Tax Policy Will Drive Fiscal Policy

While I have previously written about what Obama can do as President (especially regarding tax cuts), there are of course things he can not do alone. Ezra Klein focuses on a couple of them - extending UI benefits and raising the debt ceiling (Obama can block tax cuts for the rich):

Getting rid of the tax cuts for the rich is not as important as extending unemployment benefits or protecting the Affordable Care Act. [. . .] The right outcome here is not the end of the tax cuts for the rich, though that might be nice. It's an extension of unemployment insurance and an increase in the debt ceiling. Democrats shouldn't vote with Republicans to extend the tax cuts -- which is, of course, the only way the tax cuts can be extended -- unless Republicans will simultaneously vote with them to extend UI and lift the debt ceiling.

This is a TERRIBLE idea. Ezra seems to think that the $700 billion given up for tax cuts for the rich will not be taken out of programs for the less well off down the line. It is an old problem with Beltway bloggers - they never understand how important tax policy is. It is why they have spent the past 2 years denigrating the Clinton tax plan of 1993 and pretending the ACA was the greatest progressive achievement in a generation. UI extension is of course critical, but this is a matter of political bargaining imo. Tax cuts for the rich is too high a price. As for the debt ceiling extension, I can see trading THAT now (it is in the GOP's interest that it happen now, not in February contrary to Ezra's bizarre belief to the contrary) in exchange for extending UI benefits. Ezra seems to think raising the debt ceiling now should be a Dem priority. That makes no sense. Does the GOP REALLY want to shut down the government in February, 2 months into their control of the House? No way.

Speaking for me only

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    Down the line? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 11:51:40 AM EST
    Where does Ezra think the money for unemployment insurance and other critical government services comes from anyway?

    The hits on the poor and middle class will start happening right away as soon as Boehner takes over the House; and Obama will go along with those hits.

    I am so over these self declared "political pragmatists".  They are about as politically savvy as your average garden variety slug.

    Dems just aren't playing the same game (none / 0) (#1)
    by waldenpond on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 11:32:26 AM EST
    Really, none of you are even in the same league with Republicans.


    ["I can't wait for the blood bath in April," said Alan Simpson at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast roundtable with reporters this morning. "It won't matter whether two of us have signed this or 14 or 18. When debt limit time comes, they're going to look around and say, 'What in the hell do we do now? We've got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give 'em a piece of meat, real meat, off of this package.' And boy the bloodbath will be extraordinary."]

    Simpson relishes the hate...

    ["I have been called a Republican toady covering Obama's fanny so he can destroy the Republican party, Erskine's evil over on his side," Simpson said. "And it's a good place to be."]

    That's who is going to win.  With Obama and the conservadems infesting your party they finally have the opportunity to take everything.

    Raise taxes on the rich (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 11:35:19 AM EST
    and foil Simpson's plan.

    Simpson, recent Obama-admins. (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 11:36:01 AM EST
    appointee. Priceless.

    Unfortunately, Simpson is (none / 0) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 12:44:18 PM EST
    probably right in his assumptions.  Obama decision to open this Pandora's Box, with the support of many Democratic Senators, will I'm afraid lead to the eventual death of the social safety net programs.  

    the very first sentence (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 11:52:10 AM EST
    was the giveaway. mr. klein apparently believes in the "magic wand" theory of economics, wherein money given to one group will be made up for, simply by waving the "magic money wand", and it will instantly appear.

    while he's at it, would he happen to know where i can buy a goose that lays golden eggs?

    Oh, maybe he thinks we'll (none / 0) (#6)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 11:57:04 AM EST
    make up the difference by ending two wars and cutting the defense budget - lol - knee slapping - lol.

    I think Dick Cheney has the goose in his cave.


    I thought Cheney over stuffed it (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 12:18:17 PM EST
    then ate its liver.

    No he isn't that stupid. (none / 0) (#9)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 12:58:11 PM EST
    He's freakin' amazingly talented in getting those golden eggs.