From HuffPo’s Sam Stein, we learn of yet another foolish Democrat, this time Missouri Senate candidate, Robin Carnahan, who thinks we should extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, because "now is not a good time for raising taxes."

Carnahan isn’t the first Democratic Senate candidate to call for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has said that he favors keeping the current rates for "five, eight, maybe ten" additional years. Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), who is running for Sen. Evan Bayh’s soon to be vacated seat, also has said he would support extending the entire package of Bush tax cuts.

Are they truly that clueless about what the choices are?

The cost to the Treasury of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealth starts near $35 billion next year and explodes to nearly $700 billion over a decade. So the question for Democrats is simple: what do you want to happen to that $700 billion?

If you give it to the wealthiest Americans, who already have the vast majority of wealth in the US (and it’s getting worse), they won’t stick it in mattresses or some Cayman Islands bank account earning piddling interest, though they may try to hide it there and avoid even more taxes. No, they’ll send much of that $700 billion to Wall Street to gamble on making more money, asking their favorite bankster to place their bets on the latest expected bubble.

Or . . . you could let the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans expire and use that money, or even a portion of it, to create jobs, reduce unemployment, rehire teachers/firemen/police, rebuild infrastructure and help those most in need, including the insecure elderly who lost much of their retirement savings when Wall Street and incompetent regulators destroyed $12-14 trillion in America’s housing and investment wealth.

The one thing almost all economists agree on — even the Republican advisers — is that reducing taxes on the rich has a very small stimulus effect on the economy, but using those same dollars on the poor and lower middle class has a much larger positive effect — about five times as large, or more. Clearly, that’s the best investment we could be making with that $700 billion, or any portion of it.

So here’s the test for Democratic candidates: You have $700 billion. You can give it away to the richest Americans and have them gamble that on the next Wall Street scams, or you can invest some or all of it with the people on Main Street.

Wall Street casinos or Main Street jobs. The choice is really that simple. And any Democratic candidate that can’t explain and sell the right choice to voters shouldn’t be running for office.



John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley