So Tom Carper voted against the Deal?

Filed in Delaware, National by on January 1, 2013

Of the the 8 Senators voting against the Biden-McConnell deal, one of them was our own, very special Tom Carper. What was his chief complaint? It raised taxes on the rich? The deal did not cut spending? The deal did not eliminate or cut Medicare or Social Security. He hates the unemployed and wants to cut all unemployment insurance. I am very curious to hear his reasoning.

In the grand scheme and in context, and considering that I want the sequester cuts to go into affect (because it cuts 500 billion from the Defense budget and unless we let those cuts go into affect automatically, we will never get that much cut from the Pentagon budget ever), it is not a bad deal. It is not a good deal either, as the Democrats caved on indexing the Estate Tax to inflation. Going from 250k to 400k? Meh, I can live with that. Payroll tax holiday not preserved? That’s the bad part of this deal, in my opinion, along with the estate tax indexing.

Here is the full deal:

— Tax rates will permanently rise to Clinton-era levels for families with income above $450,000 and individuals above $400,000. All income below the threshold will permanently be taxed at Bush-era rates.
—The tax on capital gains and dividends will be permanently set at 20 percent for those with income above the $450,000/$400,000 threshold. It will remain at 15 percent for everyone else. (Clinton-era rates were 20 percent for capital gains and taxed dividends as ordinary income, with a top rate of 39.6 percent.)
— The estate tax will be set at 40 percent for those at the $450,000/$400,000 threshold, with a $5 million exemption. That threshold will be indexed to inflation, as a concession to Republicans and some Democrats in rural areas like Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mt.).
— The sequester will be delayed for two months. Half of the delay will be offset by discretionary cuts, split between defense and non-defense. The other half will be offset by revenue raised by the voluntary transfer of traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs, which would tax retirement savings when they’re moved over.
— The pay freeze on members of Congress and all other federal civilian employees, which Obama had lifted earlier this year, will be re-imposed.
— The 2009 expansion of tax breaks for low-income Americans: the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit will be extended for five years.
— The Alternative Minimum Tax will be permanently patched to avoid raising taxes on the middle-class.
— The deal will not address the debt-ceiling, and the payroll tax holiday will be allowed to expire.
— Two limits on tax exemptions and deductions for higher-income Americans will be reimposed: Personal Exemption Phaseout (PEP) will be set at $250,000 and the itemized deduction limitation (Pease) kicks in at $300,000.
—The full package of temporary business tax breaks — benefiting everything from R&D and wind energy to race-car track owners — will be extended for another year.
— Scheduled cuts to doctors under Medicare would be avoided for a year through spending cuts that haven’t been specified.
Federal unemployment insurance will be extended for another year, benefiting those unemployed for longer than 26 weeks. This $30 billion provision won’t be offset.
— A nine-month farm bill fix will be attached to the deal, Sen. Debbie Stabenow told reporters, averting the newly dubbed milk cliff.

For those who say that it was better to go over the cliff, well, perhaps. But none of the stimulus measures I highlighted would have been preserved. Obama’s one weakness is that he truly cares about people, and ideological purity to him means nothing if his adherence to principle hurts those relying on policies he could get preserved in a deal.

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  1. Tom Hawk says:

    5:30AM. WPVI, ch. 6 in Phila reports that the Senate bill passed with 8 No votes. Tom Carper is one of the No votes. Interesting. Not good enough for the progressive Democrats or too damaging to the 1%?

  2. Delaware Dem says:

    Oh, and I am not convinced this passes the House, so Puck may still get his way. The first commandment of the GOP controlled House is called the Hastert Rule, which states that no bill is brought to the floor for a vote unless it first has the support of a majority of the GOP caucus. It was the reason why Plan B was pulled off the floor before a vote. In my mind, there is no way this deal passes the House without significant Democratic support, which means that a majority of the GOP caucus will vote against it, which means that passing this deal will violate the Hastert Rule, which means that there will be open civil war within the GOP caucus, and Boehner will most likely lose the speakership.

  3. Really? One site said Bob Carper, which made me think that perhaps is was Bob Corker of, I think, Tennessee.

    A Carper no vote makes no sense.

    Time to investigate…

  4. puck says:

    “Clinton-era rates were 20 percent for capital gains and taxed dividends as ordinary income”

    Correction: For most of the decade, capital gains tax was 25%. That was the rate that corresponded with the Clinton prosperity and job creation. The rate was cut to 20% in 1998, in my opinion triggering the equities bubble.

  5. puck says:

    How come all the Dem wins are temporary, but all the Dem concessions are permanent?

  6. Obe1katobe says:

    Michael Bennett of Colorado and Tom Harkin of Iowa joined Carper as the three Democrats against the deal. Five GOPers voted against it too.

  7. puck says:

    ” What was his chief complaint? It raised taxes on the rich?”

    The deal doesn’t raise any taxes on the rich. The taxes were automatically raised at midnight before the Senate vote. The deal takes back the automatic tax increases and CUTS taxes on the rich (dividends and capital gains) which is what Republicans cared about most – they got it. And estate taxes too I think.

  8. Delaware Dem says:

    To quote Greg Sargent on Twitter: “The big picture: The safety net remains intact and taxes have gone up on rich.”

  9. It was Carper, all right.

    I predict he’ll complain about temporary patches as opposed to permanent fixes.

    Guess his reaching across the aisle extends to 5 GOP ‘no’ voters.

