The tax cut debate may be nearing an end...and it looks like progressives are going to get screwed. Over the weekend - Vice President Joe Biden met with top Democrats in the House of Representatives to discuss a way forward on a tax cut compromise with the Republicans. While much of the focus has been on the Senate - and whether or not they can secure 60 votes to pass tax cuts legislation - the real test will be getting enough progressive Democrats in the House to go along with a compromise that includes extending these cuts to millionaires and billionaires. The deal - apparently being worked out now between the White House and Republicans - includes extending the current tax rate for the rich another two years - in exchange for an extension of jobless benefits for the nation's unemployed. According to the Constitution, legislation dealing with taxes or spending must originate in the House. So it looks like it will now be up to Nancy Pelosi to try to convince enough of her caucus - at least 39 Democrats - to hold their nose and support giving millionaires a tax break worth as much as 700 billion dollars. If she can't do it - then taxes will go up for everyone at the end of the year. This is President Obama's parting shot to House Democrats - who for the last two years stuck their necks out for progressive change - only to be repeatedly left high and dry. Many of them lost re-election because of it. So now that raising government income by increasing taxes on the rich to Clinton levels is off the table for our deficit reduction strategy - what's left? Well- most likely spending cuts on entitlement and social welfare programs. This has been the Republican's plan all along. After all - jobless benefits - the trade off Democrats will receive - are going to expire at least a year before the millionaire's tax cuts. And when they do - and the Democrats no longer have a bargaining chip - guess who's screwed? The nation's working class.
(What do you think Obama and Congress should do now? Tell us here.)