Skipping 1993

James Kwak writes:

To me, it sounds like Obama has decided to imitate Bill Clinton, except that he’s going to skip 1994 and jump right to 1995-1996–the years that gave us welfare reform and the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, among other things. Deficit reduction is a classic “Third Way” policy, but by doing it this way Obama is ceding ground to the government-haters (who just want to cut spending) without getting anything (future tax increases, or votes for health care reform) in return.

(Emphasis supplied.)The more important point, in my mind, is Obama is skipping 1993 - more specifically the 1993 Omnibus Tax Reconciliation Act:

[I]n 1993, Bill Clinton pushed through the most progressive legislation the US has had since the Johnson Administration. It was called, prosaically, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. What did it do?

It created 36 percent and 39.6 income tax rates for individuals. [up from 33% top rate]

It created a 35 percent income tax rate for corporations. [up from 28%]

The cap on Medicare taxes was repealed. [Making it less regressive.]

Transportation fuels taxes were raised by 4.3 cents per gallon.

[Helpful for the environment.]

The taxable portion of Social Security benefits was raised.[Making wealthier seniors pay more in taxes.]

The phase-out of the personal exemption and limit on itemized deductions were permanently extended. [Again, making wealthier Americans pay more in taxes.]

Part IV Section 14131: Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and added inflation adjustments [In essence eliminating taxes for the working poor.]

Skipping 1993 has been the most serious mistake made by the Obama Administration imo.

Speaking for me only

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    But it's the groundwork for Obama's next big act (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by BDB on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:52:31 AM EST
    gutting social security and medicare.  Via Digby, the New York Times (emphasis mine):

    It is the growth in the so-called entitlement programs -- Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- that is the major factor behind projections of unsustainably high deficits, because of rapidly rising health costs and an aging population.

    But one administration official said that limiting the much smaller discretionary domestic budget would have symbolic value. That spending includes lawmakers' earmarks for parochial projects, and only when the public believes such perceived waste is being wrung out will they be willing to consider reductions in popular entitlement programs, the official said.

    "By helping to create a new atmosphere of fiscal discipline, it can actually also feed into debates over other components of the budget," the official said, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity.

    The US is a de facto colonial power. (none / 0) (#2)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:09:43 AM EST
    Colonialism and social welfare needs cannot both be met. Just ask the Israelis.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#5)
    by ricosuave on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:31:24 AM EST
    The Israelis are militarily controlling the West Bank and Gaza, but they are not "colonies" by any real definition of the word.  But even if you want to call them colonies, the Israelis are not going broke providing social services.

    I understand that people are opposed to Israel's policies, but we don't need to make stuff up to prove the point that our two wars (along with the general "wars" on terror and drugs) are draining our treasury.


    Bad example because I don't (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:37:12 AM EST
    want to start a disgression. I could have used the UK, from further back.
    And Israel DOES have social welfare issues because of the money spent on its colonial expansion.

    The Israelis MIGHT be going (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:51:48 AM EST
    broke if they had to pay for it all themselves.

    And, if people think THEY'RE having trouble, how are we supposed to take care of even basic infrastructure needs while maintaining and equipping 700 military bases around the world, spending tens-of-billions on carrier fleets, drones, surveillance technology and on and on..

    Somethings gotta give. Like the just, equitable, livable republic this country was originally intended to be.



    Empire killed the radio star (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:28:59 AM EST
    and all you're going to get from here on in is triangulating-with-the-Right, shilling-for-the-military-industrial-complex, K Street beholden stooges.

    And it didnt just start last week with Obama.


    Regret to have to say it, but (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:39:32 AM EST
    the sooner a progressive like Dean, Grayson, Elizabeth Warren, Hell, even Kucinich announces a 2012 Democratic primary challenge, the better.  The flood of contributions to that candidate from the netroots and other disaffected Democrats will shock this White House, maybe into taking some positive, progressive actions.

    I used to think Kucinich was (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:54:08 AM EST
    pretty much a joke-- not as a person or policies, but as a candidate, based on "electability," or some such thought.

    Now I'm thinking that more people like me will take him seriously. The current direction is not much changed from the past eight years. The thinking and proposals are bizarro-world democratic.