  10. cassandra_m says:

    In this he didn’t need to reach across the aisle. He had his Bipartisanship Theater handed to him on a silver platter. Whatever his complaint is, we’ll need to remind him that he produced no leadership whatsoever in getting his complaints dealt with.

  11. puck says:

    Carper votes against massive tax cuts for the 1% AND the 2% – works for me. Kudos to Carper.

    Here’s my rule of thumb for evaluating the deal: How much will Mitt Romney save?

  12. mediawatch says:

    Carper’s success in bipartisanship reminds me of the McGovern campaign in ’72 — “As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.”

  13. SANDFLY says:

    Creepy Carper has aways been a shifty sort. He talks a lot of junk but when it comes down to true action he will always be on the wrong side of history. I believe he just wanted to stick it to the Vice President. Male jelousy bring dis-unity.

  14. Delaware Dem says:

    Puck, this will hurt Mitt Romney alot:

    Two limits on tax exemptions and deductions for higher-income Americans will be reimposed: Personal Exemption Phaseout (PEP) will be set at $250,000 and the itemized deduction limitation (Pease) kicks in at $300,000.

    This is what Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer has been complaining about on Twitter this morning.

    Further, I did not think about the Biden aspect of this with respect to Carper’s no vote. Wow, can it really be that simple? LOL

  15. puck says:

    Mitt and his ilk will be enjoying having their dividend taxes cut from 39% to 20%. If the top 1% had half a brain they would realize this is an enormous gift from Democrats, on a par with the 2001 gift from Bush. It will continue to compound income inequality.

    I’ll have to take a look at PEP and Pease. I have a feeling Romney can find other deductions. He’s damn well not going to expose his money to the top marginal rate.

  16. DD, maybe Joe has already informed RoboCarper that 2018 is the Year of the Beaudhisattva.

  17. Geezer says:

    Carper statement is out: He voted against this because it wasn’t the “grand bargain” he wanted. Too few starving grannies, I suppose.

  18. Delaware Dem says:

    Fuck him then. He is the new Lieberman. Beau Biden ’18 regardless of whether Carper retires.

  19. puck says:

    The last temptation is the greatest treason:
    To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

  20. mediawatch says:

    Carper is a DINO. There’s little doubt he has decided this will be his last term, so now he’s free to come out of the Rethug closet.

  21. Delaware Dem says:

    The deal is dead. Puck rejoices! The House will kill the deal by amending it with spending cuts. Harry Reid has announced that the Senate will not considering any amended bill.


  22. puck says:

    Well, my rejoicing was always contingent on getting a better deal in the new Congress, which is sworn in Thursday I think. But if Obama and Carper are holding out for a grand deal including granny-starving AND deep tax cuts on the rich, I won’t be rejoicing.

  23. Delaware Dem says:

    I am of the mind to say let the law stay as it is. Let the Sequester Cuts and Clinton tax rates stay in effect. The next negotiation will not be about getting a better deal, Puck. The next negotiation will be on tax reform and the debt ceiling, coupled together. All the stimulus is gone, so we will be heading into a recession or at least a slowdown, which is why Obama wanted a deal in the first place.

  24. pandora says:

    Wow… Is Cantor making his move for Speaker?

  25. Cassandra M says:

    To me, the question is whether or not a Grand Bargain is now officially dead. If Biden is assuring Dems there is no caving on “entitlements”, it sounds like they’ve given up.

  26. puck says:

    I would like to think Dems have a post-cliff strategy and legislation already drafted. But I have an awful feeling Obama and Democratic leadership were no more prepared to go over the cliff than Romney was prepared to lose the election.

    What happened to Obama’s last-resort plan for the Senate to pass a minimal bill extending only middle-class cuts and UI funding? I liked that plan. Too bad it wasn’t followed; the Senate gave us this monstrosity instead.

  27. Delaware Dem says:

    The problem is, Puck, that the House has to pass this post cliff legislation you are dreaming of. If they cannot pass this Senate deal, what kind of drugs are you currently taking that makes you think they will pass your post cliff bill.

    The reality is now as I describe it. And this is what you wanted to happen. Embrace it.

  28. Davy says:

    I want the United States to go over the cliff. In the long-term, the United States needs more revenue and less spending. That said, the timing is bad – prepare for the second dip.

  29. cassandra m says:

    Carper on why he voted NO:

    “Following our failure to craft a comprehensive deficit reduction plan in 2011, Congress put in place a set of tax increases and spending cuts in discretionary programs that, if enacted, would be painful and potentially damaging to our economy.

    “Unfortunately, the deal the Senate passed this morning is not the grand bargain that I, and many of us, had hoped for, and that’s why I ultimately voted against it.[…]

    No grand bargain indeed. Frankly I think the tell is in the demonstration to American businesses quote — that Carper is still waiting to be able to vote for Simpson Bowles.

  30. SANDFLY says:

    Not only is Carper lame but a Duck as well. Let’s trash him every time we get a chance.

  31. Carper wanted those alleged ‘painful, but necessary’ cuts to Social Security, Medicare, etc.

    He’s in his last term and he is now resigned to be a Joe Leiberman who never accomplished anything of note.

    Which means, he’s gonna act like Joe Leiberman for six more years.

    The equation for his political career?: 36 years (and counting) x 0 worthy accomplishments=0. (He was elected state treasurer in 1976.)

    Which, of course, does not apply to the taxpayer dollars he has pocketed and will continue to pocket.

  32. John Manifold says:

    As Alex Cockburn said about Nixon in 1984, “If Tom Evans came back as a Democrat, I’d vote for him.”