Bayh’s priorities

BAYH’S PRIORITIES…. Glenn Greenwald had a pretty devastating piece yesterday on the junior senator from Indiana. He argued, “When the sad and destructive history of the U.S. over the last decade is written, the coddled, nepotistic, self-serving face of Evan Bayh should be prominently included. It embodies virtually every cause.”

To help bolster the point, consider Bayh’s recent efforts on cutting spending, “reforming” entitlements, and debt reduction. Brian Beutler touches on a point I’ve been trying to emphasize.

This spring, when Congress was hashing out its budget, [Bayh] voted for an amendment, sponsored by Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), that would have slashed the estate tax for multimillionaires.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the measure would’ve blown a $250 billion hole in the budget. Keep that number in mind for one moment. Because the letter warned, “Deficits and debt matter for everyone. In 2008, the American taxpayer paid more than $250 billion to our creditors in interest payments alone.” [Emphasis in the original.] Oh cruel irony.

To be fair, the Lincoln-Kyl amendment’s price tag would’ve been spread out over 10 years. But still: How does one square a vote to diminish the estate tax with fiscal discipline?

One can’t. It’s why I cringe just a bit every time I see Bayh claim the high ground on fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction, as he did over the weekend on Fox News.

It just doesn’t add up, literally or figuratively. In a time of large deficits and a desperate need for additional government spending to address a deep recession, Bayh, over the course of a half-year, has endorsed a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires — which wouldn’t be paid for — and endorsed a measure to go after entitlements.

This is not the agenda of a person with fiscal credibility.