podesta’s position

John Podesta, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for American Progress, issued the following comment on the tax extensions and unemployment insurance compromise announced yesterday:

Progressives need to be clear and honest about what just happened on taxes and the economy. Since the midterm election, it has been clear that the Congressional Republican Leadership was perfectly prepared to see middle and working class tax cuts expire and extended unemployment insurance end unless millionaire tax cuts were extended. All the talk about decoupling and extending middle class tax cuts from the cuts for millionaires was wishful thinking at best and just political talk at worst and no strategy could have produced it during the lame duck.

So President Obama was faced with a choice: he could trade a few more years of unnecessary and wasteful tax breaks for the rich in exchange for assistance to the unemployed, additional targeted tax relief for working families through the refundable earned income tax credit and child credit, and keeping tax rates low for 98 percent of Americans; alternatively he could allow taxes to rise on everyone starting in January.

At the end of the day, President Obama decided he couldn’t abandon the millions of Americans who are struggling to keep their families afloat, who are diligently searching for work, and who simply cannot afford higher taxes right now, even though the Congressional Republican Leadership was more than happy to do so if we wouldn’t pay their ransom.

It was a steep price, but this deal will mean about 2 million jobs saved or created over the next two years. On balance, I think the President was right to choose helping working Americans over a December conflagration. But the question hanging over Washington and the country today is how will he avoid repeating the same scenario being played out again and again for the next two years? That’s a question that is keeping me awake at night.

(Reminder: There are enough ‘Obama Is A Sell-Out!’ articles out there today, I’m just bringing you a few restrained, thoughtful and reflective pieces, ones that are probably getting lost in all the noise. But for those who want to read the ‘Sell-Out!’ stuff, you won’t have to look too hard!)

5 Responses to “podesta’s position”

  1. 1 theo67
    December 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    What these so-called liberal activists and outraged “base” are missing is that the 111th Congress has accomplished pretty much everything that Democrats claim is important to them. Health Care. Financial Reform. Education Reform. Better respect for science. Investment in infrastructure. Smarter foreign policy. Improvement in wages of middle class workers. They did not manage to close Gitmo, or pass DADT (although the heavy lifting with the military is done, and now Congress just needs to act) or get immigration reform done – and that’s largely because Congress couldn’t get its act together and was scared to take on these fights. So, President Obama has accomplished – with the support of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid – to get some impressive victories for Democrats and the American people. They’ve also exposed the racists and the Republican agenda.

    Where they are now is that they’ve got one week for Congress to put its money where its mouth is. If they don’t like the deal that the President negotiated, then they can do their jobs and come up with the votes for another deal. They can pass DADT. They can find funding for Gitmo – because that for sure will not happen under a Republican House. They can pass the DREAM act. All these are in the hands of the House members right now, and then the Senate. But not one of them will take time from the front of the TV cameras (Weiner) to actually show us what they would do better and different from the President.

    Next year – he can just execute. He doesn’t really need Congress, except to fund the government. He can start to show people how much better their lives are under the legislation that they’ve passed. He can slow down. Congress will be less useful than they’ve been, because they will be embroiled in political battles that accomplish nothing. But the President can afford to rest on his laurels, and just do the job. He loses nothing with the gridlock that is promised in Congress next year.

  2. December 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Thank you chipsticks for this Podesta comment. I’ve always been impressed by him, and this posting of his comment is a great piece to show Obama as truly smarter than the screaming far left. Perhaps the more sensible Left that I’ve always felt a part of may come around. I haven’t given up on them. Or the far left. I’ve just, as I mentioned on blackwaterdog’s blog, run out of epithets disgusting enough to lay on them, along with their best new friends, of course, the Republicans.

  3. December 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    An important thing here. I just received an email from Chris Bowers, Campaign Director of Daily Kos with a petition attached opposing the deal just struck. I was invited to sign it which of course I declined.

    Just a heads up. I don’t know what we can do about this except write to the administration and the president that we heartily approve of his deal as the best he could get. I think, though, that we should try to counter this petition in some way. Has anyone a more efficient idea than just individual efforts?

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