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Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 12/ 7/2010

A liberal revolt over the tax cut deal?

By Adam Serwer

The $900 billion deal to extend all of the Bush tax cuts represents a substantial retreat for the president on a major campaign promise, a major victory for the Republican Party, and, let's face it, complete obliteration of the notion that the deficit matters politically as anything other than a blunt instrument to wield against the welfare state. The deficit is an absolute emergency when it comes to making sure all Americans have health care, but an afterthought when it comes to cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans. 

Daniel Larison writes that he sees this as a perhaps greater concession than George H.W. Bush's deal with Democrats in the early 1990s, following the betrayal of his "read my lips" pledge not to raise taxes, one that could lead to a primary challenge:

We should understand that this has nothing to do with the policy merits or flaws of the decision to make such a deal. The 1990 budget deal was arguably an important and desirable one as far as fiscal responsibility was concerned, but it was (correctly!) perceived as a betrayal on a core promise. This deal happens to be both fiscally irresponsible and politically foolish, so it is difficult to see how Obama comes away from making such a deal without looking bad all around. What will make this deal seem even less palatable to his party is that it is one that Obama is agreeing to not because of an argument on the merits, since Obama clearly doesn't believe that it is undesirable or unwise to raise taxes on higher earners, but purely as a concession to free up the rest of a limited lame-duck agenda.

Maybe there will be a severe backlash among liberals, but as frustrating as the compromise is, I think it depends largely on how much of Obama's remaining lame duck agenda gets accomplished. I think Larison overestimates the degree to which liberals believe raising taxes on the rich are an end unto themselves, rather than a means to a more equitable society. Conservatives believe in tax cuts for the rich as a matter of principle -- in fact as far as the Republican Party is concerned, it seems to be the only principle that truly matters.

To riff off a point often made by Jonathan Chait, liberals aren't as ideologically committed to taxing the rich as Republicans are to making sure the rich don't get taxed. The reason most liberals are disappointed about the deal isn't simply because the government isn't soaking the rich. It's because, as Mike Konczal writes, tax cuts for the rich don't significantly stimulate the economy, and because, as Dave Weigel notes, looking back at the president's now meaningless pledges over the past few years, liberals wanted to use the money from the top-tier tax cuts for a progressive domestic agenda. It's a dramatic reversal, but owing to ideological differences between the parties, I'm not sure it will ultimately be as damaging as Larison believes.

There's no question that the deal is a hard one to swallow for liberals -- but as Ezra Klein and David Leonhardt write, with the extension of unemployment insurance and tax credits geared toward the middle and working class it's a slightly better deal than what was expected and will ultimately do more good than harm to a perilously weak recovery. I suspect that, more than ideological purity or personal consistency, a primary challenge will depend on the state of the economy, which will itself determine whether Obama looks weak enough to go up against.

Maybe Obama will end up facing a primary challenge anyway -- think it's unlikely right now -- but I think the danger would be significantly lessened if this deal actually creates space to proceed on other remaining items, such as the DREAM Act and, most importantly, repeal of don't ask don't tell. 

This deal, made necessary only by the Democrats' bungling of a strong, popular position on tax cuts in advance of the midterm elections and the possibility that Republicans would hold the rest of the lame-duck hostage, won't be justifiable if Democrats don't make the minimal effort of extending the session in order to get don't ask don't tell done. As Greg wrote yesterday, there won't be a better time.

Adam Serwer is a staff writer at The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

By Adam Serwer  | December 7, 2010; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  House Dems, Senate Dems, gay rights, taxes  
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Next: Poll: Obama supporters strongly opposed to deal extending Bush tax cuts

Comments

It is not just " a liberal revolt". Anyone who wants to keep the borrowing down, should be against borrowing huge amounts more, just to continue to pamper the super rich.

If "Trickle Down" worked, I would support it, but we have tried it, with the Bush Tax Cuts, and it has failed miserably.

