Monday, December 20, 2010

Need a Plan to Rebut Calls for Permanent Tax Cut for the Rich

"Unless President Obama develops a plan to rebut calls for premature spending cuts, the tax-cut deal will not do as much good as he says it will." New York Times' Editorial published on December 19th, The Tax-Cut Deal, eloquently pointed out the compromise he made with Republicans would not help our economy much, particularly because the high cost of the little help to the poor and the unemployed, Republicans will call for more spending cuts, which will made the economy recovery more difficult.  It urged President Obama to prepare for the next showdown.  The editorial pointed out that:
In exchange for high-end tax breaks, Mr. Obama won a 13-month extension of federal jobless benefits, a modest one-year cut in payroll taxes and other temporary measures for businesses and low-income families...

New stimulus spending is undermined if it is offset by cuts in existing spending — and, in the next Congress, Republicans will clamor for immediate budget cuts. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, praised the tax-cut deal last week, precisely because he believes it will begin to force spending cuts. John Boehner, the incoming House speaker, has called for a spending level in 2011 that is more than $100 billion lower than President Obama wanted, though he has not said which programs he would cut to achieve those savings.

So the fight has just begun, and only one thing is sure. Unless Mr. Obama finds his voice and develops a plan to rebut calls for premature spending cuts, the tax-cut deal will not do as much good as he says it will...

Deficits are not as pressing a problem as economic recovery. A stronger recovery must not only come first, but is the best way to begin to heal the budget. Fighting to uphold health care reform is also crucial, because, in the long run, that is key to taming the deficit...

When deficit reduction begins in earnest, tax increases and cuts in big-ticket programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense — will be the focus. Before that, Mr. Obama must not be drawn into nickel-and-dime cuts that will not solve the deficit problem — and will impede recovery. He made a deal with the Republicans. Now he has to get them to live with it.
That was very important but far from enough.  In two years' time, Republicans will push to have the "temporary" tax cut for the super rich made permanent, no matter what state the economy will be.  We have heard such arguments before - our economy is good, therefore we must cut taxes; the economy is in terrible shape, therefore we must cut taxes.  This irresponsible argument will be used with great directness and striking efficiency against the poetic eloquence of President Obama.

Therefore, it is pertinent for President Obama to develop a plan to rebut calls for permanent tax cut for the rich.  He needs to act now, because in last two years he has not demonstrated that he was able to win an upper hand in a last-moment parrying.  By surrendering to the Republican now, he owes the lower- and middle-class Americans this.

Bombed Bridge, III / 炸斷的橋樑之三 / Bombardierten Brücke, III
Bombed Bridge, III © Matthew Felix Sun

Thursday, December 16, 2010

We Are The Compromise We Are Waiting For

Less than two years after Mr. Barak Obama became president, his audacious mantra has morphed from "We are the change we are waiting for" to "we are the compromise we are waiting for."

It is a sad trajectory.  Many of his wounds were self-inflicted, such as surrendering public options before negotiation for health care reform began, promising to open up gulf for oil exploration therefore before climate bill was debated, dismissing House's early bill to cut taxes for middle class only, and finally agreeing to tax cut for the super rich before any significant fight, and so on so forth.

I'm afraid that at this moment, the paean of "change we can believe in" sounds quite ironic.  The only "change we can believe" is this:

His Hopeness is now His Hopelessness.

I am not trying to be funny.  I weep.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dagger To the Hearts

After the congress tried to pass tax reduction bills for middle- and lower-class Americans, and provide assistance to unemployed, due to the opposition of Republicans, President Obama didn't stage any press conference to point it out that the Republicans wouldn't help the poor, and would make the tax rate go up in the middle of economic trying time.

Then, behind the back of his Democrats congressional members, he made a secrete deal with the Republicans, with some terms unacceptable to some Democrats legislators, whose opposition to the tax breaks to the super-rich, will be denounced by the Republicans as raising tax in the middle of crisis.

Obama's double dealing handed the Republicans, ironically who are not secrete about destroying him, besides a handsome ransom, a sharpened dagger to plunge into the hearts of congressional Democrats.

