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Will President Obama Take Action Now That Bush Tax Cuts Are Set To Expire?

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In the middle of the holiday season, our thoughts have quickly turned from a digested Thanksgiving turkey, to the anticipated Christmas goose. After shopping on Black ScroogeFriday and again on Cyber Monday, we are thinking about being with family and friends towards the end of this month. Along the way, we will also be reflecting on the year that was and considering the new one that is yet to be.

Insomnia

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, Democrats and Republicans are sharing in the holiday spirit by auditioning for the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. It is difficult to determine if they are all attempting to portray him before his forced visit with the three Christmas spirits, or after his epiphany.

“It is the view of 100 percent of Senate Republicans, and a number of Senate Democrats as well...that we ought to treat all taxpayers the same,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, said.

“I am confident that we can work our way through all these things,” Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, of Nevada, said.

“The President continues to believe that extending middle class tax cuts is the most important thing that we can do for the economy right now,” Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs stated.

Ebenezer's review of their tax commentary could serve as insomnia's solution. For the rest of us, we aren't concerned with the words that have been said. We want to know how their actions will affect our lives.

Steve McQueen

Consider this scenario: You're driving your car, but all street lights, double yellow lines, road signs, speed limits, and any other visible vehicle regulation no longer apply. A majority of people in society decided that since all drivers are licensed all road rules were no longer needed. A good idea? No. There have to be laws in any civilized society. Without laws for our roads, driving might turn into a series of Hollywood car chases. Cool to watch, but not realistic.

The belief that the government should stay completely out of our lives is as much of a fantasy as the idea that it should be completely in our lives. That is why we have stop signs, but not at every corner.

Like any law, tax regulation will always be a debatable. But, be as wary of those who passionately argue for the complete elimination of regulations as you are of those who push for too many of them. The passion glued to both ideologies is often reflective of personal interests, rather than those for society as a whole.

The current debate in Washington involves extending tax cuts that were put into place during the previous administration. Those currently wielding power are considering how many people should pay taxes, at what rates, and what amount of revenues are actually needed. The total amount of money requested by the government may resemble a pile of gifts under the tree, or a bucket of coal, depending on whose chimney you're standing on.

The debate is not easy considering the level of debt we have amassed and our continuing economic woes. Clearly elected officials and many of us in society share responsibility for creating the challenges we are facing. This strife has also naturally caused squabbling.

Woof Woof

Twenty Democrats in the House of Representatives, known as “Blue Dogs” because of their generally conservative stances, recently barked at their own leadership. They voted with the minority on a bill that passed the House by a margin of 234-188. Three Republicans also voted against their party and for the measure, which extends some of the Bush-era tax cuts.

President Obama and most other Democrats are considering proposals that would allow families with incomes ranging from $250,000 to $1,000,000 a year to maintain their current tax rates. Most Republicans want the “Bush tax cuts” to remain in place, a stance that goes beyond the Democratic position.

The House of Representatives will flip to Republican control in January, while the Senate will stay in Democratic hands. Despite Republican gains in November's election, current changes to tax laws should generally remain in place. That means any major new legislation will be difficult to give or to receive as we all start the new year.

Contact Sean O'Brien at sobrien@philly2philly.com