Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's it all about, American people?

President Obama announcing tax-cut deal
Does the Man look tired, or what, in this picture released last night by the White House?

Yes, President Obama and Congressional Republicans reached tentative agreement last night that, among a few other less important items, extends all tax cuts, extends unemployment benefits, and slightly boosts tax cuts for workers. It also renews (and at a lower rate) that bĂȘte noire of the Bush II era, the estate tax. So the rich will get richer, the unemployed will keep getting benefits, and the rest of us will get a slightly bigger paycheck courtesy of the Federal government.
"I am not willing to let working families across this country become collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington," our President said last night. "The American people didn't send us here to wage symbolic battles or win symbolic victories."
Or did they? That's my real question.

It's 8 o'clock in the morning, and already there are 863 comments made about the Washington Post front-page article reporting the tentative compromise between the White House and Republicans.

Among them this one from someone who tags himself StevenK3:
I voted for Mr. Obama
I respect and admire his intelligence and his compassion for others.
But he has brought a pop-gun to a knife fight one too many times now.
Too many times now he has cost this country dearly because he is a lousy negotiator.
And last night he gets up and has the nerve to say, well, I had to compromise, because the other guys wouldn't.

The New York Times begins its editorial disapproving of the compromise by saying,
President Obama’s deal with the Republicans to extend all the Bush-era income tax cuts is a win for the Republicans and their strategy of obstructionism and a disappointing retreat by the White House.

The Wall Street Journal reports, "U.S. stock futures rose sharply on a deal to temporarily extend tax cuts to all Americans. But the deal sent Treasury prices lower, pushing the benchmark 10-year yield back above 3%. Gold prices hovered around record levels, and oil prices tested 26-month highs." So investors (who are largely construed to vote Republican?) are evidently pretty happy.

As is conservative LA Times blogger/columnist Andrew Malcolm who writes today that, "Cave-in or compromise, Obama's tax cut deal with Republicans could win him much, cost him little."

Okay, gang, let's cut to the chase . . .

It's no secret that Republicans took control of the House by claiming to hate the growing deficit while, at the same moment, clamoring for the Bush II tax cuts to continue for everyone. And that, my friend, whether you like it or not, is the fiscal mindset that will control the House for the next two years. Enough of us voted our confidence in it to make that control happen.

Now think back for a moment, please, to 2008. We knew President Obama was a pragmatist when we elected him, didn't we? And pragmatists do believe in compromise, don't they?

Again, Mr. Obama said of last night's tentative compromise, "The American people didn't send us here to wage symbolic battles or win symbolic victories."

So, my question for you is, has Mr. Obama got that right or not? It does sometimes seem to me that we rail against the Federal government for failing to negotiate compromises...until they do.

In your opinion, was our President right to negotiate this particular compromise? Is it principle or policy that guides your opinion?

No comments:

Post a Comment