Rolling Out The Obama Tax Cuts For The Middle Class

The President will be speaking momentarily regarding his proposal to provide tax relief to 98% of Americans. The Republicans are opposed to the Obama Tax Cuts, insisting that they must include tax cuts for the wealthy that will cost $700 billion.

I hope to provide a link for viewing as soon as one becomes available.

"Same old Republican ideas, cut taxes for millionaires and corporations." Not enough mention of Bush though for my taste. It's a good speech. Nice Lincoln quote on how the government should do what individuals can't do for themselves.

Really good speech. Where's this guy been? (Though I was told he showed up in Wisconsin last week.)

"I believe we should make tax cuts for the middle class permanent."

"We should not hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage to tax cuts for the wealthy." Ding!

President Obama is killing it. Great speech. This, my friends, is the bully pulpit. Makes me want to post a photo diary . . . text of the best parts of the speech on the flip

I ran for President because for much of the last decade, a very specific governing philosophy had reigned about how America should work:

Cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires. Cut regulations for special interests. Cut trade deals even if they didnít benefit our workers. Cut back on investments in our people and our future Ė in education and clean energy; in research and technology. The idea was that if we had blind faith in the market; if we let corporations play by their own rules; if we left everyone else to fend for themselves, America would grow and prosper.

For a time, this idea gave us the illusion of prosperity. We saw financial firms and CEOs take in record profits and record bonuses. We saw a housing boom that led to new homeowners and new jobs in construction. Consumers bought more condos and bigger cars and better televisions.

But while all this was happening, the broader economy was becoming weaker. Job growth between 2000 and 2008 was slower than it had been in any economic expansion since World War II Ė even slower than itís been over the past year. The wages and incomes of middle-class families kept falling while the cost of everything from tuition to health care kept rising. Folks were forced to put more debt on their credit cards and borrow against homes that many couldnít afford in the first place. Meanwhile, a failure to pay for two wars and two tax cuts for the wealthy helped turn a record surplus into a record deficit.

I ran for President because I believed that this kind of economy was unsustainable Ė for the middle-class and for our nationís future. I ran because I had a different idea about how America was built Ė an idea rooted in my own familyís story.

[. . .] Now, much has happened since that election. The flawed policies and economic weaknesses of the previous decade culminated in the worst recession of our lifetimes. My hope was that the crisis would cause everyone, Democrats and Republicans, to pull together and tackle our problems in a practical way. But as we all know, things didnít work out that way.

Some Republican leaders figured it was smart politics to sit on the sidelines and let Democrats solve the mess. Others believed on principle that government shouldnít meddle in the markets, even when the markets were broken. But with the nation losing nearly 800,000 jobs the month I was sworn in, my most urgent task was to stop a financial meltdown and prevent this recession from becoming a second depression.

[. . .] people are frustrated and angry and anxious about the future. I understand that. I also understand that in a political campaign, the easiest thing for the other side to do is ride this fear and anger all the way to Election Day.

Thatís whatís happening right now. A few weeks ago, the Republican leader of the House came here to Cleveland and offered his partyís answer to our economic challenges. Now, it would be one thing if he admitted his partyís mistakes during the eight years they were in power, and was offering a credible new approach to solving our countryís problems.

But thatís not what happened. There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy we already tried for the last decade Ė the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations. Instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care to folks who are sick, and let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. Instead of setting our sights higher, theyíre asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth, eroding competitiveness, and a shrinking middle class.

Cleveland Ė that is not the America I know. That is not the America we believe in. A lot has changed since I came here in those final days of the last election, but what hasnít is the choice facing this country. Itís still fear versus hope; the past versus the future. Itís still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward. Thatís what this election is about. Thatís the choice youíll face in November.

I have a different vision for the future. Iíve never believed that government has all the answers to our problems. Iíve never believed that governmentís role is to create jobs or prosperity. I believe itís the drive and ingenuity of our entrepreneurs, the skill and dedication of our workers, that has made us the wealthiest nation on Earth. I believe itís the private sector that must be the main engine of our recovery.

I believe government should be lean, it should be efficient, and it should leave people free to make the choices they think are best for themselves and their families, so long as those choices donít hurt others.

But in the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, I also believe that government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves.

That means making long-term investments in this countryís future that individuals and corporations cannot make on their own: investments in education and clean energy; in basic research, technology, and infrastructure.

That means making sure corporations live up to their responsibilities to treat consumers fairly and play by the same rules as everyone else; to look out for their workers and create jobs here at home.

And that means providing a hand up for middle-class families Ė so that if they work hard and meet their responsibilities, they can afford to raise their children, send them to college, see a doctor when they get sick, and retire with dignity and respect.

Thatís what we Democrats believe in Ė a vibrant free market, but one that works for everybody. Thatís our vision for a stronger economy and a growing middle-class. And thatís the difference between what we and the Republicans in Congress are offering the American people right now.

Let me give you a few specific examples of our different approaches. This week, I proposed some additional steps to grow the economy and help businesses spur hiring. One of the keys to job creation is to encourage companies to invest more in the United States. But for years, our tax code has actually given billions of dollars in tax breaks that encourage companies to create jobs and profits in other countries.

