» Good news for Democrats: GOP leadership has indicated that they’ll pass a 10-month extension of the payroll tax without any offsets in spending. Democrats had wanted to balance the tax cut, in part, with higher taxes on the rich; Republicans wanted to do so, in part, with cuts to unemployment benefits. Ultimately, they couldn’t agree, and so it will be passed with no offsets at all. Why is this good news for Democrats? Well, the GOP took a hard-line against the payroll tax cut—which largely benefits the middle-class—last December, making the once-benign policy a partisan issue. Democrats, by and large, were okay passing it sans offsets—the suggestion to pay for it via tax cuts on the rich was more a general effort to increase taxes on the rich—and so the fact that the extension is going to pass is a political and legislative win for Democrats. But the extension expires in ten months—right around the presidential election—so this fight is only over in the short-term.
» During his time as Minnesota’s governor, Tim Pawlenty staked out a few moderate stances. This is understandable, as Minnesota is a moderate state. But moderation doesn’t fly in the current incantation of the Republican party (just ask Mike Castle or Bob Bennett). It especially doesn’t fly for Republicans who want to be President, and perhaps no position is as sacrosanct to the modern Republican party as that of low taxes. Still, Pawlenty’s proposed tax plan is really extreme, even by supply-sider standards; for example, he proposes that millionaires alone receive a 41% tax cut. So, while it’s understandable that T-Paw wants quell the concerts of Republican primary voters by tacking to the right, we wonder if he really needed to adopt a tax plan that, in the words of Ezra Klein, “makes George W. Bush look like Robin Hood.”