Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NYT: Obama "Should Have Fought Harder"

Following his deal with the Republicans, President Obama said at a press conference that he will "fight to end" the tax cuts for the rich. Not now, though. He was talking about 2012. As for now, the Republicans achieved their most important goal: shoveling more cash at their wealthy supporters, regardless of the fact that they are driving the country billions more into debt. The president punted on the tax issue and, in 2012, the Republicans will once again state that "now is not the time to raise taxes on anyone"–especially on millionaires and billionaires. They're using all that money to create jobs, right? In an editorial, the New York Times assessed the damage done by this deal and questioned the president's strategy:

...the country can’t afford to continue tax cuts for the rich indefinitely. And by kicking the issue down the road to 2012 — a presidential election year — it all but guarantees more craven politicking then.

...On a decidedly sour note, Mr. Obama also said he had agreed to cut estate taxes even more than in the last year of the Bush administration. That is not compromise. It is capitulation.

The Republicans gave up very little except for their unconscionable stance of holding up all other Congressional action until they ensured that the richest Americans keep their tax cuts.

...Until Monday night, both sides were silent on the fate of one of the biggest high-end tax cuts of all — the estate tax on multimillionaires and billionaires. Now Mr. Obama seems to have given in to largely Republican demands on it.

...All of this only validates the Republican strategy of obstruction, and invites more. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has never wavered in his stance that all Bush tax cuts should be extended. Mr. McConnell and the Republicans will undoubtedly now push to make the cuts permanent.

Mr. Obama said on Monday night that he still believed extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy was a bad idea. He predicted that it would be undone in two years when it becomes apparent to everyone that the country can’t afford it. The president needs to ask himself why he couldn’t make that case now — and how he plans to change his approach to governing so he doesn’t get trapped this way again.

Mr. Obama also said that “we cannot play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems.” Unfortunately, the Republicans felt no such compunction. He should have fought harder.

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