Polls tell us that the majority of Americans do not want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. At least one poll revealed that the majority of Republicans
do not want those cuts extended. I'm not even sure that the majority of millionaires want the cuts extended.
Yet Obama's compromise extended Bush's tax cuts for millionaires, for two years. In practical terms, the cuts are permanent, because Republicans will control Congress two years from now. Structurally high deficits will make it impossible to pass any legislation that might aid the recovery. Bad economic times will be great for the Republicans in an election year.
Quoted in the Washington Post
, Obama said:
"Sympathetic as I am to those who would prefer a fight to compromise, it would be the wrong thing to do," the president said. "The American people didn't send us here to wage symbolic battles."
He seems unwilling to engage in any
battles, symbolic or otherwise. And that aversion to conflict is itself symbolic -- of a failed presidency and a failed party. If this is the sort of wimpified governance we get while the Dems still control Congress, what may we expect next year?
Symbolism? Let's talk pragmatism
But he could easily have killed the Bush tax cuts and thereby done more good for our nation’s fiscal situation than anyone will be in a position to do for many years to come. Killing the tax cuts would alone reduce the national debt by roughly as much as the deficit commission’s entire proposal. And killing the tax cuts was the path of least resistance. Obama could have done it by doing nothing. Or he could have done it by taking a strong negotiating position and being willing to walk away from the table.
The Democrats could have forced the Republicans to engage in a genuine filibuster -- the kind that makes 'em stay up all night while wearing Pampers. That would have made great theater: The Republicans fighting for tax breaks for millionaires while the Dems fight for continuing unemployment benefits. Dramatic? You bet. But that drama wouldn't have been merely symbolic; it would have been a matter of life or death.
As I keep telling people, a little-noticed Senate rule
would have allowed the Democrats, during such proceedings, to change the rules on filibusters. No one has ever pointed out a flaw in my argument.
Speaking of filibusters, Bernie Sanders
may mount one against the Obama/GOP plan. Good for him!
It seems that Taylor Marsh
(up with whom I have not kept) has turned around yet again on Obama:
Harry S Truman would have told the Republicans to go pound sand.
William Jefferson Clinton would have gotten something real for the trouble, while sticking it to Republicans by letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. Because back in the early ’90s, Bill first showed Republicans who was boss before he compromised.
But can we now all agree that Republicans don’t give a damn about the deficit?
Republicans won't agree. They live in mythworld -- a fantasyland in which Ronald Reagan reduced the deficit and Clinton expanded it.
Drudge's headline: "The New Obama -- Surprise Tax CUT move!"
Why the surprise? Why the word "New"? The stimulus bill was largely a tax cut bill
, not a jobs bill. Republicans won't tell you that fact -- in fact, they'll tell you the precise opposite of the truth. Worse, the citizenry prefers GOP propaganda to lived experience
Only 12 percent of the public say that the Obama administration has lowered their taxes since coming to office, despite the fact that the White House's stimulus package cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, a new opinion survey found.
In addition, the CBS/NYT poll found that 24 percent of respondents said that their taxes had actually increased under the Obama administration -- which is, again, not true.
If Fox News and Rush Limbaugh said that horses can talk, would people believe them? Probably.
Obama, an allegedly gifted communicator, could not gain political capital from a tax cut bill
. Democrats cannot even persuade the public that such a bill was passed and signed. And now Obama has delivered a handout to millionaires, enriching the affluent while afflicting the destitute.
Symbolism? That's for French film-makers. I want to see combat.