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Posted at 3:34 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Will Obama really end tax cuts for rich in 2012?

By Greg Sargent

The fact that many liberals and Dems answer that question in the negative is perhaps the primary reason the White House is having so much trouble selling them on the tax cut deal. Obama has promised to do this, but libs and Dems just don't believe him.

Here's a case in point. As I reported earlier today, the White House is circulating a chart designed to prove that Obama and Dems got far more from the tax deal, despite extending the tax cuts for the rich. But now MoveOn, which is organizing against the tax deal, has responded with a chart of its own demonstrating the massive bonanza Republicans win over the next 10 years if you assume the tax cuts for the rich won't really be repealed in two years:

moveonchart.JPG

The serious point that this chart gets at is that liberals and Dems just don't believe the tax cuts for the rich will ever expire, no matter how firm Obama's vow to have this fight again in 2012. As Ben Smith put it today, the extension of the high end cuts constitutes "moving a structural shift in the American tax system toward permanence, while the other large measures are much more temporary."

The deal's supporters will argue that Obama will of course want to have this fight. Arguing for an expiration of the high end cuts is the single best pushback Obama will be able to muster when Republicans start calling for spending cuts to reduce the deficit. What's more, 2012 is an election year. If he didn't take up the fight he'd be reneging on a campaign promise he made twice, once in 2008 and again in 2010. Opponents of the deal argue: Yeah, right. Obama and Dems are really going to raise taxes during an election?

But let's presume Obama is going to take up this argument. Will he win it? He has said that if the economy improves, it will sweep away the GOP's best case: That you should never raise taxes on anyone in a recession. He has promised to mount a protracted, big-picture argument with Republicans about taxes, the deficit, and the proper role of government. But as Kevin Drum notes, Dems have yet to win the big arguments about government and taxes. And let's face it: The makeup of the Senate in the next Congress is only going to make another "compromise" on the tax cuts more likely.

I tend to believe Obama will indeed wage this battle again, and will give it his all. But whatever ends up happening, the bottom line is that it would be a lot easier to sell liberals and Dems right now on temporarily extending the high-end tax cuts if they didn't believe it's just another step towards making them permanent.

UPDATE, 6:39 p.m.: Bill Clinton gave a remarkable performance today endorsing Obama's tax deal.

By Greg Sargent  | December 10, 2010; 3:34 PM ET
Categories:  2012, House GOPers, Senate Republicans, taxes  
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Comments

Greg,

Check out the previous thread. Bernie Sanders has been engaging in a real filibuster on the Senate floor, against the Obama deal. He has been talking for hours already. I posted a link to TPM video coverage of Bernie's real filibuster. He is destroying all of Obama's excuses for having made the deal with the Republicans.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I related question to you title is, "will Obama really not 'compromise' on the debt ceiling?"

Obama insist there won't be a big battle over the debt ceiling since Boehner would never let the US default. He may be right about the latter part, but nobody really believes he won't pre-negotiate and "compromise" anyway.

Posted by: mikediaz1 | December 10, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Greg - I'm a bit confused. The way I see it, if the economy improves by 2012, Republicans will make the case that it was the tax cuts that did it, and that it is crazy to eliminate them. If the economy doesn't improve, then Republicans will make the case that now is not the time to raise taxes. What am I missing?

In addition, the way the WH chart is set up and the talking point is phrased (What they (rich, top 2%) got = 114 billion, but we (98%, middle/lower class) got = 238 billion) implies/suggests that these two groups are of equal numbers. I would like to see a breakdown of "what we got" PER PERSON versus "what they got" PER PERSON for a better perspective.

Posted by: beenjammin | December 10, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

There are two very interesting lines in the article:

"I tend to believe Obama will indeed wage this battle again, and will give it his all."

"What's more, 2012 is an election year. If he didn't take up the fight he'd be reneging on a campaign promise he made twice, once in 2008 and again in 2010."

The problem is that Obama just folded in 2010. He will fold in 2012. It seems to be his style: he negotiates with himself very publicly, and by the time he comes to the negotiating table his position is very weak.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | December 10, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Will Obama really end tax cuts for rich in 2012?