Bill Clinton called Newt's bluff. We have been told that Obama is a skilled poker player, yet he falls for the Republicans bluffs, every time.

How will any Democrat, who votes for this deal, ever again be able to campaign against the Republicans being the party that looks after the richest among us?

I understand that Mitch McConnell is now working on a screen play. The working title of it is: Honey, I Shrunk The President!

Posted by: Liam-still | December 7, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

There won't be any liberal revolt of any consequence.
McConnell wouldn’t be in on any deal unless it assured the total electoral destruction of Obama. This deal is no bi-partisan compromise, no matter how much Osama would like to gild it. The GOP is malevolent, but not stupid, except for some of their back benchers like Bachmann, King, Pence, Gohmert, and the list goes on. Granny Mitch, Boehner, Rove and company know we are in an economic free fall, so they are just following the dictates of the sociopathic jerk side of human nature – taking as much as they can for themselves and their corporate donors before the entire rotting edifice collapses. They are just following the adage “Take it easy kid, but take it.”

Posted by: filmnoia | December 7, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I am not at all crazy about the tax deal, and believe it is the Conservadems' fault (many of whom will be gone in 2011) that the deal didn't get done last year.

Still, I think liberals need to remember not just how much and how strongly GOPers don't want to tax the rich (which includes most of them, their patrons and friends), but how much they WANT to tax the poor and working class, even in a recession. There is a great likelihood that if the Bush (and Obama) tax cuts expire, next year the GOP House will introduce a bill that not only extends the high end tax cuts permanently and is even more generous to the wealthy on the estate tax, but which ALSO raises the bottom bracket back to 15% (after all, why should the lower middle class pay lower rates than hedge fund managers?), lowers the zero bracket ("spread the pain to a larger base") and cuts the Earned Income Tax Credit and other breaks for the working poor. And forget about extending unemployment insurance for those lazy bums.

And the problem is that not only would this pass the House in a heartbeat, there are still probably 5 conservadems in the Senate who feel enough solidarity with the rich to vote to block any filibuster the 10-15 real liberals in the Senate might mount.

And then where would we be? It is unfair, manifestly so, it is class warfare, but at least with this deal Obama gets continued relief for the bottom 98% and some additional stimulus relief. And that may even help bring unemployment down.

We can't become like those European parties of the '20s and '30s who believed that things had to get worse before they could get better, and found themselves with much worse than they ever could have imagined. There is real suffering in this country, and there is much in this deal--if it holds--that will help alleviate some of that suffering.

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 7, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

This deal strikes me as nothing more than a redux of the original Bush tax cuts. A massive transfer of wealth to the wealthy is facilitated by a token gesture to the middle and working classes.

The extension of unemployment benefits and the small payroll tax cut, both of which last for 1 year, are mere window dressing. The heart of this plan is the 2-year tax cut for the rich.

Posted by: MaximusNYC | December 7, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I can only hope at this time for an Obama primary challenger. People seem to think the liberals are so small that they are insignificant. But there are many independents and yes even republicans who wanted him to stop this giveaway to the rich. There will not only be a liberal backlash, it will include the others too. This progressive has now been freed of party.

I will no longer vote for the lesser of two evils. I will vote for the person who follows my philosophy regardless of whether they have a chance of winning or wether they are the media darlings. If you all did the same thing, we actually get what we want some day!

Posted by: sandnsmith | December 7, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

MaximusNYC (you wouldn't be any relation to a certain Mad Maximus, woud you?):

It could be worse. If could be a 4 year or permanent tax cut for the rich.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 7, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

from the previous thread, skipsailing ever the defender of the uber rich, and now even their heirs, wrote:

"Liberals here are now consoling themselves with alternative, denial inspired explanations for keeping the current tax rates in place.

but they have not lost their greed for other people's money. As proof I offer the concerns expressed about the inheritance tax. There are no ethical or moral supports for such a tax, but liberals insist that the Federal government should snatch a significant portion of it because it was "unearned" by the receipient."

