Obama’s alternative history

Posted by on Dec 03, 2012 at 8:09 am

“When he crafted a stimulus spending program to bolster the economy shortly after taking office,” The Times continues, “Mr. Obama devoted roughly a third of the money to tax cuts that he assumed Republicans would like. They did not.” “If you already have a third of the package as tax cuts,” Obama is quoted in the story, “Then the Republicans, who traditionally are more comfortable with tax cuts, may just pocket that and attack the other components of the program.”

Which would be a nice story to bolster the president’s case if it were true. Except it is not. As Bob Woodward recounts in his book “The Price of Politics,” just three days after his inauguration then-Minority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., came to the White House with a list of five specific tax cuts that Republicans were prepared to support as part of a stimulus package. Obama rejected all five.

“I can go it alone,” Obama told Cantor at the time.”Look at the polls. The polls are pretty good for me right now. Elections have consequences. And Eric, I won.” Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was even more frank: “We have the votes. F–k ‘em.”

There is nothing new about Obama’s negotiating tactics. They are the exact same today as they were when he was first elected. He expects to get everything he wants and is not willing to make any concessions to Republicans. It is not difficult to tell where this style of leadership will take us.

Full story.

One Response to “Obama’s alternative history”

  1. Aarradin on 3/03/12 at 7:12 pm

    “a third of the package as tax cuts”

    Obama boasted about this in the speech he gave, televised of course, when he signed the bill.

    I know, you’re shocked right? Tax Cuts?? Obama? In the Stimulus? Who Knew?

    Of course, there were NO reductions to any tax rates.

    What they did was boost ‘refundable tax credits’ (aka. welfare spending in the tax code). They created some new ones, but mostly what they did was removed the requirement to work from already existing refundable tax credits. Well, technically, the requirement to work is still there. What they actually did was redefine “part time” work down to an annual income of $0 for purposes of qualifying for these refundable tax credits. Clever, right? Eliminates the need to actually change the laws that require the work.

    This had two big side effects:

    1) The cost of the ‘temporary’ stimulus bill, CBO pegged at around $800 billion, was already to $3.3 trillion by 2011.

    2) Senate D’s have refused to pass a budget ever since. Ever wonder why? This is it. If they pass a budget, these ‘temporary’ tax code changes would have to either be terminated or they’d have to make them permanent by getting both the House and Senate to vote for them. They don’t have the votes in either chamber. So, what to do? Simple, don’t pass a budget and the money just keeps on flowing on autopilot.

    This, btw, is another reason House R’s are STUPID. Seriously. The Senate majority is required by federal law to pass a budget every year. There’s also another federal law that makes it illegal for congress to spend ANY money if a budget has not been enacted (yeah, probably unconstitutional, since it gives the courts jurisdiction over legislative procedure, but still).

    What Boehner *should* do is send a polite letter to Obama and Reid, signed by every R in the House, informing them that the House will, as usual, pass a responsible budget every year BUT will NOT take up any continuing resolution or debt ceiling hike bills until the Senate D’s pass a budget. Period.