Dec 7, 2010
Obama forced to negotiate with the devil to keep recovery moving forward
Sometimes it’s not advisable to negotiate with the devil, but President Obama was forced to do just that over the bailout for the rich and the extension of the unemployment benefits.
It was announced yesterday that President Obama struck a deal with Republicans on a two-year extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment insurance benefits. It’s very hard to negotiate with someone who is only concerned with making you look bad and defeating you, is not interested in governing and is only concerned with protecting the richest 2 percent, but this crappy deal may be the best we can do.
Republicans claim that they care about the budget deficit, but the tax cuts to a group that already controls almost 24 percent of income in this country will add more than $36 billon to the federal budget deficit. It was either the tax break for people who don’t need it, or a tax increase to the middle class that will surely stall the climb out of the Bush recession.
The Bush tax cut was enacted because we had a budget surplus under President Clinton, but the tax cuts that were set to expire at the end of the month not only got rid of the surplus, but it helped create a huge budget deficit. So, Republicans want to give millions more to the rich, but nothing to the middle class.
The debunked argument they use is that if we don’t extend the tax cut to the rich, they, the alleged job creators, will not hire people. However, they are ignoring the fact that corporations are already earning huge, record profits right now with the tax cut.
American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released last month, so with the tax break and record profits they are not hiring. This is the highest total since records have been kept.
The growing gap between the richest 2 percent and everyone else is turning the United States into a banana republic. In fact, the U.S. now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.
Unemployment benefits are pumped directly back into the economy, as those on unemployment use the money for basic necessities like housing, lights, gas for the car to look for work and food to feed their family. The loss of unemployment benefits will have a disastrous effect on Michigan, but Republicans don’t seem to care. At no time in our history have we refused to extend unemployment benefits when the unemployment rate was this high.
Republicans have demonstrated time after time that they are simply not interested in governing, and their only concern seems to be getting and keeping power; no matter who is hurt. The only people they care about protecting seem to be the richest 2 percent, and they don’t need the help.
Republicans are even refusing to act on something as important as ensuring loose nuclear weapons do not fall into the hands of a Middle East terrorist, and they continue to drag their feet on the START treaty on strategic offensive arms.
This is a crappy deal, but how do you negotiate with someone who cares so little about the middle class, the economy and will stop at nothing to make you look bad and defeat you?
The Senate and House Democrats have not signed off on the deal, and frankly, I’m not sure they should. No doubt it’s a crappy deal. But the fact is Republicans don’t care if unemployment benefits are cut off during the Christmas season, and they don’t care if taxes are raised on the middle class.
I can live with this deal. I don’t like it, but I understand how little Republicans care.