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NObamaLast week President Obama proudly announced a “compromise” he had unilaterally reached with Republicans on whether or not to extend the Bush Tax Cuts before they expire at the end of the year. The “compromise” is thus: Republicans get everything they want… a two year budget-busting extension of the Bush Tax Cuts that comes up for renewal smack-dab in the middle of the “2012 Election” when 22 Democratic Senators will be up for reelection. And in exchange for this, Democrats get… what? An extension of the Bush Tax Cuts??? “Tax cuts” that did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help the economy, with NOT ONE SINGLE PRIVATE SECTOR JOB BEING CREATED IN THE SEVEN YEARS SINCE BUSH PASSED THEM IN 2002. This is a policy we wish to continue??? Since when were “tax cuts” a priority for Democrats? Since when did Democrats buy into the fiction that “tax cuts create jobs”?
 

(You can read a full summary of the tax deal here.)
 

Jay Leno had it about right Tuesday night after President Obama announced his “compromise” with Republicans to extend the Bush Era Tax cuts for everyone for two additional years:

His Party is so upset with him that now Democrats are asking to see his birth certificate!

And I can’t help but wonder… after caving on the Public Option, caving on offshore drilling (just prior to the BP spill) and now caving in to Republican (quote) “terrorism” with THREE WEEKS LEFT in this lame duck session of Congress, if maybe Democrats need to start treating this president like crap? Maybe if they do, he’ll start to care about winning the approval of Democrats as much as he cares about the approval of Republicans? (And early indications actually lend some credence to the theory, with President Obama backtracking slightly in response to VERY vocal protests from Democrats who clearly were never consulted in the making of this deal, describing his plan now as “just a framework”.

The House already passed a bill on December 2nd to continue the Bush era Tax Cuts for ALL income below $250K. It was pronounced DOA upon reaching the Senate, in part thanks to this deal being worked on behind closed doors between the President and Republicans, undercutting Senate Democrats. And now, what’s to prevent Republicans from “hostage taking” for the next two years now that they know President Obama will fold like a cheap suit if they string it out long enough?

I first noticed President Obama’s desperate need for approval from those who hate him, and a disregard bordering on contempt for his base, a week before his inauguration. President-elect Obama invited every major Right Wing “journalist” (sans “hate radio” talkers like Limbaugh and Savage) to a formal dinner at columnist George Will’s house, only to have those same “journalist” trash him the next day. The next day, President-elect Obama met with “Liberal” journalists at his “transition headquarters” for 90 minutes where no food or drink were served.

Just last August, Press Secretary Gibbs criticized “The Professional Left”, where he whined that President Obama’s own base had unrealistic expectations of what this president… or any Democratic president… could achieve. This has never been a president that felt a strong connection to the Progressive Wing of his own Party.

No question President Obama has passed a number of positive Democratic issues. Most notably the Lily Leddbetter Fair Pay Act almost upon entering office. But I’m trying to imagine if Barack Obama were a Republican faced with the huge Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate pushing through this same legislative agenda, what exactly might of turned out differently? “ObamaCare” is a pale imitation of 100% privately administered “RomneyCare”, pushed through by Mitt Ronmey when he was governor of Massachusetts. Obama sent another 75,000 troops to Afghanistan, expanding that war until at least 2014, he agreed to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling the week before the BP oil disaster, and now he’s “compromised” with Republicans to extend the Bush Tax Cuts until the 2012 elections… when repealing them will be political suicide… tantamount to making them permanent… ALL in exchange for tax cuts that do NOTHING to improve the economy (on “Meet the Press” yesterday, host David Gregory asked Obama’s economic adviser Austan Goolsbee how difficult it will be to repeal the tax cuts in 2012… an election year? Goolsbee’s response? Republicans won’t be able to campaign on the tax cuts having worked because they won’t have. Think about that for a moment). EVEN WORSE, Obama “proudly proclaimed he had convinced Republicans to agree to a “payroll tax holiday”. In 2009, Republicans proposed a “payroll tax holiday” as a way of “stimulating the economy”. The Obama White House wisely said no at the time because payroll taxes fund Social Security. And the goal of the GOP… just like with the Bush Tax Cut issue now… is to pass a tax cut that will be almost impossible to reinstate, eventually defunding Social Security to the point where is collapses. This “compromise” could very well mark the beginning of the end for Social Security.