I want to change that. Instead of tax loopholes that incentivize investment in overseas jobs, Iím proposing a more generous, permanent extension of the tax credit that goes to companies for all the research and innovation they do right here in America. And Iím proposing that all American businesses should be allowed to write off all the investment they do in 2011. This will help small businesses upgrade their plants and equipment, and will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits to work in places like Cleveland and Toledo and Dayton.

To most of you, this is just common sense. But not to Mr. Boehner and his allies. For years, Republicans have fought to keep these corporate loopholes open. In fact, when Mr. Boehner was here in Cleveland he attacked us for closing a few of these loopholes Ė and using the money to help states like Ohio keep hundreds of thousands of teachers and cops and firefighters on the job. He dismissed these jobs Ė teaching our kids, patrolling our streets, rushing into burning buildings Ė as quote ďgovernment jobsĒ Ė jobs that I guess he thought just werenít worth saving.

I couldnít disagree more. I think teachers and police officers and firefighters are part of what keep America strong. And I think if weíre going to give tax breaks to companies, they should go to companies that create jobs in America Ė not those that create jobs overseas. Thatís one difference between the Republican vision and the Democratic vision. And thatís what this election is all about.

Let me give you another example. We want to put more Americans back to work rebuilding America Ė our roads, railways, and runways. When the housing sector collapsed and the recession hit, one in every four jobs lost were in the construction industry. Thatís partly why our economic plan has invested in badly needed infrastructure projects over the last nineteen months Ė not just roads and bridges, but high-speed railroads and expanded broadband access. Altogether, these are projects that have led to thousands of good, private sector jobs, especially for those in the trades.

Mr. Boehner and the Republicans in Congress said no to these projects. Fought them tooth and nail. Though I should say that didnít stop a lot of them from showing up at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and trying to take credit. Thatís always a sight to see.

Now, there are still thousands of miles of roads, railways, and runways left to repair and improve. And engineers, economists, governors and mayors of every political stripe believe that if we want to compete, we need to rebuild this vital infrastructure. Thereís no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains or the most modern airports Ė we want to put people to work building them right here in America. So this week, Iíve proposed a six year infrastructure plan that would start putting Americans to work right away. But despite the fact that this has traditionally been an issue with bipartisan support, Mr. Boehner has so far said no to infrastructure. Thatís bad for America Ė and that too is what this election is about.

Iíll give you one final example of the differences between us and the Republicans, and thatís on the issue of tax cuts. Under the tax plan passed by the last administration, taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year. Now, I believe we ought to make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent. These families are the ones who saw their wages and incomes flatline over the last decade Ė and they deserve a break. And because they are more likely to spend on basic necessities, this will strengthen the economy as a whole.

But the Republican leader of the House doesnít want to stop there. Make no mistake: he and his party believe we should also give a permanent tax cut to the wealthiest two percent of Americans. With all the other budgetary pressures we have Ė with all the Republicansí talk about wanting to shrink the deficit Ė they would have us borrow $700 billion over the next ten years to give a tax cut of about $100,000 to folks who are already millionaires. These are among the only folks who saw their incomes rise when Republicans were in charge. And these are folks who are less likely to spend the money, which is why economists donít think tax breaks for the wealthy would do much to boost the economy.

So let me be clear to Mr. Boehner and everyone else: we should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer. We are ready, this week, to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less. For any income over this amount, the tax rates would go back to what they were under President Clinton. This isnít to punish folks who are better off Ė itís because we canít afford the $700 billion price tag. And for those who claim that this is bad for growth and bad for small businesses, let me remind you that with those tax rates in place, this country created 22 million jobs, raised incomes, and had the largest surplus in history.

In fact, if the Republican leadership in Congress really wants to help small businesses, theyíll stop using legislative maneuvers to block an up-or-down vote on a small business jobs bill thatís before the Senate right now. This is a bill that would do two things: cut taxes for small businesses and make loans more available for small businesses. It is fully paid for, and it was written by Democrats and Republicans. And yet, the other party continues to block this jobs bill Ė a delay that small business owners have said is actually leading them to put off hiring.

Look, I recognize that most of the Republicans in Congress have said no to just about every policy Iíve proposed since taking office. And on some issues, I realize itís because there are genuine philosophical differences. But on issues like this one, the only reason theyíre holding this up is politics, pure and simple. Theyíre making the same calculation they made just before the inauguration: if I fail, they win. Well, they might think this will get them where they need to go in November, but it wonít get our country where it needs to go in the long run.

So thatís the choice, Ohio. Do we return to the same failed policies that ran our economy into a ditch, or do we keep moving forward with policies that are slowly pulling us out? Do we settle for a slow decline, or do we reach for an America with a growing economy and a thriving middle-class?

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    Don't forget to add: (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    ...as they similarly oppose repairing the nation's crumbling bridges and roads.

    The infrastructure things (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:32:31 PM EST
    specifically the roads stuff really gets me- especially the High Plains areas where there tearing up the roads to save money (because local residents keep voting down regional taxes)- more than people being unemployed or lack of healthcare or anything it smacks of a nation in decline. I mean I don't get it- how do people not understand that roads and bridges, etc are the very marker of a developed nation, that tearing them up is quite literally following the path (to use an unfortunate analogy) of ancient Rome- its measurably going backwards as a nation and yet people vote to do it. I'm sorry if this is a bit unfocused but WTF?!

