Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Obama's First Post-Election Crisis: Can He Appear Strong on Tax Cuts?"

Walter Shapiro (Politics Daily):
The pledge to rescind the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy was not an off-hand comment that Obama made at a few rallies on the way to the White House. It was a bedrock principle in his campaign -- mentioned about as often as his maternal grandfather's service in George Patton's during World War II. For all the glib talk that Americans never ever will support higher taxes, Obama in 2008 won the support of voters whose annual family income was more than $200,000 by a 52-to-46 percent margin.

But the coming battle over the Bush tax cuts in the lame-duck congressional session is about more than budgetary arithmetic -- although $700 billion is a large gift to the wealthy, especially in light of the Republicans' new-found obsession with the national debt. It transcends debates over how much burden the wealthiest Americans should bear in times of economic hardship. And it is only tangentially connected with job creation since economic studies show that the rich are more likely than other Americans to save their tax cuts rather than spend them.

More than anything, the tax-cut fight will provide an early referendum on how Barack Obama intends to govern during the next two years. MORE...

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