Two more years of such bipartisanship would be a harsh punishment to most Americans; four more years after that would be a crime, perhaps a tad better than a Republican's taking back the White House.  He will fight in two years' time, as he promised in his press conference.  But he has proved an unwilling and highly ineffective soldier.  In order to prevent a calamity bigger than 2010 mid-term election, Democrats must find an alternative candidate in presidential bid in 2012.

Division / 割裂 / Teilung
Division © Matthew Felix Sun

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Where Had He Been in the Last Two Years?

In a hastily arranged press conference, Obama defended his compromise package capitulation deal "a good deal for the American people." But the president also said he had little choice but to agree to the Republicans' terms to avoid endangering struggling Americans dependent on the tax breaks and unemployment benefits.

"It's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers — unless the hostage gets harmed," he said of his talks with Republicans. "In this case, the hostage was the American people, and I was not willing to see them get harmed.''

What is the deal eventually is going to hurt the hostage even more, Mr. President?

Obama pledged to take up the fight again in 2012 when the tax cuts would expire under the new deal. He reiterated that he still opposes the Republican position that high-income earners should get the extension, delivering this message to "my Republican friends": "I'm looking forward to seeing them on the field of competition over the next two years."

He hasn't exhibited any aptitude or ability to fight in last two years, how can we trust that he would meet the challenge in two years' time?  If the congress doesn't stop this "deal", the Bush tax cuts will be permanent and more services will be cut, to reduce the ever growing deficit.  In two years' time, a new set of hostage will be produced.  Democrats senators, please don't forget that you can filibuster as well, particularly senators who survived this year's slaughter, like Ms. Barbara Boxer.  The very reason that she was sent back to Washington was to do this kind of fight.

As for this one-sided bipartisanship President Obama brought us, we can afford no longer.  It's time to draft a real fighters we can believe it. 

Mr. Obama, having achieved the historical status by becoming the first black president of America, has earned a place in history and also will be remembered kindly by averting an economic catastrophe.  But, at this juncture of history, he has proved disastrously wasted opportunity to fix the country.  He would do American a even greater favor by completing his one term and become one of the greatest ex-presidents of America.  We would thank him deeply.

Siege / 圍攻 / Belagerung
Siege © Matthew Felix Sun

Monday, December 6, 2010

No More Such Bi-Partisanship, President McO!

I felt awful - though cannot say I was betrayed.  I never believed President Obama would be a fighter, as he had eloquently stated in his campaign in 2008.

It looks like that we are condemned for two more years of "bi-partisanship" of Obama characteristics. If we don't want to endure six more years of that, let's draft a fighter to run for president in 2012 on Democrats ticket. Otherwise, let's pledge to vote for Green(, again)!

No more President McO!

I made the posters below in August 2008, when Obama was walking on water.  Sadly, they ring too true now:





What Compromise?

Obama administration is touting a "compromise" they made with Republican congressional leaders to extend Bush-era tax cuts for two years for every one, including the richest people in this country, as part of a package that would extend jobless aid and cut payroll taxes, despite its previous demand that the tax rates for people with the highest income would be restored to previous higher level.

The White House was also said to have agreed to Republican demands on the estate tax that would result in an exemption of $5 million per person and a maximum rate of 35 percent.

The package would cost about $900 billion over the next two years.  The deal includes reducing the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax on employees by two percentage points for a year, which would put about $120 billion back in the pockets of workers and the unemployment benefits would cost about $60 billion, officials said.  Continuing the lowered tax rates for the highest-earners, by contrast, would cost the government $700 billion in lost revenue over the next 10 years, according to budget analysts.

Obama administration would like to call this a deal, but it is capitulation, considering that Democrats still have the majority of both House and Senate at this moment, this so called deal is absolutely unacceptable.

Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman said right in his article Let's Not Make a Deal
But while raising taxes when unemployment is high is a bad thing, there are worse things. And a cold, hard look at the consequences of giving in to the G.O.P. now suggests that saying no, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule, is the lesser of two evils.

Yes, letting taxes go up would be politically risky. But giving in would be risky, too — especially for a president whom voters are starting to write off as a man too timid to take a stand. Now is the time for him to prove them wrong. 

Lone Traveler / 孤獨的旅行者 / Einsamer Reisender
Lone Traveler © Matthew Felix Sun