Dems Stop GOP Minimum Wage & Estate Tax Bill genre: Econ-Recon & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Minimum wage

In another defeat for Bill Frist, Democrats were able to stop the passage of a GOP bill intended to give huge tax breaks to wealthy Americans and take the important minimum wage issue off the table prior to November's midterm election. Frist and fellow Republicans had enhanced the bill with a number of enticements in hopes of drawing the needed Democrats to pass the bill. In a sign of strength and unity, the Democrats held ranks and the measure failed. The Washington Post has the full story here.

Under the bill, "8,100 of the wealthy and well-off hit the jackpot, while millions of working families get $800 billion in [federal] debt," said Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who led the opposition to the measure.

Frist agreed to the deal, hoping that several Democrats could not resist a chance to raise the minimum wage, in three phases, to $7.25 an hour from the current $5.15. The bill would also have exempted from taxation all estates worth as much as $5 million -- or $10 million for a married couple -- and applied a 15 percent tax rate to inheritances above that threshold and up to $25 million. The value of estates exceeding $25 million would have been taxed at 30 percent.

Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said, "This was a transparent attempt to dangle a minimum-wage increase for families struggling to make ends meet to secure yet another Texas-size tax handout for the wealthiest."

"Under the Republican bill, Paris Hilton and her family will get $250 million, while the tipped workers in Hilton hotels will lose up to $5.50 an hour," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

The defeat provides Democrats further ammunition to assert that this has been a "do nothing Congress" under Republican control. Aside from efforts to funnel tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, Republicans have little to boast about as they campaign to retain control of the House and Senate. Frist and the Bush administration suffered setbacks on a number of issues including Social Security and immigration reform. Hopefully Democrats can use the defeats to devise a clear and succinct message that will propel them into a position of power in November.

Daniel DiRito | August 4, 2006 | 7:38 AM
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1 On August 11, 2006 at 11:43 AM, Cab wrote —

efforts to funnel tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans

how tired....

2 On August 11, 2006 at 4:48 PM, Daniel wrote —


Thanks for the comment. As I always state, I welcome differing opinions. Your comment, in my opinion, offers nothing to the dialogue. In fact, it seems rather immature.

If you would care to engage in a reasoned dialogue, feel free to share your insights.


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