Could switching to GEICO really save you money on car insurance?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Greg - Seeing as how Obama urged Congressional Democrats to deal with this issue BEFORE the election, and they balked, the question should not be whether Obama will take up the fight in 2012, but whether Congressional Democrats will.

I find the Democratic Congresscritters hyperventilating over this to be laughable. They had years to deal with this, wussed out, and are now blaming it all on Obama.

PS - I can not believe Mary Landrieu's bloviating on this issue. She voted FOR the Bush tax cuts. The deciding vote may have been cast by Dick Cheney, but without her it never would have passed at all!

Posted by: HansSolo | December 10, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Will Obama really end tax cuts for rich in 2012?

Greg,

Will Lucy really let Charlie kick the football in 2012?

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Interesting how much more fight and passion the Congressional Democrats and the liberal activist groups have on this issue, now that the election is already over.

I can empathize with Obama's frustration with them.

"One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we've got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.

The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible."

"We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that's what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we've got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place.

If you're serious, now's exactly the time that people have to step up."

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/209395?RS_show_page=6

Posted by: jnc4p | December 10, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Is the Pope Rastafarian?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Bernie Sanders, carrying the load of the middle class.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is leading a stalling session resembling a filibuster against Obama's tax proposal on the Senate floor Friday, after earlier promising "to take as long as I can to explain to the American people the fact that we have got to do a lot better than this agreement provides."

As First Read notes, however, the event is not an actual filibuster under the traditional definition: "If it were a true filibuster, he would be blocking Republicans from conducting business or speaking."

The near-filibuster, which began at 10:25 AM, became so popular that it temporarily shut down the Senate video server.

"How can I get by on one house?" Sanders said. "I need five houses, ten houses! I need three jet planes to take me all over the world! Sorry, American people. We've got the money, we've got the power, we've got the lobbyists here and on Wall Street. Tough luck. That's the world, get used to it. Rich get richer. Middle class shrinks."

Posted by: lmsinca | December 10, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"Rich get richer. Middle class shrinks."

See, shrinks, he said shrinks. Shrinks sounds a lot like shrink2, just a typo away....It is preety darn obvious this guy is a socialist.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

This Sanders stuff is great. I've been watching it for the last few hours.

I like the Chamber stuff he said and I agree 100%.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn't give a crap about the U.S. worker. Their job is to increase profits of those who pay dues. A way to make profits in the eyes of the Chamber is help multinationals to move their jobs overseas and increase profits. It's what they enable. It's what the GOP enables. It's what Wall Street wants because there is where the biggest gains lie.

They are partially responsible for the stagnant wages in this country I feel very strongly and I wish more people would realize that.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 10, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Bernie Sanders runs for President next year!

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 10, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Link to C-span video coverage of Bernie

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN2.aspx

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The fight won't be over whether he will end the tax breaks, but by how much they will be DECREASED. I'm betting Obama is going to go to the SOTU and propose a significant across the board tax cut in conjunction with a restructuring of the U.S. tax code. Frankly my understanding of the politics surrounding taxes is minimal but I would guess that liberals are not going to be happy to see the top tax rate lowered to Simpson/Bowles levels. Then again, the prospect of getting rid of all of the loopholes and the subsequent increase in revenue may convince them to support it. I guess will have to see.

But still, my point still stands, this debate is moot. We won't be arguing about the Bush tax cuts in a few months from now. The debate will move to whether we should adopt the Obama tax cuts and frankly I think the NYTIMES story is welcome news that Obama will be retaking the initiative in a meaningful way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/us/politics/10tax.html?ref=politics

Posted by: JHawk2 | December 10, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

mike, get real. Higher wages would mean lower productivity and the in the "free" market's Pantheon, productivity rules supreme.

Why would anyone pay ten workers to do the work of one? Why of course, if the cost of paying ten to do the work of one were just a little bit lower.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The manner in which the Democratic Congress acted wasn't exactly a profile in courage, but I think it's important to distinguish which Congressional Democrats prevented a pre-election vote. (Rhymes with Glue Dogs...)

And a little nugget on the Obama/House Dems history of who was urging who...

From Jan 8, 2009, from Politico -- "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells Politico she's "urging" President-Elect Barack Obama to quickly repeal Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthy -- not wait for them to expire in 2010, as Obama has suggested he might do.

