Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

GOP No-Fly Zone for Lame Ducks

Republican leaders go to the White House for a cozy chat about cooperation, and the next day Mitch McConnell's thank-you note, cosigned by 41 Senate cohorts, promises to obstruct everything but extension of the Bush tax cuts to avoid a "job-killing tax increase" and a return of the "death tax."

All this lethal campaign rhetoric is, of course, cover for GOP extortion of a better deal for the richest Americans and forcing the President to compromise on extending tax cuts that expire December 31st to everyone but those earning over $250,000 a year.

He will have to give way to the extent of raising the bar to $1 million or a convoluted combination of measures that would end up cutting the budget deficit by far less than his proposal.

Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll shows a divided public over the confusing mathematics of the issue but united by 83% in favor of retaining the tax cuts up to earnings of $250,000 and differing on whether the cap should be raised to $500,000 or $1 million.

All this gives the lie to Republican claims that they are responding to the "mandate" of last month's election.

A Democratic Senate spokesman sums it up succinctly: “If they really cared about creating jobs, they should stop blocking preservation of unemployment insurance, which would create or save hundred of thousands of jobs. Unfortunately this letter is nothing new. Republicans have simply put in writing their political strategy which they have pursued over the last two years: obstruct and delay action on critical matters, and then blame the Democrats for not addressing the needs of the American people.”

Just so but, unless the President finds some way to exert brass-knuckles leadership, the holiday menu in Congress will be roasted lame duck.

Update: The President's unflappability can sometimes be annoying. In the face of all this obstruction, he says, “Nobody wants to see taxes on middle-class families go up starting Jan. 1, and so there’s going to be some lingering politics that have to work themselves out in all the caucuses, Democrat and Republican. But at the end of the day, I think that people of good will can come together.”

Too cool in the face of mindless opposition, Mr. President, much too cool.


Freedom Fighter said...


First of all, these aren't 'tax cuts'. They merely preserve taxes at their current level instead of stupidly raising them during a recession.

Second, the income levels of 'the Rich' include pass through gross income from small businesses and know, the people that hire and invest. Not everyone can work for the government.

Third, it amazes me that after watching Obama quadruple the deficit and gift billions in tax dollars to his political allies on Wall Street and the unions that any sane person with even a basic knowledge of economics would want to enable him to spend even more while raising taxes.

It's bad enough that he's upping the ante by weakening our currency..ask Argentina about how well that works.

The Republicans, if they're smart, will 'work' with Obama and his Leftist minions by giving their schemes the same attention, politeness and consideration Obama and his friends gave to the GOP for the last two years.

Since Barack Hussein Obama obviously has no sense of fiscal or political responsibility but still wields a veto pen, the best chance for our economy to ultimately recover is for th enew Congress to stalemate him and his agenda completely until he's removed from office.

Charles said...

Right wing budget hawks must have either mass amnesia or an unbelievably wicked sense of irony.

How can you overlook the massive deficits created by W's pet war projects and unfunded tax cuts, while completely ignoring the unbelievable stagnation in our economy's growth during that time? Do these people think that those big wars and big no-bid contracts to former business associates are free? Do they know that Clinton left office with a surplus that was squandered by a Republican legislature and executive? Do they know that Obama's big tax-and-spend health care bill is actually a massive deficit buster in the long run? Do they understand that conservative Republicans were the first to suggest cap-and-trade? Do they know that under Elizabeth Warren's watch Bush's much maligned $700 billion TARP program wound up costing $25 billion? Don't they read the writings of every respectable economist (really everyone from Alan Greenspan to Paul Krugman)lambasting of the Bush tax cuts as an economic growth agent?

At least the blogging conservative cognoscenti have to be aware of these realities (everyone from Sarah Palin to "allahpundit" are self-declared experts on the intricacies of monetary policy these days). And yet, when it comes to unbelievably centrist compromise on this issue they take the hard line. One would figure that the Very Serious People on the right side of the isle who made such a stink about the deficit and national debt rising would be able to get it together for once on this one.

Harley King said...

Amen, Charles. I could not have said it better myself. The nation got it wrong this past election. We don't need more Republicans in office giving voice to more stupid antics.

What most of these self-styled pundits don't understand is that the President and the congress have very little impact on the economy. The economy is driven by businesses and consumers. Business screwed up this economy.So to bad mouth Obama makes no sense.

What I would like somebody to do is compare the legislative accomplishments during the first two years of Obama term with the accomplishments of the last 7 elected presidents. I wage we would have to go back to LBJ to find as many legislative accomplishments.