    It makes perfevt sense (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:36:43 PM EST

    (because local residents keep voting down regional taxes)

    Why raise your own taxes when Uncle Sugar will pick up the tab?


    People (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:41:31 PM EST
    are voting tear up freaking roads rather than be taxed- its actually happening, this isn't a hypothetical, its absolutely insane.

    Then these same (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:42:48 PM EST
    people are going to wonder why their property values crash and why there isn't any economic development in their communities- I swear its like cause and effect are epithets or something.

    Don't forget to add: infrastructure bill (none / 0) (#39)
    by magster on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:14:14 PM EST
    also opposed by TL endorsed Michael Bennet.

    There are several Senate Dems (none / 0) (#75)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:49:46 PM EST
    Opposed also.

    I will believe him when (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:10:22 PM EST
    he gives the tax brackets and the new tax rates.

    Until then it is the same song, second verse.

    Lets be honest Jim (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:34:16 PM EST
    if he announced new brackets but they were in any way more progressive than the current tax structure you'd object to them as being a "knife pointed at the hearts of the producers" or whatever randian talking point you've decided to use today.

    Good point,, Socraticsilence (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:03:08 PM EST
    The only thing I would add--in the same spirit--is that your comment suggesting that jim would complain in any event could well be said to apply to a number of the usual suspects here. It does get a bit predictable from those who would find the darkest of clouds behind or near whatever the President says. (Then, supporters like myself can be a bit predictable too...a position I acknowledge.) We could trade off--some of us finding a position to support from one on the other side, a vice-versa. An empathy=based challenge that could move a TL debate or two off predictable center?

    Predictable center? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by coast on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:22:56 PM EST
    What is enjoyable about that?  There is no "debating" if all you have is a predictable center.

    Yep---getting stuck (none / 0) (#57)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:35:57 PM EST
    in a well worn groove is my perception of what happens in some of the "debate" about President Obama. (And: please note that I included myself as well.) Maybe a jump start? As BTD indicates, the Cleveland speech may well represent something forceful, positive from a Democratic tent perspective.
    Y'know, once in a while a commenter with concerns for how things are going in the country refers to someone else--perhaps with equal or related concerns--as being an apologist for expressing a positive outlook.  Supporter or detractor? Optimist or cynic? This label or that label?

    Labeling and generalizations (none / 0) (#70)
    by coast on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:16:06 PM EST
    are what we (using the term broadly - generalizing in other words) are most comfortable with.

    Someday... (5.00 / 0) (#58)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:38:01 PM EST
    ...when I'm fully back among the living and don't wake up every morning wondering what fresh hell awaits me, I'd love to get together for a cup of coffee or something.  

    I know all too well how easy it is to find that "darkest cloud" behind everything and how taxing it can be to find positives in life.  I appreciate your perspective on things--it is a refreshing change from the Henny-Penny's and purveyors of negativity around here.

    Thanks for that.


    Just say the word, MileHi (none / 0) (#59)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:40:22 PM EST
    Racines is nice. Lots of good coffee in Denver.

    Racine's is a fine choice. (none / 0) (#63)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:02:52 PM EST
    Literally right down the street from Casa MHH!  Maybe we could get J and the other local TL's to join us...

    Okey doke (none / 0) (#68)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:11:06 PM EST
    No doubt (2.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:52:45 PM EST

    Any small business with enough income to be able to hire another worker needs a big tax increase.

    Try again (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by reslez on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 08:45:03 PM EST
    So exactly how does that work? You'll have to explain because as far as I can tell you have no idea what you're talking about. The owners of a small business taxed as an S-corp pay income taxes on the profits from their business. But hiring another worker has nothing to do with how much income tax you pay. If anything, hiring more workers makes your personal income taxes go down because you have a higher labor expense to deduct from your income.

    You'd need a personal income in the top 2% to be affected by this anyway. If your profits are running 250k per year for just yourself you have revenue in the millions. That's not what most people think of when they think of a small business. It's only small if you compare it to Wal-Mart.

    My family ran a small business until the Bush recession forced us to shut it down last year. When we did 6 people lost their jobs. Please go recite your talking points somewhere else.


    Is Wal Mart still (none / 0) (#31)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:00:21 PM EST
    "a small business" on planet wingnut?

    No (none / 0) (#48)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:48:26 PM EST

    Not all.  Nut then again, Wally World is not paying taxes at personal rates as do many small businesses.

    Let's be honest (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:49:04 PM EST
    If he announced the brackets and the tax rates we would know that he is funning us....

    And if he isn't, well, I'd be wrong.

    But we both know that he won't and I am not.


    never (none / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:58:57 PM EST
    cuz the guy who blew wide open the story of Obama's ties to radical Islam and has exposed the climate change hoax is privy to vital information beyond all the usual sources..  

    Well........ All he has to do (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:10:49 PM EST
    is announce the tax brackets and tax rates and
    prove me wrong....

    Guess I'm just a "taxer."



    Well we'd know that (none / 0) (#34)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:09:55 PM EST
    or we'd know that the President and you have a different view on tax structures, and that the president follows more in line with the Clinton, FDR belief that a progressive structure helps economic growth while you follow more in the Hoover-Bush "Taxes iz the debil" camp.

