Friday, December 21, 2001

In today's New York Times, Paul Krugman describes just how far the Republicans were willing to go to forge a compromise with the Democrats on the stimulus bill:

The original bill consisted almost entirely of tax cuts ---— 95 percent of the total cost ---— with virtually nothing for the unemployed. The new bill offers slightly more to the unemployed, enough to reduce the share of tax cuts in the bill's total cost to a measly 92 percent.

In the original bill 69 percent of those tax cuts were for corporations; in the new bill this is reduced to a mere 63 percent.

In its most controversial provision, the original bill retroactively eliminated the alternative minimum tax on corporations, refunding $24 billion in past corporate taxes. The new bill doesn't entirely eliminate the alternative minimum tax — but it still offers corporations about $16 billion in refunds, spread out over time instead of all at once.

And so forth. Bill Thomas, chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, is distressed that these concessions weren't enough to get the bill through the Senate; "Republicans," he opines, "have given up a lot".


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