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The “tax deal” and other bad ideas

December 9, 2010

If you haven’t seen the President’s response to the accusation that this deal was (to put it nicely) a bad idea, you should check out this video, then meet be below:

I am not some “sanctimonious” politician who is coming at this from a position of privilige and I am not someone who chooses ideals over practicality. I am a member of what would likely be defined as “The Working Poor” who lost my full time job during the recession and I am now working a part-time job that offers no benefits. My “husband” (we aren’t married but there is really no good word for it) was in construction but found that the work is more consistent and he makes a slightly better living as a self-employed general contractor. We have a small child and no health insurance. My family lives paycheck to paycheck and we fight about money a lot.

That being said, I want to explan now how all the details of why the majority of middle class people are upset have been completely misread by the White house.

First off, Mr. President, YOU DID NOT GIVE ALL AMERICANS HEALTH COVERAGE. You gave them a mandate to purchase their own insurance and that is not the same thing. Most people will purchase catastrophic coverage only because it is not as outrageously expensive as a basic health plan, and will then be less able to afford simple preventive checkups and treatment because they will now have an additional bill to pay each month. I do not belive that anyone would argue that making sure children with pre-existing conditions can get treatment is a victory.

HOWEVER, to claim that what was passed is “comprehensive healthcare reform” that in the end will benefit the citizens of the country more than it will benefit your sponsors in the health insurance industry is a joke. Remember, McCain ran on reforming the health insurance industry too…No one was against it. What we voted for in 2008 when we elected you and a super-majority into Congress was UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE FOR ALL AMERICANS. When the media began proclaiming that the American people DID NOT support the passage of the healthcare bill, you have to realize that it is because NO ONE wanted the bullshit, half-assed bill that was being offered. In negotiations for this bill, Republicans had one position (a windfall for insurance companies and “Tort Reform”) and Democrats had the opposite position (a universal, single payer sytem). But the Democrats were SURE they couldn’t win, so before even entering the negotiation phase of the process, they dropped the single-payer idea. It is NEVER a good idea to walk into a negotiation believing you cannot get MOST of what you want. The idea is not to meet in the middle. The idea is to get most of what you want while compromising as little as possible. The Republicans understand this definition of negotiate and that is exactly what they did.

All of the multiple concessions were in an attempt to win a few Republican votes in the interest of “bipartisanship” but I am pretty sure that the country was far beyond the desire for partisanship or else the election of 2008 would have been far less lopsided in favor of the Democrats. The “negotiation process” was basically a process of the White House and Congress giving and giving and giving, until the Republicans agreed that they would support the Bill. But lo and behold, when the bill went to vote, they laughed and changed their position. Then they accused the Dems of “ramming through” the bill based on the fact that NO ONE supported the Bill. THIS WAS NOT INCORRECT. It got such a small percentage of what either side actually wanted that it was not a true victory for anyone except the insurance companies who saw their stocks go up immediately.

To compare the reaction or the “TAX CUT DEAL” to the healthcare debate is correct and perfectly accurate. But you are missing one important detail. In both cases, the President did the easy thing. He gave in before a real fight and because of this is viewed as weak by his political opponents. In both cases, I believe that HE THINKS that he is doing what is best for the American people but it is blatantly obvious to anyone who is watching including Republicans, the poor, the middle class, the rich, the patriarchs of billionaire families, the tea partiers and ______ (just fill in the blank with any group outside of the White House) that he threw us a few crumbs when he could have provided us with a feast, had he been willing to fight (even a little) for our interests like he promised before he was elected.

I have yet to see a single expert who believes that the tax cut to the wealty will create a single job. Jobs creation is based on demand. If there is no demand for services and products because people cannot afford them, the jobs will not exist. PERIOD. And that $500 a year average that the middle class received with the Bush tax cuts (which amounts to about $41 a month) is not going to spur spending. In addition, I cannot comprehend why the President isn’t going on the offensive and using the (pretend?) passion for reducing the deficiet as ammunition for why the Republicans are simply WRONG on this one. Does he know that he is the President of registered Republicans and tea partiers and libertarians too? I think perhaps someone should tell him. He can make the case and win their support too.

In addition to this, the Democrats in Congress have expressed that they do not believe that ANYONE who wants to continue his or her political career would actually allow unemployment benefits to expire. I agree with this. It would be political suicide because it would be akin to starving people and that would be blatantly immoral. HOWEVER, as a political strategy to test the meddle of a sitting President, it is a fantastic tactic. And guess what? Barack Obama failed the test. And one by one, because of political alliances, the Democratic congressmen and senators will fail as well.

The idea that the Republicans will not repeatedly hold the best interests of the American people hostage is not only naive, but batshit crazy. And the most amazing part of their entire strategy is that they will do this continually for about 18 months until another Congressional election season, then they will deny having done it, change the subject, or blame it on the Democrats. And the Democrats will not even disagree.

The way to elicit support from the American people is not to capitulate. It is to fight. President Obama does not understand that this is NOT simply a fight over political popularity. This is a fight for the American people. The American people DO NOT want to accept the bare minimum. We thought we elected a hero, not a director of the status quo. When the minority party manages to negotiate the bare minimum, THAT is a victory. When the sitting president with a super majority in Congress does it, it is disgraceful.

The President is obviously being misled by his advisors and perhaps needs to get back out there and talk to the people like he did during his campaign. Because although at the time it seemed impossible to have a president who was less popular that W., Obama is quickly becoming the kind of laughing stock that W was, but with the added problem of being smart enough to realize that it’s happening.

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