The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005
 

Estate tax bill: Senate Dems get another chance


I mentioned on April 17 the twin votes of ignominy by House Dems on the bankruptcy and death tax/Paris Hilton bills.

With bankruptcy, that sucker is gone. Awaiting Bush's moniker, then the shylocks get busy.

However, the Multimillionaire Relief Bill - HR 8 to its many Democratic friends - still needs Senate approval. The Fat Lady has yet to warm her tonsils. I'll come back to it.

But I was struck by a post at the leftie haven of Democratic Underground (read the top of the DU thread for context):
from Moveon. I would ask them, if they felt so passionately over the Bankruptcy Bill to send a "strong warning to Democrats to be true to progressive values", then why did they sit out the Bankruptcy Bill fight when it was in committee and on the floor...

One of the mysteries of S 256, which may help suggest the chances of a different result in the Senate on HR 8 (I'm betting the farm on the null hypothesis, by the way: all this is counterfactual and druther), is, Why the liberals left lobbying on S 256 so late?

The bill had (see March and April archives passim) been knocking around in one form or another since the Clinton days; another version for the 109th Congress was a cast-iron certainty. S 256 itself was introduced on February 1.

The anti-shylock machine should have had its motor running and tank full in anticipation.

My sense - MoveOn.org's press release page doesn't contradict it [1] - is that the press didn't focus until the floor proceedings began at the beginning of March. If Dem antis in the Senate had been screaming coordinated blue murder, with back-up from outside, I suspect a mood might have created less favourable to the bill than that which actually obtained.

The estate tax bill is an even easier sell: it's a short, single- issue bill; you need to be in the top percentile (from memory) to benefit; it's a millionaires charter; it's a throwback to the Gilded Age.

It's the Anti New Deal: in 1935, as a defensive manoeuvre against Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt came out with his soak the rich plan: HR 8 is a dry the rich in warm fluffy towels plan!

How can the Senate Dems not get 41 to vote against cloture on that lot, for crying out loud?!

Just watch them. Ed.

  1. Absence of evidence not evidence of absence, of course: this is merely lightly suggestive.


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