Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Obama on tax cuts,the budget and a possible Geico commerical.
In his long awaited speech on the budget, Obama, as part of deficit reduction has proposed ending the Bush tax cuts for the upper 5% income earners ( along with making unprecedented cuts in Medicaid,Medicare and social security). Obama did say some good things. He finally did what Democrats should have been doing for years and that is lay the blame for the current fiscal mess entirely at the feet of the Republicans who are entirely, 100% responsible for the the deficit and it's unconscionable size, although he didnt do it as strongly as needed. A forensic accounting degree would come in handy here in order to pick the pieces of this mess apart. But while some of what Obama had to say produced a positive reaction from non-partisans like the Center For Tax Policy and the Concord Coalition, one thing has to be kept in mind about Obama -- he never means what he says and he never follows through on what he promises. Whether its closing Gitmo, promising a public option on healthcare reform, ending the Bush tax cuts, ending banks investing in derivatives, promising to use public funds in his presidential campagin, he has a history of saying what he needs to say at the time for personal political reasons and then always reneges.
Some of the speech was typical Obama, saying things that simply were not true. One example was his statement about bipartisan deficit reduction:
"We have come together before to reduce the deficit and we can do it again".
I don't know on what planet Obama was on when that happened but it wasn't the planet Earth. The parties have never come together to reduce or eliminate the deficit.
In 1992 when Bill Clinton introduced his budget which included a 5c a gallon gasoline tax all of which was earmarked for eliminating the deficit, every Republican in the House and every Republican in the senate voted against it. They called multiple press conferences where they all said the same thing -- Clinton's budget would explode the deficit, drive up unemployment and send the country into a deeper recession. It took Al Gore as president of the senate to end the deadlock and cast the deciding vote on Clinton's budget which passed by one vote and only with Democratic votes.
Clinton's budget ultimately resulted in the lowest unemployment in 40 years, eliminated the deficit, saw the greatest economic expansion in American history, balanced the budget and produced a $5 1/2 trillion budget surplus. The Republicans batted 1.000. They were wrong about everything.
So what will Obama actually do? Obama's proposed cuts in Medicare and Medicaid are already being met with strong opposition by Democrats. And John Boehner has said that any tax hike is a deal breaker. So will Obama stick to his guns on eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy?
There is a rumor Geico is readying a script for a commercial to run during the upcoming budget battle. It goes something like this:
"Will choosing Geico save you 15% on car insurance? Does Obama lie, renege, reverse himself, and sell out to Republicans?"
Of course, you can always do your own commercial. I'll save this one for 2012.