Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The tax cut deal

Guess I do have time for one quick post. I have more to say about this deal Obama cut with the GOPers on tax cuts, but two quick thoughts for right now. One, in processing the information as it comes out, it seems to me that a lot of the anger from the far left is about being cut out of the process. As Ezra says, it's an OK deal, but it was struck without any outreach to the base. As was everything so far in Obama's administration.
But the presidency of Barack Obama has been more inside game than outside game. The tax cut deal is yet another example. On the face of it, it's not a bad deal. Republicans gets $130 billion in tax breaks for the wealthy, and Democrats get about $300 billion in more stimulative, more progressive breaks and unemployment benefits. That's more than anyone thought Obama likely to get from these negotiations. But it was a deal struck in a back room, without buy-in from the president's base, and then sold at a press conference were Obama lectured liberals about the compromises required to pass Social Security, Medicare, and the founding of this country, and the dangers of "sanctimony." As you might imagine, that didn't go over too well with liberals, and now we're in another of the occasional flare-ups between Obama and his base.
My first inclination was to fight it but as John Cole points out if we kill the deal, and it's possible we could do it, then what? We're down to the eleventh hour before the GOP effectively takes over the Congress. So what's Plan B? How is the left going to get the GOPers and Blue Dogs to extend UI benefits for millions of Americans who would be otherwise left with no income in the dead of winter? Much less the other stealth stimulus provisions that were added to the deal?

My second thought, which was actually my first reaction, is the Democrats could have and should have cut a much better deal than this. They should have held out for not just the UI benies, but also at least DADT and START and forced those votes first. And they could have, if they had this fight in May. But they wanted until it was too late and the bitter reality is this is the best we're going to get at this time. Killing the deal, imperfect as it is, won't gain us anything and in fact leave us with nothing just as the GOPers are about to take over with an even stronger hand.

I hate it but there it is. Thinking the strategy now is for liberals and progressives is to regroup and figure out why we aren't more effective in swaying our legislators so they can make the president do what we want.

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Anonymous Ruth said...

As I know some one on the verge of losing UI and being forced to start eating up what savings she has, I am very hopeful that bitter feelings won't kill this last ditch effort. If Dems had successfully stood up to the previous admin, it would have saved us all this infighting now. How they were to manage that in the face of total indifference to the country's interests, I don't know

1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Speaking as someone who wasn't able to collect a cent in UI and already tapped out my savings, I'm fighting for those who really need them. I don't anybody to end up in the same boat I'm in now.

6:44:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Worse that actually letting Americans drown, taking their families with them, is the damnable slur that they're only out of work because they're lazy and things like minimum wage laws and that unemployment insurance make us all lazier.

That's what the bastards said back in the 30's after they destroyed the economy with big tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of securities and banks.

Perhaps, given our American tradition of idiocy, things will only get better if we let them bring the whole edifice down on our heads. Maybe there's a chance that enough people will wake up and smell the bullshit.

10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

It's looking more and more like that's the only choice Fogg. Slogan voters won't get it until it hits them over the head...

4:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That's what the bastards said back in the 30's after they destroyed the economy with big tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of securities and banks."

Let's see. Using the chart that Ms Spencer posted a few days ago, the tax rate went from 25% during the period 1925-28 up to 63% for the period 1932 to 1935 and then to 79% from 1936 to 1939. So tell us Capt, when did this surreptitious tax cut for the wealthy occur in the 1930's? It is obvious that it wasn’t made known to the general public.

7:20:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

What, is there another blue light special on cheap cynicism at K mart today?

The marginal tax cuts under Warren G. Harding obviously occured in the 1920's as did his deregulation program and trying to pay for it all with slashed Federal Spending. The marginal rate of 76% had been high in order to pay off our WW I debt. It was reduced to 25% We had a wild boom and an astonishing bust. Remember? Sure, it's more complicated than that, but try any Libertarian web site to check the facts, if you don't like history books. You do read them, don't you?

As I said and as you would have not said if you had read my post, the attempt to disassociate all of that boom bust cycle with this familiar Republican program began in the 1930s - the attempt to blame workers for the Depression couldn't have happened until there was a depression, now could it?

Lest you attempt to accuse me of a post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy, I should mention that slashed marginal brackets seem always to produce some measure of bubbly conditions and indeed St. Ronald was forced to raise taxes 6 times or so to counter the predicted recession - as did his successor. Are you old enough to remember that unemployment during the Reagan Recession equaled today's rate? Do you remember that the Bush I S&L debacle, caused again by deregulation was one of the most expensive lessons we ever learned, although it's not very conservative to learn, is it? Since all wisdom comes from the scriptures of Rand rather than the lessons of reality.

Perhaps if Bush the incompetent had not been an intransigent corporate stooge we wouldn't be where we are now.

Now if you'd please mop up some of that snot before you leave. . .

11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I'm no fan of Bush, I'm less a fan of that racist ex-crackhead Marxist clown we have in office today.

Bush didn't destroy the economy, Congress did.

11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Ah, another Detroit scholar. Do they even have a school system in that rathole? Have you read Marx? Do you know what a Marxist is? Have you read any political philosophy and history at all?

Sorry, sleeping in some Detroit flophouse or pissing in a Holiday Inn parking lot doesn't make up for such staggering ignorance. Nobody gives a shit about your little second hand slime bites - and for good reason.

But hey, you left out Viennese succesionist Irridentist Irish Republican trotskyite post-impressionist Maoist Confederate lycanthropic Tory British Royalist Mau-Mau Whig PLO sympathiser abstract impressionist WCTU Zionist cannibal carpetbagger anti-colonial Mexican illegal glue sniffing Zapatista Caribbean pirate trogolodytic teenage mutant ninja turtle against drunk drivers you racist pig.

The economy isn't destroyed, we had higher unemployment under Reagan and you can't excuse 30 years of thoroughly debunked Supply Side economics and deregulation by saying you're "no fan" and blathering like an ignoramus.

11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

But of course, and I must add, that your repeated ranting about some private fantasy you insist I have, makes your insanity apparent to anyone who cares to read your pustulant posts.

That Chicago has thrived under the Democrats while Detroit has not would indicate that your convenient explanation is wanting a few things -- like relevance or truth or perspective, but again and I hope for the last time, I don't care what you say.

10:17:00 AM  

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