    Funny you should mention Hoover (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:12:50 PM EST
    Especially since he raised taxes...How'd that turn out?

    And can we agree that he isn't going to give any specifics as to brackets and rates??


    theres (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:37:06 PM EST
    a climate change comment in the open.

    I'll believe it (none / 0) (#4)
    by robotalk on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:30:23 PM EST
    when he fires Geithner and Summers.  But this is a good start.

    So, how long before this framing leads (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:30:34 PM EST
    people to think they are going to pay less tax in 2011 than they are now?  And what is the fallout - assuming this actually happens - from people feeling they were snookered on this in much the same way they were snookered on health whatever reform?

    If my taxes are the same in 2011 as they are in 2010, I have not gotten relief: nothing's changed.

    I have no problem with this being framed as preventing the middle class from having their taxes raised - because it's more honest.  But, telling people their president wants to provide tax relief carries an expectation of paying less than they are paying now - which isn't what's going to happen.  Well, unless they lose their jobs because it turns out that these so-called tax cuts didn't create any jobs or increase demand for goods and services.

    Which is better - people being ticked off that their taxes aren't going down as it seemed they were promised, or being grateful their taxes did not go up?

    For that reason I hope there is at least a little (none / 0) (#24)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:48:48 PM EST
    bit of real 'cut' in the plan, rather than just lack of increase.

    Otherwise Dems are going to step all over their tongues saying they were for cutting taxes after they were for raising them and any good is going to be erased.


    Too little, too late (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:31:12 PM EST
    This won't make a dent in any poll numbers.

    You sound giddy with delight (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:13:33 PM EST
    Yes... (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Thanin on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 12:58:33 PM EST
    its been obvious for years jbindc is a republican.

    HA HA HA HA! (none / 0) (#99)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 02:34:03 PM EST
    (wipes tears of laughter from eyes)

    Dark Avenger, is that you?

    I see the bot mantra is back - if you don't buy "hope and change", you must be (gasp), a Republican!

    Um, no.


    Struck a nerve, eh? (none / 0) (#101)
    by Thanin on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 02:20:37 PM EST
    As my e-mail is listed, along with (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun Sep 12, 2010 at 11:01:23 AM EST
    being accused unjustly, like thanin, of being Dark Avenger, I have received a message to pass on to the both of you.

    jbindc, he says he never thought you were a Republican, just somebody who wasn't too bright, and that some other commentators here have the problem of taking themselves too seriously, you're not one of them yet.

    thanin, he/she says good luck to you.


    I don't believe in pixie dust and ponies for all (3.67 / 3) (#71)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:19:12 PM EST
    I only get giddy as a schoolgirl when I can read your predictable pithy comments.

    Shorter MKS:  Leave Obama Alone!


    Doesnt the latest gallup poll... (none / 0) (#83)
    by Thanin on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 07:21:14 PM EST
    now show dems/repubs even?

    yes (none / 0) (#92)
    by DFLer on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 12:10:04 PM EST
    See EJ Dionne's column on reporting poll #s (none / 0) (#93)
    by christinep on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 12:37:29 PM EST
    I think the numbers are different when (none / 0) (#94)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 12:58:26 PM EST
    it's "likely" voters as opposed to "registered" voters - and that's where the enthusiasm gap shows up; the Republicans are much more fired up about voting than Dems who got punk'd and aren't interested in falling for that again.

    That is the difference (none / 0) (#96)
    by christinep on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 01:17:15 PM EST
    As you noted, Anne, the "likely" numbers measure the enthusiasm. An additional aspect of this whole thing shows up in Dionne's WP column today. He openly talks about the "journalistic" habit of analyzing events, incidents to support long-held memes. We used to call that the classic self-fulfilling prophecy.
    Clearly, the "enthusiasm gap" has been evident for a long time. This mid-term cycle is more pronounced than most given the harsh economic circumstances. What is not so clear though: To what degree does the hailing of a result via headlines & major stories actually deepen and continue to drive a situation to fulfill the prediction? For example: Dionne notes the very different media treatment of generic Gallup polls displaying very different results--highlight one and lowlight the other. Today, I thought that I had heard good news about the economy--jobless numbers down sharply--on a local radio station earlier; but, then I didn't see it in most online editions; then, discovered it at the bottom of the NYTimes and nowhere in the WP. Obviously, the story doesn't have conflict, tho.

    Not sure (none / 0) (#97)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 02:29:04 PM EST
    What jobless numbers would be "down sharply", since the Labor Department just but out numbers last Friday that said the opposite.

    My error (none / 0) (#100)
    by christinep on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 02:59:53 PM EST
    Unemployment claims "down sharply."

    Gallup (none / 0) (#98)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 02:31:06 PM EST
    Has also missed the mark and underestimated Republican turnout 5 of the last 6 elections.

    Since his sport is basketball, I suspect he thinks (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:31:33 PM EST
    this works the same way--only the last 2 minutes of the game count.

    Hope he is right (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:32:13 PM EST
    At least the polls suggest he doesn't need to (none / 0) (#12)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:35:34 PM EST
    change people's minds as much as closing the enthusiasm gap.

    That just feels easier to do, and in a shorter time frame.