Erich Fromm wrote this pithy rationalization:

"If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?"
-------------------------------------------
Perhaps this is the principle that skipsailing is searching for...

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 7, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget that Bill Clinton used the 1990 compromise with Democrats as a club to to beat Bush around the head and shoulders during the 1992 election. If you wondered where some of the bad blood began between R's and D's, well there ya go.

It would be like Mitt Romney in 2012 saying "Obama's campaign promises were all bs - see, he didn't close GITMO, he didn't let the Bush tax cuts expire...."

One other point:

"liberals aren't as ideologically committed to taxing the rich as Republicans are to making sure the rich don't get taxed."

Hogwash. Liberals howl about executive compensation, which isn't even about public money. It is the shareholder's money. If anything, liberals should love high executive compensation because it means the government gets more revenue. And the logic that it would somehow help the workers at the company is flawed - the workers are worth what the workers are worth no matter what the CEO makes. They aren't going to get a raise just because the CEO takes a pay cut.

Republicans may have a different view of "fairness" than liberals, but their distaste for taxing the rich has as much to do with economic efficiency and maintaining a health business climate as it does with "fairness."

Posted by: sold2u | December 7, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

It is a permanent extension. Obama is not going to try and kill a renewal of the Bush Tax Cuts, in 2012, and even if he promises to do so, no one is now going to believe him, since he has turned into just another political windsock, that any small gust from Mitch McConnell can turn around, at will.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 7, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@Mimikatz: "but how much they WANT to tax the poor and working class, even in a recession."

Seriously? And why do they want to do that?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 7, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Too funny ... liberals have so gone off the rails in terms of soaking the rich, that you are now comparing Bush I's broken pledge not to raise taxes with Obama's pledge TO raise taxes!

Hmmm ... me thinks that won't hurt him as much as had he allowed taxes to RAISE on middle-class workers. Duh.

Posted by: kromerm | December 7, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Does anybody else wonder how long they are going to keep calling them 'blogs' or 'editorials' and simply call them what they are:

Rationalizations.

(Fun to read though)

Posted by: TECWRITE | December 7, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Adam, I agree that the Republicans are way more committed to tax cuts for the rich than Democrats are to getting rid of those cuts. And it's because as Iglesias and others have pointed out, it's the bedrock principle of the Republican party, while Democrats have a much more wide-ranging agenda (thank goodness). So while it's truly lousy that this temporary extension and the estate tax deal will likely go through, this is the sort of thing the Republicans were always going to go to the mat for and it's not a surprise that Obama, recognizing that, moved on to looking for ways to make the inevitable deal have upsides for the middle class.

A couple of comments on the other things being discussed here this morning. Without mentioning Jane Hamsher, who's a main person advancing the idea, lmsinca talks about the worst case scenario that the temporary reduction in the payroll tax could mean future inroads into Social Security. Maybe. Maybe not. But this reduction in the rate for a year is going to have an immediate and recognizable impact on the middle class, and I'll take that bird in the hand. It could be both good economics and good politics.

With regard to the Assange thing, if Bernie is suggesting that the international community is misguided in going after him, I'm not so sure. There are two things about Assange I find very disturbing. The most obvious is his willingness to put anything out there regardless of its potential for harm. For instance, the leaked cable that lists information on particularly important and possibly vulnerable infrastructure sites aound the globe, could lead to serious mischief that would harm a lot of innocent people. My other concern is that one unelected man with his anarchical vision wants to make decisions for the rest of his just because he has the will and the technological capability. It's unsettling and, as John Kerry has said, not the Pentagon Papers release, which was a very focused response to an unresponsive government policy.

