Free Markets, Free People
Pretty interesting the way the GOP got its way on the Bush era tax cuts – at least for two more years. The minority party in both chambers of the lame duck Congress, other than demand that the Democrats give everyone a tax break, they didn’t have a whole bunch of leverage. Until they were able to successfully block the extension of unemployment insurance. The country was pretty divided on extending it beyond 99 weeks, but not so much that it probably wouldn’t care if that extension was okayed at some later date.
And thus was set up the perfect opportunity to trade that extension for an extension of the Bush era tax cuts for everyone. So in sum, step one, block extension of unemployment insurance. Step two, use unemployment insurance extension as a bargaining chip. Step three, the GOP gets what it wants to begin with plus a lowering of payroll taxes as well. Meanwhile they “give away” what they’d have probably ended up voting for at some future point. And most likely Obama will get little credit for the trade.
Obama also conceded to the GOP’s estate tax and dividends and capital gains demands as well. And here’s the really fun part – by announcing his “framework”, Obama made it official – this is what I want, this is what I negotiated, now Congress do your thing:
"We cannot play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems," Obama told reporters. "I am confident ultimately that Congress is going to do the right thing."
Can’t play politics? This has been a lesson in politics.
That’s the DEMOCRATIC Congress he’s talking about, by the way. A Democratic majority in the House and a Democratic majority in the Senate. The GOP is already on board with this, as announced by the President. So what’s left to do?
Pass the compromise in both the House and Senate, Democrats.
So, you say, what if the Dems bow up and refuse to pass it? Well, the unemployment extension, something the GOP is now for will not pass. Additionally, all of the Bush era tax cuts will expire which will mean tax increases across the board for all income levels. All. Everyone. Not just the “rich”, but the middle class as well.
And who will be the bad guys?
Well, not the GOP. From a purely political perspective, pretty impressive if I do say so myself.