TAX CUTS TUESDAY
Despite much chatter about what House GOP Leader John Boehner said Sunday, any deal on the Bush-era tax cuts is going to be shaped by the Senate. Senate Republicans are showing a united front for extending all of the cuts, while Senate Democrats are trying to figure out where the 60 members of their conference are.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) added his voice Monday to those of Democratic centrists wary of letting tax rates for wealthy rise next year.
“I don’t think we ought to be drawing a distinction at $250K,” Webb told Fox News.
Four other Dems -- Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman -- have called for temporary extensions of all the cuts.
Democratic leadership still plans to roll out their tax cut legislation this week, but it’s not clear what they plan to do with the upper-income cuts. The Hill: http://bit.ly/cKPzVm
Expect more news around 2 p.m. Tuesday, when Democratic and GOP senators emerge from the first conference policy lunches since recess.
On the GOP side, Mitch McConnell has already unveiled his plan: make all of them permanent.
Reuters hed: “Senate Republicans Firm on Tax Cuts for the Rich": “Prospects faded for breaking the deadlock when Republicans gave a cool reception to a signal on Sunday by John Boehner, their party's leader in the House of Representatives, that he might be willing to bend.” http://bit.ly/cSx3sP
With Senate GOP centrists largely behind McConnell’s approach, President Obama and Democrats are trying to seize on differences between House and Senate Republicans. Obama on Monday in Virginia urged Congress to act on his plan to extend only the middle-class cuts: “We could get that done this week... But we’re still in this wrestling match with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.” NYT: http://bit.ly/cSx3sP
Once you get past the partisan wrangling, one thing's clear: the deficit will grow. Ezra Klein: http://bit.ly/bBzWvw
Bush administration economist Alan D. Viard argued that the upper-income cuts weren’t sold the right way. Supporters should have touted their investment effects and not just pushed them as stimulus. http://bit.ly/aEw5RI
But TNR’s Jonathan Cohn says that the Bush administration lied to get the tax cuts for the rich passed, attaching them to middle-class cuts. http://bit.ly/dh3QX6
ZANDI, BUFFETT, BERNANKE ON THE ECONOMY
Mark Zandi, the economic guru that frequently consults with Dems on the Hill, is pushing a new jobs plan: $50 billion for an expanded hiring tax credit and federal insurance for businesses that invest in infrastructure projects. http://bit.ly/aFAiQS
But... President Obama already signed a hiring tax credit this year and he has his own infrastructure bank plan.
Warren Buffett says he’s a “huge bull”: “We are not going to have a double-dip recession at all.” AP: http://bit.ly/9hDH7R
Fed Chairman Bernanke’s 2011 outlook may have outsized influence on other Fed officials as they decide whether to buy up more Treasury notes to boost the economy. Bloomberg: http://bit.ly/aWK1fk
Business groups such as the Business Roundtable and NFIB are lining up against the president’s latest job-creation package, even it’s mostly tax breaks for small biz: WSJ: http://bit.ly/bxwpVI
David Brooks breaks with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and AEI’s Arthur Brooks on the idea that America is all about limited government. The story the GOP should be pushing is that it’s “limited-but-energetic” government, Brooks says. http://nyti.ms/ajfmbx
Krugman pushback... Stephen Williamson, economist at Washington U. in St. Louis, asks if the NYT columnist’s Nobel Prize can be revoked. Williamson takes issue with Krugman’s Monday column attacking China’s exchange rate policy. http://bit.ly/a95n6i
The Economist’s Free Exchange blog says Krugman is making straw man arguments. http://bit.ly/czcFS6
Elizabeth Warren, the left’s candidate to head the new consumer protection bureau, may get a temporary appointment from the president. NYT: “Two people who have been briefed on the appointment process, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisal, said the White House was exploring ways to have Ms. Warren effectively run the bureau without having to endure a confirmation battle and, potentially, the threat of a Republican filibuster.” NYT: http://nyti.ms/9tjBKX
The Basel international finreg agreement calling for more bank equity standards is a win. Felix Salmon: http://bit.ly/de0Pnn
AIG is trying to get out from under bailout requirements. http://bit.ly/ae3hJq
... while smaller banks are having trouble making their TARP repayments. http://bit.ly/dxdyTk