Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tax Code Renewal Deal Struck As Obama Sulks

President Obama's deep trouble within his own party is revealed in television interviews with the likes of theatre critic turned political opinion bloviator, New York Times columnist Frank Rich. Rich said recently that the president no longer seems to have a clear point of view. On anything. He said there is a void of leadership shown by trotting out Treasury Secretary Geithner to negotiate the extension of tax rates with the Senate and calling up a deficit commission to handle putting together some sort of path to a stronger economy.

There is a void of leadership with this president because this president has never been a leader. This is precisely what those not supporting his bid for the presidency were warning of as the election of 2008 was held. The times in which we live called out for someone to have a consistent and strong sense of core principles, yet Barack Obama has no such history. This has proven to be true repeatedly and we are the worse for it as a nation.

President Obama's liberal and far left base of support is dwindling, to be sure. The focus of the first two years of this presidency should have been to focus like a laser beam on boosting the economy and promoting an atmosphere for employers to expand small business. By allowing Speaker of the House Pelosi to run the country as far as the economy goes, by allowing her to write the economic stimulus packages passed by the House of Representatives and then the Senate, Obama abdicated his responsibility on getting the country back on track. Instead, he chose to make sweeping social policies into law and took over 1/6 of our national economy by the government takeover of the health care delivery system. On Christmas Eve, 2009, the health care system takeover was voted into law, not to go fully into effect for up to six years, yet taxation would begin in 2010.

More fuel for the fire of the emerging strength within the Tea Party movement, the health care takeover reception fell with a strong thud. The only applause the President received was from the small sliver of the electorate that identifies as "progressive" - the far left of the political curve. Business owners recoiled and stopped any plans for expansion or future development of new businesses. With increased cost and governmental red tape in paperwork, the new demands of health benefits are job killers. The President's conclusion? He stated that he simply was not selling it correctly. He stated that he didn't deliver the message clearly.

The first two years of the Obama administration have been an exercise in the stark contrast between the political philosophies of the two parties. This has worked out well for Republicans and their resurgence, after being written off as a party doomed to be in the political wilderness well into the future. The President and the Democrats were strongly defeated in the November 2 mid-term elections. The American voters chose to remain in support of center/right policy and progressive politics are clearly are on the endangered species list. Only 20% of the electorate consider progressive/liberal/Democratic party policy as their own. More than 40% consider themselves conservative and independent voters. Just short of 30% consider the Republican party their home base. Without the independent voter, neither party will win an election. Though the independent voter decided to take a chance on Barack Obama in 2008, the tide has turned and he no longer has that support.

Now, in this lame duck session of Congress, President Obama is trying to tie up lots of loose ends brought on by his negligence as he was a one issue President. Progressives/liberals who thought he would push the social issues agenda are disappointed. Conservative leaning independents have been betrayed by this economic policies agenda which amount to little more than traditional tax and spend Democratic standard policy. Instead of focusing on extending expiring tax code so that small business owners and taxpayers will have some knowledge of what to plan for the coming year or two, instead of producing a fiscal budget - the first time in decades that Congress has failed to do so - and dealing with appropriations to keep the government functioning into the new year, Obama has encouraged the Democratically controlled Congress to waste time with social issue policy. Obama still doesn't show clear concern and focus on the economic issues of the day.

Finally, a compromise has been struck between the White House and the GOP in the Senate on the tax code. The framework is: all tax code remains in place for the next two years; unemployment benefits will extend out another thirteen months; and there will be a payroll tax (social security) cut of 2% next year; the estate tax remains in place for one year. In two years, the tax code extension in question.

The path to a vote is now paved. When he announced the framework, Obama used his typical partisan voice and the whole announcement was to sway his liberal base - those who will be furious at any compromise at all with Republicans. They will appreciate the consistent blame by Obama on Republicans for demanding common sense solutions over simply raising taxes.

Obama looked angry at the compromise announcement. He was not humble. He did not thank the Republicans for working with the Democrats on an agreement. The far left ideologues, led by Obama, are neither gracious in victory or defeat.

The economy will stregthen with the tax code remaining in place. It is to the country's benefit that the Republicans stood firm. Too bad President Obama doesn't understand that this compromise will probably even help him as he runs for re-election in 2012.

He's too busy sulking.

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