The Democrats find themselves in quite a bind in this fall of their discontent. With the economy on life support, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts looms January 1. Already, the liberal lie that Bush cut taxes only for the rich is being exposed as people begin to realize that everyone’s taxes (“Yes, that’s means you too, buddy, even if you do make $20,000 per year) are going up. Even worse, the conventional wisdom is firmly cemented that the teetering economy can ill-afford a massive tax increase right now.
So, suddenly, and humiliatingly, “the Bush tax cuts must be extended” . . .
Except . . . “not for the rich”!
Obama cannot risk his “street-cred” by allowing the rich to get away with another year or two of making off with their ill-gotten gains under the Bush tax rates, and so he’s drawn his line in the sand. OK, sure, the plebes can keep their measly tax cuts, but no way in hell will Obama let the fat cats keep theirs. No matter that the majority of them are actually small businesses who are the key to job growth, or that raising taxes on just two percent of the population will have almost no positive effect on the deficit — as long as Obama can say that he “stuck it to ’em”, that’s all that matters.
But wait, now Obama’s own former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag is out with a New York Times Op-Ed arguing for an extension of the Bush tax cuts . . . for everyone. And even a number of Democrats in Congress are having doubts about the wisdom of maintaining Obama’s psuedo-populist appeal, even if it means sinking the economy.
So, now starts what could rapidly become an epic game of political chicken: with no legislation, all of the tax cuts expire, and Obama will have violated his campaign pledge not to raise taxes on those making less than $200,000. But those who want to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone may have to vote against legislation that would extend the Bush tax cuts only for the middle-class.
Clearly, if the Republicans are united, and they even grab a few Democrats, they have the votes to stop a middle-class only bill. But will they do that, or will they cave?
And this game of chicken will also take place in a heated political and economic environment, and in a shortened fall session where legislators will be looking to get back onto the campaign trail as quickly as possible.
Grab your popcorn folks, this should be interesting, to say the least!