    Easy to do and in short time frame (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:55:36 PM EST
    Shut down the Cat Food Commission.

    Rule out cuts in SS benefits (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:56:36 PM EST
    In my mind and many others, they (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:04:46 PM EST
    are the same thing. IOW the main (maybe only) purpose of the commission is to cut SS and other safety net benefits. I wouldn't be convinced by words if the commission was still in existence.  

    It could concievably (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:15:48 PM EST
    argue for a radical cut in defense spending- say dollar for dollar with social security reductions- it wont of course because on both sides of the aisle defense is off-limits (on the right entitlement cuts are the answer while on the left its tax increases- though defense spending cuts could make both options pointless).

    Appoint Warren already (4.67 / 3) (#29)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:57:56 PM EST
    That would go a long way with me (none / 0) (#65)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:06:17 PM EST
    it helped me get somewhat excited about Conway here in KY

    While policywise it would be good (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:13:06 PM EST
    I don't think it has enough salience to impact enthusiasm outside of the Netroots. (and can I just say I could back Simpson being on the commission if an advocate for radically slashing the Defense budget was also on it- I mean if every dollar taken from entitlements was also taken from defense it would basically make the resulting recommendations political death for all sides).

    Many of my fiftish Dem friends (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:21:26 PM EST
    are pretty disgusted with the Dems because of the commission. None are members of the Netroots.

    Today was a good day (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:43:02 PM EST
    And yes, so was Labor Day (none / 0) (#64)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:03:38 PM EST
    in Wisconsin.  You heard correctly (and perhaps it was my comment then here, too?) that the campaigner came back out from behind the presidential mien.  And it also was fun to see expertise in coping with a rowdy crowd, as union members are not the folks for pomp and circumstance.  So the prez had fun again, getting off some great improv lines, too.

    And so it was fun for me to see, just to get to see yet another president -- and more important, to get tickets to get my young uns there, the real Obama fans, as none had seen him on the campaign trail nor had they ever seen a president.  That, they kept thanking me for and for hours afterward.  

    They even were nice, while we waited for hours and watched Secret Servicers (part of the fun, picking out them . . . and the snipers on rooftops . . . and watching as airspace emptied and then, finally, Air Force One came in low and slow over the crowd on the way to the airport, etc.), as I got to regale them with stories of the prezzes I have seen, and for half a century now.  So I saved my cheer for Obama's mention of Social Security, "no cuts on his watch," etc.

    Of course, I then started the countdown to how soon it would be before Gibbs retreated on it.  Sigh.


    Here's a link to that speech (none / 0) (#67)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:09:11 PM EST
    again, for those who may be interested -- see the link to the text (including some of the improv lines).  Related coverage re upcoming elections also may be of interest, if watching Wisconsin.

    Especially since the Generic Ballot (none / 0) (#72)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:20:04 PM EST
    is back to being tied.

    Don't count on it (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 08:47:22 PM EST
    The latest Gallup poll is an outlier, considering the other six of the most recent polls have Repubs up between 6 and 13 points, and just one week prior, Gallup was reporting the largest generic mid-term election advantage ever.

    While I think there will be losses (none / 0) (#18)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:39:54 PM EST
    seriously other than FDR and Bush II (who frankly would have had huge losses if not for 9-11) who hasn't suffered losses- until I see the generic ballot numbers corrected for region I can't sign off on the wave thing- simply put there aren't as many Southern Dems as there were in 1994, and if the GB numbers are as regionally skewed by the South as the presidential approval numbers the actual GOP gains may be smaller than many people expect.

    Recent Krugman column (none / 0) (#54)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:11:54 PM EST
    notes that FDR suffered large losses in Congress--more than 70 seats--in 1938. According to Krugman, the situation may have resulted from FDR finding himself in a similar situation wherein he had eased off government help/intervention measures thinking that the earlier progress would sustain itself (and, of course, it didn't.) More Krugman: He explicitly considers the 1938 and 2010 conundrum in a similar vein.

    Problem is (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:28:55 PM EST
    1. no world war looming to spur manufacturing and full employment and

    2. Obama is no FDR

    Agree in part, reserve in part (none / 0) (#62)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:56:24 PM EST
    Clearly, your point @1 is right on because--ultimately--the course of WWII and the country's unified response economically bolstered what had begun on the economic homefront earlier. As to your point #2: I grew up thinking, and still believe that FDR was the greatest President in the 20th century and more. Include in that conclusion, tho, that FDR--a son of privilege himself--is also a study in Presidential evolution. While his first stroke (the first 100 days) demonstrated a marvel of decisions & drive, even he stumbled a bit after the initial successes--refer again to Krugman's outline. The key, for me, is that he corrected his course--and, quite frankly, was called a "traitor to his class" when he focused on the "plutocrats" whose descendants now try to revise history and do all in their power to prevent this President from making necessary course corrections as well.

    Today is a good day.


    It's great (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:08:02 PM EST
    That you want to be positive.  However, Obama's history to date has not been what you are wishing for.  He can give a good speech when he feels he is on the defensive, but then he capitulates and lectures us mere mortals for not seeing the "big picture".

    The fact that he felt he had to go to Cleveland to respond to a speech that the Minority Leader gave - a speech mo one outside the blogosphere heard about, from a man most people outside the Beltway/blogosphere have never heard if, shows exactly how desperate this administration is to get back on track.  Boehner is probably laughing himself silly.

