Another Day, Another Democratic Capitulation:
Here we are again, at the edge of another great capitulation. If you liked the capitulations on health care and the stimulus, you're gonna love the one this time on tax cuts. President Barack Obama is about to compromise away allowing the tax cuts on the rich to expire in order to get shit done that should be done anyways, like the START treaty approval. At some point, at some goddamn ephemeral point in this awful time we're being forced to live through by the right, this rigged game of Texas hold 'em we're playing at gunpoint, you gotta stop folding every hand you have. You gotta at least ante up to see what the next cards are.
This time, the Democrats had a pair of aces, man. The polls back the rollback of tax rates to their 1990s level on income over $250,000. Fuck, a CNN poll had only 46% of Republicans supporting tax cuts for the wealthy. And the end of the tax cuts was one of the central tenets of Obama's campaign. To put it simply, it's one of the reasons he got elected: because he said that the only responsible thing to do for the economy was to allow the tax cuts to expire so that we can pay for shit that we need.
Here's speeches he made fucking everywhere on the matter:
November 3, 2008 in Jacksonville, Florida: "I will give a tax break to 95% of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paychecks every week. And I'll help pay for this by asking the folks who are making more than $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rate they were paying in the 1990s."
October 21, 2008 in Miami: "It's true that I want to roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans and go back to the rate they paid under Bill Clinton. John McCain calls that socialism. What he forgets is that just a few years ago, he himself said those Bush tax cuts were irresponsible."
October 10, 2008 in Chillicothe, Ohio: I'll give a middle-class tax cut to 95% of all workers. And if you make less than $250,000 a year - which includes 98 percent of small business owners - you won't see your taxes increase one single dime."
October 5, 2008 in Asheville, North Carolina: "I'll cover that remaining cost [of health care reform] with a portion of the money I'll save by ending George Bush's tax breaks for people making more than $250,000 a year. They'll go back to paying the kind of rates they paid when Bill Clinton was President. So we'll get this done responsibly without blowing a hole in our deficit."
September 18, 2008 in Espanola, New Mexico: "I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. My opponent doesn't want you to know this, but under my plan, tax rates will actually be less than they were under Ronald Reagan. If you make less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increase one single dime."
(To be fair, when that was his campaign line, he wasn't promising to let the Bush tax cuts expire on the wealthiest Americans' income over $250,000. But he was far more explicit before and after.)
July 30, 2008 in Springfield, Missouri: "I'll pay for my plan - by cutting wasteful spending, shutting corporate loopholes and tax havens, and rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans."
This may be one of the last chances the Democrats have to blame Bush successfully. Remember: Republicans voted to raise your taxes at the end of 2010. George W. Bush signed that into law. That's a fact. That's history. Anything that's done now is something new.
The President should call the Republicans' bluff. Say he'll veto anything that includes a tax cut for millionaires. And the Rude Pundit doesn't want to hear the bullshit about "What are you going to do about unemployment benefits?" If you make that argument, you are playing with the Republicans' loaded deck. They are the ones who tied the two together (and added in START and DADT). Make them hold up the extension of unemployment checks in order to secure tax cuts for Donald Trump. And, frankly, why should Democrats trust that Republicans would keep any word on a deal? Anyone who pretends that the GOP negotiates with honor or good will is a fucking idiot. Goddamnit, at the very least, make them have to decide whether or not to raise, check, or fold. Don't cede the pot on the deal every time.
(Note: The most pathetic thing? Even with the grand capitulation about to happen, the White House hasn't framed it right. The "Bush tax cuts" are over at the end of the month. Any tax cuts that the President signs on to ought to rightly be called the "Obama tax cuts." But even that slight bit of marketing eludes the messaging buffoons in this administration.)