Rest assured, no matter what party your are, you’re going to think its pretty pathetic. Usually if both parties hate some of a bill, thats a good sign its a moderate piece of legislation; democracy at work. In this case, no one seems to like any of this bill, which is surprising considering it passed 89-8. CNN fills us in on whats actually addressed:
Under the Senate package:
— Taxes would stay the same for most Americans. But they will increase for individuals making more than $400,000 and couples making more than $450,000. For them, it will go from the current 35% to the Clinton-era rate of 39.6%.
— Itemized deductions would be capped for those making $250,000 and for married couples making $300,000.
— Taxes on inherited estates will go up to 40% from 35%.
— Unemployment insurance would be extended for a year for 2 million people.
— The alternative minimum tax — a perennial issue — would be permanently adjusted for inflation.
— Child care, tuition and research and development tax credits would be renewed.
— The “Doc Fix” — reimbursements for doctors who take Medicare patients — will continue, but it won’t be paid for out of the Obama administration’s signature health care law.
— A spike in milk prices will be avoided. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said milk prices would have doubled to $7 a gallon because a separate agriculture bill had expired.
What’s not addressed
While the package provides some short-term certainty, it leaves a range of big issues unaddressed.
It doesn’t mention the debt ceiling, and temporarily puts off for two months the so-called sequester — a series of automatic cuts in federal spending that would have taken effect Wednesday. It would have reduced the budgets of most agencies and programs by 8% to 10%.
No matter what happens in this bill, all working people will see their taxes go up in 2013, as the payroll tax cut will be expired, raising it back to 6.2% from 4.2%, up to $110,000 in earnings.
This is the real travesty of all this. Congress has been fighting about a 4% tax increase on the rich, whether its $250,000 a year or $450,000 a year. No one seems to care that all working people, even those who make $5,000 a year, will see a 2% increase no matter what.