The Corner

Replacing an Axe with a Claymore

So it turns out that one of the reasons Republicans Democrats are stalling for time on the president’s “jobs” bill is that Harry Reid is rewriting the pay-fors to shore up support within his caucus:

The parliamentary dance aside, the day’s events underscored that, as submitted by the White House, Obama’s bill would not only fail in the Republican-controlled House, but faced enough opposition from Democrats to endanger its prospects in the Senate, as well.

“There’s the good, the bad and the ugly. The ugly was $447 billion,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said of the bill’s price tag.

Democrats said Reid’s proposed millionaires’ surtax was designed to quell much if not all of the opposition from his own rank and file.

To pay for his package of tax breaks, unemployment benefits and new spending on public works projects, Obama has proposed higher taxes on family incomes over $250,000 and on the oil and gas industry.

The first request troubles Democratic senators from states like New York, New Jersey and California, where large numbers of families could be hit by the increase. The second has drawn opposition most prominently from Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, whose state is home to numerous oil and gas operations.

The president also proposed higher taxes on hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners, but those increases, too, would disappear under the changes Reid is expected to unveil as early as Wednesday.

For the record, the new revenue from “corporate jet owners” would raise $3 billion over ten years. Ending the oil and gas subsidies would raise about $46 billion over the same period. The rest of the new revenue in President Obama’s original plan is coming from that rate hike on “the rich” making over $250k in income. Which, as is noted above, doesn’t sit well with Democrats in the northeast or west coast. So Reid’s solution appears to be replacing the tax axe President Obama was prepared to wield with a tax greatsword. He’d use a five percent surcharge on income over a million dollars to finance the whole of the bill’s $447 billion cost.


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