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December 07, 2010

Obama Begs Supporters to, Uh...Support Him

The White House is doing damage control tonight as "progressives" continue to lose their shit over the tax cut compromise. Obama released a special video message directed to his supporters a few hours ago. He all but pleads for understanding from the faithless wretches:

“I’ve counted on your support because you understand the importance of changing our politics, of doing the hard work of finding the common ground,” President Obama said in a video message to supporters released Tuesday night. “It’s not perfect but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery.”

“I know some folks – even good friends – are unhappy with the plan because, as with any negotiation, getting there required some give and take,” he said.

Click over for the video, if you like. He still looks like hell, like he's coming to pieces and he can't find the exit, though not as bad as he did for the press conference earlier today. Also: somebody needs to tell him to never wear a brown tie again in his life ever at all. Ever. At all.

I especially like the part where he concedes that the tax cut deal will force him to run for reelection on campaign to increase taxes:

And he vowed that “this is not the end of this fight. These tax cuts will expire in two years … and I will continue to make the case to the American people about why I don’t believe they should be renewed. In fact, I’m confident – as we make the tough choices to cut the deficit – it will become apparent that we can’t afford to extend these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans one day longer.”

I wonder how it was that two years was selected. Obama wants none, the GOP wants a permanent cut. And they somehow whittled it down to the 2012 election season? Pure genius.

Oh, and a note on the Social Security payroll tax reduction. Here's how the White House put it:

The framework agreement reached by the administration includes an about 2%, employee-side payroll tax cut for over 155 million workers – providing tax relief of about $120 billion next year.This tax cut will have a major impact on jobs and growth – creating substantial numbers of jobs. It is widely recognized by economists across the political spectrum as a high bang for the buck way to boost growth and was cited by both major deficit reduction commissions as consistent with long term fiscal discipline.

A payroll tax cut has been endorsed by experts and commentators from across the political spectrum. Just last month, both the President’s Fiscal Commission and the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force described a payroll tax cut in 2011 as an effective way to spur growth and job creation. The tax cut legislation would provide for a transfer of General Revenues to the Social Security Trust Fund, ensuring no negative impact on Social Security solvency. And, as economist Nouriel Roubini wrote earlier this year, a payroll tax cut would spur growth because “for employees, the increased take-home pay would boost much-needed economic consumption and advance the still-crucial process of deleveraging households.”

This, along with the unemployment benefits extension I wrote about earlier, has taken a lot of hits from Republicans who are pissed that it doesn't do as much for the job situation as perhaps a reduction on the employer side of the ledger. True, but unemployment isn't the only issue on the table, and it's not even the main one when it comes to tax cuts.

The main issue when it comes to tax cuts is tax cuts. Are you going to tell me that in 2012, an election year, with a more Republican Congress than we have presently, and an economy still in the crapper (even by the White House's overgenerous predictions), the President is going to have any progress raising the payroll tax by two percent?

Because that's just what it will be. This year it's a "tax cut." Two years from now it's going to be a "tax hike." And it's not going to conveniently be taxes on "the rich", those easily-maligned boogymen who apparently keep taking food off the tables of their fellow countrymen. It's going to be a tax hike on ever dollar earned up to the cap by almost every taxpayer in America!

I can't even tell you how awesomely awesome that is. I mean-- I am Jack's tumescent cock.*

But WAIT, there's MORE. The flip side to every taxation issue is a spending issue. Stop your ass right there, look back up to what I quoted from the White House. Pare away the bullshit. Do you see it? Do you see what they did?

I'm going to tell you a story: Sometimes I get my nieces balloons from the store. Helium balloons, y'know. And they're great and all, but they hang around for days and days, even after they're no longer sticking to the ceiling and really just rolling around looking pathetic on the floor, and my nieces always cry if I throw them out before they're completely exhausted and basically empty sacks on the ground. So the trick is to deflate them in fairly short order so they're empty sooner and I can just pick 'em up and put them in the garbage. It helps to poke a hole in them.

One more time:

[...] The tax cut legislation would provide for a transfer of General Revenues to the Social Security Trust Fund, ensuring no negative impact on Social Security solvency.[...]

Do you see it now? The tax cut deal will poke a hole in the so-called "Social Security Trust Fund." Even the illusion of a trust fund cannot be sustained indefinitely. And, like I just got through explaining, this is not a temporary tax reduction, no matter how much Obama says it is.

This is the opening gambit in starving the beast. And I know, I know. Many Republicans don't want to kill Social Security, they just want to replace it. Great. This payroll tax scheme dispenses with the argument that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Because it will be impossible to argue that Social Security isn't broke while all it's helium has leaked out and it's a slightly damp sack on the carpet.

Democrats are going to be standing around in 2012, an election year with a bum economy, trying to run campaigns on raising taxes not just for the wealthy, but also for everyone else, and also on spending more on their collapsing Social Security regime.

I am Jack's aching nipples.

*See here, if you don't get that particular reference.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:54 PM

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