AND, SO IT BEGINS
Wednesday, December 1 (The New York Times 12/1/10): All 42 Republican senators sign a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada threatening to block any legislation until Bush-era tax cuts are extended for all Americans, including the wealthiest. The move came within 24 hours of President Obama’s meeting with senior Republican Congressional leaders, expressing hopes for “a new dialogue.”
HOUSE DEMS EXTEND TAX CUTS FOR THE LITTLE GUY
Thursday, December 2 (CNN 12/2/10): “The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure 234-188 to allow tax cuts instituted under President George W. Bush to expire this December 31 for Americans' incomes above a quarter-million dollars annually. The tax cuts for incomes below that would continue, and the bill would also maintain the current Alternative Minimum Tax limit for two years. Most Democrats backed the legislation, while Republicans resoundingly opposed it.”
REPUBLICANS BLOCK TAX CUTS FOR THE LITTLE GUY
Saturday, December 4 (CNN 12/4/10): “Two Senate procedural votes on Democratic measures to extend George W. Bush-era tax cuts for people who are not super wealthy failed on Saturday, preventing the measures from moving forward. …. Both votes garnered the support of 53 senators, but the Democrats needed 60 votes to end debate.”
OBAMA PUTS 2012 ON THE LINE FOR THE LITTLE GUY
Monday, December 6 (The New York Times 12/6/10): “President Obama announced a tentative deal with Congressional Republicans on Monday to extend the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels for two years as part of a package that would also keep benefits flowing to the long-term unemployed, cut payroll taxes for all workers for a year and take other steps to bolster the economy.”
“I am not willing to let working families across this country become collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington.”
- President Barack Obama, 6 December 2010
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE LITTLE GUY
What the lower- and middle-class workers would get in Obama’s deal: WHITE HOURSE FACT SHEET
OBAMA’S STRATEGY & MISSTEPS
Shaw Kenawe at “Progressive Eruptions” brilliantly explains Obama’s strategy and his missteps HERE.
KNEE-JERK REACTION: FIGHT AND FORGET THE LITTLE GUY
Monday, December 6: The left-wing blogosphere goes ballistic in knee-jerk reaction claiming Obama made a deal with the Devil and calling fellow Democrats and economists who are defending the president’s action “Obama apologists.”
CLARIFYING THE ESTATE TAX PROVISION
The sticky wicket in the Obama compromise is the estate tax. According to CNN: “The estate tax, which expired this year, is scheduled to be reinstated at a higher rate of 55 percent next year, with an exemption up to $1 million. A bill that passed in the House a year ago set the threshold for the exemption at $3.5 million and the tax rate at 45 percent, while the provision in the tax deal exempts estates up to $5 million and sets a lower rate at 35 percent.”
OBAMA STRONGLY DEFENDS COMPROMISE
Tuesday, December 7 (The Associated Press, 12/7/10): "With fellow Democrats balking, President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that a compromise with Republicans on tax cuts was necessary to help the economy and protect recession-weary Americans. He passionately defended his record against Democrats who complain he's breaking campaign promises. … He staunchly defended his decision to deal with the GOP in order to extend about-to-expire tax cuts for all Americans.”
VOICE OF THE LEFT SLAMS OBAMA
Tuesday, December 7 (MSNBC 12/710): Keith Olbermann of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” a leading booster of Obama’s bid for the White House, excoriates the president on tax-cut compromise HERE.
EMPOWERED GOP BLOCKS $250 FOR SENIORS
Wednesday, December 8 (The Associated Press 12/8/10): “Bill to award seniors $250 is defeated by Republicans.”
HOUSE DEMS NIX OBAMA TAX PACKAGE
Thursday, December 9 (CNN 12/10/10): “House Democrats voted Thursday against considering the tax package that President Barack Obama negotiated with Republicans, raising questions over the president's influence in his own party. ..."
NEW HOPE FOR THE LITTLE GUY
Thursday, December 9, 2010 (CNN 12/10/10): “... Later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, released the first version of legislation to implement the negotiated deal and said the Senate would vote Monday to open debate on it. The Senate version made public by Reid was largely the same as the deal announced by Obama, but it added extensions of some tax breaks intended to spur green energy investment.”
GOP FILIBUSTER BLOCKS AID TO 9/11 RESPONDERS
Thursday, December 9 (CNN 12/10/10) : “A Senate bill to provide medical benefits and compensation for emergency workers who were first on the scene of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks failed to get past a Republican filibuster Thursday."
SANDERS’ MARATHON OPPOSITION
Friday, December 10 (CNN 12/10/10): Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) spoke out against Obama’s compromise in the Senate chamber for eight hours and 35 minutes – a speech cnn.com subjectively compared with Jimmy Stewart’s in Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” According to Senate rules, the speech was not a filibuster.
BILL CLINTON, AS EVER, FOR THE LITTLE GUY
Friday, December 10 (The New York Times 12/10/10): President Obama meets with former President Bill Clinton for 90 minutes. In an impromptu news conference with a hastily assembled White House Press Corps, Mr. Clinton praised the president's willingness to compromise as "a principled decision" and defended the deal:
“I have reviewed this agreement that the president reached with the Republican leaders. The agreement taken as a whole is, I believe, the best bipartisan agreement we can reach to help the most Americans.
“In my opinion, this is a good bill, and I hope that my fellow Democrats will support it. We all see this differently. But I really believe this will be a significant net plus for the country.
“There are a lot of fights worth having, but this holds the promise that after the fights are over, we will be able to find principled compromise on those as well. To me, that’s worth doing.”
Read “Bill Clinton Holds Forth on Tax Plan, for Starters,” Michael D. Shear, The New York Times, December 10, 2010.
OBAMA: DEMS COMING AROUND ON PLAN
"I think it is inaccurate to characterize Democrats at large as feeling, quote unquote, betrayed, I think Democrats are looking at this bill and you've already had a whole bunch of them who've said this makes sense, and I think the more they look at it, the more of them are going to say this makes sense."
- President Barack Obama
A WORD FOR MY FELLOW AMERICANS
If nothing is done before December 31, 2010, your taxes will go up. This has been a week of hysteria, hyperbole, homily and harangue across the liberal/progressive blogosphere. Tax cuts for the wealthiest remain, as President Obama so aptly noted, the GOP’s “holy grail.” If you need a touchstone for Democratic philosophy, listen to these words:
“Democratic priorities remain clear: to provide a tax cut for working families, to create jobs and economic growth, to assist millions of our fellow Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and to do this in a fiscally sound way."
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi