by Mitch Perry
Spokesman Dan McLaughlin told the Post:
“If Sen. Nelson had his druthers, he wouldn’t have done it this way. He favors allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for everyone making more than $1 million year. But it all comes out about the same under Sen. Reid’s plan. So, he’s inclined to support it.”
Sure Nelson is a Democrat you might say, and more inclined to play the "class warfare" game and support hitting up the rich. But the fact of the matter is that he's running for re-election next year, and wants to be on the side of the public.
And the public overwhelmingly supports such a surtax.
A Washington Post/ABC poll released this week showed that 75 percent of respondents supported raising taxes on Americans with incomes over $1 million a year. In a CBS poll, 64 percent of respondents said they would support a tax on millionaires to lower the deficit, while only 30 percent would oppose it.
At his news conference on Thursday, President Obama said he was "comfortable" about the idea, which would raise $450 billion over 10 years.
Naturally, just like the President's $447 billion jobs bill, it's not expected to get through Congress. But just as Obama will continue to criss-cross the country touting that if the GOP doesn't like it they should come up with some other concrete proposals, Nelson should strongly support the Reid plan, which observers might recall, is pretty much the same plan that New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer proposed back in December, when the President and Congress were debating on whether or not to extend the Bush tax cuts or not.
Much to the consternation of liberals and due to the intransigence of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Obama did so for everybody, though he was aiming to maintain them only for those making $250,000 and less. The extension of the Bush tax cuts through 2012 added another $858 billion to the deficit, allegedly the most important factor that Republicans have cared about.
But the political reality was that the argument that you aren't rich if you make just over $250,000 certainly carried some resonance. That's why Schumer, from New York, one of the most expensive states in the country to live in, came up with the $1 million tax at the time. Unfortunately, the argument was introduced late in the negotiating sessions.
But as Schumer argued this week that “there are people making $250 [thousand] and $300,000 in many of our states who are not rich, and small businesses who are struggling. So we prefer $1 million.”
Marco Rubio, not on the ballot next year, has come out against the surtax. We've not heard yet from Nelson's GOP Senate opponents, but since they reflexively generally challenge anything he supports, we expect to soon.
Or will they? Seriously, the polling on this is off the charts. Nelson is on the side of the public on this issue. Whether he'll be a big cheerleader for the proposal is questionable.