Evil Republicans block heroic liberals from making the rich pay their fair share
All that's necessary to make Republican senators into caricatures of Snidely Whiplash is to paint a handlebar mustache on their pictures.
Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a move to open debate on the so-called Buffett Rule, ensuring that a measure pressed for months by President Obama and Senate Democrats to ensure that the superrich pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent will not come to a decisive vote.
But the fierce debate preceding the 51-45 vote - the Democrats were nine votes short of the 60 they needed - set off a week of political wrangling over taxes that both parties insist they are already winning.
Senate Democrats intend to return repeatedly to the legislation, named after the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has complained that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. On Thursday, House Republicans will counter with a proposed tax cut for businesses that they say would spur job creation but would cost the Treasury almost exactly what the Democrats' tax increase would raise.+
Pointing to a Gallup poll from last week that indicated 60 percent of Americans supported the proposal, including 63 percent of political independents, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, called the Republican response "proof positive" that "for first time in decades, maybe generations, they're on the defensive on their signature issue," taxes.
After he made that comment, a CNN poll was released putting support at 72 percent, including 53 percent of Republicans.
With taxes due on Tuesday, a Washington debate on the tax code this week was inevitable, but the escalating attacks reflect the peculiarities of this election year. Democrats have known for weeks that the Buffett Rule would not win the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster, but they pressed forward in part to try to make the Republicans' likely presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, the face of economic "unfairness."
The Times is treating this as a legitimate issue rather than the gimmick that almost everyone who isn't a rabid Democratic partisan says it is.
While the public no doubt buys into the notion that the "rich" do not pay their "fair share" - how can they not with every Democrat parrotting the line every chance they get - trying to make Romney the "face of economic 'unfairness'" is a stretch. A few ads showing where Barack Obama and his family have been vacationing the last three years - not with their own money but at the taxpayer's expense - will have a greater impact on the voter than any nebulous claims about millionaires avoiding a tax increase.