“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.
New York Times Editorial: The Tax Cut Endgame
We suppose it could have been worse. The deal could help to stimulate the weak economy. And if the Republicans had blocked an extension of unemployment benefits, as they were threatening to, millions of Americans would have suffered greatly.
But the country can’t afford to continue tax cuts for the rich indefinitely. And by kicking the issue down the road to 2012 – a presidential election year – it all but guarantees more craven politicking then.
Speaking on Monday evening, the president said that the deal would extend for two years all of the tax cuts, both those from the Bush years and those for low-income workers from last year’s stimulus law. Recently expired benefits for the long-term unemployed would also be extended for another 13 months.
In addition, the agreement includes a one-year cut in payroll taxes that will put a relatively modest, but much needed, $120 billion in workers’ pockets, and a year of bolstered write-offs for business investments.
On a decidedly sour note, Mr. Obama also said he had agreed to cut estate taxes even more than in the last year of the Bush administration. That is not compromise. It is capitulation.
Joan Walsh: Party time for Bush and Cheney!
Obama extends tax cuts for the rich that the GOP passed with chicanery and Cheney’s vote. How did we get here?
I know they weren’t the best of friends when they left Washington, but I bet former President Bush and Dick Cheney at least had a phone call tonight congratulating one another on one of the great heists in history. In 2001, they knew they couldn’t make their budget-busting tax cuts for the rich permanent, so they agreed to phase them out in 2010, leaving the political consequences to another administration. Even with that chicanery, the Bush tax cuts were divisive enough that they required Cheney to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate. No problem. That’s how Republicans play: They reward their wealthy base.
Increasingly it seems, Democrats, too, reward the wealthy in their base, and ignore their much larger constituency of working and middle class voters, struggling in the economy destroyec by Bush and Cheney. President Obama’s compromise was a long time coming, telegraphed for months, but depressing nonetheless. The good news is that he got a little bit more for caving than some Democrats expected. It’s great that unemployment insurance may be extended 13 months; many Americans will appreciate a payroll tax cut, an extended Earned Income Tax Credit and the latest patch of the Alternative Minimum Tax.
E.J. Dionne, Jr.: Can Democrats “Up Their Game”?
Last week, I sat down with these Democrats who were defeated in November to get their sense of what the election means for the future and how the president should respond. Their observations were more revealing than the abstractions that conventional punditry typically invokes to explain what “the people” supposedly said.
They spoke just off the floor of the House shortly after it approved an extension of the Bush tax cuts only for families earning under $250,000 a year. This vote of principle was unfairly dismissed as “symbolic,” but Perriello said something that pointed to the opportunity Obama and the Democrats had kicked away.
“Why not up the game,” he asked, “instead of playing the same old game?” Perriello was in no mood to criticize his already beleaguered party. But his comment pointed to how it might have avoided a debilitating tax cut endgame.