As far as Greg's comment about Obama thinking he can play the adult in the room while the children squabble on the left and the right, that may be Obama's view. I don't know. But there's no question that he's been bashed with great vitriol from both right and left from the earliest days of his presidency as if he were the personification of all things evil or feckless, regardless of how much success he has had with given issues. If he's chosen to think some of that behavior is just immature rather than vicious, maybe he's actually being generous.

Posted by: AllButCertain | December 7, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

openly concede unhappiness = Cry like a baby that he has to do something he promised the country he would do all during his campaign

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 7, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

There is one large unique reason why it is highly unlikely that any serious primary challenger will emerge to take on President Obama.

The African American voters. The vast majority of them,(quite understandably) would never forgive any Democrat who did so. Therefore, even if a challenger were able to win the nomination, a large percentage of the African American voters would sit out the General Election.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 7, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

ZOMG Wowzers it's Rahm's fault! He left a picture of himself in the Oval Office that now stairs down at the President and reminds him daily to punch the dirty hippies in the face!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 7, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I kind of wonder if both parties have created a bit of a political nightmare for themselves. It's going to be difficult for Republicans to continue to claim the deficit reduction mantle with their constituents and difficult for voters to trust the Dems again when they say we'll fight the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy. Of course a lot can change by then, but I sure don't see the deficit going down anytime soon, which both parties have been campaigning on. And I sort of doubt that this is the kind of stimulus that will create many jobs, and what little it does may just be offset by the KORUS FTA, which isn't all that popular with working Americans either. It would be interesting to watch if it wasn't so pathetic.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 7, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I remember candidate Obama promising not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000. How is this a betrayal of that promise?

If he simultaneously made a promise to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000, that promise was not played up in the press to the same extent as the promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000.

A betrayal of his promise would have been asking for a tax increase for anyone making more than $150,000.

P.S. I fail to see why liberal Democrats want to protect those making between $150,000 and $250,000, unless that is what those liberal Democrats make every year.

Posted by: sscritic | December 7, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

This liberal will support whoever runs to the left of Obama in 2012.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | December 7, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Too funny ... liberals have so gone off the rails in terms of soaking the rich, that you are now comparing Bush I's broken pledge not to raise taxes with Obama's pledge TO raise taxes!

Hmmm ... me thinks that won't hurt him as much as had he allowed taxes to RAISE on middle-class workers. Duh.

Posted by: kromerm | December 7, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"A liberal revolt over the tax cut deal?"


Yep, a portion of 20% of people (a % of whom aren't even citizens) in the country will have a "revolt".

ROFLMAO!

Thanks for the a.m. belly laugh Greg.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 7, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

ABC

I also stated that I would settle for the benefits this compromise affords the middle class. It's obviously too late in the game to hope for a different kind of stimulus. And I am very concerned with the general willingness of politicians on both sides to use Social Security as a political football by attempting to connect it to the deficit. This "temporary" payroll cut to Social Security, while putting money in working people's pockets, may be difficult to undo later. Like I said, just an observation.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 7, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I think, deep down, Obama never truly wanted the tax cuts for the rich to expire. This just gave him an out.

Primary him.

Posted by: zackool | December 7, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"If anything, liberals should love high executive compensation because it means the government gets more revenue."

While it doesn't fit with your view of liberals, liberals would rather seen the workers get a raise for the first time in 10 years. I know, it's a novel concept that businesses have some sort of duty to employees rather than exclusively to profit and shareholders.

"but their distaste for taxing the rich has as much to do with economic efficiency and maintaining a health business climate as it does with "fairness."

Well, they don't understand efficiency very well then and they need to publcly abandon their claim that the deficit means anything. Also son't tell skip what you just said, he can't stop talking about moral and ethical justificiations for our tax rates. Economics be darned.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 7, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Compromise is fine as long as the deal is equitable. However, extending the Bush tax cut even temporarily is anything but if you want to be fiscally responsible; if it isn't allowed to lapse now with Democratic majorities in both houses (albeit lameduckish) it is almost impossible to believe that it will happen after the Republicans take over the House. Extending the Bush tax cuts now is the same as making them permanent. (There's also the little problem with the Estate tax and the Capital gains clause.) I give credit to President Obama for wanting to do the right thing by the American people but I fear the price is too high.

Posted by: kmy042 | December 7, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

This is just an utter capitulation on Obama's part. Why Republicans would ever have any respect for him is beyond me. He has just made the next 2 years a lot harder on himself because he doesn't want to take an obviously popular position before his Xmas vacation.

Posted by: AxelDC | December 7, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: lmsinca: "And I am very concerned with the general willingness of politicians on both sides to use Social Security as a political football by attempting to connect it to the deficit."
------------------------------------------
Why? ALL the money in the SS fund has been spent by congress (the account is empty). ALL of that IS part of the deficit.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 7, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

All, amazing new poll numbers on the tax cut deal:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/poll_majority_of_obama_contrib.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 7, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Is there a real Dem willing to oppose Obama in the primaries? I stand ready to work for, give money to, and vote for any such person. The Wimpy Professor isn't about to suddenly grow a pair -- he has conceded on every single issue, usually preemptively without getting even close to a fight. He's the little bespecaled boy going to grade school with a briefcase and getting his lunch money stolen from him daily and sent home to mama to get some more. Enough with this DINO; we need to replace him.

Posted by: dolph924 | December 7, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

@Greg,
"Maybe there will be a severe backlash among liberals"
-------

LOL. Let the posturing begin. Naturally, a certain number of liberal Senators and House members must oppose this "compromise" on extending the tax cuts. What else can they do? They have to take SOMETHING to the folks back home. What better than a meaningless vote (there'll be a count to make sure the bill will pass before permission is granted for some to vote against it) and a lot of hot air and gut wind to placate the rubes. Priceless.

I'm willing to agree with Ethan2010 that Obama agreed to this because he really believes it's the best available option for the country. If the economy gets better in the next couple of years, it's a feather in his cap; if not, nothing may save him, but at least he won't be accused of raising taxes in a time of economic crisis. It's also his best political move. People like Liam and Filmnoia will be there for him in 2012, no matter what they say today, and congressional Dems up for re-election are smart enough to know that their fate, to some extent, is tied to his.

This compromise won't hurt Obama with independents. And he isn't going to get a serious primary challenge, regardless of all the current whining and fussing.

He's actually standing up to some of the lefties in Congress for a change. Good move. He needs to get out in front of this "compromise" as its chief architect---for the benefit of the middle class---and not be seen as having it forced on him by Republicans.

It does leaves some of our more liberal posters in a bit of a bind. Since we've heard for nine years now that the Bush tax cuts are bad for the economy, what must we think now that they've become the Bush/Obama tax cuts? Does this confirm that America is a center/right country? Is this a form of triangulation?

Good to see 12BarBlues out and about again. Browsing last night's posts, I also noticed Noacoler/ChrisFox back under a new moniker. He's evidently escaped the pit and returned to the hovel.

Posted by: Brigade | December 7, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Brigade asked? "Since we've heard for nine years now that the Bush tax cuts are bad for the economy, what must we think now that they've become the Bush/Obama tax cuts?"
--------------------------------------

Do you REALLY have to ask? Now that it is being done by a lib, come 2012, they'll be touted as the best thing since sliced bread. In true Lib, prevaricating form.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 7, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

PRESIDENT TRUMAN WARNED DEMOCRATS ABOUT CAPITULATING TO REPUBLICANS

"Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time."
- Harry S. Truman

President Obama supporters, Moderates and Democratic Centrist gurus, get a clue from a former president who knew how to stand up and fight for what is right and sensible -- Harry S. Truman. We have seen time and time again from Bill Clinton now President Obama HOW NOT TO RUN a White House and a Democratic Congress -- YOU DO NOT RUN TO THE CENTER!

