Fooling the Voters – New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/opinion/31mon1.html

An important editorial, though unfortunately only accessible for a short time, so read it now.

One of the bills was a pension reform measure. The other was a grab bag that contains three main items: an extension of the expired tax credit for corporate research; a $2.10 an hour increase in the minimum wage, to be phased in over three years; and a multibillion-dollar estate-tax cut. That’s the deal House Republicans are really offering — a few more dollars for 6.6 million working Americans; billions more for some 8,000 of the wealthiest families.

It is cynical in the extreme. Extending the research tax credit is noncontroversial, yet pressing. A minimum wage increase is compelling — morally, politically and financially — but Republicans generally oppose it. And the estate-tax cut has already failed to pass the Senate twice this summer. So House Republicans linked it to the research credit and the minimum wage, hoping to flip a handful of senators from both parties who have voted against estate-tax cuts in the past. Democrats who vote against the estate tax, Republicans think, can be painted as voting against a higher minimum wage.

I’ve never understood the American system of creating legislation that starts as one thing, and winds up at the end with three or four totally different items tacked onto it. And I’m especially gutted by the bill in question, which essentially begs to be voted down. It brings to mind the old joke: Congress = the opposite of Progress…

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