In today’s NY Times column Paul Krugman takes a quick look back at the Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) delay of the extension of unemployment benefits; and to our own Jon Kyl’s well-reported case of foot-in-mouth disease.
His conclusion is that the gap between the intellectual and moral universes of the two parties, however it has come about, is so great that it puts paid to the possibility of bi-partisanship.
Once again Kyl illustrates the difference. Krugman writes:
Consider, in particular, the position that Mr. Kyl has taken on a proposed bill that would extend unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the jobless for the rest of the year. Republicans will block that bill, said Mr. Kyl, unless they get a “path forward fairly soon” on the estate tax.
Now, the House has already passed a bill that, by exempting the assets of couples up to $7 million, would leave 99.75 percent of estates tax-free. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for Mr. Kyl; he’s willing to hold up desperately needed aid to the unemployed on behalf of the remaining 0.25 percent. That’s a very clear statement of priorities.
Meanwhile, up at the state legislature, the Solons have struck another blow for the well to do. They have rejected the idea of limiting tax-credited gifts to private and parochial schools to poor and middle income families.
Well, hey, that’s fair isn’t it? Just because we can afford to give a thousand bucks to the grandkids’ private school why should we be denied our thousand buck credit against state income taxes?
As the law now stands I can “recommend” that my gift be for the benefit of a particular child. Lawmakers rejected a proposal to outlaw this practice.
This whole tax-credit hustle steals funding from the state budget that ought go to the improvement of public education.
This subtle shift from public to private education simply means that we are moving toward a two-tiered education system: Education for the rich and education for the poor.
(Cross-posted from TucsonCitizen.com)