Judging by recent press reports, the White House is apparently folding on the Bush tax cuts for people with incomes exceeding $250,000. On several levels, this is one of the most depressing episodes of the entire Obama presidency. At-best, this represents a damaging walk-back of a serious political mistakeHe makes all the obvious points. But somehow nobody is listening. Strange.
Most obviously, caving in on this issue amounts to bad social and fiscal policy. (See Jonathan Chait’s several hundred columns making the rubble bounce on this theme.) The Bush tax cuts on the $250,000+ group squander $700 billion over the next decade. Especially in these hard times, when it’s a heavy political lift to finance basic services, that is vastly irresponsible.
Across the country, poor and disabled people are facing punishing service cuts. Teachers, police officers, public health workers are being laid off across the country. Those of us who have comfortable, secure jobs should be paying a bit more in this time of serious economic trouble. People who earn more than $250,000 per year can afford to pay a few percentage points more, as they did during the Clinton era.
This entire debate provides a depressing commentary on the state of American politics. Raising taxes on the top one percent of the U.S. population apparently brings greater political penalty than do state and federal budget cuts that hurt many millions more people. This political reality exemplifies the fact that affluent people simply have too much political influence these days. Implicitly and explicitly, this influence distorts policy debate.
I am one of your proud and strong supporters. I will continue to be. Yet it’s time for you to raise your game, to counterpunch hard against a Republican congressional majority which claims a much greater mandate than it actually has won.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The Sad State of US Politics
Here's a guy, Harold Pollack with his blog Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts making the same point I've been trying to make. The following is just the start of his post "President Obama: I love you, but you need to raise your game":