Having introduced a “jobs program” he knows full well Republicans will never accept, President Obama at a news conference today ramped up the political threats against the GOP, vowing to do his best to turn voters against them if they reject his plans.
The president, who in recent weeks has been bashing Republicans during trips to political battlegrounds, to his message of contempt to the East Room.
Who enters into negotiations with phrases like this? These are bullying tactics designed to leverage as much political juice from this latest Washington game as possible.
If it turns out that there are Republicans who are opposed to this bill, they need to explain to me, but more importantly to their constituencies and the American people, why they’re opposed and what would they do.
And if Mr. McConnell chooses to vote against it or if members of his caucus choose to vote against it, I promise you, we’re going to keep on going and we will put forward maybe piece by piece each component of the bill, and each time they’re going to have to explain why it is that they’d be opposed to putting teachers back in the classroom or rebuilding our schools, or giving tax cuts to middle- class folks and giving tax cuts to small businesses.
If I told you I wanted to make a deal with you, and then said if you don’t agree to what I want, you’ll have some explaining to do to you wife and friends, how exactly would you react?
Obama also renewed his class warfare argument. I’d say that such rhetoric is all politics, except I really think Obama believes, in the most anti-intellectual manner – a Harvard man, no less – that Republicans are just devoted to helping the rich.
The same folks that the Republicans claim to be protecting, the well-off, the millionaires and the billionaires, they’d be doing better, they’d be making more money if ordinary Americans had some money in their pockets and were out there feeling more confident about the economy.
Republicans surely have their own political motives, but in fact they’ve promised to run parts of Obama’s agenda through the House. But they genuinely don’t believe that raising taxes to pay for all this is going to help the economy, and there are a lot of economists who back them up. What’s more, many Senate Democrats also oppose Obama’s plan.
The tax cuts included in Obama’s American Jobs Act, which he said Republicans should be to die for, are temporary, while the millionaires’ tax to be assessed to pay for it all in the Senate version of the bill – which Obama has accepted – lasts for ten years. Many think temporary measures have little positive effect because when they’re done, you’re right back where you were. You can’t plan for the future. Credits for business to hire, for example, run out and then the business is stuck paying an employee’s full salary.
Millionaires generally don’t put their money under a mattress. They spend or invest it, which leads to jobs and economic activity. They’ll start planning to do less of that if they know they’re getting socked for ten years.
The point is, there are real reasons to be concerned about this proposal. Obama knows better. But he wants to political benefit of running against a Do-Nothing Congress, so he can salvage his presidency like the last underdog to do that, Harry S Truman.