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Robert Reich begins: "The deal the President struck with Republican leaders is an abomination. It will cost $900 billion over the next two years - larger than the bailout of Wall Street, GM and Chrysler put together, larger than the stimulus package, larger than anything that's come out of Washington in years."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



Why the Tax Deal Is an Abomination

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

08 December 10



The President's Last Stand Is No Stand at All: Why the Tax Deal Is an Abomination

he deal the President struck with Republican leaders is an abomination.

It will cost $900 billion over the next two years - larger than the bailout of Wall Street, GM and Chrysler put together, larger than the stimulus package, larger than anything that's come out of Washington in years.

It makes a mockery of deficit reduction. Worse, the lion's share of that $900 billion will go to the very rich. Families with incomes of over $1 million will reap an average of about $70,000, while middle-class families earning $50,000 a year will get an average of around $1,500. In addition, the deal just about eviscerates the estate tax - yanking the exemption up to $5 million per person and a maximum rate of 35 percent.

And for what?

Wealthy families won't spend nearly as large a share of what they get out of this deal as will middle-class and working-class families, so it doesn't do much to stimulate the economy.

The deal further concentrates income and wealth in America - when it's already more concentrated than at any time in the last 80 years.

The bits and pieces the President got in return - extended unemployment benefits, a continuation of certain small tax benefits for the middle class - are peanuts. After last week's awful jobs report, Senate Republicans would have been forced to extend unemployment insurance anyway.

It's politically nuts. Polls showed most Americans are against extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

It would have been a defining issue for the President to use to show whose side he's on (the middle and working class) and whose side the Republicans are on (not the middle and working class). And given that the House turns over to Republicans in January, the President probably won't have another chance like this one.

It loses him even more of his "base" - by which I mean people who think of themselves as Democrats and are committed to the ideal of equal opportunity and don't want the nation to become even more of a plutocracy.

It makes him look weak - Republicans got everything they wanted. And when a President looks weak, he is weak.

House and Senate Democrats should reject this abomination.

The President should get himself new advisers.


Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

 

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+43 # Dan Russell 2010-12-08 11:06
Is anyone thinking the GOP might renege on the deal? They did something similar to that on the healthcare reform. It would really hang Obama out to dry!
 
 
+21 # Cynthia Becker 2010-12-08 11:31
I hope they do.
 
 
+16 # wfalco 2010-12-08 13:41
Quoting Dan Russell:
Is anyone thinking the GOP might renege on the deal? They did something similar to that on the healthcare reform. It would really hang Obama out to dry!

I thought the same. They are out to get him and will insist on a permanent extension for the rich.
They play hardball and are out to win. Compromise is not a part of their vocabulary and Obama needs to draw a line in the sand..NOW!
 
 
+9 # Ellen Scopel 2010-12-08 15:58
I agree with you whole heartedly & my bank account does too!
 
 
+33 # BradFromSalem 2010-12-08 15:07
You sir, are correct!

They will attempt to make the Bush tax cuts permanent in either January or February. Then, they will try to make the SS reduction permanent as well.

Finally they will pass Omore tax benefits to Corporations that "help" other countries by sending our jobs there, and lastly phase out unemployment benefits permanently.

I hope Obama and the Dems have the stomach to fight back hard, and will scream from the rooftops that the GOP are destroying America.
 
 
+6 # Oligarch 23 2010-12-08 17:08
It is not about Obama-it is about wealth-and thank you for granting me more of you and your children's money and future-now I can shop for that other house in the mountains which I desire. Since it is in a foreign country-when you realize how throughly you have been robbed by us Oligarchs-I will be safe from your revenge! So thanks again for the money! PS Rice & beans make a nutricious dinner for the new destitute!
 
 
+6 # genierae 2010-12-10 18:37
Oligarch 23, you might be safe from our revenge, but you can't escape karma. What goes around, comes around, and the rich elites have run up quite a bill.
 
 
+1 # June Meek 2010-12-11 21:40
Oligarch 23
You can run and hide, but you will be found. Revenge will find you. It is called Karma. What goes around comes around. And compared to what you will be forced to eat, rice and beans will be a delicacy that you will wish you had. Your own contemptable words have condemned you.
 
