RUSH: Michael Scherer, TIME Magazine, the Swampland blog: ‘Why Barack Obama Compromised On Tax Cuts — Long before the midterm ballots had been counted, White House aides had begun to mull the coming agony of divided government. As the Obama team worked out its options, one priority kept coming to the top: However, the next two years shook out, they told themselves, Barack Obama needed to convince the great middle of the American electorate once again that he was fighting for them.’ The bitter clingers. He’s never convinced them of that. ‘The president presented a series of major concessions to the Republican Party, proposals he had campaigned against and with which he said he still disagreed.
‘For two years, expiring income tax cuts put into place by President Bush would be extended for all income groups, including the richest two percent of households. A cut on the estate tax would also be extended … with no taxes on the first $5 million of inheritance and a 35% tax on everything else.’ Now, the estate tax is an increase. There is no estate tax right now. ‘In exchange, Obama said he had secured an extension of unemployment benefits for 13 months and a number of tax cuts, for education expenses, families with children and the low income from the 2009 Recovery Act that were set to expire,’ and a 2% FICA or withholding tax holiday.
‘But at the White House, where there is much anxiety about the staggering performance of the economy, this is considered a victory. In crafting the compromise, Obama may be able to effectively able [sic] to sneak another stimulus bill through Congress, by capitalizing on the Republican habit of refusing to acknowledge the deficit impact of tax cuts.’ Now, I’m a reasonably smart guy. I don’t know what this means: ‘Obama may be able to effectively able [sic] to sneak another stimulus bill through Congress, by capitalizing on the Republican habit of refusing to acknowledge the deficit impact of tax cuts.’ Anyway, they’re looking — the point is they’re looking — at it as stimulus. I’ll bet you that Obama is gonna portray this as stimulus today, because Scherer mentions it there in TIME Magazine.
The LA Times. This is an editorial: ‘Facing a backlash from the left, the Obama [regime] on Monday defended the deal it cut with Republicans to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts by characterizing the plan as a stimulus package.’ So the Bush tax cuts are a ‘stimulus package’? Now, that hardly puts Obama in a good position even if they expire, even if it’s only a temporary extension for the Bush tax cuts. I mean, for all these years these are the things that were destroying the economy. The Bush tax cuts were responsible for everything: the Iraq war, no weapons of mass destruction, Valerie Plame, a lot of that.
I mean, these Bush tax cuts… Folks, it was like showing Dracula the cross! These guys hated them. Now all of a sudden they’re a stimulus? An economic stimulus? And the White House is already calling it that? That’s not a win-win for them. On the two-year extension, I’ll tell you what Obama is thinking. He’s saying, ‘It’s just two years, and by the time we get to the presidential race 2012, I’m gonna be all over this. We’re not gonna extend them anymore. We’re gonna be talking tax increases. I’ll get my base back.’ That’s what he’s figuring. He’s figuring, just like every other politician, ‘In two years nobody’s gonna remember this,’ particularly his people. I guarantee you that’s what he’s thinking, that he’s got time to do this.
And in his mind, what he got here is another year of unemployment extension, which I don’t think is good for him. I think it’s going to keep unemployment high. So it’s going to create the impression, properly so, that there is no economic recovery going on. You can say there’s a booming recovery. If unemployment’s still 9.8, 10%, it’s still 9.8, 10% — and 16, 17% real unemployment. But Obama’s not worrying about getting reelected, Mark Halperin says, because yesterday he did a story and said, ‘Nobody wants a catastrophe, but’ and starts talking about how Bush 43 benefited from 9/11, how Clinton benefited from Oklahoma City. Where, oh, where is such a catastrophe for Obama? I’d say he’s already had a bunch of them. He’s had the oil spill. He’s had the economy in general.
But if he’s not worried about getting reelected and he’s only worried about the right thing, then we would we have a two-year deadline on the tax extensions? Now, this is the first legislative loss Obama has taken, and it’s occurring in the lame duck. It’s occurring with the Democrats having a 100-plus seat majority in the House of Representatives, and 59 votes in the Senate. He lost five votes. He lost Manchin. He’s gonna lose a lot of guys because of 2012, when they saw the election returns. But until this compromise was announced we were all taking it in the shorts: Obamacare; the stupid financial regulatory reform bill; bailing out failed businesses; oil drilling policy, the moratorium. Everything he’s done has been an attack on the greatness of this country. Everything Obama has done, from his standpoint, has been a success.
Everything he’s done: Stimulus, TARP, General Motors, Chrysler, oil drilling moratorium, health care. (snorts) Everything he’s done has been assault on the traditions and institutions that have defined the greatness of this country. This one he failed, from his standpoint. I know unemployment was extended, but this is the first time Obama isn’t able to go ahead with another policy that makes the country worse off. That would have been a tax increase. He didn’t get a tax increase. He did on the estate side.