I've been following the "debate" over extending the payroll cuts, and you know, every once in a while, Susan Collins surprises me. How very radical of her to point out that not all millionaires are "job creators!" I'm sure the Republican leadership will make her pay if she insists she's right:
"We're not arguing against extending this payroll tax cut," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday on the Senate floor. "We just think we shouldn't be punishing job creators to pay for it."
"If, in fact, we can find common ground on these extensions, I think you can take to the bank the fact that they will be paid for," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said later.
But Collins, often a maverick in her party, made a telling departure from the prevailing orthodoxy, arguing that job creators and the rich are not one and the same, and that actual job creators are businesses, such as small corporations and partnerships, that hire people.
"What I've been looking at is can you carve out those businesses from the surtax, and you can," Collins told reporters just outside the Senate chamber, explaining that there's a difference between working enterprises and idle rich.
"There is already a body of well-developed law in the tax code having to do with active business participation versus passive business participation," she said.
"I think that's the answer to this dilemma. I do not want to impose additional taxes on the employers at a time when our economy is very fragile and we want to encourage them to hire," Collins said. "On the other hand, I do believe that multimillionaires and billionaires who are not running businesses could pay more of their income to help us deal with the deficit."