[Rushtalk] Let’s Not Make a Deal {Democrats plot our doom}

Carl Spitzer Winblows at lavabit.com
Sat Dec 22 11:06:34 MST 2012

Let’s Not Make a Deal
Published: November 8, 2012

To say the obvious: Democrats won an amazing victory. Not only did they
hold the White House despite a still-troubled economy, in a year when
their Senate majority was supposed to be doomed, they actually added

For Op-Ed, follow @nytopinion and to hear from the editorial page
editor, Andrew Rosenthal, follow @andyrNYT.

Nor was that all: They scored major gains in the states. Most notably,
California — long a poster child for the political dysfunction that
comes when nothing can get done without a legislative supermajority —
not only voted for much-needed tax increases, but elected, you guessed
it, a Democratic supermajority.

But one goal eluded the victors. Even though preliminary estimates
suggest that Democrats received somewhat more votes than Republicans in
Congressional elections, the G.O.P. retains solid control of the House
thanks to extreme gerrymandering by courts and Republican-controlled
state governments. And Representative John Boehner, the speaker of the
House, wasted no time in declaring that his party remains as
intransigent as ever, utterly opposed to any rise in tax rates even as
it whines about the size of the deficit.

So President Obama has to make a decision, almost immediately, about how
to deal with continuing Republican obstruction. How far should he go in
accommodating the G.O.P.’s demands?

My answer is, not far at all. Mr. Obama should hang tough, declaring
himself willing, if necessary, to hold his ground even at the cost of
letting his opponents inflict damage on a still-shaky economy. And this
is definitely no time to negotiate a “grand bargain” on the budget that
snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

In saying this, I don’t mean to minimize the very real economic dangers
posed by the so-called fiscal cliff that is looming at the end of this
year if the two parties can’t reach a deal. Both the Bush-era tax cuts
and the Obama administration’s payroll tax cut are set to expire, even
as automatic spending cuts in defense and elsewhere kick in thanks to
the deal struck after the 2011 confrontation over the debt ceiling. And
the looming combination of tax increases and spending cuts looks easily
large enough to push America back into recession.

Nobody wants to see that happen. Yet it may happen all the same, and Mr.
Obama has to be willing to let it happen if necessary.

Why? Because Republicans are trying, for the third time since he took
office, to use economic blackmail to achieve a goal they lack the votes
to achieve through the normal legislative process. In particular, they
want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, even though the nation
can’t afford to make those tax cuts permanent and the public believes
that taxes on the rich should go up — and they’re threatening to block
any deal on anything else unless they get their way. So they are, in
effect, threatening to tank the economy unless their demands are met.

Mr. Obama essentially surrendered in the face of similar tactics at the
end of 2010, extending low taxes on the rich for two more years. He made
significant concessions again in 2011, when Republicans threatened to
create financial chaos by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. And the
current potential crisis is the legacy of those past concessions.

Well, this has to stop — unless we want hostage-taking, the threat of
making the nation ungovernable, to become a standard part of our
political process.

So what should he do? Just say no, and go over the cliff if necessary.

It’s worth pointing out that the fiscal cliff isn’t really a cliff. It’s
not like the debt-ceiling confrontation, where terrible things might
well have happened right away if the deadline had been missed. This
time, nothing very bad will happen to the economy if agreement isn’t
reached until a few weeks or even a few months into 2013. So there’s
time to bargain.

More important, however, is the point that a stalemate would hurt
Republican backers, corporate donors in particular, every bit as much as
it hurt the rest of the country. As the risk of severe economic damage
grew, Republicans would face intense pressure to cut a deal after all.

Meanwhile, the president is in a far stronger position than in previous
confrontations. I don’t place much stock in talk of “mandates,” but Mr.
Obama did win re-election with a populist campaign, so he can plausibly
claim that Republicans are defying the will of the American people. And
he just won his big election and is, therefore, far better placed than
before to weather any political blowback from economic troubles —
especially when it would be so obvious that these troubles were being
deliberately inflicted by the G.O.P. in a last-ditch attempt to defend
the privileges of the 1 percent.

Most of all, standing up to hostage-taking is the right thing to do for
the health of America’s political system.

So stand your ground, Mr. President, and don’t give in to threats. No
deal is better than a bad deal.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on November 9, 2012, on page
A31 of the New York edition with the headline: Let’s Not Make A Deal.


ObombA did not win erection, Trotskite RINO Mitt Romney threw the
election.  -- Rush Limbaugh
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