When I went to Phillies games as a kid, my dad would always remind me that if you want to know what's going on in the game, it's more important to watch the fielders than to watch the ball after the ball is hit. Watching the fielders like Von Hayes and Lenny Dykstra and how they reacted told you if the ball hit by Tim Raines or Ron Gant was going to be a foul, an out, a base hit or a homer.
It's sorta the same thing in politics -- if you want to know what a bill really does, it's more important to watch corporate lobbyists' reaction than to listen to the politicians pushing the bill. That's because whereas politicians have a vested interest in making themselves look good for purposes of reelection and party advancement, lobbyists jealously represent Big Money, without regard for partisanship or electoral maneuvering.
It's particularly important to keep this axiom in mind as President Obama now insists that his tax cut "deal" is a big win for average Americans. Because as much as we'd all like to believe the president, the real truth about who this bill serves is embedded in this story from Bloomberg, "Obama Tax Deal Wins Praise From Business-Lobby Critics":
"President Barack Obama won praise from business groups that have criticized his labor, health and financial regulatory policies after he agreed to extend (all Bush) tax cuts... "
Meanwhile, as corporate lobbyists celebrate their latest legislative conquest, the New York Times reports that many lower-income workers will see a regressive tax hike as a consequence of Obama's deal. In its report on how the tax proposal helps "especially (America's) highest earners," the Times notes:
[The Obama deal] will lead to higher tax bills for individuals with incomes below $20,000 and families that make less than $40,000. That is because their payroll tax savings are less than the $400 or $800 they will lose from the Making Work Pay credit.
"It will come to a few dollars a week," said Roberton Williams, an analyst at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, "but it is an increase."
To the wealthiest Americans, however, an assortment of breaks is available.
Perhaps this is why a new poll out this morning shows that the majority of Americans oppose the president's proposal. And maybe rather than throwing a temper tantrum and petulantly labeling that majority "sanctimonious purists" as he did yesterday, the president should quickly reverse course and dig in for the fight against the Bush tax cuts and the corporate lobbyists. That is, perhaps he should wage the fights on behalf of "real change" that he promised to wage as a candidate -- and that America wants him to wage now.