As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama Moves to Confuse the Issue

The tax cut proposals President Obama is laying out this week seem sensible. They may benefit the economy. But politically, they are not half as clever as the White House thinks.

Obama’s plans for an immediate capital investment incentive and permanent extension of the research and development tax break are being described in the press as part of a desperate attempt to boost the economy before Election Day. This is not something the proposals can conceivably do so quickly. But they are designed to confuse the issue in voters’ minds before Election Day, to the benefit of Democrats.

Obama is seeking to muddy the waters that were clarified by his support of a mega-spending 2009 stimulus bill and the federal takeover of health care.

With both measures unpopular and voters saying they prefer the GOP this November over the alternative, it’s not surprising that Obama is setting Democrats up to campaign as  . . . Republicans.

"I like tax cuts just as much as that guy."

Have you noticed? Obama drums away every chance he gets in support of  a relatively minor small business bill, castigating Republicans for blocking it. Now, he’ll be demanding that they get out of the way while he tries to help large corporations – also known in his lexicon as Fat Cats – by reducing their tax burden.

Well, not their overall tax burden. Much of this – including new infrastructure spending also being thrown in – is going to be paid for by eliminating “loopholes” in the tax code that Fat Cats, despite their ponderous weight, love to jump through.


So we’re really not talking about an excessive amount in the way of stimulus here. But Republicans are going to have a lot of splainin’ to do if they line up against proposals they’ve backed for years.

I can tell you, from my relationships as a journalist with corporate lobbyists, a permanent research and development tax credit is as close to the holy grail for U.S. Biz, Inc. as it gets.

Obama will spend the fall saying, “I love you, small business. I love you, big business. And I love you, tax cut. What, Boehner, you don’t love too?”

Boehner will be forced to say, “I love, I love too, but I love not right now while I’m trying to take over the House.”

And Obama will say, “Boehner, you must always love, every minute of the day! Love is eternal.”

And the White House is hoping that some voters will say, “Who dost love the tax cut? And who dost love the business?”

And they will be confused and won’t know what to do when they get in the polling booth.

Which is arrogance, because it assumes voters are stupid.

To the contrary, they know Obama and the Democrats have governed way over to the left, something Obama himself proclaims. They know the recovery is not taking hold. And many of them know that what’s spooking business now is not the lack of a research and development tax cut, but the expiration of the Bush’s upper income tax cuts and the mass of Obama regulations waiting to be written for them on health care and other topics.

This ploy won’t work, but it is a clever strategy. And it may represent some new thinking in the White House. Unlike the 2009 stimulus itself, the capital investment incentive is designed to get money into the economy quickly, and it might be of some use.

12 Responses to Obama Moves to Confuse the Issue

  1. Unless the unemployment lines are filled with cement truck drivers, big equipment operators and folks who understand the concept of “research and development” nothing he proposes will change the recession (depression).
    His lack of knowlege or understanding of economics and the supply/demand pressures on small business has O grasping at wisps of solutions that can only come from the consumer. Tax cuts alone only put us deeper in debt.
    The best solution is to cut Gov’t spending and repeal/refine/reduce Federal projects that are unproductive and unpopular.

  2. Yeah, yeah, Republicans treat you like a dog. You wish! We like dogs! Now you have created a Straw Dog–what a great name for movie. Yes, what you say about the investment tax credit is all true, Keith–when I was in the aerospace industry, we loved that one. But the problem still remains–if voters can see it–you can give companies an inventive to do research by letting them write it off faster, but if no one can afford the item researched, what is the point? This mess is becalmed–not moving–not daring, not believing, not even hoping. “Like a painted ship upon a painted ocean,” as in the poem Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. Now, to play with my real dog. His name is Jim, not Barack.

    • Star – so true. They don’t understand that all the business bashing, regulations and so forth have sapped the willingness to dare, to believe and to hope, of all things for Obama to have erased.

  3. Maybe we need to all sit around, foraging, working for cash, eating beans, not sleeping until the washing machines and cars wear out and we need to find some way to buy something…then slowly, this thing will burp to a restart.

  4. They don’t understand because it’s theoretical. They have never met a payroll, never had a get a bridge loan when the receipts came up short. Never researched new insurance plans to offer, never figured out what percentage of the increases to foist on the workers, never had people sit in front of them sobbing when laid off. They can’t even seem to conceptualize that all that grant money he and Ayres ran around distributing and trying to get came from corporations, who got it from making things or performing a service. The money they get from unions is money workers could be spending–the workers put that money in to pay their leaders to get them more money or better terms. Do they get those?

    This morning in the NYT David Brooks was channeling some guy who said we should all simplify, try to live on under $50,000 a year, this, that. People wrote in and said, “Fifty grand? Sign me up, paradise, etc.!” I am sure Brooks bought a nice condo on the shores of Walden Pond.

    Another study today said up to $75,000 a year, people are obsessed with money and their needs, above that increments don’t make them much happier. I don’t even know what happy is except for momentary contentment or satisfaction…so maybe that is true. It might be. But I don’t make that much, a lot of people don’t.

    I guess what I am saying is, I don’t get these people and they don’t get me. Incidentally, the Times also shut down comment on Bob Herbert in 8 letters–he was saying how great the new stimulus is. I gather no one agreed–time to slant, dive, dive.

  5. It is beyond belief that the WH still thinks that we still buy-in to this crap. I would have [some] respect for him if he were to just say…give me $50B to hand to the unions to ‘bail’ them out.

  6. ITEM: Big business is the goose that laid the golden egg. You *kill it* and you effectively kill this country. No matter how good, how bad or how indifferent big business (and the millionaires and billionaires) in our nation are, if you screw with them long enough they will take their cash and move it elsewhere.