"He has the full package of what he wants to do, and we'll respect what he is saying, but put me down as one who is urging repeal," said Pelosi, ducking into her Capitol office suite to watch Obama's dour speech on the economy.

Obama said he would get rid of the cuts during his campaign, but has softened his stance in recently weeks, saying the dire state of the economy could force him to abandon the idea of quickly repealing them, for fear of worsening the contraction."

http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/0109/Pelosi_urging_Obama_to_move_faster_on_taxcut_repeal.html

Posted by: beenjammin | December 10, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Yeah right, he is such a coward.

Posted by: kevin1231 | December 10, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope that Mitch McConnell does not get the idea to dognap Bo, and demand that President Obama repeal Healthcare reform and privatize social security.

I am afraid that we might soon after have President Obama holding a press conference to tell us that he had to agree to do so, in order to get Bo back, but he was able to persuade Mitch to toss in a couple of large bags of dog food, and a new leash, so all in all, it is a great deal for The American Middle Class.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Where are the projects to create some actual work and to shift the ever-greater concentration of the national wealth into fewer and fewer hands? Answer, nowhere. Economically Obama is an absolute heir to Bush. He might (might) appoint some more qualified people but he's protecting the rich and pretending a cut in taxes=creating a job. It doesn't. We've had decades of tax cuts and the result is less work at lower wages for everyone who's not an executive.

Corporate profits are at all time highs while employment is at 10%. What's Obama's NEXT big plan? To make filing less onerous on the corporations. No doubt that will create more profits they can not use to hire workers. America is caught between the awful Dems and the even worse Repubs. There is no hope right now.

Posted by: Bullsmith1 | December 10, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"There is no hope right now."

I just shooed away some Jehovah's Witness people. Can I give them your address?

Me, I've got lots of hope, after all, I am grooming my little kids for careers in the health industry.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's any accident the Dems waited till after the election to make this deal. After all, if they'd let their base have a say they would've been motivated to stop it. Losing elections is, apparently, much more palatable than taxing the rich. Notice Obama only complained about the Republicans AFTER capitulating to them, and then blamed the left for noticing how utterly craven the deal and it's timing was.

Posted by: Bullsmith1 | December 10, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Me, I've got lots of hope, after all, I am grooming my little kids for careers in the health industry.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 4:42 PM
....................

Will they be able to make a lot of money in providing medical care for the 25 remaining super rich families, when they finish their training, or do you plan on having them set up their medical offices in China?

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"Is the Pope Rastafarian?"

Alex, I'll take the Shrink for $500 please.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

It would be absurd for anyone to believe what Obama will do two years from now. He has failed to keep just about all of the promises he made as a candidate: To not renew the Bush tax cut on the rich, get us out of Iraq by 2010 and Afghanistan by July 2011, effect immigration reform, close Gitmo “within a year,” try Mohamed in a civil court in New York, negotiate personally with Ahmadinejad, have Israel stop the settlements on the West Bank, end the "don’t ask-don’t tell" policy on gays – not to mention bring unemployment below 8% and produce a spirit of partisanship in Washington.

Posted by: suegbic1 | December 10, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

OT:

"The Zadroga 9/11 health care bill is not a political issue," Giuliani said in an email to The Ticket. "This should be a priority and area of bipartisan cooperation, an obligation to those who were harmed by the worst attack in our country's history."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_theticket/20101210/ts_yblog_theticket/guiliani-calls-for-bipartisan-cooperation-on-911-responders-bill

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, right. Obama and Dems are really going to raise taxes during an election?"

Gee whiz, Obama and the Democrats have lost their credibility. Must be the Left's fault.

OTOH: Bernie Sanders is rockin!

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Liam

No, but it isn't like it is a bad idea. China shmina, I'll go where I can do the right thing and get paid to be good at it. Hey, I just got a COSTCO mailer that gives a $10 discount for a Chinese language tutorial. Imagine them advertising that even ten years ago.

No the competition in America will be to serve those 25 families, no doubt about it. We don't want to get into the kind of trouble that guy who killed Michael Jackson is in, so hey, did you see that place in New Zealand in the NYT this morning?

