Monday, July 11, 2011

President Obama: Do the Right Thing

I caught the end of Obama's speech and the Q&A at today's presser. It was an interesting approach. Obama had something to piss off everybody. Expecting the usual hair tearing about Obama selling out entitlements and embracing right wing framing from the left, and of course the screeching about so-called "massive tax hikes in a recession" has been a standard talking point on the right for a long time.

As usual, I didn't love everything he said. I'm a liberal, I want him to declare the GOP agenda as the slow motion genocide I believe it to be and start grand public works jobs projects by fiat that would give the 14 million unemployed Americans a decent standard of living again. I want him to demand the end of corporate tax breaks, raise taxes on the wealthy to a fair level of contribution and put the Wall St. banksters in jail. I also would dearly love a unicorn and a secluded beachfront home on the Caribbean. Not going to get those either.

Our President has embraced his inner mediator and he's right. Everybody has to give up some territory on the edges to reach a compromise. I know there's a lot of cynicism on the left that once again, the Dems will give up too much and the GOPers too little. Probably they will, but Obama is also right that given the way the news cycle and the public discourse works these days, nothing else is going to get done unless this fight is over.

He's standing his ground on refusing to accept a short term fix. He successfully shifted the focus to Boehner's inability to manage his caucus. He called out the GOP leaders who are misleading their base into thinking a default wouldn't be a disaster. And as for accepting the conservative conflation of the debt and unemployment, I heard it more as an acknowledgement the GOPers have won the rhetorical battle on those points than as an acceptance of it as fact set in stone. I swear a detected a slight note of sarcasm in that response.

But whatever the result, it's a dangerous game that needs to end and Obama just called the GOPers' bluff.
“The leaders in the room at a certain point have to step up and do the right thing regardless of the voices in our parties,” he said. “It’s going to take some work on his [Boehner's] side. But look, it’s also going to take some work on our side to get this done.”
Up to Boehner now to prove he has the balls to stand up to his base.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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Blogger Ruth said...

Thanks, good points. Yep, it's a note of sarcasm that is increasingly earned, and spoken in the knowledge that with a media unwilling to make facts a criterion, what he says depends on individuals able to assess and evaluate, themselves - a really big barrier to action.

6:06:00 AM  
Blogger expatbrian said...

back, at least for a while. missed you

9:02:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Ruth, just saw a surprising Larry O'Donnell segment at Balloon Juice. He's usually so negative but he sees Obama as making a brilliant tactical move.

Brian!!! So good to see you. Hope you're well.

9:35:00 AM  
Blogger TDC said...

Libby Spencer wrote in part "I want him to demand the end of corporate tax breaks, raise taxes on the wealthy to a fair level of contribution "

Ive asked previously, and you declined to quantify what is "fair" taxation in your opinion

The evillll "rich" upper 1% earned 20% of the national AGI, and paid 38% of the fed income tax. The upper 5% earned 34.7% of the national AGI, and paid 58.7% of the Fed income tax.

How much should each of these groups pay in fed income taxes (share %) in order to be "fair"? not try to link payroll taxes into the discussion, and the "rich" benefit no more than the "not rich" relative to SS and Medicare benefits


9:06:00 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Saw O'Donnell last night and the previous one, on Last Word, and he speaks from experience in doing deals with rightwingers exclusively interested in politics, no interest in national good. He has got it down.

Hint: "fair" share of taxes was paid before 2001, when the country prospered.

7:47:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

"do not try to link payroll taxes into the discussion"

Just who the hell do you think you are? Are you giving orders now? What arrogance.

We're talking about raising the top bracket to where it was under Reagan, not where it was under Eisenhower. We're talking about having people who have benefited from America (and it's wars) the most paying three percent on adjusted gross over $250,000. That's peanuts. Your party is talking about doing away with social security and medicare rather than ask you "patriots" to do something for your country other than bitch about NPR. We're talking about cheap, chiseling billionaires who would see the whole damned thing collapse into feudalism and chaos for a few thousand bucks out of their offshore accounts - and don't start up with your sneering stereotypes. You have no idea where I'm coming from and yes, I'm the 1% and no, I'm not asking the guy raising a family on $50 grand or less to pay off the damned war.

Taxes this low not only do not, do not, do not and never have and never will produce the economic effects the salesmen continue to paint pictures of, they produce bubbles and recessions.

I mean seriously, who do you think you're lecturing to here, children?

5:03:00 PM  

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