Schumer moves the marker on tax negotiations leftward

schumer-moves-marker-tax-negotiations-leftward
Briefing: Schumer. (Azi Paybarah)
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Chuck Schumer thinks that after decades of being on the defensive, the Democrats are actually winning the debate on taxation, and that they shouldn't win an election only to concede the issue.

So yesterday, in a speech to the National Press Club, Schumer duly shifted the debate over a "grand bargain" a few pegs to the left, saying Democrats should reject across-the-board tax cuts, and instead freeze the rates for the highest earners and put the savings from closing any tax loopholes into reducing the deficit.

It's an explicit rejection of Simpson-Bowles as a starting point for the debate, just as Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles were headed to meet with a group of eight senators from both parties to help them hammer out a deal.

In Schumer's calculation, President Obama is favored by voters over Mitt Romney on the question of taxes, so before all the oxygen is consumed by the election, he's laying down a new marker.

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How it affects the debate isn't clear. The New York Times suggested that Schumer had single-handedly blown up a bipartisan deal. The liberal site FireDogLake hopes that's right. --Reid Pillifant

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