Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) had this to say last night about her new campaign for Senate:
We’re in an epic struggle. This is really, in my mind and many others, about the survival of the middle class. This is about when we look at issues like reducing our debt – and that’s certainly something we must do – it’s about demanding shared sacrifice, not just letting the people who have had the privilege of climbing the ladder of success stand by the wayside.
That’s straight-up economic populism from a progressive politician, but as you can see in the chart below, she’s talking about something very real for voters in Wisconsin and a lot of other states. Here, for comparison, is the New York Times report on President Obama’s new stimulus plan, which would avoid a tax hike for all Americans that’s set to roll in on January 1:
Republican leaders have said they might support the payroll tax cut’s extension if its cost is offset by equal spending cuts, a condition they did not apply for extending the Bush-era tax cuts on high incomes.
At some point, the rank unfairness of preserving tax cuts for the wealthy at any cost (see the chart above) while being willing to raise taxes on ordinary families stops being politics and starts being news. We may be getting closer to that point. (Bonus read: Republicans in storm states balk at tying disaster relief to spending cuts. More bonus: Who’s falling out of the middle class.)