Soldiers of Fortune

Once again, key members of the House Blue Dog Coalition stand up for the values of their culturally conservative, economically downscale constituents by helping out billionaire hedge fund managers:

The House today passed, 216-193, an $81 billion tax extenders package, including a one-year patch to protect 21 million taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax. Eight Democrats voted against the bill, including several who had voiced opposition to offsets used to pay for the package. Democrats voting no were Reps. Tim Mahoney of Florida, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, John Barrow of Georgia, Melissa Bean of Illinois, Nick Lampson of Texas, Jim Matheson of Utah, Harry Mitchell of Arizona, and Gene Taylor of Mississippi. No Republicans voted for the bill. The largely united Democratic vote belied more widespread concern in the Caucus about the offsets, though leaders managed to persuade them to support the bill despite misgivings. To offset the AMT patch, House tax-writers included a $26 billion provision to tax the profits of private equity, hedge fund and other investment partnerships at 35 percent instead of the 15 percent capital gains rate as under current law. The bill would also delay implementation of tax cuts for multinationals and yank tax benefits that hedge fund managers enjoy by deferring compensation on offshore income.

Have I mentioned that balanced budgets is the signature Blue Dog issue and they have one of those silly national debt clocks (there's no point in reporting the debt as a giant, ever-growing nominal sum rather than as a ratio) on their homepage?