Impressive. The GOP has set themselves up beautifully with this tax deal between the White House and the Republicans in Congress. You know, the deal where budget busting tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans get to continue on for two more years in return for short term middle class and unemployment benefits.
Here's what is worthy of admiration as the Republicans again execute a political and policy strategy that should make many Washington Democrats envious:
a. The federal deficit & debt will grow dramatically because of this newest tax & spending deal, so the GOP will get to continue saying that the government is too big and spends too much while blaming it all on the Dems.
b. The Republicans have convinced their base that tax cuts don't add to either the deficit or debt (because "tax cuts are not spending nor do they add to the deficit; they're a way to take money from the government bureaucrats and give it back to Americans.")
c. The GOP had to make no painful, unpopular cuts to programs and will surely take credit for all the things in the deal that they originally opposed (like small business tax cuts, the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits, etc.).
d. They will get credit with big business, Wall Street, and conservative ideologues and activists for keeping tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans only a couple of years after the taxpayers bailed them out. That's an impressive two-fer.
e. The Republicans get to replay their winning hand of the last few weeks all over again in 2012. It doesn't matter whether the economy is good or bad because they once again get to argue to the American people that "Obama and the Dems want to raise taxes! They are going to allow the biggest tax increase in American history!" (If the White House couldn't win the "wealthy tax cuts" argument now, why would they be able to win it in two years? What will be different?)
f. Many Democrats have proven once again that they will always fight on the terms the GOP chooses (if they fight at all).
Now, it's a fair and important argument that working families and middle class Americans got something from this deal (no tax increases and continued unemployment benefits for the chronically unemployed). But the actual cost that these same Americans will pay in the future in lost support for infrastructure, education, and low interest rates will exponentially offset the short term benefits which some are right now so proud of.
And don't forget that this all happened when the Dems still have 59 votes in the Senate and the House majority. Wait until the balance of power shifts after January 1st.
Brilliant. Good work by you. Keep on truckin', GOP stalwarts. You've got a clear road ahead.
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