 
+21 # DaveW. 2010-12-08 17:26
Dan Russell, Quite frankly, Obama "needs to be hung out to dry." He has decided that swimming with the "sharks" is easier than rescuing their victims. No modern President was given a better chance to expose GOP hypocrisy than Obama and the tax issue. He "stuck his toes in" and tested the waters with financial reform and his "choice" of advisers. He "waded" into same waters when cutting backroom health care deals with the likes of Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak. Now, he's finally taken the "plunge." The really sad part is that he truly could have become the "Lincoln" of his time and "emancipated" the poor and middle class from the jaws of avarice. In a couple of years he'll be an ex-President with plenty of time on his hands. Maybe he'll take the time to pen a new book: "Hope Doesn't Float"
 
 
-1 # giraffe 2010-12-08 17:51
Attach the bully (GOP) now - not Obama. Get real. Do you know how to fight a bully? I got bullied by opposition in a court room with the Judge helping him out. Neither my attorney nor I knew to say to the opposing counsel and judge "you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts." the judge ruled on the "opinion" If I lose my appeal - I will publish the words of the judge (even though my case is sealed.) - which brings me to WikiLeaks - and my first amendment rights. The US is at fault for not locking their data with even "passwords"? OMG it is 2010.
 
 
+6 # racp 2010-12-09 22:24
I hope so... but it is not going to happen. With this deal the GOP is sinking this administration and the future of Democratic party. Where do you think money to rescue the states that are sinking fast (and that is almost all of them) is going to come from. Forget about fire and police depts, public transportation, health, roads, etc. There is nothing left available for the near and distant future. Oh! BTW, it is also making sure GOP candidates will have plenty donations for next election (who will not donate 1 year of tax breaks to those that keep giving them?)
 
 
-125 # edge 2010-12-08 11:38
The "rich" pay most of the income taxes so when you cut taxes those that pay the most get the most!
Anything else is just redistribution!
 
 
+35 # Dwight McCabe 2010-12-08 13:15
And the amount the rich pay is the lowest rate in 60 years. Tet they still whine about paying taxes. (And if they make over $1 million a year that's rich in most people's eyes).

So you don't believe we should try to improve the life of everyone in the country but instead let the rich grab more and more of the assets of this country? Back to Rome.
 
 
+9 # Ellen Scopel 2010-12-08 16:04
Oh, but I do believe we need to improve the life of everybody in the country. that the rich grab more of then assets of this country is an abomination breeding contempt, at the least!
 
 
+35 # Dave in NC 2010-12-08 13:16
Then bring it on!

After all, the Republicans have spent the past thirty years pushing (and actually implementing, whenever possible) redistribution in the opposite direction, so it's long since time that the trend was reversed.

The status quo ante 1981, baby!
 
 
+5 # Ellen Scopel 2010-12-08 16:39
Soo True! put That Trend in reverse now! I see a Cliff right in front of us....HELP!
 
 
+22 # quietdog 2010-12-08 13:22
To (broken) edge

Meaningless drivel...your "account" ignores the moral dimension of Reich's argument. It furthermore merely and reflexively just asserts unconsciously "derived" narratives that are asserteded as self-evident and inelluctable truths. In other words the repubicans are blind to social morality...this includes such notions as justice.
 
 
+8 # Ellen Scopel 2010-12-08 16:47
Oh Man~ don't get me started~ Morals & Justice flew out the window a long time ago! The Repelicans flew out with them to fill their huge sacks again & yet again & on & on some more.
 
 
+10 # cnar 2010-12-08 13:26
If you want a flat tax lets have a flat deduction!
 
 
-5 # Oligarch 23 2010-12-08 17:18
Absolutly! If I have a paltry One Million-if flat taxed at 10% I get to keep $990,000.00 and if you get $10,000.00 and get taxed at 10% you get to keep $9,000.00! by all means-I love a flat tax!!!!
 
 
-3 # Jim Young 2010-12-09 09:38
Quoting Oligarch 23:
Absolutly! If I have a paltry One Million-if flat taxed at 10% I get to keep $990,000.00 and if you get $10,000.00 and get taxed at 10% you get to keep $9,000.00! by all means-I love a flat tax!!!!


Where is the standard, flat, deduction? And, since we are taxed an average of 28.2% of our GDP shouldn't that be the starting point for a flat tax? (It is the 35th lowest average in the 40 countries associated with the OECD, no matter what the rates are, after some tricky loop-holes and dumb tax incentives.)
 
 
+1 # Jim Young 2010-12-09 21:28
(cont.) How helpful would a standard deduction be with such wide variance in home prices and cost of living? Would you set the standard deduction at something like $20,000 for a family of 4 (approximate poverty level? Such a scheme would seem to have one making $75,000 be taxed at 28.2% on $55,000, leaving them $53,990. One of our peak earners made $3,700,000,000. He would pay 28.2% on $3,699,980,000 and keep $2,286,587,640 under such an over simplified system. We don't need to go to that extreme. George Will seems to have thought we could go to less than a 12% flat tax. If he can get the guys living on funny money (CDOs CDSs, etc) to go along, I'll listen. Personally I think they are terrified of actually having to pay taxes on the imaginary value of the money they make their bonuses and skimmed up to 41% of all profits on.
 