The Bluedogs lost 20 of its coalition members in midterm 2010 and a host of Moderate Democrats lost as well - Why? Because it was the economy stupid! Remember that slogan - you Democrats invented it courtesy of James Carville. Americans will vote any political party out of office when the economy is stagnant and gone to hell. It is not the Democrats fault and it certainly has nothing to do with the policies pushed forth by the Democrats - it was the methodology and failure of the White House to utilize the vast resources it had prior to coming into power.
PRESIDENT OBAMA NEGOTIATED AWAY DEMOCRAT’S 2012 CAMPAIGN PLATFORM

President Obama and the Centrist Democratic Caucus -- trust me, you will lose even big time if you further capitulate to the Republicans. Republicans have no stomach to make President Obama look good on anything - look at the START Treaty; it is Dead On Arrival - STOPPED by Republicans who will not vote for its ratification. Look at Deficit Reductions – This so-called bi-partisan agreement, which ADDS $190 BILLION to the deficit -- does nothing to reduce the deficit, a hallmark Republican mandate. Republicans will not vote for anything unless all the tax cuts, including millionaires/billionaires are included.

Democrats are the most liberal when it comes to the vast voting coalitions in the House and Senate. Now, there are more Liberals than Moderates thanks to midterm 2010. The Progressives have watched in pain as we saw the president trying to appease the Republicans and the American center to no avail. What do you have to show for it? You lost the House, you have an even more divided Senate; a White House that doesn't know how to stand up for its convictions to help the working poor become productive -- to show some real teeth legislations that goes after big oil, corporations, and bankers who openly raped our treasury out of $700 billion in taxpayers’ money;
Democrats in the Senate and the House, please, for once in your careers, stand up for the Blue Collar folks and Middle Class like Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton (except when he went to the Center and gave loopholes to the banking industry).

The verdict is still out on President Obama -- yes, he has accomplished a great deal in the first 2 years -- but we could have done more in terms of jobs and protecting American consumers like placing Elizabeth Warren in a HIGH-

Posted by: djoh1226 | December 7, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"People like Liam and Filmnoia will be there for him in 2012, no matter what they say today...

Speaking for myself, you're being awfully presumptuous. I have a DINO congressman who I have never voted for, and when Blago ran for Governor of ILL I never voted for him either, because I knew he was a sleaze as a Congressman. I will have no problem leaving the Prez ballot blank. There is no way I'd ever vote for a member of the GOP for any office, since the party is clinically insane.

Posted by: filmnoia | December 7, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

In two years the Republicans will have a working lockhold on the Senate and the House. In two years when these new proposed extension (the Obama Tax Cuts?) starts to run out, the Republicans will be able to put something much worse for the average citizens in the is country, and it will be sort of a windfall for the top earners that run this country.

Would it be better to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire in a few weeks, THEN have Obama come up with something that would help the middle and lower income brackets?

Why not remove the cap on SS earnings?

Why not go through the military services and bring everyone's taxpayer paid medical and retirement HEALTH INS.premiums premiums in line with what we in the private sector have to pay?
*** Exempt the front line service men/women and their families from this.

Why not remove the tax breaks the government gives to multi national corporations?

Posted by: donbsea1 | December 7, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

you're a freakin wing nut. and here-in lies the democrats problem. in one para u talk about accomplishing somehting good, not giving tax breaks to millionaires. then you follow with the DREAM Act and repeal of don't ask don't tell. 2 very bad policies. that why the Dems get beat everytime. for every decent idea they have - not extending milionarie tax cuts - they come along with homo and amnesty garbage. will they EVER LEARN.

Posted by: submarinerssn774 | December 7, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

my my, such a tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth.

First: Once again Mr Serwer burnishes his liberal credentials. He does this by demonstrating that like all party line liberals everywhere he has a blind spot concerning spending cuts. Want proof?

