Years from now when we look back at the GOP/Obama tax compromise, which passed the Senate overwhelmingly this evening, two things will be evident:
- It added a humongous number to the deficit and gained us no real economic benefit ; and
- The GOP got taken to the cleaners.
Consider. Before today, Republicans in Congress held all the political momentum and were poised to make real inroads on both the deficit and the economy, thanks to a historic election. All they had to do was show a little backbone and some media savvy to delay any tax deal until they took over the House next month. The message was sitting right in front of them — Democrats had years to do something about the tax rates but they dithered and delayed in a crass attempt to score political points at our expense — but they were too eager to cut a deal to see it.
So, in a grand display of compromise, they gave away all their bargaining chips and joined hands with a President so badly damaged that he couldn’t even handle his own press conference. Now, the Democrats are talking about altering the deal the Republicans brokered and do you doubt for a moment that they’ll get every thing they want?
Neither do I.
And what did the GOP get in return? Well, let’s sample a couple stories about this evening’s vote. Remember, this vote was entirely due to GOP compromise and would not have happened without it.
President Obama’s $858 billion tax package won a huge bipartisan majority in the Senate Monday evening, setting it up for a contentious debate in the House.
Obama applauded the Senate’s action to move his tax cut compromise with Republicans and urged the House to do the same quickly.
In a statement in the White House briefing room, Obama hailed the Senate’s “strong bipartisan support” for the package and declared “this proves that both parties can in fact work together.”
Retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said he voted for the package because he thought it unlikely they could win equally generous benefits for the unemployed next year, when Republicans will control the House.
“To sit their and watch this institution, the Congress, do great damage to the unemployed because we rejected a proposal I didn’t like but was a lot better than the one you’re going to get,” said Dodd. “I would have been upset with myself.”
Did you get that? The plan was the President’s and Chris Dodd, who won’t be around in January, was smashmouthing Republicans, who will hold greater sway in the Senate once he’s gone. Did you see any words of praise there for the Republicans who gave away hundreds of billions of dollars in pork for a few magic beans? No? In fact, the President couldn’t help but stab his Republican allies in the back just this morning. Does that feel like victory? It sure doesn’t to me.
Speaking before the Senate vote was officially called, yet after the 68 votes needed to advance the bill, the president praised the Senate for moving forward on the package of tax cuts in the procedural vote this evening.
“I am pleased to announce at this hour the United States Senate is moving forward on a package of tax cuts that has strong bipartisan support,” Obama said in a surprise statement from the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, “And this proves that both parties can in fact work together to grow our economy and look out for the American people.”
Note again the President says not one single word of praise for the Republicans who sold the economy down the river even though, as I mentioned earlier, this deal would not have happened without them.
The GOP did the progressives a big favor. Not only did they concede the argument that your money, the fruit of your labor, does not actually belong to you but to the uncaring, rapacious politicians in Congress but they also ensured that we will be fighting, and likely losing, this very same fight again in 2012. If they had been just a little bit clever and shown a sliver of backbone, they could have forced the President to make the current tax rate permanent. He could not have held out long. I know that because I watched his press conference Friday. I saw how he surrendered the podium to a man a decade out of politics. I watched him abdicate the throne without a fight and I remembered that he’s never won a game in his life he didn’t rig.
But they didn’t fight, not even a little bit. They rolled over like a submissive puppy and begged us to accept that they fought the only fight they could. Well, they didn’t and shame on us for letting them.
UPDATE II: Ace is off the compromise train, too.
Obama needs this deal as much as the Republicans want it. We do not have to play the shakedown game and pay him off in billions to get him to do what he is already forced to do.
That assumes there has to be a deal in the first place, which there didn’t. But as Ace points out, Republicans want a deal, which is a problem. The pork was inevitable.
Category: The Economy and Your Money