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The Par-Tay Party Is In The House!

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Some people in America have to work three jobs just to put food on the table and pay the bills…but, thanks to the Republican Leadership in the House of Representatives, Paris Hilton’s trust fund return just went up another $91 million (at 2 AM ET).

The Par-Tay Party is in the House!  Go gop-ers, go gop-ers, who’s your girlfriend, who’s your girlfriend…

Here are some real family values:  Americans who live on minimum wage have not had an increase in that pay for ten years — a decade at the same pay rate — while expenditures, especially costs on energy prices, have gone up, up, up.  They are squeezing their budget every way you can think, just to survive, to feed their kids, to give them a decent home.  And they are working their butts off — two and three jobs for each parent, leaving the kids hanging out quite a bit with grandma and grandpa, who get to enjoy their golden years by being permanent babysitters (who can’t afford both their prescription meds and food…but hey, who is counting…).

This year, the Republican-controlled Congress gave itself a pay raise — and passed a series of other tax breaks for the GOP’s lobbyist pals:

But there was GOP discontent, too. Some conservative in the House were unhappy about the minimum wage vote, while moderates in the party were restive about its being tied to cuts in the estate tax.

The GOP package would increase the wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, phased in over the next three years.

It would also exempt $5 million of an individual’s estate, and $10 million of a couple’s, from estate taxes by 2015. Estates worth up to $25 million would be taxed at capital gains rates, currently 15 percent and scheduled to rise to 20 percent. Tax rates on the remainder of larger estates would fall to 30 percent by 2015.

The maneuver was aimed at defusing the wage hike as a campaign issue for Democrats while using the popularity of the increase to achieve the Republican Party’s longtime goal of permanently cutting estate taxes.

Besides the 10-year, $268 billion cut to the estate tax, the measure contains $38 billion in other tax cuts that enjoy widespread backing, such as the research-and-development tax credit.

Oh yeah, I got yer family values right here. It’s called "we don’t give a crap about you once you are out of the womb. It’s every man for himself, and I’m getting mine."   More on the GOP’s Paris Hilton Poison Pill Estate Tax Maneuver from the LATimes and Forbes.

Classy.

You want to know what I think?  Screw the estate tax.  The GOP wants to play games, be fiscally irresponsible at the time when we are spending money like it is water in Iraq and in pork-filled earmarks?  Fine.  Screw them, and help the folks on minimum wage.  And then, whent he Dems take back the House and the Senate, the Paris Hilton Gift Wrapped Par-tay Fund goes back to a sensible, reasonable level.

Handing off more money to people who already have more income in a week than most of the working poor see in a whole year?  Smarmy.  And if you don’t believe me, listen to Oprah Winfrey.  (Yes, THAT Oprah Winfrey.  Sure, she has some fundage now, but as a kid, she was more than familiar with the ramen noodle diet that I lived in college — and once you’ve been there, you should never, ever forget it.)  Oprah did a show yeterday about living on minimum wage — and it was powerful stuff:

Thirty million Americans who work full time are living in poverty. The federal minimum wage in the United States is $5.15 an hour and has not been raised in almost 10 years.

Someone working full time at minimum wage earns $10,712 a year—that’s $8,000 less than what the government defines as poverty.

Why should you care? These are the very people we rely on every day. They are the teachers’ aides in your child’s classroom. They are caring for your aging parents in the nursing home. They make sure your hotel rooms, your offices and your schools are clean. They are security guards keeping buildings safe. They are paramedics who are there in your most desperate hour.

Take a look at the whole page of clips and discussion points on Oprah’s website, and tell me that this is not an issue that touches the heart of who we want to be in America.  Single women, especially, are dealing with such a difficult series of choices with this — especially single moms who have to deal with exes who fail to pay regular child support.  It is a tough, tough place to be in life, and the fact that the GOP would tie in helping these folks (after giving themselves raises!) to a "more bling for Paris" poison pill is unconscionable.

This Republican maneuver disgusts me, but I can’t say that I am surprised, not in the least. Because they don’t really want to help out hard-working, decent Americans who don’t have the money to contribute to their campaign coffers. And the effect that this has on these people’s children? The GOP doesn’t care, so long as it doesn’t make their "No Child Left Behind" test scores look bad — and when schools in poorer neighborhoods do badly, whose fault is it? Not the GOP. They are never, ever accountable for anything they do, are they?

So I say, let them have their lame-ass tax cut. Give a hand up to people who truly need it, and if Paris Hilton gets more bling out of it, then fine and dandy with me. Because it isn’t about Paris Hilton — it’s about all those families living on the edge and barely scraping by day by day. 

Perhaps it isn’t the most politically savvy thing to do — but you know, I see people every single day where I live having to make choices on their medication or their family eating, on their kids getting one new outfit for school or buying gas for the car to get back and forth to work.  And I get the feeling that the GOP doesn’t have a clue that people have to do that sort of thing to just live these days.  (Hint:  try spending time in the poorer part of your districts instead of just at fundraisers at the homes of wealthy donors.  You’ll get a whole new perspective.)

And if the Republicans in charge of Congress can not feel any shame at what they are doing — at a time when they have run up the biggest deficits in the history of this nation (oh yeah, I got yer fiscal responsibility here — I don’t want to hear the word "conservative" in describing these yahoos ever again), at a time when the "working poor" are more and more numerous, at a time when they preach "family values" out of one side of their mouths but could honestly give a crap at how those families survive once a child is out of the womb because it is an "every man for himself" kinda world that they live in, then the hell with them.

I’d say for shame GOP, if I thought there was any shame left in them. But I’ll have to settle for "stand up for the little guy" — because the GOP sure as hell doesn’t give a damn about them.

(For more on the Par-tay Bling Tax Repeal, take a peek at this guest post from Ian.)

UPDATE:  Here are a few Democratic highlights from the late night Estate Tax Poison Pill debate:

Barney Frank was on fire.

Steny Hoyer stepped up to the plate.  (Been a while since I said that!)

Nancy Pelosi laid things out very plainly — and her disgust at the GOP tactics was palpable.  Was on a conference call with her yesterday, and I can say in all honesty that she is pissed on behalf of all those Americans out there who are barely getting by…she gets it, what’s wrong with the GOP?

If you all have seen other good examples on the debate, or good reporting, please link it up in the comments!

(Oh, and just for fun, Crooks and Liars has an hilarious Letterman clip.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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