Free Markets, Free People

Obama Attempts To Spin Tax Cuts And Does It Badly

My favorite line from the other night’s Obama presser:

Now, just in terms of the historic record here, the Republicans were brought in early and were consulted. And you’ll remember that when we initially introduced our framework, they were pleasantly surprised and complimentary about the tax cuts that were presented in that framework. Those tax cuts are still in there. I mean, I suppose what I could have done is started off with no tax cuts, knowing that I was going to want some, and then let them take credit for all of them. And maybe that’s the lesson I learned.

Maybe that is a lesson he’s learned. Always nice to see your chief executive engaged in on-the-job training, no?

But more importantly, I enjoyed the spin. “Republicans were brought in early and were consulted”. That’s a bit of a stretch. In actuality the Republicans and Democrats were in agreement that government had to do something. And they were further in agreement with the broad outline of a stimulus package that would include a large percentage of tax cuts.

Now whether or not you agree that a stimulus package is needed or not, the point to be made here is a bunch of politicians from different sides agreeing that something must be done and one of them being pleased that the other side is considering tax cuts as a major part of that “something” does not equal being “brought in early” or being “consulted”.

A "Spinorama" Adventure

A "Spinorama" Adventure

That happens when the bill is written and put into final form, and as everyone know, Republicans weren’t brought in at all on that process, much less consulted. So when that final bill was trotted out and placed before the full House, with no debate, Republican voted 177-0 against it. They did so for a number of reasons, but primary among them was they had had no part in writing the bill. But of equal importance, the tax cuts that they were promised would be in the bill and comprise approximately 40% of it total, just weren’t there.

Oh the Democrats had used language to attempt to convince the Republicans and the press they were in there, but the CBO pretty well killed that meme.  Look on the huge graphic which lays out the spending proposed by the House and check out the upper right hand corner where the CBO discusses the tax cuts.  Its analysis reduces the Democratic claim that the bill contains 26% tax cuts down to 22%.  The primary reason the CBO denies what Democrats call tax cuts is because in reality they’re tranfer payments.  Approximately 100 billion dollars will go to people who don’t pay taxes in the first place.  Other than among Democrats, no other rational person would call giving money to people who don’t pay taxes a “tax cut”.

So when you hear President Obama say that the framework he outlined (which supposedly contained 40% tax cuts) was met with Republican approval, he’s probably right.  But when he then says, referring to those tax cuts, “they’re still in there”, he’s wrong and my guess is he knows that.  But as was obvious in the press conference, he was interested in characterizing the Republcians in a negative light, again mocking them and denigrating them, while at the same time speaking out of the other side of his mouth with faint praise to escape criticism for doing so.

That is not how I define “acting presidential”.

The fact remains the level of the promised tax cuts are not in the House version of the bill.  And while it is somewhat closer in the Senate bill, the reconciliation process may lower that as well.  Without the level of promised tax cuts in the bill which passes out of the reconciliation process, Republicans cannot be faulted for voting against its passage.  Again, that’s not to say I support a single bit of this – but I cannot fault the Republicans for not voting for it if what they were promised initially isn’t in the final bill.


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8 Responses to Obama Attempts To Spin Tax Cuts And Does It Badly

  • Good God!  Maybe we should call it the “Democratic Plan to Survive Mid-Term Elections Package.”  Am I reading the WaPo chart correctly?  $236 billion in 2010, and the bulk of it is “spreading the wealth.”  This is the equivalent of running for student body president and promising “Free Pizza Fridays” if elected.

  • TAO is really looking less “transitional” and more like an everyday, run-of-the-mill partisan more and more, eh?  This is the messiah who was going to change the way things were done in DC, who would not only transcend partisanship himself but lead us all to a higher plane of political existence.  The lion would lie down with the lamb, as it were, basking together in the golden light of TAO’s halo.

    Or not.

    So far, all TAO has done is try to demonize Rush; now he’s p***ing on the Republicans he needs so badly to give Porkulus a veneer of “bipartisanship”.  Hamas might be more “bipartisan” in its relationship with Israel than TAO is with the GOP, but it’s a close call.

    Let’s contrast this with Bush (snarl!) who very early on invited that drunken killer Kennedy to the White House for movie night and then asked him to draft No Child Left Behind.

    But Bush (snarl!) is the partisan one.

    Not TAO.


  • I notice Comrade Lightworker didn’t mention the stealth healthcare provisions they slipped in the bill…

    • It wouldn’t be stealth if he mentioned it, right?

      Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

  • I think the word “tax credit” should be replaced in every instance (including corporate tax credits) with the words “public subsidy”

  • At first glance, I believe Obama is trying to disabuse anyone of the notion that he had *anything* to do with the one piece of the legislation that could be considered “stimulating”.  

    Ineptitude indeed.

  • This is like making a pie, and saying it has 50% strawberries, and 50% banans when you start it.  But if you then add blueberries and apples, and other fruit to the pie, you can’t then say it has 50% strawberries.  It doesn’t. Not any more.

    Maybe when this bill started it had 40% ‘tax cuts’, but by the time you add in all of the additional spending, the ‘tax cuts’ are no longer 40% of the bill.