According to the Huffington Post, David Axelrod suggested to reporters late Wednesday that the Obama administration would be compromising on the extension of the Bush tax cuts. The news may seem appropriate to conservatives and Blue Dog democrats, but for most liberals, it registers on the shock chart as unbelievable.
It’s not that it’s so shocking that the Obama administration would compromise. After all, they’ve made moving to the right and telegraphing that position a mainstay of their failed negotiation and bargaining strategy. The most glaring aspect of this particular issue is that in the aftermath of the midterm losses, when they should be doing everything they can to reenergize the people who got them elected, they choose instead to cave. It’s so inspiring.
If the story is indeed true, and compromise is once again the administration’s chosen path, it becomes exceedingly difficult to defend against claims that President Obama is a party to the corporate takeover of America. It essentially forces the conclusion that Obama cares no more about the middle class than do the congressional Republicans.
Axelrod frames the issue around a change in political climate forced by the election. His “We have to deal with the world as we find it” explanation of how the administration’s hands are now tied is nothing but a pathetic excuse to voluntarily hand Republicans yet another victory. There is really NO reason for the administration to back down on the Bush tax cuts. And Axelrod’s nonsense about doing it because “I don’t want to trade away security for the middle class” is nothing but unadulterated RUBBISH!
For Axelrod to suggest that they’ll fight hard against Republican attempts to repeal the healthcare legislation, while remaining silent on the deficit reduction commission proposal and signaling a compromise on the tax cuts is clear evidence of where the administrations loyalties lie.
The sad truth is that the healthcare bill mostly benefitted the poor, and that’s okay, because we need to work together as a nation to lift up everyone. But between the commission’s debt-reduction proposals — which attack all Americans who rely on wages to subsist — and this kowtow on the Bush tax cuts, it’s clear that the intention is to finance everything on the backs of the middle class.
Of course, recognizing the backlash of his statements, Axelrod was quick to back peddle and attempt a whitewash by claiming that he was merely reiterating the previously stated position of the administration. This may be true, but the report did cause a stir, and should have left no doubt that the President’s base is not in favor of compromise.
In the end, whatever Axelrod said is immaterial. What really matters is what President Obama does next. He has a mandate from — not only dedicated Democrats — but also a huge number of Independents and even a fair number of Republicans. Polls show that a majority of Americans are in favor of allowing the cuts for the very top income levels to expire. Only fools outside the rich are willing to pay for the increased opulence of the most wealthy. Obama has the support from the public.
And thanks to the Republicans, people are deficit conscious right now. The Republicans put the deficit into the public spotlight to use against Democrats. They worked their way through the election hammering that Democrats are fiscally irresponsible. But they did their bit and used the deficit for political gain and now want to immediately turn around and ignore it.
Democrats cannot now respond by allowing the Republicans to push the deficit into the background. They cannot allow the Republicans to spin a $700 billion increase to the deficit as anything but fiscal irresponsibility of the highest order. They need to make it perfectly clear to the American people that all economic benefit for the past 30 years has gone to the top 2% while compensation for the rest of the population has stagnated. They need to stand up for the middle class and demand that the rich stop taking at everyone else’s expense. And they need to take the strongest position against increasing the deficit simply to fill the coffers of the very rich.
They call this sort of issue a no-brainer. It doesn’t get anymore no-brainer than this. Democrats, even those in the upper middle class who would pay the most, would rather fight and wind up paying higher taxes than to just concede and let the rich squeeze the country again.
This is a seminal issue for the second half of President Obama’s term and for Democrats in general. If they cave, it’s a sure sign that they’re either complicit in the rape of the middle class, they’re just completely gutless (which equates to useless) — or they’re freaking incompetent. There really are no other options.
Which one is it?
You can help by raising your voice: just sign this petition and tell the President that you want him to fight against tax cuts for millionaires.