They recruit me to go there all the time. It seems there are not enough shrinks for the Kiwis or the Aussies. Since America does not care about what I do, seems pretty hostile actually, the clock is ticking. It isn't a free market after all.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

>> Dems have yet to win the big arguments about government and taxes.

Dems have yet to ENGAGE on the big arguments about government and taxes. That tells me that too many Dems take the Republican position on government and taxes.

DINOs.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Posted by: CaroKay | December 10, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Shrink,

Don't get fooled. Down Under, does not mean that all Aussies and Kiwi's have their heads up their Arses.

Did you catch the quip in last night's thirty rock episode, about Russell Crowe having established a foundation to help all those who get hurt by his frequent violent mood swings?

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention Mel Gibson, a target rich environment for sure. Something about Botany Bay.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Greg, there's one huge piece missing from both the CAP/WH chart and the MoveOn rejoinder: the middle-class cuts. They show the high-income cuts and the eviscerated estate tax on the right, but only the small-bore cuts and the new payroll cut on the left. But if you add the corresponding middle-class tax cuts into either one, it sends the blue bar off the chart: $387 billion for 2 years; $2.2 trillion for 10 years (both figures, which include interest on debt, from Pew analysis).

I don't know why they were left out, maybe because adding them in would have actually exposed the absurdity of the situation: these astronomical figures are not what the President and the Dems are *getting*, or what the Republicans are *getting*. It's all just mountains of cash piled onto the deficit and the debt.

Also re Obama fixing it in 2012: the two-year extension of ALL the Bush tax cuts makes that virtually impossible. His (Dems) most abject failure in this entire debacle was not achieving decouplization. (new word, just go with it.)

Absent any stunning kumbaya breakthrough on the tax code, and subsequent kissy kissy on a debt package that finally eliminates the Bush tax cuts, the only ways I see for the tax cuts for the rich to die are if the Senate refuses to extend them in Dec. 2012, or if they pass them, Obama vetoes them. In both cases, Dems will also be ENDING the middle-class tax cuts. Lots of us on the left, including most honest economists, say that would be the best possible outcome. But um, you want to give me an over/under on that?

Posted by: andrewlong | December 10, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

What Mel needs is to receive therapy from a good Jewish doctor.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

From TPM:

"President Obama and former President Clinton held a joint press briefing on the tax cut plan in the White House briefing room -- or at least it was meant to be joint. Obama soon handed things over to Clinton and left the room where Bill held court just like in the old days. Video soon ..."

WTF?

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

The notion that any taxs would be raised in a presidentila election year is absurd and given the likeihood that the Unemployement will be almost as bad or worse come 2012; Obama is unlikely to even be a contender!
Worse Obama has engineered a raid on Social Security funding, a first and by a supposed Democrat! That wonder boy wants to end Social Security is a given when you see how he stuffed his defunct deficit commison with rabid anti-SS demogogues! And do you wnat to bet that Barry and his Repugs will really really oppose paying back the SS monies stolen over the last 10 years! Those special SS T-Bills George was waving around as worthless ... will really be worthless! Ain't no politicain willing to increase the National debt by $2Trillion to recognize this robbery!!

Now BillyBoy has slittered up to Barry to support this insanity; proving once again that he is just one of those good ole boys sucking up!

Posted by: CHAOTICIAN101 | December 10, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

wb

Maybe Obama didn't want to miss Bernie's "floor speech"?

Posted by: lmsinca | December 10, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"Don't get fooled."

Btw, I'm learning Entwistle's bass for Baba O'Riley these days. With some friends we are going to play it a month from now in front of actual people. Geezers play rock and roll. Ever since someone figured out how to isolate music tracks on YouTube, it is really easy to learn covers.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Amazing that Bernie has been able talk for so long, without taking a break.

Astonishing that he is the one that has the stamina and staying power, and the young athletic President is the one that who lost his political breath.

Also; rather ironic that the Senator from Vermont is the one who understands the plight of the working class, while the community organizer has forgotten all about them.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

No - because he will not be the President in 2012! The Republicans know this.

