All the talk in the punditsphere is of Democratic surrender (see Krugman), and it’s hard to argue with them. How much better off would we be with Bill Clinton, who said he would have just invoked the 14th amendment to raise the ceiling and made the courts stop him. Obama does seem to have no real principles beyond achieving something, anything, that he can call a compromise.
My question is this. Throughout the deal process, they acted like they never had a deal because Boehner couldn’t deliver the Tea Party votes in the house. Well now Obama and Boehner have a deal, despite Pelosi saying she isn’t sure any of the Democrats in the House will be able to support it. They might, or they might not. So, when we get a few crazies on board, we hold press conferences and make a big hullabaloo about how a deal has been reached. But when the President’s entire party in the House still has questions, that evidently is irrelevant. I’d like to see them vote against it and force Obama to use the 14th amendment, even though he says he doesn’t want to. The pundits who claim he showed no leadership in this are correct. He just kept backing down down down, letting them have their big line in the sand, while the only line he had was he didn’t want this fight again before the election. If he thinks that will somehow help him in the election, I think he could be losing it. His only hope now is to let the Bush tax cuts expire. Of course, that conveniently doesn’t happen until after the 2012 election. I think a lot of Democrats and Independents who voted for Obama will feel like, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, and will just stay home and not vote. And really, if a mere 70 tea party freshman completely, utterly, totally, unabashedly, without any real push back from either party–if we have ceded that much power so quickly to a crazy minority, then it is all over. America, that is.
Yes, Jim, the country has been hijacked, and it isn’t a good thing. This whole thing should have ended the tea party. Instead, the Republicans and Democrats let it legitimize them.
I think you’re wrong about taxes on the gilded though. Because in the end they are the ones who have the money and the only ones who can restore America. And they don’t all want to live in a gated community in a third world country either. If you are right, and taxes on the rich are never raised, then the middle class will never return, America’s days as a super power will be over, and the turn towards fascism will be complete.
Remember, from the 1930s through the first year of Reagan’s administration, the highest tax rate on income over about three million dollars was between 70 and 91%. Yes, that’s right. Never below 70%. And from the end of the Great Depression until the 1980s we didn’t have financial bubbles that sent the system into chaos. We maintained slow and steady economic growth. Ever since Reagan slashed the taxes on the wealthiest, we have been in a boom and bust cycle. The S&L bubble, the tech bubble, the housing bubble, and every one has sent the economy into a tail spin. Clinton raised the top rate back to 39%. Bush lowered it to 36% and all our troubles began. If we went back to Clinton rates, the rich would barely notice and it would right the economy. If we rolled back the Reagan tax cuts, all our problems would be solved, and the rich would still have plenty of money, as they did from the 1930s to 1981.
The only question is if we will be stupid enough to require another Great Depression before we realize we need a more equal society and require the wealthiest to participate.