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Compromise and Hurt Feelings
  by Gene Lyons


So you’re disenchanted with President Obama?
Yeah, well, your big mistake was getting enchanted in the first place.

Of course, it’s no surprise that people approve of having their taxes cut.
Yet it’s equally significant that fully 62 percent support the White House compromise
even after being reminded that millionaires get the biggest breaks, and that the deal
adds $900 billion to the budget deficit over two years.

before the vote, only 29% liked the idea of the super-rich getting more.
If Lyons says that's up to 62% I'll believe him, but what changed?

But it seems to me the president got Republicans to give way on several things supposedly
anathema to them solely to protect Scrooge McDuck from a 4.9 percent increase in marginal tax rates.
(On incomes below $250,000, Scrooge gets the same breaks as everybody else.) In return, the GOP
agreed not only to extend middle-class tax cuts - something both parties agreed upon - but also
unemployment benefits, a payroll tax holiday, child tax credits, etc.
Altogether, the White House got roughly $300 billion in new stimulus funds that most economists agree
will put a couple of million Americans back to work, with the potential to set the economy on a self-sustaining recovery.
When push comes to shove, the GOP is all about Uncle Scrooge, so mad with greed as to hold
the U.S. economy hostage over a lousy 4.9 percent tax hike.
That said, it’s instructive watching Democrats turn upon President Obama as if a two-year compromise
over income tax policy were akin to the Hitler-Stalin pact. Many act as if sticking it to millionaires was
as important to them as protecting great concentrations of wealth is to Republicans.

A. Nobody likes being lied to.
B. We're tired of Obama caving early on everything.
C. Wasn't the last election about smaller government and a smaller debt?
D. Somebody has to give more money to the Treasury - why NOT the super-rich?

Most important, why is Gene claiming these tax cuts are temporary?
I have half a mind to call him and see if he's willing to bet on that.
Sorry, but that’s dumb. In his dogged way, Bob Somerby has been pounding away at this theme on his
Daily Howler website. For months, as congressional Democrats chose not to act, the melodramatists on
liberal cable TV have portrayed the extension of the Bush tax cuts as a black versus white, all-or-nothing
issue, although the real differences between the parties amounted to roughly $800 billion over 10 years
 — a relatively small fraction of the budget deficit.
So now that it’s too late, some express outrage. “If that’s the standard by which we are measuring success
or core principles,” Obama said, “then let’s face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the
satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people.”

Did that hurt your little feelings? Well, tough.

I don't know why Gene is taking this point of view.
It's my opinion he's no Obama fan, but he's possibly Obama's biggest defender on this issue.

And is $800 billion really a small amount of money, not worth fighting over?

In all the years I've been reading Gene Lyons
this is the first time I think he's got it wrong.



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