Why Obama Struck His Tax Cut Bargain

He wanted more stimulus, and this is the best he could get
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2010 10:19 AM CST
President Barack Obama speaks about the US economy to local business leaders and students and faculty at Forsyth County Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Monday, Dec. 6, 2010.   (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Shawn Rocco)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama's decision to extend the Bush tax cuts has got pundits talking and liberals frothing. Here's what they're saying:

  • This might look like a “classic Washington giveaway,” but “at the White House, where there is much anxiety about the staggering performance of the economy, this is considered a victory,” says Michael Scherer of Time. Obama gets to essentially “sneak another stimulus bill through Congress, by capitalizing on the Republican habit of refusing to acknowledge the deficit impact of tax cuts.”

  • “The move is based on a political calculation” Obama made after the midterms, observes Scott Wilson of the Washington Post. Obama wants to look like “the last reasonable man in a sharply partisan Washington.”
  • But there’s a cost: “The White House holiday party for its liberal friends might be awkward (or empty),” observes John Dickerson of Slate. The public is worried about the deficit, and already agreed that tax cuts for the wealthy needed to expire. Obama’s message: “Even in the Age of Austerity, there's always room for pie.”
  • “This is tax cutting, Oprah-style: you get a tax cut! And you get a tax cut! You all get a tax cut!” quips Felix Salmon of Reuters. It’s terrible fiscal policy, since most of the upper class tax cuts will be saved. “Essentially, we’re replacing private debt with public debt. Just like Ireland!”

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