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How Far to the Right Has America's Tax Debate Moved?

This post originally appeared on Open Left. This far: Paul noted these very numbers late last week, but they are worth showing again because they are so disturbing. Yes, I realize it's hard to digest those numbers without gagging. But they are the numbers. And they do prove that the so-called "Bush tax cuts for the middle class" give a disproportionate amount of benefits not to the middle class, but to very wealthy people. That, of course, means that the debate over whether to extend all of the Bush tax cuts or just the so-called "Bush tax cuts for the middle class" is, unto itself, tilted far to the right. What we're really debating is whether to do what Republicans want and extend all of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, or do what some Democrats want and just extend some of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Thus, this debate is yet another example of how narrow - and rigged - our policy discourse really is, and how on some core economic issues, the parties are much closer on policy than they (their media organs and even some of their professional activist groups) would have us believe. It is also another example of how the debate's rightward tilt doesn't reflect the kind of debate the non-Beltway public is ready to have. Indeed, polls consistently show majorities favor getting rid of some or all of the Bush tax cuts, meaning public opinion is not forcing the debate to be merely between  getting rid of none or some. But that is the debate - because that debate makes sure that whatever happens, Big Money wins.