"...and, let's face it, complete obliteration of the notion that the deficit matters politically as anything other than a blunt instrument to wield against the welfare state."

No dyed in the wool liberal ever considers spending cuts as one of the means to the end of deficits. As I noted last week it is my belief that this is so because no liberal could countenance the decline in the size, scope or cost of government.

As for the welfare state, well, perhaps it does come down to a tussle between the people who PAY taxes and the people who live off the tax payers. The welfare state, the extravagantly compensated government employees and the reckless, expensive regulators, are all threatened now. And that is a darned good thing.

Deficits matter a great deal and Mr Serwer should stop spending all his time in the liberal echo chamber and listen to the folks who voted this past November. Deficits matter but I believe that the public has a deep and healthy mistrust of the gummint. Show us spending cuts first, and then we'll talk about raising taxes.

Note to 12bar blues. You are confusing snottiness with argument. I'm asking a very straightforward question: what gives the gummint the right to steal the money a successful person leaves to their heirs?

Liberals treat wealthy people like lepers. Enough of that and the successful people will go elsewhere. And success will arise elsewhere because no one in America is going to work hard to amass a fortune just to have it confiscated and given to unelected bureaucrats to waste as they please. The punishment of success in America dooms our children to a second rate status. Success, innovation and human progress will be sourced in nations that have a more intelligent attitude toward the "rich".

Finally liberals consistently misunderstand the position of the Republicans relative to "the rich". It isn't that Republicans prefer them (there are a significant number of ultra wealthy Democrats these days. do a check on the wealth of the congress for example) it is that the government has no more right to their money than it has to anyone elses. since liberals cannot defend their greed, they seek to change the subject, as 12bar did, by hurling accusations and engaging in name calling. this is just the return of the son of the "racist!" nonsense. If its the best you've got, you'll lose every time.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 7, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I'D BLOCK IT AND DEMAND THE ORIGINAL AGREEMENT.LET THE CHIPS FALL WHRERE THEY MAY AND GET OBAMA ON THE AGRRSIVE THIS jAN 2011. OR HE WILL BE DRAGGGED DOWN THE HALL BY BULLIES IN PERPETUITY.

Posted by: crrobin | December 7, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"...it is that the government has no more right to their money than it has to anyone elses."

Using that argument, then absolutely no tax should be paid by anyone. After all it's "their money", be it $1 or a million, the principal is still the same.
Yes, we can get rid of the police force and all form militias, and everyone can just fend for themselves. What 18th century twaddle.

Posted by: filmnoia | December 7, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Liberals have never read or, don't understand this axiom as written:

"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains." -- Thomas Jefferson

I'll tell all you libs something (as I know you lack the real world experience to know it) I expanded into China, it was MUCH more economical to do so. Why? NOT because of the labor costs (hi tech s/w product not, widgets), it was because the gov TAXED me less, there was less insane regulations, NO cap gains tax, etc., etc.

But, you'll NEVER understand the axiom Jefferson penned above and, the long term consequences of your ignorance...

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 7, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: filmnoia "Yes, we can get rid of the police force and all form militias, and everyone can just fend for themselves. What 18th century twaddle."
----------------------------------------
What ARE you babbling about? The U.S. did FINE without a Fed income tax? NOT 18th century.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 7, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Dream and DADT are top priorities for the Dems and Obama ?

What ever happened to JOBS ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | December 7, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Worth noting:

Health Care Reform, Democrats' core legislative initiative of 2010, a top priority for the party for the better part of 30 years, passed on a party-line vote and CUT more than $100 billion from the deficit. In addition, they are the party of paygo. The only legislation they have passed that increases the deficit has been with Republican support, and has been limited to extremely short-term legislation, all related to our current economic crisis. This happens a decade after the last Democratic President made deficit reduction a priority and succeeded in generating the first surplus since the 70's.

