After Obama's compromise with the GOP on the extension of the Bush tax cuts for income above $250,000, which he had long opposed, at least there is finally one thing all sides can agree on: President Obama hasn't got a clue. Even those of us who support tax cuts across the board are flabbergasted. What, exactly, does our president believe? We don't know. He's not a socialist, as many on the right have taken to calling him. He's simply what he's always been: an empty suit. He'll say whatever he has to to get elected. He'll do whatever it takes to be liked. He has carried his record of voting "present" into the White House in a way few presidents have done before. He stands for nothing.
Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post calls the deal a philosophical victory for Republicans, and that's exactly right. With this deal, the president has admitted that tax cuts do stimulate the economy. After trying all the liberal solutions—which include spending, spending, and more spending—the president is turning to the only thing that works to get our country moving again: letting people keep more of the money they earn.
The arguments against extending the tax cuts have ranged from ridiculous to even more ridiculous. Some popular ones:
• "We shouldn't be giving the rich more money."
Giving? It's their money in the first place! It's like your husband "giving" you a sweater for Christmas that he got out of your closet. It's not giving, it's simply not taking. The top 1% already pay over 40% of the total money collected in taxes. The language of tax increases needs to change and the demonization of the wealthy has to end. President Obama has long led the way of this demonization, calling a tax increase on those who make $250,000 a "millionaire's tax" many times over his campaign.
• "We can't afford to pay for these tax cuts."
Tax cuts are free. They're "cuts." They cost nothing. What people actually mean is that we can't afford to pay for the spending we've budgeted for by using tax increases which haven't happened yet. It's the equivalent of a small widget manufacturer hoping to get a deal to sell his product to Walmart and basing his yearly budget on the possibility that Walmart will buy from him. When Walmart decides to go with a different widget producer, is it Walmart's fault the manufacturer's business collapses? It's not. We shouldn't be spending money we don't have, and we certainly shouldn't be spending more money we don't have with the hopes that "the rich" will pay more than their share to make up for our reckless spending.
• "This is a great deal for Republicans."
This one is half-right. Again, it's a philosophical victory, and sure, all tax cuts are good tax cuts. And yes, in a political sense, anything that makes Barack Obama look bad, especially in such a capitulating fashion, is good for the Republican party. But ultimately, tax cuts are only one part of the good economy equation. We now have 161 weeks of unemployment benefits thanks to this "deal." This is a major drain on employers and will stifle growth.
Our spending habits need to change. The government can't keep saving failing businesses and propping up dying industries. There aren't enough "rich" people to pay for that kind of lunacy. It would be nice if the president understood this. It would be even nicer if he believed in something and had consistency in his beliefs.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.