AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka is out with an op-ed in Politico endorsing the Schumer Plan to avoid any and all compromise in averting the “fiscal cliff.” Trumka repeatedly says that the “grand bargain” being negotiated behind closed doors by a bipartisan group of senators would “lower the top tax rate for the richest Americans”, which near as I can tell is just a rhetorical trick. The issue is whether to extend current top marginal rates or raise them to Clintonian levels. Nobody I’m aware of is pitching a reduction of top tax rates from current levels as part of a deal to avert the cliff. Trumka seems to just be following the Democratic tack of assuming that the extension of the Bush tax rates would amount to a “tax cut”, since “current policy” assumes their expiration.
Trumka, like Schumer, thinks higher top tax rates should be used for (relatively modest) deficit reduction, but that restructuring of entitlements should be taken off the table. Though he does allow that additional price controls, the Left’s favorite recipe for Medicare reform, would be helpful.
The real upshot, though, is the apparent daylight between POTUS and Democrat power brokers like Schumer and Trumka. Who knows if he means it, but POTUS told the Des Moines Register that, if reelected, he’d shoot for a “grand bargain” targeting $4 trillion in deficit reduction through a 2.5-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue hikes.