In the first days of the 107th Congress, with the Senate split 50-50, minority leader Tom Daschle was optimistic enough to quote Thomas Wolfe's famous line, "America is a place where miracles not only happen -- they happen all the time." Daschle was referring to a novel system of power sharing in the Senate that ensures Democrats an equal number of seats on each committee (though Vice President Dick Cheney still holds the tie-breaking vote on the floor). But after last week's performance in the Senate Finance Committee, which featured four of 10 Democratic members defying party leadership to sign on to a compromise tax bill, it will take more than a miracle to fend off the shamefully inequitable tax plan that is scheduled for a Senate vote today.
The tax rebate is a policy made in sound-bite heaven. Forget complicated mouthfuls like phased-in reductions in marginal income tax rates; forget the AMT and the EITC. Just calculate the surplus, and put the excess money in the mail. It's not surprising then, that the rebate has been the only area of consensus in this year's steadfastly partisan tax debates.
As the Dow rose with the sun on the morning of November 8 after a chaotic and unresolved election, the Wall Street talking heads checked in with what they clearly believe to be the country's most important political constituent: the stock market.