The tax legislation negotiated between President Barack Obama and the Republican leadership this week has had much reaction from all sides of the political spectrum, and it has been a long week of serious reflection on the value of the arrangement.
Originally, the author called this a “Pearl Harbor” event, and then was swayed by many commentaries that called it a sign of bipartisanship, and switched his view to support.
Upon further reflection this weekend, and after a great discussion with my son David, who has worked on Capitol Hill or with people on Capitol Hill for the past four and a half years, I must now express what I call second and third thoughts on the agreement, and withdraw my support of the deal, sorry to say! 🙁
While bipartisanship is important as a concept, it is unrealistic to expect that there will be any truthful cooperation between the GOP in the House and the growing Republican minority in the Senate with President Obama.
What it comes down to is that the wealthy received a continuation of a tax cut which is what has created the tremendous national debt growth since 2001. What was the so called “Bush tax cuts” are now the “Obama tax cuts”! 🙁
While it is true that unemployment compensation was allowed to be extended for another 13 months, the reality is what will happen in a year when unemployment will still be very high, and the Republicans in the House will refuse to promote a bill that will extend it? 🙁
What will those millions of people, many of them middle aged or older, with little education, no money to do job training, already losing their homes, unable to support their families on minimum wage jobs if they could get them, be expected to do to survive? Are the Republicans going to give a damn what happens to these families, including single mothers with children, and not just minorities, but millions of whites as well, when they now argue that many people on unemployment compensation don’t want to work? 🙁
What about the reality that the so called “99ers” do not get any extension at all now, and apparently never will, and will be living on the streets, or in their cars if they are not dispossessed? What about the harm being done to millions of children who are victims of this economic mess? 🙁
Beyond the unemployment compensation issue, by lowering the Social Security tax by two percent for two years, the Social Security system is being harmed, and when Obama calls for a return to the original 6.2 percent tax for Social Security in 2012, the Republicans will call it a tax increase and work to prevent it, therefore undermining the whole social safety net that Social Security represents. 🙁
It is clear that if it is left up to the Republican Party, the social safety net represented by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be destroyed over time, and that will make the country even more stratified, whereby by 2050, half the wealth of the nation will be in the hands of the top one percent, instead of the present 24 percent, brought about by the massive tax cuts to the wealthy since 2001! 🙁
Also, supposedly the government is committed to prevention of increase of the national debt, but has now agreed to legislation which will add nearly a trillion to the debt, which the GOP will blame on Obama in 2012.
So while Charles Krauthammer might say that Obama has improved his chances of winning a second term in 2012 by making this deal, the question is even if that were to be true, what is most important is NOT whether any person wins the Presidency in 2012 (although Obama would be the best choice available), but how it affects the welfare of the American people for the long term!
While obviously the liberal Democratic base cannot expect to win all that they want to occur, for Obama to have alienated them to the point that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid absented themselves from the signing ceremony for the tax deal, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was present, is disturbing!
Has Obama made a deal with the “devil” and turned against the “angels”? It could be that is the case! 🙁
Of course, some might say in refutation, that Obama wanted to avoid pain and suffering for the unemployed and for middle class taxpayers, but it seems more than ever that by what he agreed to, he may just have delayed the pain and suffering, and wounded the Social Security system and the social safety net to boot! 🙁
It may very well be that the long range effect may be more harmful than the short term gain, whatever it might be seen as being! 🙁