Yeah that’s right: I’m havin’ to drop some 50 Cent to convey my feelings about the deal the President struck last night with GOP congressional leaders. So seductive is Barack Obama yet also so very practical. Welcome GOP to the White House Candy Shop.
Got the magic stick, I’m the love doctor
Have your friends teasing you ’bout how sprung I gotcha
Wanna show me how you work it baby, no problem
Republicans betta watch out cause Barack Obama ain’t playin’. It’s looking more like he’s serving the tea at this party and some Republicans bout to get romanced. After all, this is the same man who managed to get real healthcare reform passed after decades of debate so I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised that when push came to shove, Obama was able to make a deal. Overall, I would have liked to have seen the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy extended for only one year and long-term unemployment extended longer than 13 months. There are people out there who will say that Obama and the White House caved to Tea Party pressure, but I don’t think that’s fair. Sure some rich people are going to make out big time in this deal but thousands of families in the U.S. living on the edge and dependent on those unemployment benefits were relying on the president to make sure they’re not, for example, homeless and starving at Christmas. Plus the middle and working classes (i.e. normal people) are going to get the tax breaks they need, too.
The black community is particularly impacted by this conversation given that unemployment rates are near Great Depression levels at 17%, double the already high as hell national rate of 9.8%. I think we’re willing for Oprah, Jay-Z and A-Rod to get a tax break if it means that a whole lot of ordinary fans of theirs have enough to pay their heating bills during this cold winter a-comin’. Obama had to have their back and prevent a total Tea Party roughridin’, naw mean?
Honestly, this is how Americans often hope government will work — where our elected representatives actually sit down and work it out rather than fight with each other while we suffer. Obama’s ability to smooth-talk the GOP to a compromise has no doubt used up a lot of his time and social capital. My hope is that he will apply the same superpowers of persuasion to a few more critical votes that need passage immediately including:
- The DREAM Act which provides young people in the U.S. who serve their nation or are excellent students a path to U.S. citizenship.
- Repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell which would remove sanctioned discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the military — it’s clear that most people both inside and outside of the military support this. If Congress doesn’t get this done during the lame duck session, I think the President should just do it via Executive Order.
There’s a potential heavy cost to this current deal on the table but we just have to hope that we can weather this storm. Still we’re running up a hefty national tab in the form of the deficit and eventually we will need to have a serious grownup conversation on how we start to pay that down. The deets on the bill from CNN:
Bush tax cuts: $458 billion. The package would extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone for two years, including two years of relief for the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax. The estimated cost would be $458 billion, according to earlier numbers from the Treasury Department.
The cost of extending all the tax cuts over 10 years would have been $3.7 trillion.
Unemployment benefits: $57 billion. The package would also leave in place for 13 months the option to file for extended federal unemployment benefits — which go as high as 99 weeks in states hit hardest by job loss. The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that a year-long extension would cost $57 billion.
Social Security tax break: $120 billion. The package would also offer workers a 2% payroll tax holiday next year, so that instead of paying 6.2% on their first $106,800 of wages, they will only have to pay 4.2%. The White House estimates the measure would cost $120 billion.
Individual tax credits: $40 billion. The compromise framework would also extend for two years the increased value of a number of tax credits that benefit low- and middle-income tax filers, such as the earned income tax credit, the child credit and a revamped tax credit for college costs. The measure would cost $40 billion, the administration said.
Business tax breaks: Cost unclear. It is still not clear how many business tax breaks are in the package. Some, like an extension of the research and development credit, has drawn bipartisan support and is typically renewed annually. But also included is a new temporary option for businesses to write off 100% of their expenses in 2011. A cost estimate was not immediately available.
Estate tax: $88 billion. The compromise framework also includes a lower estate tax, which barring any changes would return in 2011 with a $1 million exemption level and a top rate of 55%. Instead, under the proposal, the exemption level would be raised to $5 million and the top rate lowered to 35%. The administration said it didn’t have a cost estimate yet, but a review of an estate tax proposal with similar parameters by the Tax Policy Center suggests the cost could be roughly $88 billion over 2 years.
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