With three weeks still left to go in the lame duck Congress at the time of his big announcement, President Obama cut the legs out from under Democrats and weakened their bargaining position. Before this announced “compromise”, Democrats in Congress could have at least threatened that this president would allow ALL the tax cuts to expire and renegotiate a new “Obama Tax Cut” for the poor & middle-class when Congress reconvenes in January. After all, he campaigned on repealing the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy for nearly two years before winning the presidency. And Republicans would likely have agreed to a middle-class tax cut if that was all they could get. Can you imagine Republicans voting against a middle-class tax cut when Congress reconvenes in January? But now Republicans know relentless obstructionism works and the President will eventually cave if they just stick to their guns long enough. Also, they can now vote against any tax cut after being on the record as “having a deal with President Obama to cut taxes for EVERYBODY, but Democrats shot it down”. Oy, the next two years are going to be just dandy.

In watching the Sunday politi-talkshows yesterday, I couldn’t find a single Republican that wasn’t absolutely giddy over the deal they had struck with Obama… with ONE minor exception: extreme partisans that now think these tax cuts will be so wonderful for the economy, they just guaranteed President Obama’s reelection (warning: link is to Malkin’s “Hot Air” blog). Hard-Right pundit Charles Krauthammer said that this deal “will cut unemployment by 1.5%”. Really? First, that’s almost certain not to be the case if this goes through as-is, but even if it did, unemployment would still be up around 8.3%. Republicans would take credit for any improvement following their big gains in 2010, and 8.3% will be higher than it was the day Obama took office four years earlier (never mind the fact that unemployment jumped nearly two points in just the last six months of the Bush Presidency… something else for which they blame Democrats).

This “compromise” that President Obama struck is an “embarrassment of riches” for Republicans. In exchange for non-stimulative tax cuts, and an extension of unemployment benefits that had NO BUSINESS even being mentioned in the same breath as the BTC’s (Bush Tax Cuts), the inheritance tax is reduced from 55% to 35% on estates over $5 million, and the Capital Gains tax will remain at 15%, down from 20% pre-BTC. Remember that “snowman” graph of how each income level stood to benefit from the two competing tax plans? Under the “Obama-GOP Plan”, both the rich AND the poor are to receive much bigger (Deficit exploding) tax cuts than either of the two previous plans, with the super-rich (incomes above $1million annually) making out FAR better than everyone else:
 

Obama/GOP tax cut snowman graph
Click to enlarge

 

Apparently this needs to be repeated over & over: Tax cuts don’t create jobs (arguably, you can create some jobs with tax deductions, but not “cuts”). If you don’t have a job, you’re not paying income taxes anyway (at least, none that extending the BTC’s will affect), so extending them doesn’t help you. People need jobs, not tax cuts. Obama seems to have fallen for the Republican myth that tax cuts are both stimulative AND create jobs. Neither is true.
 

CBO charts effectiveness of forms of stimulus.
Click to Enlarge

 

Increased tax revenue from “the rich” could be used (at best) to pay for government infrastructure jobs or (more realistically in the face of unprecedented GOP obstruction), fund a tax deduction for businesses that create jobs, both of which would have a FAR more direct influence on jobs and the economy than “tax cuts” that get spent on cheap crap from China, paying off past stimulative purchases (including paying bills), or simply put in the bank where the money just sits. You can’t control how “tax cuts are spent”, which is what makes them such a lousy means of “stimulus”.

I keep hearing how this was a “compromise”. Compromise? What compromise? Someone please tell me what Republicans “gave up” in exchange for this “compromise”? I keep hearing defenders of this “compromise” claim Republicans “gave up their quest to make the tax cuts permanent”. Sorry folks, “giving up” something YOU KNOW YOU NEVER HAD A PRAYER OF GETTING IN THE FIRST PLACE IS NOT A “COMPROMISE” (despite what the children on the Randi Rhodes message board think). Republicans “revealing” to the world they are big freakin’ hypocrites when it comes to the Deficit is also no victory. Not only do Republicans NEVER pay a price for their hypocrisy (did they ever pay a price for not trying to repeal Roe when they controlled all three branches of government under Bush?), but they’ll just blame Democrats for failing to “cut spending” (even though they themselves can’t name a single thing they’d cut). And trust me, if this nightmare of a “compromise” bill passes in anything close to it’s original form, Republicans are going to use it to justify MASSIVE slashes in government spending… none of it on the rich.

If you haven’t already, please sign the following petitions:

o Sen. Sherrod Brown’s petition to prevent the passage of the Obama/GOP tax plan for the uber rich.

o Rep. Jay Inslee’s petition for a more common-sense tax plan.

Also, I recommend you watch Rachel Maddow explain the two factions opposing this tax cut bill.

Cenk of The Young Turks does a great job of explaining everything that is wrong with this deal President Obama struck with Republicans:
 


 

Merry Xmas GOP

 


 
And as usual: a reminder to Sign my Green Jobs petition:
Support green jobs NOW!

 


 

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