Posted by: question-guy | December 10, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Ims:

TPM also reporting that so many people are logging in to Sanders' filibuster that the Senate servers are crashing. The American People LOVE a fighter! I HOPE Obama is watching.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not bonus tax cuts for the rich expire in 2012 depends on two things: one is the economy, and the other is how well Americans understand income inequality and how the rich have been steadily accumulating a larger and larger share of the pie since the 1970s, but particularly since the mid 1990s. They now have a larger share than at any time since the Crash in 1929.

The Tea Party did a really bang-up job of coopting and channelling people's anger against the Dems and Obama rather than the rich, and we all seem to be playing into and reinforcing that narrative. The rich are the ones to blame here, the rich with their multi-million dollar contributions that hold Congress in thrall and the GOP who caters to their every whim.

As long as people think millionaires and billionares are just the success stories who deserve our adulation and our hard-earned cash, that won't change. So don't play their game; blame the right people.

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 10, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Long - I read elsewhere that the middle class tax cuts were left out because both sides agree to them, and the WH chart was highlighting the differences.

But I agree, it would be nice to see them included, especially since Serious People said the deficit is priority number one. But I guess that was last week.

Posted by: beenjammin | December 10, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Mimi:

Did you see that Obama has rescinded the new emissions regulations? We're going back to Bush's EPA rules.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I plan to use my tax giveaways to buy some more Gold; by 2012 the dollar will be less than poo; interest rates are likely to be around 15% or more in a vain attempt to keep the Chinese buying our IOUs, our bridges will be falling down and we'll still be borrowing to build an economy in Afghanistan with one hand as we destroy it with the other. I assume Yemen will be hitting Terrorists in Washington DC with Drones and Mexico will be running mobile Meth Labs across the deserts of Sonora! Happy Holidays!

Posted by: CHAOTICIAN101 | December 10, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"...if you assume the tax cuts for the rich won't really be repealed in two years"

That's a b.s. assumption. The tax cuts compromise calls for TEMPORARY tax cuts. If nothing is done, they expire.

What's being muddled in this entire debate is that the ONLY reason an extension of these tax cuts is being considered now is that economists of various political affiliations, as well as unaffiliated ones, assert that repealing them NOW would be anti-stimulative for our economy's fragile recovery.

With a better economy, this extension will not happen, because those same economists who say that keeping the Bush tax cuts in the short-term is a good idea, think that keeping the Bush tax cuts in the long-term is a bad idea.

These economists are also forecasting that the economy will be on surer footing in a couple of years, making this fight an easier one for Democrats to engage. Just keep in mind, that that "fight" to end these cuts two years from now means doing, literally, nothing for Democrats.

Furthermore, Democrats would -- in the unlikely situation that something actually passes through Congress to renew these two years from now -- be able to put incredible pressure on Obama, who will be facing reelection, to veto any tax cut bill at that point.

But, here's the thing, the President's position on the cuts hasn't and won't changed. He's continuing to say that the Bush tax cuts won't significantly boost job prospects* and he's also attacking their long-term impact on the deficit, thereby laying the ground for allowing them to lapse, or veto them, in the future -- WHEN THE ECONOMY IS BETTER.

*[That should not, as some people are doing, be confused with the notion that repealing them is anti-stimulative; research the economics.]

Posted by: associate20 | December 10, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

We should keep in mind President Obama's governing assumption about the economy, which is that we are in a recovery that is just not proceeding as fast as we need it to.

Obama has said repeatedly that he is "dissatisfied" with the pace of the recovery, that "more must be done," and so forth. Stylized political rhetoric this surely is, but Obama appears to believe it sincerely. If his assumption is correct, a stimulus -- any stimulus, even one he acknowledges is inadequate or based on the wrong kind of measure -- that gets us through the next few months until the economy "turns around" and "gets moving again" is a victory.

The problem comes around if it turns out Obama's governing assumption about the economy is not correct. In that case, what he has just agreed to is a massive transfer of private sector debt to the public sector, and a prolonged period that will see many millions of hitherto middle class Americans in great economic distress while the federal government does nothing -- beyond sending out unemployment checks, of course.

