Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Democrats Refuse to Raise Revenue

The Washington Post story on a key vote about ethanol subsidies focuses entirely on Republicans: the Post gives them a backhanded compliment about appear[ing] to break with two decades of GOP orthodoxy against higher taxes, voting to advance a plan to abruptly cancel billions of dollars in annual tax credits for ethanol blenders. That's right, before mentioning that a GOP Senate majority was willing to do away with ethanol subsidies, the Post needles them about raising taxes.

The story gets to a Democratic representative in paragraph 7. He said it's "encouraging" that the GOP is considering this cut, as if the Democrats are sane, normal people, and the GOP is a recovering ethanol addict who must be brought along. But Democrats voted 46-6 against the measure. That's the big story: Democrats are so committed to protecting the special interest of ethanol farmers that they are unwilling to raise revenues!

The Washington Post finally interviewed a Democratic Senator who voted against removing the subsidy... never. In fact, the article never explains why Democrats opposed the bill. It might have had other provisions that they disagreed with, but we're not informed. The only Democrats interviewed (mainly VP Joe Biden) seem generally in favor of ending subsidies... but again, it's not really clear.

LA Times and SF Gate articles seem to clear up why the Dems opposed this slam-dunk revenue raiser:
In the end, [co-sponsor Sen Diane] Feinstein [D-CA] voted against her own amendment as did Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Democrats largely voted against the measure after leaders encouraged a "no" vote on procedural grounds. (SF)

Democrats were upset because Coburn forced a vote without the blessing of majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who jealously guards the majority's control of the chamber. (LA)
So there you have it.

2 comments:

Chops said...

Mercifully, the Democrats now introduced the Coburn measure on their own terms, and it passed with flying bipartisan colors.

Story: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/06/17/ethanol-subsidies-senate-votes-to-sacrifice-a-sacred-cow.html

Chops said...

Now it heads to the House, where Tea Partiers like Steve King (R-Iowa!!!) might be the margin for getting it passed.

What's inexplicable is that alleged conservative Grover Norquist is making a major campaign against this. He apparently thinks that removing a major distortion from the tax code is bad. That kind of foolish dogmatism is more like anarchy than conservatism, and will do more to make Norquist irrelevant in the bigger debate to come than to further his brand of Republicanism.