    One political reporter (don't remember who) said earlier in the week that the WH is "calling audibles".  Put another way - they are throwing everything at the wall in the hopes that something sticks.

    Vero Possumus, indeed.


    WWII has really dominated (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 05:26:34 PM EST
    the economics of the decades since.

    After WWII, we had no competition.  So, well into the 60s, the U.S, was the undisputed king of manufacturing.  First Japan and Germany, and then others, caught up.  Now, globalization makes the market for labor very fluid.  We compete against people in India for legal services, as many attorney jobs of reviewing documents and preparing wills are off-shored.

    How can we keep our standard of living until the rest of the world catches up?  Until wages in India and China and Mexico catch up (and they have already, to a certain extent, in Korea and Japan) we could stagnate....

    On the other hand, once the Chinese start to consume, and once everyone in China must have an IPod or a computer or a cell phone or a Kindle, watch out.....

    Just a matter of time....unless we bomb each other into oblivion....


    The problem being is even when everyone (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by BTAL on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 05:37:36 PM EST
    in China must have an IPod etc., those items will still be manufactured there, not here.

    The WWII description is spot on but we live in an entirely different world now.


    Well put. (none / 0) (#82)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 06:45:53 PM EST
    And let's remember this in case the warmongers want to whomp up an economic excuse -- staying in Afghanistan, starting up somewhere else, etc.  

    The war was so worldwide on so many fronts that, yes, the economies of many other countries were devastated for more than a decade.  Let us pray that never happens again, but it also means that taking advantage of it in such a postwar world will not give the U.S. economy more than a decade of such dominance again, either.


    It's not unheard of (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:22:55 PM EST
    But you probably need a massive cash advantage. And I think it's more effective with undecided voters who are likely to vote than decided voters who are not (unless you can make some kind of deep personal connection).

    The Obama Tax Cuts For The Middle Class (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by BTAL on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:06:28 PM EST
    Now, that's funny.  

    Great speech, indeed... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by pmj6 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:14:12 PM EST
    Obama just told us he is in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Because if you oppose making permanent these tax cuts, you "hold hostage the tax cuts on the middle class".

    He did the same thing with the public option. Suddenly the supporters the public option became the obstacle on the way to health care "reform". So the public option went away... I wonder, how many of these things he can pull off before people finally catch on?

    Do you actually (none / 0) (#41)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:19:23 PM EST
    look at the speeches or just assume the worse, because that's literally the exact opposite of the framing the President gave.

    Putting frames into perspective (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by pmj6 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:26:49 PM EST
    From today's WaPo:

    "Obama did not threaten to veto any compromise which extends the upper-bracket cuts, a position that has gained ground in recent weeks among moderates in both the House and Senate."

    See? He did exactly the same thing on health care, when he signaled he would not veto a health care reform without public option. So that's precisely what we got.



    Let me just say one more thing: (none / 0) (#45)
    by pmj6 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:33:05 PM EST
    I don't want to see these tax cuts extended or made permanent. I'd gladly be proven wrong on this. But when I am not, I'd prefer not to see any excuses about the Senate, the alleged US ungovernability, or some other 11-dimensional-chess excuse. I think Obama wants to see these tax cuts made permanent, and he just made that willingness plain, though in a typically dog-whistle type of way.

    You don't threaten to Veto (none / 0) (#46)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:33:06 PM EST
    something that doesn't even exist yet.

    On the contrary... (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by pmj6 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:38:02 PM EST
    ...veto is frequently used as a deterrent when it is threatened against hypothetical legislation (for example, the F-35 alternative engine program or some such thing). Every president's done it, including Obama. Conversely, when you take the veto pen off the table, it's a green light to proceed. That's what Obama is signaling here.

    I need follow through on this (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:07:54 PM EST
    not just a speech.  This guy can always deliver a great speech when the chips are down.  He sold me out on HCR though and he utterly sold me out on FinReg.  He has said that he won't veto a negotiation that extends the tax cuts for the rich.  If he signs such a thing and then "tweaks" social security, he is a lost cause forever.  The catfood commission is his baby!  I wish I could believe him.  I wish I could have faith, but based on what someone termed emperical data today....only a fool would at this point with this man.

    Great speech, I agree. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:47:28 PM EST
    Clear and to the point. It passes my tell it like it is test.

    Of course actions will tell...but it at least assures me he has at least read the right words once.

    sounds like (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by pluege2 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:34:35 PM EST
    18 months of disappointment, disparagement, and lowering the bar are finally paying off for the obamster - what a elevendy-eleven dimensionally mastered chess master.

    I was heard to say, the other day (none / 0) (#76)
    by Cream City on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 05:14:36 PM EST
    as while waiting for Air Force One to alight, we had to sit through absolutely awful speakers (Cabinet members LaHood and Solis, the head of the AFL-CIO, lots of local leaders and pols, etc.) that I had to wonder whether Obama was seen as an extraordinary speaker in similar context in the campaign.  That is, did his handlers then also scour the country for absolutely awful others?  

    I mean, we're talking about Cabinet members who cannot even read without walking all over their lines, confusing things and having to repeat them correctly, over and over.  And screamers, lots of screamers who apparently did not know that microphones provide sufficient amplification.