The people advising Obama on economic affairs did not think the financial crisis two years ago would be as bad as it was and did not foresee unemployment and underemployment rising to the levels we see today. This does not guarantee they are wrong about a recovery that just hasn't moved fast enough. Nor does the historical fact that recessions following asset price crashes tend to take much longer to turn around than cyclical recessions like those of twenty and thirty years ago. The evidence, though, suggests that Obama's hopeful talk about what the tax cut compromise means contains a very large component of wishful thinking -- not just about the politics, but also about the economy.

Posted by: jbritt3 | December 10, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

GO BERNIE SANDERS

I love Bernie Sanders

___________________________________

Greg

Your chart is off. Estate taxes are mainly on minority groups which do not do their estate planning.

Most "rich" utilize family trusts - so the Estate tax is not on the "rich" side.

Then, how much money is the Middle Class getting from the extensions? That is like 2 Trillion dollars. Let's be serious here.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

"What Mel needs is to receive therapy from a good Jewish doctor."

He could explain to the doctor, there in no relationship between who he is when he is drunk and who he is when he is sober. "That wasn't me," I love that line.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's any accident the Dems waited till after the election to make this deal. After all, if they'd let their base have a say they would've been motivated to stop it. Losing elections is, apparently, much more palatable than taxing the rich. Notice Obama only complained about the Republicans AFTER capitulating to them, and then blamed the left for noticing how utterly craven the deal and it's timing was.

Posted by: Bullsmith1 | December 10, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Plus it wouldn't have helped that phony anti-Chamber of Commerce ad campaign they trotted out for the suckers (like me).

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: niaoren99 | December 10, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Go Bernie Sanders !!!


This is HILARIOUS


_____________________________

I would love to see Senator DeMint join Bernie Sanders in the filibuster - to voice his concerns about the addition Trillion dollars which this Obama tax deal is going to add to the national debt.


So, last week the debt was $13 Trillion, and after the deal the debt will go to $14 Trillion -


AND if the next fiscal year has another Obama deficit of a trillion, the National debt will be at $15 Trillion.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Mimikatz

Many of them are afflicted with what I have named: Joe The Plumber Syndrome.

Remember when that goof protested Obama promising to let the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy expire, even though Joe The Plumber did not have a job, or a pot to piss in at that time.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Go Bernie Sanders !!!


This is HILARIOUS


_____________________________

I would love to see Senator DeMint join Bernie Sanders in the filibuster - to voice his concerns about the addition Trillion dollars which this Obama tax deal is going to add to the national debt.


So, last week the debt was $13 Trillion, and after the deal the debt will go to $14 Trillion -


AND if the next fiscal year has another Obama deficit of a trillion, the National debt will be at $15 Trillion.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"Saying he was prepared to speak "as long as possible" against a tax deal between the White House and congressional Republicans, Sen. Bernie Sanders took to the Senate floor to make the case against deepening the deficit and widening the income gap in America by extending Bush-era tax breaks for the very wealthy. "I think we can do better, and I am here today to take a strong stand against this bill, and I intend to tell my colleagues and the nation exactly why I am in opposition to this bill. You can call what i am doing today whatever you want, you it call it a filibuster, you can call it a very long speech. I'm not here to set any great records or to make a spectacle. I am simply here today to take as long as I can to explain to the American people the fact that we have got to do a lot better than this agreement provides."

http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=07C45D73-82A3-432D-9995-45C48D996EC5

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Mimikatz

Many of them are afflicted with what I have named: Joe The Plumber Syndrome.

Remember when that goof protested Obama promising to let the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy expire, even though Joe The Plumber did not have a job, or a pot to piss in at that time.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

This Sanders speech should be required viewing in Civics classes.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 10, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

If C-SPAN is crashing you can also watch Sanders' Filibuster here:

http://sanders.senate.gov/

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

If someone can not afford the heating bills in Vermont, perhaps they should think about moving to Florida - or some southern State in which the fuel bills are lower.


______________________


However, I don't get this: how is it that raising the taxes on the rich are going to help these people ???


It's not like the democrats take the money from the rich, and give it directly to people to heat their homes.


NO, the democrats start up these MASSIVE GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS, spending goes wild, budgets are filled with expensive union contracts - and the people IN VERMONT NEVER GET BETTER HEATING PRICES, OR FREE HEAT OR WHATEVER BERNIE IS ASKING FOR.


