Caption: Venus had a little too much to drink celebrating this victory.
This hasn't been the best of weeks for the nation's ruling coalition.
First, the domestic Taliban-supported constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriages failed to pass the Senate, an effort that was more cynical sideshow than serious effort. Polls showed that while most Americans did not approve of same sex marriages, they opposed messing with the constitution by an equal margin
Close on the heels of a defeat for the theocrats came a setback for the plutocrats. Yesterday, the procedural vote to repeal the estate tax on people who inherit great wealth failed to gain the needed 60 votes. The actual count was 57-41, with two Senators who would probably have opposed repeal not voting.
This means the Senate leadership will not be able to fully repeal the estate tax. This is a win for all who favor fiscal responsibility, economic justice, and sane budget priorities and is the result of the hard work of a diverse nationwide coalition. Repealing the tax, which only impacts the richest 1 percent of Americans, could have cost the nation $1 trillion over 10 years.
It's not clear at this point what the next move will be. One possibility is an effort to pass a "compromise" such as one proposed by Senator Jon Kyl, which would be almost as expensive as full repeal. For an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, click here.
The other possibility is that the oligarchs will try to use the failure of repeal as an issue in the coming elections. This is pretty bizarre, since it's hard to put a populist face on a tax that only affects a tiny handful of Americans who inherit fortunes worth millions of dollars.
This has already be said many times before, but here goes again: the very rich benefit the most from the USA and would never have been able to accumulate or inherit anything without the public investments that make it possible for people make, keep, and enjoy their wealth.
There is still an need to educate the public about the issues, but polling research shows that most Americans don't want the estate tax to be fully repealed and the more they learn about it, the less likely they are to support repeal. According to the Coalition for America's Priorities,
Voters think the estate tax is at the bottom of the list of taxes that should be cut. When read a list of potential changes to the tax system, repealing the estate tax ranks last and is opposed by 55% of voters.
Voters think one of the two best ways to reduce the budget deficit is to keep the estate tax. The other is to raise income taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
Voters would much prefer to see Congress use funds for a variety of purposes other than repealing the estate tax. Strong majorities preferred every option they were presented from spending the money on health care for veterans and the uninsured to shoring up Social Security.
So, congratulations, folks! Stay alert for the next round and try not to let your goats drink too much in celebration. They can be mean drunks.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED