Sworn off writing about politics anymore, have I?
After the midterm elections in November, I resigned myself to the idea that the Bush tax cuts would be continued for all Americans. I would rather see them extended only for the middle class; I’d be OK if they weren’t extended at all (I can pay my fair share, I think), but I figured, realistically, that any chance the cuts would be denied to the wealthiest was vaporized after the election results became known.
So earlier this week, Obama managed to negotiate a deal with the Republican leadership in Congress. Yes, the tax cuts would be extended, temporarily, even to the wealthiest tax brackets. But he also got a commitment to extend unemployment benefits, which the GOP didn’t really want. And there was movement on the inheritance tax, which I’ve seen described negatively by some but would be an improvement over what will happen if nothing is done (it’s another case of a law expiring and the tax reverting to something punitive for more people). I’m not linking to anything, by the way, because (1) these are leading news topics in the U.S. and (2) I’m not really a political writer.
Yesterday, I was unhappy with Obama seeming to once again capitulate to McConnell’s and Boehner’s demands, but pragmatic about it in the end. We did get more unemployment benefits for people who’ve been out of work far longer than usual due to the more-rotten-than-usual economy. (I’m still upset with Obama over yet another slap to progressives who actually want some progress, but that’s another story.)
Then today, the House Democrats, in a snit, decide they’re not going to accept the tax cut extension for the wealthy. This actually pissed me off, because I had come round to the pragmatic acceptance of the deal, because at least there’d been some negotiation and compromise to it, which is really the only way anything gets done in democratic government. It reminds me, again, of why Congress has had lower approval ratings than the sitting president for most of the last decade. And if you can achieve lower approval ratings than George W. Bush, you really suck.
I don’t know why the House Democrats got bold now. It’s not like they’re going to do anything with their boldness, like investigate a certain previous administration’s war-on-terror-related encroachments on liberty, or get a single-payer health insurance system passed, or hold too-big-to-fail banks accountable for anything. Sure, they might be unhappy with the president; a lot of us are. Doesn’t mean they’ll be able to accomplish anything except destroy what little progress we have.
I guess we really are going to have gridlock in Congress for the next two years. Thanks, Democrats, for getting that started early.