Monday, July 31, 2006

Business as Usual in Washington D.C.

"Republicans have made perfectly clear who they stand with and who they are willing to fight for: the privileged few."
-Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
As the carnage in Iraq continues and Israel plays a futile and ever deadlier game of "whack-a-mole" in Lebanon, this week the Republican controlled Congress continues it's steady march to turn the United States economy into a feudal system.
The House has passed a measure by a vote of 230 to 180 that will raise the minimum wage for the first time since 1997. However, in an effort to insure passage by the Senate, the House Republican leadership added a permanent cut to the estate tax to the minimum wage bill. Many Democrats are outraged at this tactic, especially involving the estate tax cut, that will only benefit a very small number of the wealthiest American families and cost the Treasury an estimated $263 billion of lost revenue over the next ten years. The Washington Post reports that, "Republicans believed they had found a way to snatch the minimum-wage issue away from Democrats, who had been using it as a cudgel, while securing passage of a central plank of their economic program: all but eliminating the estate tax."
So in this little Republican gambit, if Democratic Senators do the fiscally responsible thing and vote against this bill, their opponents in November's midterm elections can claim, in a tone of mock populism, that they had cast a vote against 'working class Americans' on the minimum wage issue.
This 'compromise' was called "legislative extortion" and "...beyond cynical... disgraceful" by some Democrats. I couldn't agree more.

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