Well, I’m Inside the Beltway this week with Prez O and the lame ducks. And I expect I’m having more fun — and most likely getting more done — than they are. It appears that the Dems are upset enough about the plan to extend tax cuts and unemployment benefits that VP Joe was dispatched to the Hill for damage control.
Windbag alert at Orange.
The problem here is that the Dems did not have the balls — you listening, Sarah? — to do something before the elections — because they didn’t want to be on record voting for a tax increase for anyone, particularly with unemployment still near 10 percent and a jobless recovery is in full swing.
Here’s from Gail Collins and her NYT Op-Ed, “Falling off the Bandwagon“:
It was at that point that Obama announced a deal with the Republicans to salvage unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and create a sort of ministimulus bill with tax cuts for everybody, including the working poor, besides the dreaded, hated giveaway to the undeserving wealthy.
“The American people are outraged!” said Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. He wanted the president to draw that line in the sand, let the unemployment benefits lapse, the tax code fall into limbo, and hold out until public opinion forced 60 votes to come around.
If you really wanted the American people to rally around no-tax-cuts-for-richies, shouldn’t we have had this conversation before the election? It’s a lot easier to send Washington a message at the polls than on a protest march in a sub-zero wind-chill factor.
No, we waited until now because the Senate leaders left the timing up to their members who were running for re-election, and the Democrats in question said they’d rather not have to go on the record.
Government in inaction. Yippee!
The reality is that nobody wants to see his taxes increased — just as nobody wants to reduce government spending on anything that is of a personal interest: Social Security and Medicare now topping my list.
And I am with people this week who don’t believe you are wealthy with an income of $250,000 a year. (Full disclosure: me neither.) A million maybe. But do you raise taxes on those people if it means possibly a tax increase for everyone else and an end to unemployment compensation for the long-term unemployed?
Since Congress didn’t act before the mid-term elections, Obama made the best compromise deal he could. And I actually believe that it will have some positive effect on the economy and jobs — unlike the stimulus package a year ago that went apparently to nonexistent shovel-ready projects. Sigh.
Here’s from a NYT article, “In Obama Tax Plan, a Boost for Job Creation“:
A year ago, President Obama and the Democrats made the mistake of assuming that an economic recovery was under way. This week’s deal to extend the Bush tax cuts shows that the White House’s top priority is avoiding the same mistake again — even if it has to upset many fellow Democrats in the process.
Mr. Obama effectively traded tax cuts for the affluent, which Republicans were demanding, for a second stimulus bill that seemed improbable a few weeks ago. Mr. Obama yielded to Republicans on extending the high-end Bush tax cuts and on cutting the estate tax below its scheduled level. In exchange, Republicans agreed to extend unemployment benefits, cut payroll taxes and business taxes, and extend a grab bag of tax credits for college tuition and other items.
For the White House, the deal represents a clear shift in policy focus. Mr. Obama and Democrats spent much of the last year pursuing long-term goals like a health care overhaul and financial regulation, while hoping the economic recovery would continue. But with the recovery faltering and Republicans retaking the House, the administration is turning back to short-term job creation.
And just for the record, if I ever make a million bucks in a year I will be more than willing to pay my fair share in taxes.
In the meantime, come on congressional guys and gals, I’m just a poor pensioner on a fixed income.
And don’t even think about raising my taxes.