Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Checkmate

Obama's recent tax deal was no compromise; it was an outright victory for liberals, for Obama, and for America.

We need to begin with the understanding that Republicans were right: it's a terrible time to raise taxes. Had Obama been less cagey, he would have openly admitted that he didn't want anyone to have a tax increase right now—including the rich. Absolutely the only way that he would have agreed to raise taxes on the rich would have been with the knowledge that he could then spend that money on economic stimulus. But that's impossible after Nov. 2.

So he was confronting a situation in which a) he needed to keep the tax cuts; yet b) the tax cuts were going to add hundreds of billions to the deficit.

His solution: get his tax cut extension, yet pass the blame for the deficit hit to the GOP.

The GOP has danced into his trap. And they now look awful: for liberals, Republicans held the government hostage to protect the rich from higher taxes. For conservatives, Republicans just added $900 billion to the deficit.

So this "compromise" is good for liberals, Obama, and America because the GOP has just given us a $900 billion dollar stimulus, in outright defiance of its own obsession with the deficit, and gleefully taken full responsibility for it. Astonishing. Obama has pulled off one of the most brilliant political maneuvers I've ever seen. It's so successful, in fact, that even his friends don't realize what he's done.

But they will. And when they do, he'll be re-elected.

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