“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”.
E. J. Dionne: Who Is Sanctimonious?
Washington – What does President Obama think of those who fought and bled to pass his bills in Congress (in some cases losing in this year’s election for their pains) while also defending him against wild charges from the right wing? Are they among the liberals he described as “sanctimonious” who long for the “satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people”?
Obama’s comments make you wonder: Who does he think he can count on when conservatives try to repeal the health care law, force cuts in programs he supports, investigate his administration down to the last pencil, and continue to denounce him as an un-American socialist?
A senior Obama lieutenant insisted that the president wasn’t attacking liberals. He was responding only to those condemning him as a “sellout” for a tax deal that achieves many progressive goals, at the cost of extending tax cuts for the wealthy and egregiously conceding billions to very rich people who inherit large estates.
Yet simultaneously, the White House was also sending out signals that it was consciously casting the president as a centrist problem-solver in a new iteration of Bill Clinton’s old “triangulation” strategy.
John Nichols: It’s the Estate Tax Exemption, Stupid
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been given a charge from the chamber’s Democratic caucus to negotiate a better tax deal than President Obama got from Senate Republicans.
And Pelosi says she will do just that.
But what’s her “ask”? What’s her credible — and doable — demand?
Pelosi should pull no punches. But, If we assume she cannot get the Republicans or Obama to abandon the absurdly uneven trade-off that defines the deal — a two-year extension of tax cuts for billionaires in return for a one-year extension of basic benefits for the unemployed — then she has to look elsewhere.
For plenty of practical and political reasons, Pelosi can and should start the pushback by focusing on the side deal to renew the estate tax with broad exemptions for millionaires — up to $5 milion for individuals, up to $10 million for couples — and a top rate of 35 percent for the coming two years.
Pelosi has already pointed to the estate-tax agreement as a bone of contention for House Democrats.
“We believe the estate tax in the bill is a bridge too far,” the Speaker has said.
Beverly Bell and Tory Field: “Miami Rice”: The Business of Disaster in Haiti
“We were already in a black misery after the earthquake of January 12. But the rice they’re dumping on us, it’s competing with ours and soon we’re going to fall in a deep hole,” said Jonas Deronzil, who has farmed rice and corn in Haiti’s fertile Artibonite Valley since 1974. “When they don’t give it to us anymore, are we all going to die?”
Deronzil explained this in April inside a cinder-block warehouse, where small farmers’ entire spring rice harvest had sat in burlap sacks since March, unsold, because of USAID’s dumping of U.S. agribusiness-produced, taxpayer-subsidized rice. The U.S. government and agricultural corporations, which have been undermining Haitian peasant agriculture for three decades, today threaten higher levels of unemployment for farmers and an aggravated food crisis among the hemisphere’s hungriest population.