists and elicit an issue for November.
I didn't agree with Sirota on the efficacy of the DeFazio alternative, but on this one he's absolutely right - this is insulting. The Senate thinks you're stupid.
Update: from digby
This is good politics. Let people have to vote against a millionaire surcharge. And if it passes, so much the better.
A millionaire can easily afford to help pay a little bit more for this economic debacle. I'm sorry if their portfolios are going down and their home values aren't what they'd expected. That's the way it goes. They're still doing just fine. I see no reason at this point to pretend that the Randian myth that they must be coddled so the rest of us can benefit from the crumbs that fall off their tables, is anything more than the silly plot of a bad Romance novel. There are no crumbs -- given the chance they eat it all and tell everyone else to go eat a Ding Dong.
It's really shameful political malpractice if they don't get this vote on the record. The only reason I can think of that they choose not to, is because the whole damned Senate is nothing but millionaires themselves.
Also: Please. Don't even... hauling out a bunch of business interests to sniff around the trough just doesn't seem like the brightest idea if they want to keep public support. I'm sure they're very sincere and all about the economy, but when money in this gargantuan amount is being handed out, they should stay very, very quiet. It just doesn't look kosher.