Sunday, July 31, 2011


Assuming this debt thing goes through, Democrats got their clocks cleaned -- and I just can't believe any Democrat or liberal is holding out hope for this: official argued that the ultimate trigger was the Bush tax cuts, set to expire at the end of 2012. Obama would block extension of the cuts, either as a final act in office after losing the November 2012 election or as a safely reelected two-term president.

First of all, if Obama loses -- and at this point I think it's much more likely than not -- he's going to work that "graciousness" angle to the very end: he won't veto the renewal of the tax cuts because (he'll tell us) the people will have spoken and it'll only be fair that a democratically elected Mitt Romney or Rick Perry gets to put his stamp on the economy going forward. Yup, he's going to drive us crazy like that to the very end.

But I don't think the threat to veto the renewal is going to last very far into next year. How long do you think it's going to be before Republicans define this as the very sort of tax increase on the middle class Obama vowed to avoid? Because let's face it, the tax cuts on the wealthy will never be decoupled from the tax cuts on everyone else -- not when the House is controlled by the GOP (and the House, constitutionally, gets to originate all tax-oriented bills). This is going to be a campaign issue: Obama threatens massive tax increase on the middle class -- even if he loses, he'll do it in a lame-duck session. It doesn't matter that all the rigmarole in the process outlined in the debt deal is going to screw the middle class, because that's all very complicated and this is simple: It's a tax increase. It's a big-spending liberal Democrat tax increase on the middle-class threatened by big-spending liberal Barack Obama.

He's going to back down. We're never going to get a penny of revenue from the wealthy because Republicans will go for the triggers in the debt deal every time rather than accept a cent in taxation, even on billionaires, if it's proposed by the bipartisan commission, and then, unless we get tax reform -- which, to the shock of all Serious People will somehow preserve a lot of loopholes for richies even as it screws the middle class again -- the Bush tax cuts will be renewed again. Bank on it.

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