He’ll swallow them, at least for a couple of years, just watch and see. He signaled it in the press conference today by pointedly not ruling it out when asked if he’d consider extending the upper income Bush tax cuts. This was the comment.
So my goal is to sit down with Speaker-elect Boehner and Mitch McConnell, Harry and Nancy some time in the next few weeks and see where we can move forward in a way that, first of all, does no harm, that extends those tax cuts that are very important for middle-class families; also extends those provisions that are important to encourage businesses to invest and provide businesses some certainty over the next year or two.
And how that negotiation works itself out, I think it’s too early to say.
See? Everything’s on the table. He’ll take them because:
1. Economists will warn him not to raise taxes when the economy is weak.
2. He can use it as a bargaining chip with Republicans – “I gave you this, I’m flexible, what are you going to do for me? What? Nothing? You are the inflexible Party of No.” He’ll have a point.
3. He’s now going to lose Democrats on this. The country has spoken. The Democrats from moderate states and districts aren’t stupid. Or at least, they won’t be stupid twice. Obama would have to veto a bill backed by probably a half dozen or more Senate Dems and at least 10-20 Democrats from the House.
So if you’re making more than $250k a year, get ready to buy that second flat screen TV, in Obama’s telling at least.
I thought former OMB Director Peter Orszag was off the reservation when he wrote a couple of months back, just after leaving his post, that the White House should agree to a compromise of extending all the tax cuts for two years.
Now I’m thinking he perhaps was wandering around ON the reservation – a stalking horse for an eventual Obama compromise.