In a move as baffling as it is inane, the Republican Congress failed to extend the deductibility of state sales taxes, costing citizens of Washington hundreds and thousands of dollars per year. Prediction Tuesday guaranteed last spring this would not happen, then promised again a month ago. We were wrong.
Republicans had used their window under the arcane budget rules to extend tax cuts for capital gains and dividends for two years -- from 2008 to 2010. The obvious assumption was that the more popular tax breaks for college expenses and state sales taxes would come later.
Here's how it works. Budget rules allow some deficit expansion without the jeopardy of filibuster. Republicans used this to feed the rich their dividend and capital gains cuts out to 2010. Yes, not this year, not next year -- these were already taken care of -- but years into the future.
Then, instead of just putting up the popular and deserved tax deductions to pass on their merits, the GOP hitched them to still more top end giveaways -- the estate tax elimination -- and the minimum wage tomfoolery.
When that "Trifecta" didn't pass, Prediction Tuesday said the GOP would cave. They would not be so ethically corrupt or politically obtuse to so blatantly raid the federal budget for the rich and ignore the middle class, at least not in an election year.
We were wrong.
Congress recessed without extending the middle class tax breaks.
The same Congress could well come back after the elections and make the changes. But that won't count. We were wrong. We admit it.
You might say this is payback for a Blue State. But Florida, Texas, and North Carolina are in the same boat -- sales tax and no state income tax. That's Bush, Bush and Frist.
Cynically, ever so cynically, Republicans blame Democrats.
Doc Hastings comes up a loser for the second day in a row, as well. Sales tax deductibility was his only positive contribution. With it gone, and new attention as House "Ethics" Committee chairman (following the Foley page scandals), Doc is looking more and more vulnerable.