 
+1 # racp 2010-12-09 22:39
Quoting Oligarch 23:
Absolutly! If I have a paltry One Million-if flat taxed at 10% I get to keep $990,000.00 and if you get $10,000.00 and get taxed at 10% you get to keep $9,000.00! by all means-I love a flat tax!!!!

You have a typo: @10% tax rate you keep 900.000 of 1:000.000 . But like cnar, I am for flat tax. This is my proposal: Flat tax rate: 35% (Bush's top bracket, impose on every income type) Standard deduction: $50,000 (median salary). Can republicans find anything simpler? You can dream for free.
 
 
-4 # dan tolman 2010-12-08 13:52
Which radio talk show did you hear that on? Seriously, get some facts - and wake up.
 
 
-9 # edge 2010-12-08 15:09
Quoting dan tolman:
Which radio talk show did you hear that on? Seriously, get some facts - and wake up.


Check with the IRS !!!
 
 
+38 # ER444 2010-12-08 14:18
That is total bullshit. The rich benefit the most from the capalist system and in turn can afford to and should pay more. It isn't raping them, it is fair !!! By the way, the extremely rich DO NOT pay the most income taxes. They have the best lawyers and tax accountants and park their money and more often in the last years their entire businesses "off shore". The middle class that used to pay the largest burden of taxes is quickly dissapearing, one of the reasons this nation is so deep in debt. The other reason is two wars and a blown up military that no one needs. It is time to wake up before we lose our "EDGE" !!! Moron
 
 
+23 # Gwen Fortune 2010-12-08 14:30
After having robbed the public with overpriced, shoddy goods (outsourced and enabled (warranted) by law to function no more than 12 months, as does my 10 month old washer and dryer, that the manufacturer has ignored my request for service UNDER warranty) or inherited so they can have seven homes and jet from one to the other. Why shouldn't those who have more, pay more? They have it--by hook and by crook. The rest continue in peonage or worse.
 
 
+19 # gyaller 2010-12-08 15:27
Second to the richest man in the world, (Bill Gates) Warren Buffett stated he pays less taxes then his secretary!
 
 
+31 # Lariokie 2010-12-08 16:06
edge, you live in an alternate universe. Did it ever occur to you that the rich are wealthy because of labor. When America was founded they were getting rich on slavery. When slavery was outlawed the simply abused their laborers until unions came along. Now they get rich by using slave labor overseas where there are no regulations, by financial ponzi schemes, and by gaming the tax system. In total terms they do pay a large percentage of taxes, but not as large percentage of their incomes as do the middle class. What you call redistribution is actually more similar to a golf handicap. It is a way of leveling the playing field for those of us who do virtually all the work, get the least amount of government benefit, and have the least power in our "free market" "democracy".
 
 
+10 # quietdog 2010-12-09 10:36
Nicely said, Lariokie.

What edge and his ilk fail to understand--or do understand but conspire with his own unconsciousness like an addict to avoid the demand of social responsibility at all cost--is that all of the vaunted dimensions of the cultured human are social dimension--and they would not exist without social entanglement. This is the key insight many on the conservative bent fail to see...that those who are successful, at the top of the social structure have benefited from social structures that have nothing to do with their own creation or effort. In moral political theory it is called 'morally irrelevant criteria"--that is, those who are on the bottom of social economic ladder and those who are at the top--find themselves there through dimensions that are morally irrelevant to whatever particular moral character (hard work, laziness etc--both conservative myths really for explaining social hierarchy) they bring to the scene.
 
 
+9 # pbbrodie 2010-12-08 16:33
Well then, let's redistribute what has been being redistributed to them for the past 30 years.
 
 
+11 # Oligarch 23 2010-12-08 17:12
Au contrair, mon Frere-we rich pay less in taxes and keep more-the rates for dividend and capital gains are obscenely low-and even better-we hardly expend a drop of sweat (except when picking our investments and then we usually have good sound insider info!) to get wealthy-and have plenty of free time for pleasure! So keep voting Republican-not only will I get to keep mine-but I will get most of yours too! Thanks so much!
 
 
+5 # AML 2010-12-08 20:32
The rich pay less of a proportion of what they earn. I don't think the rich have a 40% tax burden; do you?
 
