Thursday, December 9, 2010

Is It a Scare Tactic?

So it would seem that President Obama has asked the Democratic Caucus to accept the tax cut compromise or face the possibility of a double dip recession, and more than once I've heard talking heads calling it a "scare tactic."

And just now, I received an e-mail from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

DEVELOPING: Today, President Obama told congressional Democrats to cave on the tax cuts and accept his "deal" or the economy will be crushed.
Seriously? That's the kind of scare tactics we'd expect from George W. Bush, not Barack Obama.
My question, which absolutely no one in the mainstream media has addressed, is this: Is it really a scare tactic? Really? Do you think this President would purposely mislead the public, or is he relaying what his advisers think will happen to the economy if nothing happens and we get hit with a tax hike on January 1? Do you think the President just wants this deal to go through just because he made it? Or do you think he felt the urgency to strike a deal after the Democrats in the Senate failed to deliver a vote on two separate bills, one to limit the tax cut to the $250,000 mark, and a second to limit it to $1 million. They both failed. Five Democratic senators voted against it, including intrepid progressive and lame duck Russ Feingold.

We hear all the angry talk on the liberal and progressive side on how Obama is shitting on his own base, yelling at them to shut the fuck up and deal with it; but where were those loud, angry voices when the Democrats pushed off the vote for the tax cuts to expire on the top 2% until after the election? Where were the mighty progressives jamming up the phone lines in the Capitol Building demanding to have that vote before the election as President Obama had asked? Where was the "caving" talk then?

Now the train has left the station, the Congress is in a lame duck session and in a couple of weeks we'll have a Republican majority in the House. And because Obama strikes a deal to temporarily extend the tax cuts to the rich for 2 years in exchange for a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits, a child tax credit increase, a payroll tax cut and college tuition tax credits, when no one really thinks of the deficit issue as a priority compared to job creation or the economy, now he's the enemy, now he's caving when he's the only one not playing politics with this issue.

On The Rachel Maddow Show a few nights ago, Rachel pinpointed video at the Obama press conference saying he'd have to take John Boehner "at his word" in reference to a question of raising the debt ceiling. Anyone knows if that doesn't happen, the US defaults on its loans and there is a global economic collapse. Boehner may be dumb, but he ain't stupid. And yet Maddow basically used this as a point of ridicule to show how naive Obama was to "trust" Boehner.

Today on the Thom Hartmann Show, Hartmann was miffed that Obama "caved" because already two Republican politicians whom he didn't refer to by name said that, of course they would have voted for an extension of unemployment benefits just before Christmas, they're not heartless after all. You mean the same Republicans that threatened to block all legislation in the Senate until the tax cuts issue was settled, those Republicans? So we can trust their word about a vote not taken after the fact, but Obama can't trust Boehner not to intentionally collapse the economy? Now you tell me who's being naive?

While I'm not thrilled with the concession (and neither is Obama, by the way), I am glad a compromise was reached. It was a compromise, not a cave. A cave gives you nothing in return. And I, too will take the president's word that come two years from now, he'll fight this again.

I hope that the Democrats who are not bringing this plan to a vote can really make something happen - and as co-contributor Jennifer said in a previous post, they'd better come up with something at least as good as what the President bargained for the middle class and unemployed.  Otherwise, they'll all have egg on their face and millions of people will be screwed.

To me, this was the health care fight all over again. I had a Twitter back and forth with Dylan Ratigan (of all people) back during the health care debate and I basically came to the conclusion that being in a position of already having health care, I can't morally fight against a compromised deal if it's going to give people access to health care that previously couldn't attain it. Who am I to put myself in a position to deny others? If that means forgoing the public option in the immediate future, so be it. (By the way, if you hadn't guessed, Ratigan's response was, "But the insurance companies blah, blah, blah! The banks blah, blah, blah!")

I feel the same way here. I can't say, "Fuck you! No deal! Vote NO!" when I know that 2 million people will lose their unemployment benefits and everyone else will have their taxes raised when it won't readily affect me. If my taxes were raised, I could survive it. A lot of people can't. And I'm not going to stand on my ideological pedestal at their expense.

1 comment:

jhw22 said...

We are all on the same page here, Carlos. THANK GOD! Desert Crone and I were talking today and independently came to the same conclusions you articulated about why the angry Dems are willing to take the word of Boehner (Ar Huff said Boehner made a promise to compromise before the deal and we blew it) but if Obama says it, shame on him.

This IS the health care debate all over again except we reached the verbosity more quickly because so many are so overwhelmingly disappointed they can't think straight.

I can't believe OUR party is willing to crush the unemployed. Barney Frank said, Oh but we would have had an extension without this, yadda yadda yadda. Really? The last blocked vote proves that how? AND if we were to get one, would it have been 13 months? Doubt it, Barney.

Our party has its own hypocrisies, sure, but today is mind-bogglingly bad. I cannot wrap my head around this day AT ALL!