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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Why They're Pissed

by digby

My main worries about the tax cut deal are mostly around the long term political effects, which I've outlined over the last couple of days. In my view, this was probably inevitable since they didn't take advantage of Obama's honeymoon and the financial crisis to ram through the middle class tax cut extension when they had the chance early in the term. Krugman raises some important questions about the likely economic effects that are rather alarming as well. He says, "Obama may be buying off the hostage-takers by … giving them more hostages." So the laying of new time bombs that are ticking away in this bill form the greatest basis for my objections.

But I think Ezra really nails what gripes Democrats most about it and it's very well illustrated by this graph:

Obama's got 156 million people splitting $214 billion in tax cuts and benefits. The GOP's got 4 million people splitting $133 billion in tax cuts. On a per-person level, the GOP's tax cuts are much larger. An individual billionaire is getting a far better deal than an individual unemployed American. And that's galling. The problem is that to take the money from the billionaire means to also take the money from the unemployed individual. Actually, taking the money from the billionaire means taking the money from a lot of unemployed Americans.

Everyone likes to portray this thing as being a "compromise" between the two sides. But it's clearly much closer to the GOP wish list than anything the Democrats wanted and it's using the GOPs preferred tool of tax cuts to do it. That just doesn't seem like much of a Democratic accomplishment. Certainly, the braying about how incredibly "progressive" it is, and demanding gratitude for producing it (a very, very annoying habit from this administration) is a bit much, considering that the Party still has a majority and a Democratic president. It's hard to see that as anything but a very weak result and nobody likes to be weak.

Update: Pastordan writes in with this observation:

I agree with you that the tax cut results look very weak, and nobody likes to be weak. But they also violate basic ideas of fairness. How many times are we going to let the rich get a better deal than everyone else? People know it's unfair on a very basic level, and it pisses them off.

Anyway, the Magnificat is one of the appointed lectionary readings this weekend. Millions of Americans are going to be hearing this in church, and how do you suppose they're going to hear it?

Luke 1:46-55

Mary’s Song of Praise

And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’