    After hours of that, it was fun to see a master -- Obama is one who knows how to modulate from high to low to high again, so that even a rowdy crowd of thousands can quiet down to listen.  So having only seen soundbytes from the campaign trail, the few seconds that made him sound great, I wonder if the bar also was lowered then to torture the crowds with awful speakers first!


    Strong arguments made... (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 05:39:46 PM EST
    ya gotta give 'em that.

    I ain't buying this bit one bit...

    I believe government should be lean, it should be efficient, and it should leave people free to make the choices they think are best for themselves and their families, so long as those choices don't hurt others.

    Wouldn't that be nice...haven't seen any movement on this front...none at all.


    It's campaign mode.. (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by Romberry on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 11:55:58 PM EST
    ...and Obama is lying just like the last time he was in campaign mode. Did no one here pay attention to the story in the WaPo?

    In a speech scheduled for delivery Wednesday afternoon in Cleveland, Obama will restate his long-held position that the nation cannot afford to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of families, White House officials said.

    The officials added that Obama would not threaten to veto any compromise which extends the upper-bracket cuts, a position that has gained ground in recent weeks.

    Got that? Like I said at FDL:

    In politics, what Obama is signaling is that what he is saying is just words. Empty words. Same as with a robust and widely available public option, drug price negotiation under Medicare Part D and re-importation of prescription drug already approved by the FDA for use in these United States. Same as protecting whistle blowers. Same as on revisiting the awful FISA bill that he said he opposed, promised to filibuster and voted for instead while promising to fix it after he became president.

    What Obama is trying to pass of as leadership amounts to "Look guys, now don't go doing that. I really don't want you to. But I won't get in your way if you do. Now stand strong!"

    Are people really gonna fall for that again?

    Obama is in campaign mode. He says stuff in campaign mode that he doesn't really mean. He has admitted as much. Recall his pledge to reopen NAFTA which he made during the campaign for the Democratic nomination? Recall what he said to Fortune later?

    Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn't want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.

    "Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified," he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA "devastating" and "a big mistake..."

    Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? "Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself," he answered.

    There are two Obama's. There's the campaign Obama, and there's the Obama of the last eighteen months. Which do you think is actually real?

    Finally, a position of Obama's I can get behind (none / 0) (#3)
    by david mizner on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:13:57 PM EST
    (Even though his position is really just a non-cave. Low bar.)

    The Republicans are opposed to the Obama Tax Cuts, insisting that they must include tax cuts for the wealthy that will cost $700 billion.

    Put another way:

    The Republicans are opposed to the Obama Tax Cuts, insisting that they must include tax cuts for themselves and other rich people at a cost of $700 billion.

    Doublespeak (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by PWT on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:31:12 PM EST
    There are no Obama tax cuts.  He simply wants to extend the current baseline for 98% of the filers while increaseing it for the remaining 2% - that my friend is a tax increase.  Probably doesn't poll too well in the focus groups, but sometimes you have to call a spade a spade.

    Really (none / 0) (#13)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:35:49 PM EST
    you don't think a continuation of the Tax breaks currently in effect for 98% of America would poll well?

    It will poll well (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:41:36 PM EST
    Until, as Anne points out, no one is getting a further tax cut, but will instead be paying the same amount they are now (those 98% ers).  Sure, he could say he's giving everyone a 100% tax cut - that would poll really well, but if people don't see the effect in their pocketbook, it really won't matter, except they will be angrier than they are already.

    It proabably polls great, until people (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:44:44 PM EST
    figure out that "relief" doesn't mean paying less than they are paying now, or that "cuts" is really just "status quo."

    It's sort of like telling someone who's not had a raise in 5 years that you've decided not to cut their pay: they're still making the same amount of money they were before, but have been spared from making less.

    I am not advocating for the tax rates to return to previous levels for the 98% of us who aren't making gazillions of dollars - I just think that when people hear "relief," they are going to think they are getting something they didn't have before - and they won't be.

    By the time they figure that out, it will be 6 months post-election, so it won't matter.


    Do people know how much they pay in taxes? (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by NealB on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 08:00:02 PM EST
    I mean, what their tax rate / bracket is? I think people spend most of their energy (if at all) on figuring out how to pay as little in taxes as possible right now, or at most, this year. How many tens of millions of us now do our taxes using TurboTax online? And how many of us play all the games they offer along the way to figure out how to get that tax total number in the upper right corner to go down as we enter our information and look for deductions?

    I honestly don't even know what tax bracket I end up in any more; all I do is try to get that total due number down as far as possible before I agree to pay what I still owe when the game ends. Isn't that how it works for most folks in the 15%, 25%, and 28% brackets nowadays?

    Of course, in better years, when I earn more, I reasonably expect I'm going to have to pay more. It only seems fair.


    Well, some of us actually look at (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 08:54:22 PM EST
    the prior year's return - one way to tell.  

    And anyone who's using tax software can see that comparison, too - I mean, one of the ways to avoid penalties for underpayment of tax is the safe harbor of paying in as much as you did the year before - so you kinda have to know what that amount is...and tax software figures that out for you, too - in black and white, and kind of hard to miss.

