The tax cuts are in, Republicans are out, and those are the subjects of this evening's Talking Points memo.

Senator James Jeffords of Vermont could be the most unpopular man in the country tonight. He has changed his affiliation to Independent and will now caucus with the Democrats, giving that party control of the Senate, as you probably know.

There are two reasons Jeffords did this. First, the Bush administration has been tough on the environmentalists, and Jeffords is a green. Second, because Jeffords would not support the full Bush tax cut, some Republicans shunned him. And he feels government-mandated price controls for milk in New England may be in jeopardy.

Jeffords and his fellow Vermont senator, Patrick Leahy, are the driving forces behind the high milk prices in New England, which the federal government sets. No where else in the country does this happen.

Vermont dairy farmers are, therefore, assured of good profits and little competition. The Bush people are not big on that, so that's why Jeffords bolted. Politics as usual. And since he was reelected just last November, he has six years to win support for his choice.

Now, I think it was wrong that he did that. I know some Democrats have gone over to the GOP and things tend to balance out, but Jeffords was elected by Vermont Republicans, and he should have thought about them first. Lots of GOPers are mad up in the Green Mountain State.

Ideology has nothing to do with this. Trust does. Jeffords has always voted independently. Hammering the Republicans now looks like a vengeance move.

And then there's the tax cut. How on earth could 38 Democratic senators vote against it? Even Jeffords voted for it. Even Dianne Feinstein voted for it. This is not a big tax cut. This is just a trickle at a time when take-home pay is being gutted by taxes and rising energy costs.

How can the American economy start growing if Americans themselves have less money in their pockets? That is the fundamental question. Our take-home pay is under siege, and 38 senators don't want to give us a break. I simply can't understand it.

Again, this has nothing to do with ideology. This is about fairness and economics. Talking Points believes that the first priority of elected officials should be seeing to the welfare of the American people. A tax cut that puts money in the pockets of all working Americans is a good thing period.

And that's the memo.

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