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Freezing out hope
 by  Paul Krugman


Just as a reminder, over the next 75 years the cost of making those tax cuts permanent would be
roughly equal to the entire expected financial shortfall of Social Security.

Maybe we should repeat that.

Over the next 75 years the cost of making those tax cuts permanent would be
roughly equal to the entire expected financial shortfall of Social Security.

Did Obama just give 75 years worth of Social Security to the super-rich?

Obama’s pay ploy might, just might, have been justified if he had used the announcement of a
freeze as an occasion to take a strong stand against Republican demands - to declare that at a time
when deficits are an important issue, tax breaks for the wealthiest aren’t acceptable.

But he didn’t. Instead, he apparently intended the pay freeze announcement as a peace gesture
to Republicans the day before a bipartisan summit. At that meeting, Mr. Obama, who has faced
two years of complete scorched-earth opposition, declared that he had failed to reach out sufficiently
to his implacable enemies.

He did not wear a sign on his back saying “Kick me,” although he might as well have.

There were no comparable gestures from the other side. Instead, Senate Republicans declared that
none of the rest of the legislation on the table - legislation that includes such things as a strategic arms
treaty that’s vital to national security - would be acted on until the tax-cut issue was resolved,
presumably on their terms.

It’s hard to escape the impression that Republicans have taken Mr. Obama’s measure
 - that they’re calling his bluff in the belief that he can be counted on to fold. And it’s
also hard to escape the impression that they’re right.

The real question is what Mr. Obama and his inner circle are thinking.
Do they really believe, after all this time, that gestures of appeasement
to the G.O.P. will elicit a good-faith response?”

Great question - what the hell are they thinking inside the White House?

Maybe weekly, someone asks me if Obama is a GOP plant.
Now, I have to go from "Don't be ridiculous" to "Gosh, I hope not."

I don't really think Obama is a GOP plant,
but what else explains his always-cave-in-early strategery?


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