To Quote Thatcher- Baucus Shoulda Stayed Quiet

The Eurasia Group’s Sean West and Brittan Specht penned a guest opinion column at Bloomberg.Com with a little bit of advice for Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Congressman David Camp (R-Michigan).  This, after the chairmen of the two tax-writing panels on Capitol Hill wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal claiming comprehensive tax reform is on the way. 

We’d be more optimistic if they had kept quiet.

For starters, it’s rarely a good sign to see a piece claiming something is “very much alive.” As Margaret Thatcher put it, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” If tax reform has a chance, that should be obvious. Completion is very far away if the public still needs to be convinced the process has a pulse.

For Baucus, a Montana Democrat who was worried enough about his re-election prospects to vote against both Simpson-Bowles and this year’s tax-raising Senate budget, it might not be such a bad thing if an open process slow-walks or even puts the reform process into a coma until after he secures a new term.

Aaron Flint posted on April 08, 2013 11:27 :: 164 Views

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has an op-ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal claiming that comprehensive tax reform is alive and doable.  While the column lacks any specifics, I could anticipate Democratic political consultant Bob Brigham accurately summing up the intent behind the op-ed by Baucus:  it’s a message to Wall Street.  If you want special end-of-year goodies for your corporations, start contributing to a potentially rough re-election campaign for Baucus in 2014. 

Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein notes that at least 28 of Max Baucus’ former aides are now tax lobbyists.

That’s from Eric Lipton in the New York Times. His story echoes a report from Washington Post reporter Jerry Markon, who last month documented the growing army of corporate and other lobbyists seeking to influence any tax overhaul.

Here’s The New York Times article Klein is referring to.  You’ll note that Baucus even declined an interview with the NY Times. (I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad, in fact- those of you who do get interviews should actually be the ones concerned)

No other lawmaker on Capitol Hill has such a sizable constellation of former aides working as tax lobbyists, representing blue-chip clients that include telecommunications businesses, oil companies, retailers and financial firms, according to an analysis by LegiStorm, an online database that tracks Congressional staff members and lobbying. At least 28 aides who have worked for Mr. Baucus, Democrat of Montana, since he became the committee chairman in 2001 have lobbied on tax issues during the Obama administration — more than any other current member of Congress, according to the analysis of lobbying filings performed for The New York Times.

“K Street is literally littered with former Baucus staffers,” said Jade West, an executive at a wholesalers’ trade association that relies on a former finance panel aide, Mary Burke Baker. “It opens doors that allow you to make the case.”

Meanwhile, The Hill notes that the “Obamacare Architect’s” signature piece of legislation is now taking friendly fire

Democrats complained this week about a one-year delay in a key program designed to help small businesses — a central selling point for the healthcare law that now won’t be in place when voters head to the polls next year.

In addition to rank-and-file Democrats who voted for the healthcare law, Republicans this time are hoping to defeat Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) — who was the primary author of the Affordable Care Act in his position as Finance chairman.
Senate Republicans’ campaign arm attacked Baucus this week as the “ObamaCare architect.”

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