Sat Nov 10, 2012, 06:46 PM
DonViejo (13,911 posts)
The House Speaker has no leverage on the Bush tax cuts. We should stop taking him seriously
Boehner Is Bluffing
The House Speaker has no leverage on the Bush tax cuts. We should stop taking him seriously.
By Matthew Yglesias|Posted Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, at 3:04 PM ET
Remember the famous scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones faces off against a guy who unsheathes a scimitar and wows the audience with his fancy swordsmanship--only to get shot in the chest by Indy? The swordsman—that’s House Speaker John Boehner right now on the Bush tax cuts. Whether it’s out of deference to the office, eagerness to have an interesting story to write about, or plain gullibility, every congressional reporter in town is now dutifully reporting on his negotiating strategy. But this fight is over. Boehner has brought a knife to a gunfight, only nobody seems to have told anyone in the conservative movement.
To recap, the basic situation is this. Back when George W. Bush was in office, he wanted to cut taxes. And he wanted to disguise the cost of his tax cuts. So he had his allies on Capitol Hill write the legislation so that the tax cuts would automatically expire at the end of a 10-year window.
That window closed at the end of 2010. But during the 2010 lame-duck session, Republicans were riding high on electoral victory and the Obama administration was concerned that tax hikes would hurt the economy. So they cut a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts two more years into the 2012 lame-duck session. It was a smart idea for everyone concerned. With the economy weak, there really was no case for a short-term tax increase, and this way the presidential election would resolve everything. If Obama lost, his GOP opponent would surely sign a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts. But if Obama won, then he’d block any extension.
As you probably heard Tuesday night, Obama won.
Obama’s party also gained two Senate seats and a handful of seats in the United States House of Representatives. Consequently, the Bush tax cuts are toast. This is a question of fact, not of interpretation. The American political system is full of checks and balances, and the way the game works is that tie goes to the status quo. And in this case, the status quo is that the tax cuts expire. Conservatives can perhaps console themselves with the realization that the expiration isn’t an underhanded liberal trick. It’s their own trick, undertaken to make the apparent cost of the tax cuts smaller. Next time, having learned their lesson, they should just pass a smaller, but more permanent, reduction in taxes. If they’d done that, then Obama would have no power to force higher rates on the country. He could beg and plead for a grand bargain day and night and it still wouldn’t happen. The cold hard reality is he doesn’t have the votes in the House to raise taxes and he can’t get the votes because the House is locked down for the GOP thanks to well-drawn district boundaries.
7 replies, 1042 views
The House Speaker has no leverage on the Bush tax cuts. We should stop taking him seriously (Original post)
Response to DonViejo (Original post)
Sat Nov 10, 2012, 08:15 PM
JackN415 (924 posts)
6. I want Pres Obama does a bit more like Clinton: always campaigning...
He should bring the case to the public, go around the country urging people to call their Congressmen and let them know. Public pressure can put House Republicans on the defense. They can't afford to look bad.
Meanwhile, get 2014 to start by identify 30 most vulnerable members of the House Republicans and let them know the guns are on them. Some might have to defect to save their skins.
Response to DonViejo (Original post)
Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:04 PM
politicaljunkie41910 (616 posts)
7. Obama and the Dems should put their offer on the table and do nothing else.
In fact I would suggest that if they don't hear back from the Speaker by the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, they then say that they are going to adjourn for the holidays until the new Congress takes affect. Don't give the Repubs til the end of the year to accept a deal. How many times did Boehner adjurn the House while the Dems were trying to eke out a deal. If the GOP doesn't accept their deal, they should hold firm; tell people to call your congressman and let them know that you want them to take the deal. Let them know that their paychecks in January are going to be impacted if the Speaker and his bunch don't act. Remind them that the Sheldon Adleson's of the world who they are holding out for thought nothing of dumping millions into SuperPacs to try and defeat President Obama and the Dems in the Senate, but guess what, they're still standing. Now its the 98% against the 2%.
If the Repugs refuse to accept the deal, there are plenty of working folks in those Red States. When the Repugs who earn a paycheck for a living get that first paycheck in January and see their withholding, they will take Boehner and Canter to the woodshed. I don't think most working people, even those in Red States will insist that Boehner/Canter hold out until the 2% get the same deal as the 98%. I'm betting that the working folks in the Red and Blue states will say to let the 2% fend for themselves; after all some of those 2% may have even sent some of those Red Staters/Blue Staters lay off notices since Obama won. Remind the 98% that their interests are not the 2% interest and vice versa. Dems would then just sit tight and wait for the phone call from Boehner.