May 11, 2006

Sen. Chafee's Fiscal Responsibility

Marc Comtois

It looks as if the Senate is about to follow the House and pass President Bush's Tax plan that reduces rates for the upper wage earners and reforms the Alternative Minimum Tax that threatens many average, middle-class taxpayers. Of course, Democrat opponents will say it's just another tax cut for the rich. I wonder why Senator Chafee opposes it? Will we hear the usual mantra about the tax cuts not being "paid for" elsewhere in the budget?

President Bush and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill anticipated a long-sought election year victory Thursday as senators debated a bill awarding tax relief to investors and 15 million taxpayers with above-average incomes.

The Senate was expected to pass the bill providing tax cuts worth $70 billion over five years Thursday afternoon by a mostly party-line vote, and Bush was eager to sign it. The measure passed the House Wednesday, 244-185.

The legislation provides a two-year extension of the reduced 15 percent tax rate for capital gains and dividends, currently set to expire at the end of 2008.

It also would extend, for this year, recent changes to the alternative minimum tax -- originally aimed at making sure the wealthy pay at least some taxes -- to prevent it from hitting more upper middle-income families...

"Today, out of 100 Americans, the wealthiest three are now paying the same amount -- about half of the total taxes -- as the other 97," said Jim DeMint, R-S.C. "This tax and economic growth package is not for the rich. It's for the people who need jobs in this country."

Critics, including most Democrats, attacked the tax rate reductions on dividends and capital gains as being skewed in favor of the rich...

Senate vote counters prepared for a predictably partisan vote. But on the Republican side, a senior administration official said Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and George Voinovich of Ohio appeared likely to defect and vote against the bill. Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced he would vote for the bill and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is likely to support it as well, a spokesman said. [Emphasis added]

Back in 2004, for example, Sen. Chafee voted against a tax cut, reasoning:
“The middle class taxpayers who are targeted by these cuts are very deserving of tax relief. I have supported these tax cuts in the past and would be willing to support them now if they are done in a way that does not increase the debt. I have worked diligently with some like-minded colleagues to identify ways to pay for these changes. I am dismayed that the Congress has again been put in the position of choosing between short-term political gain and responsible fiscal management. I for one am very reluctant to saddle future generations with the bill for this fiscally ruinous policy.”
Hard to argue with, unless of course you're also quite proud of bringing home the bacon:
Thanks to Senator Chafee’s leadership in crafting the Transportation Bill of 2005, Rhode Island will be receive $2.21 for every $1 it contributes nationally in gas taxes. Senator Chafee was able to ensure that the state received the second highest rate of return in the nation.
You see, if Sen. Chafee opposes something, it's because he is opposed to "short-term political gain" and "fiscally ruinous policy," such as tax cuts. However, apparently getting Rhode Island its "fair share" with a good "rate of return" of over 2:1 isn't going to "saddle future generations."

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Anybody else get an answering machine message from the Senator today? Seems the First Lady is coming to town, and I'm invited. For five hundred clams.

This surprises me muchly. I've been registered since forever, but I've never seen evidence I'm on anyone's mailing list.

Posted by: ballottra at May 11, 2006 6:10 PM

Anyone with a brain understands that tax cuts mean growth for the economy and revenue increases for Uncle Sam. The machinery that makes it work out that way is complex but can be understood by anyone who takes a minute to review the details.

Chafee doesn't get it. The people of RI get it.

Steve Laffey gets it:

Lower and simpler Taxes

We have to put this guy in the Senate. He's the only hope RI has for real reform and fiscal sanity.


Posted by: Sol Venturi at May 12, 2006 12:20 PM

"Your" should be "you're." "It's" should be "its." I enjoy this web log, put please, this is basic English.

Posted by: stu at May 14, 2006 7:32 PM

Thanks Stu, There's always one of you grammarians lurking around. Sometimes firing off a quick post betwixt other duties results in some "basic" grammar mistakes.

"Your" correct it's its. ;)

Posted by: Marc Comtois at May 14, 2006 10:56 PM