    People may not realize that they aren't getting some extra relief until they sit down to do their taxes, or until the tax preparer hands them the returns to sign - but realize they will.


    An easy way (none / 0) (#90)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 10:34:48 AM EST
    Most people look at the net amount on their paycheck.  Unless they have sporadic hours or are paid piecemeal, it's easy to see that if my check says $500 now and it still says $500 after these "tax cuts" just touted ( which are really the status quo) are supposed to come into existence, it won't take a genius to feel like you've been had.

    That sh*t is too depressing... (none / 0) (#91)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 11:14:58 AM EST
    just tell me what I owe on the 1040EZ and lets get it over with...I just can't play the deduction game, too infuriating.  

    Only exception being in years with a nice gambling score...then I go to the 1040 and claim gambling losses to offset the winnings, and that's only if the services of IRS Harry weren't available at the time of the score...I've had to do that once, every other year 1040EZ, no software, just a pencil and paper.

    JB is right...for wage earners the only number we really care about and notice is the net on the pay stub...the gross is just some made up number.  If that net isn't higher Jan 1 2011, we will feel mislead about our taxes being cut, right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate.  

    Some of it is out of the feds control too..like if state income taxes go up, or even your employee health insurance contribution going up...all net killers.  So even if we see an additional cut to middle and working class taxes, if your state/city does an equal or larger hike you will say to yourself "tax cut?  yeah right."

    My advice to Obama would be extending the Bush cuts and adding another large one for the middles and workings...just to be on the safe side.


    I saw that 'hostage' crack in the prepared (none / 0) (#16)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:37:10 PM EST
    remarks.  I really like it--call out the Democratic SWAT team.

    Great line (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 01:39:03 PM EST
    I like this section (none / 0) (#49)
    by CST on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:53:30 PM EST
    "let me remind you that with those tax rates in place, this country created 22 million jobs, raised incomes, and had the largest surplus in history.

    In fact, if the Republican leadership in Congress really wants to help small businesses, they'll stop using legislative maneuvers to block an up-or-down vote on a small business jobs bill that's before the Senate right now. This is a bill that would do two things: cut taxes for small businesses and make loans more available for small businesses. It is fully paid for, and it was written by Democrats and Republicans. And yet, the other party continues to block this jobs bill"

    as it takes on the "small business will get hurt" meme as well.

    Tim Geithner on CNBC now...... (none / 0) (#51)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:06:25 PM EST

    Going there now (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:08:33 PM EST
    Re: move a TL debate or two off center (none / 0) (#61)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 03:52:31 PM EST
    So I've been doing some research/reading on the various economic theories in an effort to arm myself a little as I watch the pundits and the administration talk economic solutions.  It seems the prevailing idea on our side is Keynesian theory saved us before, so let's do it again.  I have however been coming across a disconcerting amount of info on the alternative so called "Austrian" economics.  

    IMO, it seems neither side is correct and we should tread w/great caution in determining the best path forward.  In light of our esteemed leader's proposals, it might be good to hear all arguments.  From a political perspective, in the short term, to save some Dem a$$, his proposals are probably good ones.  

    I came across this long post from Daily Kos that, if the info can be trusted, provided a good layman-term summary of what I've read at what are, hopefully, reputable sites on the web.

    "The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist."

    John Maynard Keynes

    The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

    and this.....

    "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

    F A Hayek

    The Fatal Conceit

    Thoughts anyone?

    Economic debate (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by christinep on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 05:43:30 PM EST
    Starting with an admission that I know very little about economics (tho, snarkily I say, some economists seem to suffer from that as well), I'll respond, vicndabx. An observation: Is a central point about spending really about spending after all? Or is is the location of the expenditure?
    Lets consider job creation, the whole reality or not of jobs. The more conservative types seem to think that placing the $$$ at the top (via tax write-offs/credits/assist) is a better vehicle for society to create jobs since "the top" translates to the employer/manufacturer from whence hiring would start. OTOH, my side of that discussion has always been that this "trickle down" effect presupposes a societal consensus about fairness for employees & employers (e.g., acceptable profit margin and reasonable wages) that we do not have; and, that without some leveling of the employer/employee playing-field through robust unions at the negotiating table, the dreamt of downward largesse usually becomes less than a trickle. It has always made more sense to be as direct as possible in providing $$$ for jobs if there is a national economic need.

    But, therein lies an American dilemma. First, so many really believed in the American dream...the you-too-can-get-ahead and own your own home and.... Perhaps, people have been more than reluctant to turn away from that belief and that has heretofore insulated the very wealthy from the populist sentiment so loudly expressed everywhere now.  Too many Enrons, Worldcoms, gazillion dollar parachutes for failed CEOs, huge losses for ordinary folk in pensions & retirement savings (courtesy the knowledgeable economists on Wall Street), then the perception that the common man would be left behind again in the past few years as the big banks & others were given tax dollars. So...we may still be trapped by our ideology because the "economic debate" may really have been overlaid with lifelong values about where to start with the $$$ (and not whether to spend them.) I wonder.


    "If all economists were laid end to end . . (none / 0) (#74)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 04:46:06 PM EST
     . . they would not reach a conclusion" -- George Bernard Shaw

    There are other perspectives (none / 0) (#81)
    by cenobite on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 06:36:06 PM EST