 
+6 # PGreen 2010-12-09 08:32
edge, considering that the "real" income for middle and lower income Americans has been flat for 3 decades while the rich have gotten vastly richer, what is wrong with a little distribution? The hayday of the middle class in this country was probably the 1950's when the top tax rate was over 90%. The mortgage on our future began with RR's "credit card" economy, which was accelerated by Clinton and turned into an unmitigated disaster by Bush. The current distribution of wealth is not only immoral, it is unsustainable, and we will only face another recession if it doesn't change.
 
 
+53 # John McAlpin 2010-12-08 11:41
If I knew then what I know now, I would still have voted for Obama. The other choice was frankly too stupid to stomach. But I would NOT have contributed my hard earned money, and next time I'll probably sit on my hands if given no better choice. Damn all sell-out twerps!
 
 
+12 # Barbara Brinker 2010-12-08 13:19
Right on--could not agree more
 
 
+13 # RGS 2010-12-08 14:55
The basic problem with the Democrats is that they have 2 constituencies: a voter constituency and a donor constituency. the two have very differrent interests. The Repubs just don't have the same conflicts between their conservative donors and religious right voters. What's the solution? I don't know.
 
 
-58 # John Slattery 2010-12-08 11:49
For months we've been complaining about the Republican stance: No compromise!!!
And now so many Dems are complaining: But Obama compromised.
I guess if you've got a job and don't have to count on unemployment for the rent, food, and other luxuries, it's a lot easier to "hang tough." I'm pretty sure Mr. Reich isn't on unemployment. It may seem like "peanuts" to him, but I'll bet all those whose benefits were set to get get off just before Christmas would disagree.
By the way, I have a job. and I'm not collecting unemployment, but at least I can summom up a little friggin' empathy.
I see passion, but almost no compassion. These whiners really disgust me.
Be mad at the right people, you cloud-cuckoo idealists. And yes, that includes YOU, Mr. Reich.
 
 
+22 # Dwight McCabe 2010-12-08 13:19
Of course to get anything passed with 60 votes in the Senate, it is a negotiation, whether with Conservative Dems and any remaining "moderate" Republicans or with the Republican leadership in the Senate.

But you start with tough positions, and pull hard to keep the end result as close as possible to your positions. Signaling early on that you really don't intend to stand tough on your position, whether tax cuts for the very wealthy or a weak public option for health care just tells the other side they don't need to compromise much, they can roll you. Obama is getting rolled.
 
 
+24 # R Kane 2010-12-08 13:26
I AM receiving unemployment (though not managing to "collect" much of it...) but I'm still against this deal. I WON'T be the hostage this is meant to save, I won't have my problems used to justify handing the Repubs everything they want. Obama has turned out to be a craven incompetent who, when challenged, boasts of all the deals on which he did badly. I don't care for Hillary, but I think she would have shown a much bigger pair.
 
 
+16 # cnar 2010-12-08 13:29
the problem is that we will live with this for years to come. Why didn't Obama at least tie the tax extemtion to the unemployment time table?
 
 
+18 # cnar 2010-12-08 13:30
This money will come out of medicare and social security
 
 
+6 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-08 17:49
Quoting cnar:
This money will come out of medicare and social security

I do believe that's their point. They're not going to pay for that crap, as they see it. We will just have to lose it.
 
 
+26 # fbacher 2010-12-08 13:34
I am quite upset about the deal, but I am much more bothered that a deal was not struck after a long knife fight. I want to see the Democrats battle valiantly with the Republicans. I want to see everything possible done to win before making a deal.

But this President, nor Harry Reid never appear to fight much for anything. Perhaps they are doing great things in the background, but politics is part theater. These buys don't know theater. It is costing them dearly in support.
 
 
+3 # Steve Shender 2010-12-08 13:44
Right on, John! I agree that the extension of Bush tax cuts for the rich stinks. But I cannot understand why liberals, who profess so much empathy for the middle-class, working poor and the unemployed are so eager to hang them out to dry so they can have a self-satisfying fight with the right. The time to start this battle was 11 months ago, not now.
 
 
+11 # josediablo10 2010-12-08 14:14
John, you forget that they did not include the 2 million "99ers" - yes the ones who are still pounding the pavements, namely folks 50 and upwards. They have been left out, abandoned, destitute, skid-row. While you and the ones included in this unemployment insurance xtn. eat well this Christmas, those 99ers will either rely on the generosity of their relatives, go to a soup kitchen or just eat scraps. What a darn shame. To think I busted my ass knocking on doors for this 'twat' in the white house. He is toast, Hillary will challenge him in the 2012 primary.
 
 
+9 # RGS 2010-12-08 14:44
Trading a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts for a temporary extension of unemployment benefits might have made sense-not a huge, permanent decrease in the capital gains tax that ONLY benefits the rich.
 