Believe me, I would perhaps be in favor of such a program. Doesn't Chavez of Venezuela give cheaper fuel to people?

well... raising taxes on the rich is not going to solve these problems.


If such an action could solve all those problems, perhaps it would have some merit.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I nominate Bernie Sanders for A Profile In Courage Award,

And,

I nominate President Obama for A Profile In Discouragement Award. I guess it could also be called The Hasty Pudding Head Award.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

associate: When you being footnoting blog comments it might be time to take a break.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

McCain claims that they are close to the needed 67 votes on START, and hopes there will be a vote next week.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/46234.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 10, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I switched to C-span coverage of Bernie, and it is working just fine.

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN2.aspx

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"I nominate Bernie Sanders for A Profile In Courage Award"

Yah. And that guy Welch iis carrying the load in the House. Let's change our capital from Washington DC to Burlington VT.

GO BERNIE GO!

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Certainly a curious scene today at the White House - with Obama bringing Bill Clinton in to support the tax cut deal.


AND then Bill Clinton started answering questions from the press. Obama was off to the side - and then Obama decided to leave.

Instead of Bill Clinton leaving with Obama, Bill Clinton told Obama to leave, and Bill Clinton continued to take questions from the press.

Curious - Obama is some strange character to leave a press conference like that.


It was almost as if Obama couldn't stand to watch Clinton take questions from the press, so he left.


Obama did say goodbye, but Clinton didn't want to leave - so Clinton told Obama to leave.


it was just one of those moments.....

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

wb: "Did you see that Obama has rescinded the new emissions regulations? We're going back to Bush's EPA rules."

Yah, 'cept that's not at all what happened. All that happened is that they delayed making new regulations until next year.

And btw, I'm not supporting that decision, wb, just thought you might want to know.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

David Letterman has been a big backer of Obama, and he has now taken to mocking him, in his nightly monologues, for "extending the Bush Era".

Last night Craig Ferguson said:

The White House has not been able to decide if they should string up white tree lights or Red and Green ones.

Then Craig said: Why not let The Republicans tell you what to do.

Obama has now turned himself into a comedy punching bag.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Support Bernie's filibuster facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=9124187907&topic=16916

Posted by: lmsinca | December 10, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, Ethan, I'm content to let people read the article for themselves:

"The Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations — new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers — as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic in Washington with a more muscular Republican opposition. The move to delay the rules, announced this week by the Environmental Protection Agency, will leave in place policies set by President George W. Bush. President Obama ran for office promising tougher standards, and the new rules were set to take effect over the next several weeks."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/science/earth/10epa.html?_r=1&ref=science

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Awesome wb. People -should- read the article and call their congresscritters.

Just give me a break with the Bush comparisons, alright? It's just crap. We all know that President Obama wants strong environmental regulation.

Case-in-point, this just in:

~Court denies industry bid to freeze EPA climate rules~

A federal court on Friday declined to halt looming Environmental Protection Agency climate change rules while legal challenges brought by a suite of industry groups, states and conservative activists wind their way through the system.

The action is a victory for the Obama administration, which will begin phasing-in rules to curb greenhouse gases from power plants and other industrial facilities in January.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/133193-court-denies-industry-bid-to-freeze-epa-climate-rules

Mmmkay?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

"We all know that President Obama wants strong environmental regulation."

And all of us except the diehards know that the issue isn't what Obama "wants," it is what he's willing to do. His EPA is NOT implementing the stricter emissions standards and we are staying with Bush's. That's the reality however you spin it.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting that link lmsinca.

I just posted the cspan stream on my facebook page.

I also changed my fb profile image to a pic of Bernie (lots of people are doing it, so cool, join in)!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

"His EPA is NOT implementing the stricter emissions standards and we are staying with Bush's."

Wait.

"His EPA is NOT implementing THOSE stricter emissions standards and we are staying with Bush's temporarily."

More accurate, don't ya think?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/happy_hour_roundup_145.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 10, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

"His EPA is NOT implementing THOSE stricter emissions standards and we are staying with Bush's temporarily."

