Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1412, Dec. 22nd, 2010




Times Leader columnist Kevin Blaum wrote an article recently about President Obama's deal with the GOP on tax cuts. Blaum makes the point that the President went back on his principles. Don Quixote principles are heroic when you don't have the votes, they are down right stupid when you do have the votes and choose to capitulate to a GOP that was intent on wrecking your Presidency anyway. The President is going on vacation pointing to a whole laundry list of legislative achievement. And they are historic but they could have been accomplished sooner if the Professor had a little more gumption early on. Here's Blaum's fine article from the Times Leader. The only thing Mr. Blaum didn't put in there was how the rich who had the tax cuts extended should send The Professor a thank you note for caving in. And the Professor should kiss Senator Harry Reid's ass every chance he gets because with the skills of the Majority Leader, nothing, and I mean nothing would have passed. Unlike the tax cut bill, Reid made sure the Professor didn't get rolled in a dark alley.
Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans probably will get a new lease on life come January when President Obama completes his pirouette for Senate Republicans and affixes his signature to a tax cut extension he vehemently opposed, before he supported it.
After three years of telling America he couldn’t, shouldn’t and wouldn’t – Obama did. Performing his flip for Speaker-elect John Boehner, R-Ohio, the president buckled.
On Tuesday Obama announced he will sign legislation that makes the Bush tax cuts he once derided, “the Obama Tax Cuts.” In so doing, he provides another windfall to our most successful citizens, who do not need it, to the great detriment of our nation that cannot afford it.
Fronically, the Obama Tax Cuts for the wealthy are written to expire on New Year’s Eve 2012, after the presidential election. It implies Obama, who had neither the know-how nor the inner fortitude to end the Bush tax cuts for millionaires in 2010, will somehow muster the courage to terminate the Obama Tax Cuts for millionaires in 2012.
Inexplicably the president balked at going over the head of Congress, directly to the American people, and pressing this important long-term issue for his country. Instead he opted for political expediency and two more years of campaign whistle stops telling us all how he intends to “roll back the Obama Tax Cuts for the wealthy.”
Is he so arrogant to think anyone will believe him? Is he unmindful that his words, toe shoes and presidential signature will betray him?
On Tuesday Obama also told us he “was not able to budge the GOP.” Those are not the words of a commander in chief, and they are certainly not the words of a president who, as in this case, held the winning hand.
More than 60 percent of Americans supported his previous position. The opposition in Congress stands in the way presupposing the president lacks the nerve to veto legislation, address the nation and enlist the American people to move votes in the House and Senate. Imagine what Presidents Reagan and Clinton would do under similar circumstances.
“Go ahead. Make my day.”
President Obama should have opposed the legislation containing Bush tax cuts for the top 1 percent and explained the reasons why in a national prime-time television address. Americans might have rallied to his side and been willing to sacrifice to get it done. But he didn’t even ask.
Instead, Obama folds so often that Congressman Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., last week lamented that too often the president “wants to punt on third down.”
Votes are not “un-budge-able.” If they were, Sen. Obama would never have won Iowa in 2008. Nor could he have prevailed in Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida and North Carolina.
Since Obama’s flop early last week the attention of a nation has increased significantly on the issue of tax cuts for millionaires. In light of Republican intransigence, if the Bush tax cuts expired on Dec. 31 and taxes increased on all Americans Jan. 1, the focus of a nation would be irrevocably locked on the high-end tax cuts, an extension of jobless benefits and the congressional obstacles scurrying to beat the heat and “get out of the kitchen.”
Leadership does not cave at such critical moments. It seizes such opportunities to show the way, to rally a nation, renew tax cuts for 99 percent of Americans retroactive to the first of the year and extend unemployment benefits for our countrymen in need.
Sadly, Obama missed it – again.
Kevin Blaum represented the 121st Legislative District for over 25 years, is employed by Wyoming Seminary and writes a weekly column, "In the Arena" for the Times Leader.


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