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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Friday, June 9, 2006

The DeLay Principle.

Former US House majority leader Tom DeLay may have left Congress to go fight the various legal charges against him back home in Texas, but his way of doing things is still alive and well on Capitol Hill.

As Paul Krugman notes in his latest column, the federal estate tax originated almost a century ago as a way to raise money as it became obvious that the US would soon be entering the First World War. The notion then was that the people in society with the most privileges should also bear a substantial part of the war's financial burden.

But today's Congressional leaders have a very different view about wartime priorities. "Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes," declared Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader, in 2003....

Consider the priorities on display in Congress this week.

On one side, a measure that would have increased scrutiny of containers entering U.S. ports, at a cost of $648 million, has been dropped from a national security package being negotiated in Congress....

On the other side, Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, tried yesterday to push through elimination of the estate tax, which the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates would reduce federal revenue by $355 billion over the next 10 years. He fell three votes short of the 60 needed to end debate, but promised to keep pushing....

So there you have it. Some people might wonder whether it makes sense to balk at spending a few hundred million dollars — that's million with an "m" — to secure our ports against a possible terrorist attack, while sacrificing several hundred billion dollars — that's billion with a "b" — in federal revenue to give wealthy heirs a tax break. But nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes.

The estate tax repeal went down to defeat in Congress yesterday, but as Krugman points out, we can probably expect the GOP to take another try at providing a massive give-away to just eighteen wealthy families.

If you have a NY Times sub, you can read Krugman's full column here, behind the pay firewall. Otherwise, we suggest taking a peek at this.

A big Magpie thank you goes this time to Tennessee Guerilla Women.

| | Posted by Magpie at 12:20 AM | Get permalink




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