Barack Obama ran an exceptional campaign in so many ways. His greatest accomplishment, however, was a shrewd commandeering of the tax issue away from John McCain and the Republicans. (The implosion of the American financial landscape in September didn’t hurt him either). If the 2008 election cycle were held in more “normal” times, and the words “tax cuts” were threshed out, you could expect to see a Republican at the spewing end. “Tax cuts,” after all, historically flow with great abundance from the lips of those on the right – not unlike press conferences flow with great abundance from the “Office of the President Elect” these days.
Yet, it was Obama who peppered Americans with his now legendary “95% tax cut” prattle time and time again, staying on point, convincing enough Americans that two-plus-two was five, making John McCain sound like a Warner Brothers cartoon character after Mel Blanc’s death. (Sure, Yosemite Sam looked all right, but after hearing him speak, you’d scream at the televison, “What the hell is this?” )
And now (on cue) … Democrats are already setting themselves up for 2010.
If the new Congress sits on their hands regarding the Bush tax cuts next year, which expire at the end of 2010 – and the economy improves even a little bit by then – Dems can continue to own and frame the tax debate in this country, while Republicans scramble to try and reclaim it …
There’s so much bailout bread being baked right now – enough to keep the next sixty-five thousand generations buried in tax withholding hell – that actually raising rates on the American “rich” may not have to happen as originally prescribed.
The Obama-lama-ding-dongs can simply leave them to die, free of fanfare or fingerprints. Clinton-era rates will then zap back into place.
Richard Rubin at CQ Politics writes:
Congressional Democrats have spent the past eight years itching for a chance to undo their least favorite Bush-era policies.
But it increasingly looks like one of the administration’s initiatives most often criticized by Democrats — tax cuts for top earners — won’t get touched by the 111th Congress.
As he worries about doing anything that could dampen his economic recovery efforts, President-elect Barack Obama has been vague about whether he wants Congress to repeal the tax cuts or just let them expire as scheduled Dec. 31, 2010. He said earlier this week that he would wait for a recommendation from his recently appointed economic team.
Good save, Mr. Prez-El.
Take notice out there – especially all of you young, up-and-coming Obamalicious Democrats … That’s called CYA 101.
Study it. Live it. Love it.
Republicans are likely to continue their efforts to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts (PL 107-16, PL 108-27) beyond their expiration date, providing automatic objections to repeal. Meanwhile, and more strikingly, some key Democratic tax writers in Congress are now saying that they, too, want to let the clock run out.
In two years time, as congressional seats everywhere go up for grabs, you may very well see Big Bam and Company making comments like this:
“As you know, Democrats did not raise income taxes on the wealthiest Americans, despite Republican fear-mongering that we would. At the end of this year, the tax rates will simply return to Clinton-era levels, when the economy was very strong, yadda, blah, yeah…”
Of course, it was that side – specifically Bam himself – who kept hammering into our cumulative skulls that the “richest 5% of Americans” would be the ones to see tax hikes in order to stimulate the economy. But as long as trillions – yes, trillions – of dollars are already pledged to be siphoned from the wallets of American taxpayers in the name of rescuing practically everything in God’s creation anyway, why even bother?
Indeed, as Rubin alluded to, the Bush cuts – which Democrats revile more than public displays of the Ten Commandments and abstinence education – would have normally been among the very first Bush-era policies to be dumped into the trash bin.
But Dems, who cannot stomach the concept of permitting the wealthiest Americans any kind of tax relief, hate Republican control more.
Therefore, they adapt when and where necessary.
Copping the tax issue, pounding home the word “cuts” at every turn, and manipulating the truth to sound perfectly reasonable was a huge winner.
(But worry not … there will be a plethora of taxes coming from the Obamacrats in twenty other forms or another. Bam the Tax Man, after all, is a lib).
Which brings up the question … If raising taxes is harmful to a sick economy – as even Democratic New York Governor David Patterson recently asserted when talking about possible solutions to the economic troubles befalling his state – why would it ever be beneficial to a healthy one?