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Monday, December 31, 2012

A Sinking Feeling That Obama’s About to Cave

     I just wrote about this: that many liberals now think he and maybe the other Dems are about to cave.

     The latest on the fiscal curb

    Krugman, too, speaks of a “sinking feeling” that the President is about to cave:

     “Many reports in the past hour or two suggesting that Obama is about to cave on the fiscal cliff — water down his tax demands in return for some minor Republican concessions — concessions that won’t involve taking the debt ceiling off the table.”

      “Let’s hope this is wrong.”

       “Is it really possible that Obama still doesn’t understand that every time he does this — especially if it comes just a few days after stern statements about how he won’t give it — it just reinforces the Republican belief that he can always be bullied into submission? If he cuts a bad deal on the fiscal cliff today, he more or less guarantees that just a few weeks from now Republicans will go all out on using the debt ceiling to extract more concessions.”

      “So far, these are only reports on background, so maybe the truth isn’t that bad. But suddenly that sinking feeling, the sense that you’ve got a leader you can count on to wimp out when it matters, is back.”

     I guess it depends what you consider caving. Is moving up the flloor on the higher tax rates from $250,000 to $500,000 for couples-and from $200,0000 to $400,000 for individuals while compromising on the inheritance tax caving?

     I say no, or at least it depends on what the larger context of the deal is. Some liberals right now are saying yes. In any case, they may well be helping the Democrats by giving the Republicans the ablity to say to the ultra Righties: ‘Listen to the libs squeal! We’ve got as good a deal as we can get!’

     As for the income tax, I even thought the $250,000/$200,000 threshold was too low: people at these levels are hardly rich and I don’t necessarily see why we should be determined to stick it to them. True, the one problem with this is that raising the floor also cuts taxes for those who make over $500,000/$400,000 on their income between the old and new floors. As for the inheritance tax I don’t love the idea of letting the GOP keep the current low rates of 35% for those making over $5,000,000 however, it might be acceptable if it’s in the context of a deal which raises capital gains and dividends rates for the rich to Clinton rates.

     My feeling is that I’m not going to assume the worse. Maybe it’s necessary that some do assume the worst to keep the Dems honest. However, that role’s clearly more than adequately filled. My job as a relative party man and pollyanna is much more understaffed! It’s not for nothing that when I used to write at Firedoglake-prior to Jane Hamsher banning me-I was the resident “DNC operative.”

    As I quote on my Twitter page, “Principles indeed! Betray your principles and stand by your party!” These are the immortal words of one of the greatest Republicans ever, Thaddeaus Stevens, and his words ought to be remembered time like these. It’s all well and good to castigate the Dems at the first sign of trouble: all this does is strengthen the GOP and increase the dysfunction of our politics. Obama and the rest of the Dems have performed honorably until now at least, including Harry Reid flushing out the GOP’s attempt to force chained cpi into the deal.

   For me at least, they’ve earned some benefit of the doubt.




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