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Five Reasons the Obama-GOP Deal Sucks

  • by
  • December 13, 2010
  • 12:41 pm
Five Reasons the Obama-GOP Deal Sucks

NOTE: This is a guest post from Shannon Moriarity from United for a Fair Economy (UFE).

Earlier this week, President Obama struck a deal with elitist Congressional Republicans, a deal that he claims is “doing what’s right for the American people, for jobs and for economic growth.

The reality is that the deal does more for Paris Hilton than it does the 100,000 people who work at Hilton hotels.

The Obama-GOP plan sucks because it doesn’t do anything to close the wealth divide that has been growing steadily for decades. Closing this gap by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and restoring the estate tax was a top priority for progressives during the 2008 election. We expected bold, decisive action. Needless to say, we’re a little pissed off.

Compromise usually means that both sides give up a little something to reach an agreement that we can all live with. The problem is, all the Republicans wanted out of a deal with Obama was to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy. And they got it.

Of course, not everything in the deal sucks. Extension of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class is good, as well as the tax credits. And there’s little question that reprieve was essential for the millions of out-of-work Americans. But to settle for a deal that provides a huge tax break for millionaires and billionaires is wildly irresponsible and undeniably unfair. Not to mention sucky.

The deal sucks. And – in plain English – here’s why:

1. It holds unemployed Americans hostage.

It sounds like a nightmare: either watch unemployment benefits for out of work Americans expire or let Wall Street fat cats walk away — scot-free — from paying their fair share of taxes. This plan sucks because it wrongly turns this compromise into a black/white, either/or decision. It draws a line in the sand, attempting to divide the left at a time when we should be pulling together.
Besides, I thought we weren’t supposed to negotiate with hostage-takers?

2. It increases economic inequality.

It’s a frightening reality: the top one percent of Americans own as much wealth as those in the bottom 90 percent (to be clear, by “top” and “bottom” we’re only talking net worth). If you think it’s completely unacceptable that billionaire Warren Buffet’s secretary pays more in taxes than the man himself (as he famously pointed out), know that this plan will do nothing to change that. And that sucks.

The wealthy in this country are doing fine. Why aren’t they being asked to make sacrifices like the rest of us?

3. It values whack economic principles.

The number one economic justification for tax breaks for the rich is that they will somehow trickle down these savings into jobs to provide economic stimulus. Yet, history tells us that this simply isn’t true. If tax breaks for the rich resulted in job creation, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in a decade after the Bush tax cuts. History tells us that tax breaks for the rich sit idle in their bank accounts.
Consider a very sophisticated and economically nuanced piece of economic insight: people need money to buy stuff. If we want to stimulate the economy, we need to be looking at how we can put regular people back to work. That seems to be the most surefire plan for economic stimulus out there.

4. It’s more of the same.

Extending Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and weakening the estate tax is bad policy, bad economics, and bad for our country. During challenging times, we should be investing in our people, our education, and our national infrastructure. Instead, we are prioritizing the bank accounts of millionaires and billionaires.
This tax deal does nothing to move us forward and simply provides more of the same, setting us up for a painful bout of economic deja vu in a year or so.

5. It disrespects the will of the people.

Obama may chide us for being progressive “purists,” but I prefer to think of those who are skeptical of this plan as progressive patriots. It is our job to hold our elected officials accountable. Polling shows that the majority of Americans believe that tax breaks for the super-wealthy should be allowed to expire. After all, low- and middle-income Americans have tightened their belts, why aren’t we asking the same of millionaires and billionaires?

This deal sucks. It sucks real bad. It’s time we rise up, make lots of noise, and hold our elected officials accountable. We must call on our elected officials and tell them that the deal sucks, and we expect more. Whose back do they have, anyway?

UFE raises awareness that concentrated wealth and power undermine the economy, corrupt democracy, deepen the racial divide, and tear communities apart. They support and help build social movements for greater equality.

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114 comments

+ add your own
7:22PM PST on Dec 17, 2010

The president can only do so much, especially when his so-called allies have done so little to help these past two years.

Hmm, here's an idea. Obama talked to the Mythbusters recently. Maybe he can call them back for advice. In a previous season they figured out how to polish crap, and that's all congress seems to offer lately.

12:33AM PST on Dec 17, 2010

it seems that obie didn't have a lot of choices...but this way...the tax breaks for the rich will expire in 2 years and the gop will be very hard pressed to try to keep them....it always looks so much easier on the outside than it really is on the inside....

9:20PM PST on Dec 16, 2010

What else you all could have done is perhaps vote the house back to its Democratic front. Obama did not have much choice now but has to compromise and work in tandem with the Republican majority.

6:32PM PST on Dec 15, 2010

I say let them have all the wealth. It will only engender bitter class warfare that will cost them FAR more to pay to defend their own wealth than what they pay now in taxes.

It is noteworthy that the tax rates that existed previous to the 'Bush tax cuts" existed during a very prosperous time, economically. So higher taxes obviously didn't stop growth in any way. Conversely, the Bush years, with lower taxes, created an enormous deficit.

4:04PM PST on Dec 15, 2010

Good well thought out article. Didn't put in every fact but it is based in truth

3:25PM PST on Dec 15, 2010

this is ridicoules!!! the repucblicans are boobboo. what ashame!!!!!! they always are blaming obama for everything!!!! this is caca!!!!!caca!!!!!! obama is trying to do the best he can.

11:59AM PST on Dec 15, 2010

SHAME ON these *&^ Republicans who 'blackmailed' Obama into voting for retaining the tax cuts. What a horrific choice he had..........there are just too many unemployed people who need the extra help of unemployment checks. Have any of these *^% / Repukes give any thought at all to the American Middle Class that is becoming the unemployed poor or the American "Poor" who can't even properly feed their children.
YOU stupid people who fault Obama are worse than these Repukes that are taking the food out of American Citizens mouths!!!

11:01AM PST on Dec 15, 2010

There are two economies at play in this country. The one the wealthiest 2% live in - that's the one the media and the Government sell us... And then there is the economy the rest of us live in. That would be the long term disadvantaged, and the now impoverished former middle-class. Why do so many people participate in upholding the lives of the economic elite?!

I was a little scared, but willing to let those "Too Big To Fail" companies FAIL. These business entities failed, and destroyed the assets of many in the process. And we enabled them to keep going. We allowed them to get fattened up off the public larder. How utterly dysfunctional. The US is just supposed to weather this stuff and keep going? Where?

I thought, This may be the end of the "Global Economy". I think that would be a good thing. Let's support the workers and the manufacturing base in our own country. Let's keep the money circulating in the American economy. That would be the economy that most of us live in.

10:42AM PST on Dec 15, 2010

Trickle Down?! Why do they insist I need someone else to spend my money for me? Stupid Jedi Mind Tricks....

9:46AM PST on Dec 15, 2010

Patricia P,
If the Bush tax cuts are allowed to continue for everyone, the low income bracket will remain 10% and the highest bracket will remain at 35%. However, if the Bush tax cuts expire, then the low income tax bracket will go to 15% and the highest bracket will be 39.6%. What you said is incorrect. If they expire, we will all be paying at a higher rate, including the very wealthy!

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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