Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 1:16 PM ET, 12/ 7/2010

White House on 2012 tax cut debate: bring it on

By Stephen Stromberg

If President Obama's deal with Republicans on the Bush tax cuts holds, the extension of current tax rates will expire in 2012. Choosing to extend the cuts for two years, I suppose, is defensible on policy grounds -- it's long enough to last through what, with luck, will be a steady recovery; keeping them longer would harm the budget just that much more. But, of course, that timing will also force Congress and President Obama to battle again over those tax cuts in the middle of a presidential election year. And it sounds like this was intentional.

The White House's official line: Bring it on. Obama won't extend the cuts for high-income earners "one more day" beyond two years, a senior White House official insisted Monday night. "We expect that this will become a central piece of the debate" in the 2012 race, the official said, arguing that Obama made his case on the cuts in 2008 and is ready to do it again in 2012. This is telling for the year the official left out -- 2010. About that, the White House explains to ABC News that the president wanted a bigger fight this year, but congressional Democrats "wouldn't throw a punch." This rhetoric from the White House is probably supposed to encourage liberals upset at what they see as Obama's lengthening history of capitulation to Republicans: Next time, our necks will be on the line, too, and we'll make the case better, stronger.

And conservatives? Fresh off what they feel -- with some reason -- is a victory on this issue, they appear eager to engage in another round over the Bush tax cuts. So who's right?

Obama should be. If there's an issue with which to define the president's reelection bid, this isn't a terrible choice. Polls show majority support for the president's position on the Bush tax cuts. Support for that stance may only increase as Americans get more concerned about the federal debt. And it's a lot easier to effectively communicate a policy message in a presidential election -- in which you have a single, recognizable, high-profile leader who controls the messaging -- as opposed to a midterm election, in which that responsibility is dispersed and lots of Americans simply aren't paying attention, anyway.

Of course, much of the logic above indicates that this issue should have worked to the Democrats' advantage this election year, too. If voters don't feel the economic recovery in two years, it will provide a negative context for Obama's 2012 campaign, no matter how favorable Americans may claim they are to his particular policy goals. That, in turn, could lead to a disaster for liberals: The president, facing a tough reelection bid and continued difficulty in effectively advertising his policy preferences, strikes another deal to keep taxes from going up across the board in a shaky economy, a situation he's forced into because the lousy economy buoys the GOP, even if Republicans' stance on the Bush tax cuts isn't popular. On the other hand, if confidence in the president's economic management recovers by 2012, he will have an easier time harnessing the political value of his position on the Bush cuts and blaming the GOP for intransigence on the issue.

As ever, the state of the economy is the critical variable.

By Stephen Stromberg  | December 7, 2010; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Prop 8 case: A success for cameras in the court
Next: Obama presser: the new normal?

Comments

Democrats are giving the Middle class "lip service" only.
Creating and keeping jobs in this country
is the best thing you can do for the Middle class.
But Obama and Democrats have spent their time campaigning, on ObamaCare, DADT, everything else..except Jobs.
And Democrats STILL want to Increase Taxes on those small businesses who Create jobs.

Posted by: ohioan | December 7, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it heart-warming in this season of Goodwill, (and I mean the org because that's where we are all going) how the Dumbocrats have tried to out-do the Repuglicans in thrusting their spears into the dying mammoth (the US Economy)? So, more of the Same for several more years. Declining jobs, inflation brought on by the FED more borrowing, strengthening the Chinese Communists and on and on.

Posted by: yard80197 | December 7, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

obama is anti business,
until it comes to taking
campaign contributions,
then he is on board.

he is warmongering,
taxraising,
Wallstreet enabling,
Insurance Company befriending,
he is not the least bit
sincere about the americans
out of work
and the americans
losing thier homes...

some democrat....

Posted by: simonsays1 | December 7, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Democrats STILL want to Increase Taxes on those small businesses who Create jobs."

If your "small" business is bringing in a profit to you of $250,000 or more dollars, I don't think you will suffer a small hike in the uppermost portion of your oincome.

I own two corporation, a "C" and an "S", and run them both. They are small businesses that earn a small profit to afford my family's food and housing. Neither is close, even in combination, to earning me a profit of a quarter million dollars.

This commenter's rhetoric is silly, akin to "death panels" in the health care debate and "sharia law is coming to the US". The vast majority of small businesses earn their owners far less than a quarter mill in profit.

Posted by: josh13 | December 7, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone suggest that "the tax cut extension will not last one day past the two years?" You're kidding, right? Obama is out in 2012 and "being stern" with his base has chased them away from anys second term possibility. So when he's out in 2012, the republicans will make the tax cuts for their rich-only base permanent. He's no leader, lacks courage, talks uppity-smooth-like, and will be content to write another stupid book with a tough-sounding title like, "I'm a Stern-Talking Fraud."

Posted by: bigisle | December 7, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I am a black girl and I met a white guy on __...Mixed Connect . c o m...___ recently. What's your idea about interracial marriage? -===Mixed Connect . c0m === is a dating club for interracial singles to have fun together. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish! I like this club, please show me your idea here.

Posted by: sallyworking2006 | December 7, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I am a black girl and I met a white guy on __...Mixed Connect . c o m...___ recently. What's your idea about interracial marriage? -===Mixed Connect . c0m === is a dating club for interracial singles to have fun together. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish! I like this club, please show me your idea here.

Posted by: sallyworking2006 | December 7, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I am a black girl and I met a white guy on __...Mixed Connect . c o m...___ recently. What's your idea about interracial marriage? -===Mixed Connect . c0m === is a dating club for interracial singles to have fun together. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish! I like this club, please show me your idea here.

Posted by: sallyworking2006 | December 7, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

"Bring it on!"? Now this is laughable. At least that slogan fits Bush's cowboy style.

Starting from Obama's decision to get a breeder puppy instead of a shelter dog, to this monumental cave-in on tax-cuts, Obama has been breaking campaign promises left and right. What makes the WH imbeciles think that there will still be anyone who would believe in any of his campaign promises. Why, donkeys are going to fly in 2011?

Posted by: KT11 | December 7, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

"Bring it on... in 2012"? I'm supposed to be impressed by this? In 2012 Obama, if he even has the nomination, will be in the process of ceding power to some conservative nitwit like Sarah Palin. Thanks for nothing...

Posted by: ChrisRestonVA | December 8, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

So now Obama is promising to do in 12 what he promised in 08 ? You've heard the saying "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me" ? Doesn't look good for him waffling does it ?

Posted by: Falmouth1 | December 8, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company