    What happened to the old dichotomies, such as dems want to raise taxes on the rich and corporations, while republicans want to lower them?


    The teabaggers are the only voice being heard, (none / 0) (#13)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:58:23 AM EST
    high time progressives have a movement afoot to press our concerns.  

    Oabama should, by rights, be the leader of progressives.  He is not, that is a fact.


    Anyone who expected Obama to be (5.00 / 9) (#14)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:18:16 AM EST
    a progressive, that's someone who bought the hype and didn't do the homework as a voter.  

    It's all about the politics, not at all about (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by esmense on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:39:40 AM EST
    competence. This isn't Clinton redux, it's W redux.

    He's trying to be Reagan. (none / 0) (#10)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:41:26 AM EST
    Reagan knew who he was working for and (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by esmense on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:41:45 AM EST
    what he wanted to accomplish. His policies were designed to benefit the powerful interests -- defense, finance and corporate interests -- that supported his political career from the beginning. But, short term, the actions he took didn't just benefit those interests -- mature middle class voters (those most likely to vote) entering their peak earning years and those facing retirement, who were being propelled into higher tax brackets, or seeing their fixed retirement income eroded by, inflation welcomed his policies. They are the people who gave him his electoral strength. At the same time, the wage stagnation being experienced by younger and working class American men was mitigated and papered over by increased opportunities for women in the growing service economy (that was already beginning to replace our manufacturing economy) and a huge expansion of credit.

    The downside of Reagan's policies were left to be dealt with in the future, and primarily experienced by others. The generations who voted for Reagan were still enjoying and living off the prosperity of the post war boom -- they didn't comprehend or care that those policies would come at the cost of their children and grandchildren's economic security and public, social inheritance.

    Reagan could do what he did because the country was still fundamentally sound and still living off a huge economic inheritance from an earlier era. Those conditions no longer apply.

    He could also do what he did because inflation was frightening mature earners and there was a genuine middle class demand for relief.

    Economic conditions today couldn't be more different than those encountered by Reagan. If Obama and his supporters believe the only way to deal with today's realities is with Reaganesque policies, than God help us all.

    And, boy, Reagan has just been replaced in my mind as the stupidest president in my lifetime.


    We should have seen this coming (none / 0) (#16)
    by Zorba on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:48:08 AM EST
    when he compared himself to and offered his admiration for Reagan.

    Many of us did (none / 0) (#19)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:54:41 AM EST

    We were called all sorts of names, etc.


    Not by me, (none / 0) (#20)
    by Zorba on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:26:22 AM EST
    Sweetie, but I'm aware that some people did.  But then, I was never wildly enthusiastic about Obama since I'm an old leftist-hippie.  He was certainly better than the thought of Palin being a heartbeat away from the Presidency, and on that basis, I voted for him in the general election.  At this point, even my husband has lost patience with Obama, and he's more tolerant and much more centrist than I am.  I lost patience many months ago.

    I'm not a sweetie (none / 0) (#21)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 01:04:36 AM EST
    unless you talk to my wife.

    I ended up voting for Obama in part because I wanted to beat Republicans real, real bad.

    My only other option was to leave the Presidential slot on my ballot blank.  No way I'd vote Republican, for anything.

    With Obama at the head of the ticket I was so depressed that I couldn't campaign for anyone and didn't except for a day of canvassing for a candidate for local office who I know.

    At an election night party, after the race was called, I said to no one in particular:  Now what?

    A couple of people gave me puzzled looks.  One person standing next to me, an old political pro, just nodded his head in ascent.

    People all around were excited.  I was down in the dumps and remain there to this day.


    Krugman vs Krugman (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Dan the Man on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:54:30 AM EST

       Andrew Leonard asks when I'm going to "blow my top" over Obama's statement that now is the time to "get serious" about reducing debt. Um, never?


       A spending freeze? That's the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback? It's appalling on every level.

    Obama will leave tax increases (none / 0) (#3)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:25:07 AM EST
    to the next Democratic President.

    In 2024? (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:36:58 AM EST
    Can (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:31:14 AM EST
    Obama and his bunch of apologists and idiots just fade away?

    When the GOP jihad cranks up another attempt at impeachment on him he's going to find it awfully lonely. Or maybe they won't do that because they're getting everything they want right now.