Conrad sides with GOP on tax breaks for wealthy

CONRAD SIDES WITH GOP ON TAX BREAKS FOR WEALTHY…. It’s become common enough to be predictable — lawmakers who claim to be deeply concerned with the deficit also take a firm stand in support of tax breaks for the wealthy, regardless of what it would do to the deficit.

Alas, it’s not just Republicans playing this annoying game.

A fiscally conservative Democrat who chairs the U.S. Senate’s budget committee on Wednesday said he supports extending all of the tax cuts that expire this year, including for the wealthy.

“The general rule of thumb would be you’d not want to do tax changes, tax increases … until the recovery is on more solid ground,” Senator Kent Conrad said in an interview with reporters outside the Senate chambers, adding he did not believe the recovery has come yet.

Conrad did not say tax cuts would pay for themselves — he’s not quite as irresponsible as his Republican colleagues — but Reuters’ report added that Conrad wants lawmakers to “find offsetting revenue to pay for the lower rates for wealthier Americans.”

There’s some deep confusion on display here. Conrad is worried about the health of the economy, which makes sense. He also wants to cut federal spending to offset tax cuts for the wealthy, which doesn’t make sense.

But in the larger context, Conrad’s position, which is apparently also endorsed by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), another pseudo deficit hawk, signals more trouble for common sense in the Senate. It’s tough enough going up against a united Republican caucus with economic priorities that range from confused to illiterate; center-right Democrats siding with the GOP makes matters considerably worse.