While my NPR station was blathering on about fake Serious Person Paul Ryan and his masturbatory homage to Ayn Rand and the slightly more realistic budget coming from Sen. Patty Murray and Senate Democrats, the House Progressive Caucus quietly (in media terms) released its Back to Work Budget this week.
Contained within is a whole host of liberal red meat: Tax increases on the wealthy! Infrastructure investments! Investment income taxed like wage income! Initiatives to target climate change! It also has a healthy dose of unintended irony.
In the section that discusses the closing of tax loopholes, we get this gem:
Closing the Medicare Tax Loophole (NEWT Act) – Under current law, certain self-employed individuals, like lobbyists or lawyers, can avoid paying full Medicare taxes by routing their income though an S corporation. Newt Gingrich used this loophole to avoid paying $69,000 in Medicare taxes in 2010 by declaring much of his income as S corporation profits. To close this loophole, our budget adopts Rep. Charles Rangel’s Narrowing Exceptions for Witholding Taxes (NEWT) Act, which would clarify that individuals engaged in professional service businesses are unable to avoid employment taxes by routing their earnings through a limited liability corporation or a limited partnership.
As everyone knows, if you want a proposal that helps go after shady tax practices, you want it proposed by Charlie Rangel. Optics, fellas, optics.
Fortunately for you, America, you probably were spared the whimsy of a progressive vision of America where children have food and our roads aren’t reminiscent of early 1940s London. That’s because outside of a few scant places where actual economics are discussed, the Back to Work Budget didn’t even make it onto the radar of most news outlets.
Don’t believe me? Try CNN, NBC and NPR. Hell, I tried them for you. Nothing. ABC managed a blurb in the context of comparing it to Ryan’s starve-now, starve-later budget. Fox obviously didn’t have anything about it, but I’m not linking anyone to that tire fire of a website.
No, sadly, the conversation our betters in the media will provide will center around Ryan’s ‘Oh, you were born poor? That’s nice. Fuck you’ document and the budget put forth by Senate Democrats, which is actually a relatively centrist shot at the whole thing.
From that discussion, we will get the cries of how we need to compromise between something that is already in the center and the Gilded Age 2.0 proposal to get something that is ‘balanced’, as balance, or triangulation or some other such nonsense that makes people think Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are liberals is the real goal of policy, not creating a better commonwealth.
Because once you have balance, you can please the pundits and the Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpsons of the world, and then the job creators will be happy and the earth will stop warming because Jesus is happy that the job creators are happy, the end.
Image via CPC.