The Republican party, on the other hand, had a successful election and literally refused to pass any other legislation until the deficit-funded tax breaks were passed. Publicly, they put no ceiling on their tax expenditures, but were apparently willing to add ANY additional amount to the deficit in order to get their top two priorities: tax breaks for the wealthy and for people inheriting multi-million dollar estates. This is after a decade in which they repealed paygo once they took power, they increased the deficit during an economic expansion, where their health care bill ADDED over $500 billion to the deficit (and counting), and they fought two wars which were deficit financed.

Tell me again which party cares about the deficit? And no, the answer isn't "neither of them."

Posted by: theorajones1 | December 7, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"What ARE you babbling about? The U.S. did FINE without a Fed income tax? NOT 18th century."

Hahaha, yeah, them thar good old days, when women couldn't vote and 8 year olds went down to work in a WV coal mine, and the state militias made sure to protect scabs from workers who wanted to organize.
That's illogic, buster!

Posted by: filmnoia | December 7, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Accept the deal IF this is added: ELIMINATE THE CAP ON WAGES FOR DETERMINING THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX EACH PERSON PAYS AND ADD A MEANS TEST FOR BENIFITS.

Posted by: jmfromdc | December 7, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

illogicbuster, sounds like your a big fan of slave labor

Posted by: jmfromdc | December 7, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

illogical buster -

sweet. let's all be like China. send your coalminers off to die for a few pennies a day. now that's what i call progress!!

Posted by: klautsack | December 7, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

sandnsmith or dolph924, would you prefer Howard Dean or Russ Feingold?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 7, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"I expanded into China, it was MUCH more economical to do so. Why? NOT because of the labor costs (hi tech s/w product not, widgets), it was because the gov TAXED me less, there was less insane regulations, NO cap gains tax, etc., etc."

In addition to China's tax system, we should adopt their small, non-intrusive style of governance.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 7, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Geez, at this rate, the TP Party will never abolish the Fed. Oh well, there's always ACORN to kick around.

Posted by: klautsack | December 7, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Here's how far the liberal left has fallen:
=================
"...it is that the government has no more right to their money than it has to anyone elses."

Using that argument, then absolutely no tax should be paid by anyone. After all it's "their money", be it $1 or a million, the principal is still the same.
Yes, we can get rid of the police force and all form militias, and everyone can just fend for themselves. What 18th century twaddle.

===========
Just a couple of quick points;

First, whatever happened to "Government by the consent of the governed"? Filmoia let's the liberal cat out of the bag here. It is no longer such a quaint idea as all that. Oh no, now it is government installed with rights not given it by the people but taken by force.

In a country where the government truly existed based on the consent of the governed, then the "rights" remain with the people. The government must see to its limited duties within the means the people see fit to provide.

And of course no liberal response would be complete without snottiness. This is a sure sign that they have no moral argument to support their desire to steal money from the people. 18th Century twaddle my dear? Of course. Those dastardly purveyors of twaddle, the founders just didn't anticipate the rise of the liberal agenda, now did they? Those dead white guys stood for nothing valid it seems because filmnoia can dismiss their position with a single snide comment.

The left is bereft of sense at this point. Is this just the hysteria engendered by a public rebuke, or do the liberals really believe that "government by the consent of the governed" is simply twaddle.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 7, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"In addition to China's tax system, we should adopt their small, non-intrusive style of governance."

Haha! Good one.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 7, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: filmnoia: "Hahaha, yeah, them thar good old days, when women couldn't vote and 8 year olds went down to work in a WV coal mine, "...
---------------------------------------
You're babbling again. What does THAT have to do with Fed Inc Tax? Are you on drugs?

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 8, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Let us not forget the remote possibility that SOME liberals are concerned about the debt too. That SOME liberals watched in horror at the doubling of debt under Bush. That SOME liberals believe that stealing from the future to feed a top-heavy bubble economy is not just bad policy, but a crime.

Posted by: chase-truth | December 8, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

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