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President Obama Records an Ode to Tax Cuts

Damon's picture

From the BBC:

The tax cuts announced on Saturday are part of a $787bn stimulus plan that Mr Obama signed into law this week.

The plan, aimed at reviving the US economy amid a global economic crisis, is split into 36% for tax cuts and 64% percent allocated for spending on social programmes.

Mr Obama said the US treasury had already begun directing employers to reduce the amount of taxes claimed from pay cheques.

The savings will reach 95% of American families, he said.

"Never before in our history has a tax cut taken effect faster or gone to so many hardworking Americans," the president said.

First, let me preface what I'm about to say by saying that I'm relieved that Bush is history. With him in office, or under a president McCain, we'd have never even had a stimulus to debate about, at all. And, on a note closer to home, as a so-called 'dying' donor state, Michigan is particularly happy to be receiving billions of dollars to upgrade our forgotten infrastructure. Up here in this donor state we don't call this money coming to us 'stimulus' we call it simply getting what was supposed to be our's in the first place.

That said, I'd so very much appreciate our president refraining from 'hailing' the Republican part of this plan in place of the spending part, particularly in our current economic situation where tax cuts don't make much sense. This is especially important when one considers that even many right-leaning economists will conceed to you that if you're going to do a stimulus, at all, that tax cutting doesn't have nearly the same effect as spending, so its smarter to go with as much spending as one can get.

Now, this is not to say that he hasn't spoken of, and talked, up the real stimulus that is to come in the spending phase of this plan, but I just hope to see him hailing them more centrally and vocally as a positive than simply reducing himself to throwing out in front of the country the Pavlovian red meat that are tax cuts. While tax cuts are inherently bad things, to champion them at the same time we're spending like mad seems to not be the smartest frame to apply to a stimulus bill. The bill is not as much spending as it should be to begin with, so let's not champion the tax cuts over the spending, ok Mr. President?

God bless, him; he's trying, but it's rather unfortunate that anyone has to push him to sound like a liberal and a Democrat. Too many times, it doesn't seem to come naturally to him.

Words matter. Tone matters. Emphasis matters. It's because of this that I expect more than a typical Republican tone, emphasis, and lexicon on the economy when I listen to my Democratic president.

President Obama, you're more than welcomed to make your way up here to Michigan at the ribbon cuttings of completed stimulus projects and to hail them to the same degree (if not to a greater degree) than you hail the tax cuts in your plan. We'll be waiting for you.

Tax cuts are nice, but in this particular case, they are economic junk food. We're actually wanting to thank you more for the health food, that is the spending that will create and retain jobs, and we wish that we'd been given more of that than the cotton candied tax cuts.

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Submitted by jawbone on

spending and that he will "call them out" and "name names" about any such unwise spending* of stimulus funds. (This from the guy who whipped TARP I, which had to be passed IMMEDIATELY, and couldn't have those silly restrictions, requirements for actually lending the monies, accountability, transparency, etc.)

His threat to "call out" mayors lead the hourly news summaries all day Friday. And this morning, NPR said Obama will be giving the same warnings to governors. Villagers are nearly fainting with ecstasy at hearing such things!

Again, this from the guy who's backing off his declaration that Big Banksters should limit pay packages to $500,000 annually. Of course, at the time, this affected so few banksters as to be laughable and more symbolic than actually effective. When the limited nature of the proposed requirement became known, it made the symbolism of the original statement almost laughable.

These paragraphs of yours seem spot on:

God bless, him; he's trying, but it's rather unfortunate that anyone has to push him to sound like a liberal and a Democrat. Too many times, it doesn't seem to come naturally to him.

Words matter. Tone matters. Emphasis matters. It's because of this that I expect more than a typical Republican tone, emphasis, and lexicon on the economy when I listen to my Democratic president.

So, waking up to this this morning, hearing yet anothr almost gleeful report about Obama insinuating that elected officials are by nature going to waste money, it hit me that Obama channels St. Ronnie much more than he does FDR, JFK, LBJ or even TR. He may even believe, along with St. Ronnie, that government IS the problem.

At least that's how his hortatory, paternalistic "warnings" to mayors, governors, other elected state and local officials come across to me. Perhaps this is bcz he come out of the Chicago Machine? Fir whatever reason he says these things, I am not looking forward to his words being used by Repub challengers against Democrats, especially currently serving Dem running for reelection.

Is Obama politically tone deaf now that he's won the presidency? Or he's finally able to state his own ideas, not use the prepared texts of Axelrod who seemed to understand what needed to be said in order to elect an attractive, relatively unknown politician?

I'm getting the feeling our new president likes the powers which a president as accrued, but does not like the powers other elected officials have, and still believes the private sector somehow has an almost holy right to whatever it can glom onto, both financially and power over people and the government.

Clinton may have been forced to work in the center due to the Repub majorities, but he never sounded like a Republican. His worst verbal gaffe in that area was when he inserted the phrase "The era of big government is over" in one of his State of the Union speeches. (Bet he wishes he'd stayed with the planned phrasing.)

Obama, as many of us were concerned about early on in the primaries, did sound like a Repub wannbee. Alas.

*Who will determine whether some state spending is "unwise"? Obama? Repubs? The MCM? Members of the public who disagree with particular programs? Who? Based on what standards?

Can of worms, Mr. President, now opened.

Submitted by lambert on

That was CD's summary of Obama's inaugural, and I think she was right.

Now, you could take that two ways:

1. Appreciate the honesty or

2. Inflicting pain is in the interests of some, and it will continue until their interests are satisfied.

I suppose, on reflection, those propositions are not mutually exclusive.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Yeah, with the problem for us (liberals) being that this "they" will never be satisfied. Though, I don't know who this "they" is, I'm convinced while the statutory change in office has been made that these folks are the same folks (or, at least of the same spirit) that had Bush's ear. The only thing I can hope is that while Bush both listened too, and carried out, their plans that Obama will just pay them lip service in the way of adopting their lexicon, but won't be beholden to them in any other way.

BTW, his focus on tax cuts (over the greater benefits of spending in a stimulus package) is just the opposite of the message of "more pain." Selling tax cuts as the focus of your damned stimulus plan is the definition of selling false hope. I keep emphasis the word stimulus in relation to tax cuts, because stimulus is supposed to be the opposite of tax cuts, at least in a liberal's view of economics. As my state's lieutenant governor said, yesterday, tax cuts don't build bridges and fill potholes. And these particular tax cuts to families don't create jobs. They needn't have been part of this stimulus plan, especially as such a large percentage of the plan.