by Linda Beale
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Max Baucus has established a secret submission process for Senators to let him know what pet tax loopholes they want to retain (probably the ones that high-paid lobbyists representing corporations with operations in their states have pushed for). Senators will be granted 50 years of secrecy–constitutents won’t be able to find out what their own senators proposed and supported, or their rationales for those proposals, unless the Senators themselves opt out of the “protection from constituents” process. The anti-transparency measure adopted by Senate Finance Committee leaders smacks of a complete disregard for democratic processes and citizens’ rights to know what proposals their representatives in Congress are supporting. The one thing we can be sure of is that whatever tax “reform” a group comes up with in these closed-door circumstances won’t have the best interests of the ordinary American worker in mind but rather the best tax “loopholes” for multinational corporations and their wealthy managers/owners.
Senator Bernie Sanders already opted out of the secrecy promise by publishing his own proposals on his website. Let’s hope many others realize the anti-democratic nature of a process that spurns the public’s input or knowledge of what the Senate millionaires club is up to.
David Sirota has a good piece in Salon.com on this issue. See Corporate Sellouts Exploit a Secret New Gimmick, Salong.com (July 31, 2013).