President Obama announced on Monday that he and Congressional Republicans have struck a deal on extending the Bush-era tax cuts. How does this affect you?
I'm a Democrat, and I think both parties are betraying the American people after what was apparently just lip-service to tackling the deficit.
-Estelle in Austin, TX
I basically think that the Obama administration made the only possible choice at this time, and because I thought other issues are fundamentally more important for the economy than tax cuts. To me, the betrayal happened a long time ago. Obama has, for godknowswhatreason, chosen a conspicuously ineffective strategy in dealing with Republicans, and has stuck with it through loss after humiliating loss. He is either stupid, which I do not believe, or he fundamentally believes that progressive Democrats are a bigger obstacle to his success than big business, big banks and big Republicans. Curses on his head. The biggest curse on our heads is that we have no better alternative than to keep trying to reason with him and his banker minions.
-Brownell in Manhattan
I volunteered for Obama and have defended him since his election, but this "compromise" is it for me. I have lost all hope. How can he not stand up against the continuation of deficit-increasing tax cuts, particularly for the rich? How can he not go to the country, as often and as loudly as necessary, and point the finger for failure to do the good (stimulative, not to mention compassionate) stuff right at the Republicans who are holding everything up for the sake of continued tax cuts for the rich?? Was my husband right? Should I have supported Hillary?
-Chris in New York City
I am actually very happy with this compromise. This is one of the rare instances where a compromise between two ideologies has actually produced sound policy. Most credible economists agree that what we need right now is short-term economic stimulus and a medium-term plan to reduce the deficit. This compromise accomplishes the former (stimulus) by keeping taxes from going up and extending unemployment benefits. Now if Congress would pass the Deficit Commission's plan but put in a provision that says that it wouldn't kick in for 2 - 3 years (when hopefully the economy will be much better), we would be in a very ideal place. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with this, people on the left and the right need to realize that growing the economy and balancing the budget are two mutually exclusive policies that are diametrically opposite of one another. Both are absolutely imperative, but we cannot do both at the same time. Since most economists (and, I believe, most people) agree that growing the economy (and thus jobs) should be the priority, we should focus on that first and then worry about the deficit. This compromise is a big step forward for growing the economy.
-Dan in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Barack Obama does not understand that plutocrats' tax cuts are inversely correlated to job creation, and that the salve of unemployment extension was not a concession he obtained from the GOP, but a cruel joke on their part: Obama's Government can pay for the jobless victims of corporate greed, which will force Obama into an even more humiliating posture next time, and even more manufactured hysteria about the even greater debt. And he will never explain why the nostrums he offered didn't work, because now he owns the policy and will be blamed for everything- Repubs are laughing their heads off.
-"Left of Dem" in New York
The theory that if the Bush tax cuts expire it will affect those making over $250,000 and then they will not create jobs is pure propaganda. First of all, if you're making $255,000, your increased tax burden would be only on the additional $5000, not the whole amount. The Republicans are as good at propaganda as the old Soviets were. I am now looking to support another Democrat to primary President Obama. I love him, and his family, but he thinks compromise means giving in to Republicans. I'm done.
-Katie in Huntington, NY
If Obama had not cut a deal on this, you could forget about DADT, the Dream act, and more once the new congress gets in next month.
-RLewis in New York
Republican's keep saying the midterm election sent a message. Really? What about the election in 2008? Republicans never seemed to respond to or respect those results! Why is it that Republicans manage to rule whether they are in the majority or not? The Democrats are barely worthy of being a party, at all. Where is the organization, the discipline, the consistent messaging from the Dem's? Obama waited until weeks before the conclusion of the election cycle to say that his administration had accomplished so much, including a tax cut for the middle classs, but nobody knew it... We need this great communicator to communicate... finally! We need fireside chats; we need a constant, intelligent conversation to combat the brainwashing effects of the conservative juggernaut. The media is no longer the liberal media, if it ever was. The media is manipulated by an angry crowd now and it's all very scary.
-Hillary in New York
While I'm personally disappointed by many of the areas where Obama caved, I can't get outraged. First, the extension of unemployment is absolutely essential for millions who literally have no other options right now. Second, this is how politics works, however distasteful. If you come up with a compromise that outrages both bases, and nobody else is really happy about but will go along with anyway, that usually means you've hit the right middle ground. Anything farther to the left or right would lose the support of the opposing party.
-Ken in Little Neck, Queens
I need my unemployment benefits. As a 50+ teacher, this will not help me get a job, but it will help keep my family together. I wonder if any of the politicians think about the fact that sometimes this is what it boils down to: helping people live.
-Jane in Glen Ridge, NJ
What I like in this package, which seems to have been slipped in, is the improvements in the earned income tax credit--that's the poor, folks--the people we keep forgetting about when we talk about the middle class. I have lots of concern for the middle class, but it would be nice if the poor were mentioned now and then.
-RJ in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Don't call them the Bush tax cuts anymore. Call them the unpaid for Obama tax cuts now.
-Bobby in the East Village, Manhattan