UnNews:Obama, GOP do one final deal
10 December 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The 111th Congress never did do a budget, but it will, finally, tell Americans what their tax rates will be for the new year. Everyone here has put aside everything he has been saying for the past two years for the exhilaration of one final deal, extending the Bush tax cuts for two more years.
Republican leader John Boehner is three weeks away from acquiring 63 new allies who will vote him the Speaker, although he doesn't know them and they don't belong to his country club. Mr. Boehner inexplicably rushed to the side of President Obama to do a deal before he gains the new power.
Mr. Obama eagerly embraced the deal, despite having used most of his speeches to call hapless Mr. Boehner the face of evil, and even though all he would have had to do to get the tax increases he wanted was--nothing.
The agreement extends for two years the lower tax rates passed in 2003. Former President Bush followed a policy of tax stability--that is, a temporary law that had to be re-enacted every year or two or the sky would fall. It blew up in everyone's face this month, and the deal ensures it will blow up again right in the middle of the 2012 Presidential campaign.
To give Mr. Obama something to call a victory, Mr. Boehner agreed to thirteen extra months of Unemployment Compensation. Some Americans have been waiting 99 weeks for their old jobs to spring back in the same city at the same pay, surviving only on their government check (plus odd side jobs for cash). Oddly, they do not qualify for the new benefit despite being its poster children.
The result is not as inconsistent as it seems, as it will be carried out in the usual way: with a "comprehensive" bill totaling thousands of pages of pork and favors that no Congressman will actually read before voting for it.
Mr. Obama now has the duty to explain to his Democrats how keeping taxes the same will create millions of jobs, after months of calling the same thing "tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." Indeed, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said, "With unemployment at double-digits, there is something wrong with a system that lets job creators keep almost two-thirds of their money." But Obama adviser Lawrence Summers said the package could be the key to avoiding a double-dip recession.
Perhaps if employers had known this summer that the nation would avoid further hard times, they would have been hiring, and the election--naw, never mind.