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White House Playing Chicken with Payroll Tax Cut

Sometimes, people turn logic on its head. Sometimes, they turn logic on hits head and lift the body and bang the head repeatedly into the floor.

President Obama and his spokesman, Jay Carney, in league with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, today began a political game of brinksmanship with the payroll tax cut – all while accusing Republican of playing a  political game of brinksmanship with the payroll tax cut.

The Senate last week passed a bill extending the payroll tax cuts for two months. The House today passed a bill doing it for a year. The House now wants to have a conference committee to iron out the differences.

THIS IS WHAT IS KNOWN AS REGULAR ORDER. That is, it’s the normal way of doing business. But the Senate left town after passing its version and ain’t coming back

The White House is throwing a massive hissy fit because the House didin’t do what was expected of it – that is, just pass the Senate version. I think there’s some truth to the White House claim that it thought it had at a least a signal from Speaker Boehner that he would do just that. But Boehner, whom senior Obama aides privately scorn as an ineffective, incompetent leader, suddenly figured out his caucus doesn’t like the idea, and backtracked.

Boehner often seems to have no idea what his caucus is thinking, because Boehner is a Washington insider, and his caucus is filled with people who were sent to Washington to screw Washington insiders.

But let’s assume everything the White House thinks about Boehner and House Republicans is true. It’s not, but lets assume it is. The fact remains that the only way to get a deal done now is to call the Senate back in. But Reid doesn’t want to interrupt the senators as they go about baking their Christmas hams, and Obama agrees.

Remember, it was the Senate, not the House, that violated Obama’s demand not to leave town until the payroll tax cut extension was complete. And it was not complete when the Senate left.

If Obama really is so deeply distressed about the prospect of payroll taxes going up at the end of the year as scheduled, he’ll demand the Senate get its collective ass back to Washington.

A deal could be reached fairly easily.

Unless – unless, wait a second – unless Obama thinks it’s more important to get a political advantage out of trying to blame Republicans for allowing the tax to increase.

And that two-month extension in the Senate bill is, BTW, just too priceless to give up. It means that Obama would get a chance in January to start bashing Republicans again on the issue while they try to negotiate a full-year extension.

Boehner’s change of heart was due to a principled group of Republican Tea Party members willing to stay in town to get a bill done. Obama hopes to turn them into savage payroll tax cut eaters. He may get some political gain. At your expense.


21 thoughts on “White House Playing Chicken with Payroll Tax Cut”

  1. Weird things are going on with your blog today Keith. This post just showed up a short while ago.

    I’m glad to see the conservatives are finally doing what they were sent to Washington to do. Now if they can just stop Boehner from caving to the Democrats.

    The Senate bill to extend unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut for a measly 2 months has some nasty little surprises. They tucked a new permanent fee on new and refinanced mortgages through Fannie, Freddie, and FHA that would add an average of $17 per month for the life of the loan. That just tells me these politicians don’t give a hoot about the middle class. They just wanted a way to increase revenue to continue feeding the pig that our bloated government has become. They were using the guise of a temporary tax cut to slip a permanent tax hike through…

  2. He is up to something nothing on schedule and so why is he still lurking around. He already stole the show from the military. So what’s he up to?
    Inquiring minds need to know!

  3. This is not a tax increase–it is a return to the old withholding rates for people lucky enough to be on a damn payroll! The cut was just a shameless sop in the first place. Extending it 2 mos won’t create or “save” one job! If these twits want to use it to turn people on the Reps…well, what goes around will eventually come around. I am patient.

  4. “President Obama and his spokesman, Jay Carney, in league with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, today began a political game of brinksmanship with the payroll tax cut – all while accusing Republican of playing a political game of brinksmanship with the payroll tax cut.”

    Truer words never said..Keith – your blog is the best.

  5. Obama and the Dems are soooooo confusing. I thought his supporters wanted the Bush tax cuts repealed ?

    Going to side with the GOP on this one. They only asked for a year’s extension to the cuts, 2 months will just delay the same bickering.

  6. For pete’s sake, why don’t they all just go home and quit flapping their yaps about something that won’t make a bit of difference to the average voter.
    The partial payroll cut is just money that they won’t take out of our paychecks, it’s not a gift or a special deal that will make us all go-Yay!.

    We’re sick of listening to all of them, we’re tired of the continuous fighting and the refusal of both sides to balance our budget.
    Go home. Have a Merry Christmas,, or Kwanza, or just whatever floats your boat. Give us a break.

  7. Great points Keith, thanks. In addition, a two month extention will do nothing with the exception of driving small business accountants crazy! And funding it with a $17 a month mortgage fee would cost government backed loan holders $6,120.00 over the life of a 30 year loan….nice!

  8. This was actually a very savvy move on the part of the GOP. Make the extension for a year, and now they can paint the Dems as being “anti-middle-class” or “anti-worker” instead of the other way around.

    I think Obama and Reid’s heads must be spinning (a la Linda Blair) in trying to figure out what just happened.

    Basically boys, you just got owned!

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