Yeah, that's what Meg Whitman wanted to do here in CA, postpone our latest environmental regulations, and she LOST the election. The people of CA like their improved air quality. I know you're as much or maybe more of an environmentalist than I am and you also know there's absolutely no justifiable reason to temporarily suspend standards.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 10, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

"temporarily"

Just like the Tax Cuts for the Rich? Ethan, my man, Obama has made a very conscious decision to move Right in response to the midterm results. He even brought the Great Triangulator himself in to give him lessons today. I don't like it but there it is. So now what?

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca: "you also know there's absolutely no justifiable reason to temporarily suspend standards."

I don't agree with it on principle because I am an environmentalist, but we don't know that for sure. From the same article:

"The delayed smog rule would lower the allowable concentration of airborne ozone to 60 to 70 parts per billion from the current level of 75 parts per billion, putting several hundred cities in violation of air pollution standards. The agency says that the new rule would save thousands of lives per year but cost businesses and municipalities as much as $90 billion annually."

I appreciate the fact that there is a financial impact to these regulations and that phasing them in during an economic recovery is smarter and more appropriate than flipping a switch. That said, I'm sure they WERE to be phased in, but again, we really are not privy to their data nor their decision-making. It is certainly possible that they will phase them in over a longer period, and a longer phase-in would have a more moderate impact on the economy than that of the previous timeline.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

"So now what?"

Focus your energy on getting something done about it, that's what I say.

I'm on facebook right now sharing Bernie's speech and everything and I don't even really oppose the deal (I think no tax cuts for the rich is a no-brainer and would be far superior to the compromise package).

Channel your energies into something you think might be productive, not just dissing Obama and dissing this person or that person. Get to work, if you believe in this issue that fervently.

But in my view, if it's a compromise or nothing, a compromise is better. I know you disagree and that's great. It's the complaining that I dislike (generally, not just you and not just today). Of course I'm guilty of that too. :) what can I say, it's Friday evening and I'm ouuuuta here!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

The only emissions regs I found a reference to are ones for boilers and incinerators and they are delaying the adoption of new standards. To what are you two referring? These are important because its mercury, but it isn't like they are rescinding all new CAA regs.

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 10, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Mimi:

All I know about it is what the Times article says.

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"To what are you two referring?"

The ones you found Mimi. It's just a delay of the new regs, not a roll-back or anything like it.

I actually find that NYT graph to be sensationalized and misleading.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

End the obscene Tax Cuts in 2012?

Fat Chance. The Supreme Court will have appointed Beck and Palin as Pres and VP by then, the Koch Bros. as Treasury Department Administrators, and Rush Limbaugh as minister of Propaganda.

Posted by: lufrank1 | December 10, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Why would anybody believe anything Obama said after this sell out?
Obama & Clinton = the triangulation twins.

Posted by: Jihm | December 10, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

"What's being muddled in this entire debate is that the ONLY reason an extension of these tax cuts is being considered now is that economists of various political affiliations, as well as unaffiliated ones, assert that repealing them NOW would be anti-stimulative for our economy's fragile recovery."

==

Which is one reason right there nobody should waste time with economics. There's zero evidence to support this idea; give the wealthy more money and they buy imported luxuries and invest abroad, nor is there any evidence that taxes short of draconian are bad for the economy.

Eisenhower era: 91% top tax rates. Boundless prosperity. That's a historical fact. Economists should be mindwiped.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 10, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Emissions? A bit late. Last Ausgust Seattle had a few days at 108°F. Not a typo. It doesn't even get that hot here in Việt Nam. Last month there was heavy snow and near zero temperatures before Thanksgiving, an in area that once only saw snow every three years. And yes, colder winters at those latitudes are part of the model.

We're cooking the planet to keep the inflation rate down, justification coming from a pseudoscience. Way to go.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 10, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

The only WaPo columnist worth diddly-squat is Charles Krauthammer---whom Bill Clinton justly called "a brilliant man." The witless clueless dolts who post here against tax cuts for the wealthy who actually took risks and earned some money are loathesome cast-offs of society, living like parasites. Luckily, I had a REAL JOB and now am retired and not acting like a senile old fool such as Bernie Sanders is doing.

Posted by: djman1141 | December 11, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

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