The S&P threatened to downgrade basically all of Europe yesterday, while news is breaking this morning of further downgrade threats to the Euro bailout fund. So obviously the key move now for Europe is to just bundle up all of its various countries’ debt into one big asset-backed security with Germany in the top tranche and Italy in the bottom one and then the S&P will be all “AAAA++++++ WOULD BUY AGAIN.”
Meanwhile the GOP today is running out of political cover for their continued opposition to the middle class payroll tax cut, as Senators McCaskill and Collins devised a plan that would offset the cost with a two-point tax increase in incomes over $2 million, with specific exemptions for small businesses that might report revenue as otherwise taxable personal income. Meaning: the middle class keeps its tax break, small business job creators get to keep right on being job creators, and the filthy rich see a modest increase in their marginal rate (made even more marginal by the fact that—ahem—most rich people income isn’t income so much as dividends or interest and other fun things you can’t do unless you’re already sitting on top of a giant pile of money—but look at us digressing). Have fun voting against this bill, guys! See you in November!
Speaking of modest tax increases on the filthy rich, Gov. Cuomo is looking to raise tax rates on New York state’s 1%. Cuomo published an essay yesterday laying out his doctrine of fairness in taxation, and while it’s no Rawls by any means it’s at least a start! Most of all, though, we’re just really looking forward to seeing New York get its fiscal house in order with some fair and progressive tax rates so that we as a nation get back to redistributing $0.30 of every $1.00 that New York state pays in federal taxes to states like Mississippi so voters there can keep right on complaining about all the communists in Washington and their redistribution of wealth all while the Upper East Side is paying for their Medicare. Because that’s always fun.
Oh and speaking of Medicare! If you’re anything like us and you’ve long wondered why on earth President Obama would have spent every last cent of his political capital on a healthcare law that doesn’t even go into effect until 2013 (read: after the election), leaving voters with no idea what the bill does or how it will help them in their day-to-day lives and leaving plenty of time on the airwaves for GOP presidential contenders to make up whatever they damn well please, well, you’re in luck! Because check it out: Medicare recipients are saving over $500/yr on prescriptions, in addition to—and this is news!—Part D premiums staying flat last year.
You know, we would be interested in hearing if Mitt Romney saw similar results in the first year after passing a nearly identical plan while governor of Massachusetts, except it turns out he blew $100,000 in state funds to purge records of his time in office? Which: yikes. Maybe this lack of a physical record explains all the flip-flopping? Could be! But in any event, if Romney were a real cost-cutter he would’ve taken a page from the George W. Bush playbook: just keep all sensitive communiques to the backchannels in the first place.