 
+13 # Lariokie 2010-12-08 16:16
John Slattery you miss the trade off here. For 13 weeks of extended benefits the unemployed are doomed to perhaps years more unemployed status. We have given the rich the keys to the US Treasury, and now we propose not to tax them for their ill-got gains. The execs of Goldman Sachs now get to take their multi billion $ bonuses that we financed, and pay little or no taxes. The government goes further into debt and has to cut programs. GUESS WHICH PROGRAMS! So in exchange for a pocket full of short term mumbles which the Republicans will soon be powerful enough simply to overturn, Obama has sold out the other 98% of us for the foreseeable future. You may call that a good trade, but I sure as hell don't. If Obama had been my personal negotiator he would be fired immediately.
 
 
+3 # AML 2010-12-08 20:44
Ya gotta remember that if the tax cuts do expire, the wealthy have to fork in their fair share, and the GOP won't let that happen.

If only the Dems would ignore Obama on this, there would be the showdown at the I'm ok You're ok corral.
 
 
+7 # Oligarch 23 2010-12-08 17:23
Yes, and when the paltry peanuts gained by this compromise run out-elders will face reductions in social Security-the unemployed will once agian face destitution and of course government services will be cut to the bone-in poor places like Camden NJ-it's Mogadishu in NJ! But as a rich oligarch I will continue to get my needs met-just in time-I'm looking for my 5th home! Not my 5th home as in having to move-my 5th home to add to my other four! Thanks for the tax break-let's go shoppping! giving in and compromising gained the 'middle class' nothing!
 
 
+8 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-08 17:47
Cool John Slattery. Now I get it. It's our fault the unemployed are unemployed. I'm not on unemployement either but you seem to be missing the fact that the unemployed would have gotten extensions any way, and if the Republicans blocked that, how would that have been our fault? Yeah, I have a problem with being held hostage by Rethugliecons who use victims like the unemployed for bait.
 
 
+3 # ER444 2010-12-09 02:30
Heh Daniel, Did you write Michael Moore ??? All the wondeful names mentioned in this "forum" are great men who don't have a chance of changing anything in the two party mud sling. It is time for an opposition party that stands for principles.
 
 
0 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-10 18:17
Yes...stay tuned.
 
 
+46 # steve miller 2010-12-08 11:53
This is not the change we needed.
 
 
+1 # Steve Moye 2010-12-12 14:22
Quoting steve miller:
This is not the change we needed.


And, if I might add, it certainly isn't the 'change we can believe in'.
 
 
+34 # Grace Rubin 2010-12-08 12:10
You said it, Mr. Reich! We didnt hear, nor see that he tried hard enough. That's all I ask of him! And I am/was a fan of Pres. Obama - he has made promises, and he hasnt tried hard enough for the American people; he hasnt shown us any spunk as President! Im glad taxes have not gone up for regular folks and thank god unemployment will go through (another bargaining stick for Republicans in 13 months), but he "should" get some new advisors - very fast!
 
 
-65 # David A. Miller 2010-12-08 12:13
Reich and all on the left are totally wrong. A recent study shows that if the gov't took all the current holdings of th Forbes top 400 wealthiest people in the U.S. it would not be able to run the gov't at its current level though april 2011. What has to happen is a major cut in gov't spending at all levels, of at least 25% to turn the financial situation around and to spur the economy to a growth mode.
 
 
+14 # Don Jones 2010-12-08 13:30
Can you give a citation for this study please?
 
 
+10 # BradFromSalem 2010-12-08 14:44
Sure Don,

The study was named "Glenn Beck's Favorite Facts". Some are even true!

Guaranteed to make you look smart, and sure to impress blondes that make a living from being dumb. (Victoria Jackson, for example)
 
 
+3 # racp 2010-12-09 23:20
The top 400 wealthiest people in the US represents the (let me see... 400/308,000,000 ... yes) the 0.000125% of the US population. That's what I call : lying with numbers. The authors worked hard to find a way to show in Beck's book. If instead you ask to tax the income (not the wealth) of the top 100,000 weathiest people at 45% for income above 500,000 I thinks the gov't is very unlikely to run a deficit. In any event, even if runing a deficit, it would be manageable and the deficit commission could have gone home without meeting.
 
 
+2 # Conservative 2010-12-10 14:06
Oh Mr. Jones,

Please just do the math.

1. Look up the rich men in Forbes. See how much they are worth.

2. Look at the debt calendar on the web... google, bing or yahoo it.

then the rest is simple algebra.

That would be nice if you did and report back.

Regards,
A 1776 American

p.s. Thanks again, David A. Miller
 
 
+13 # BradFromSalem 2010-12-08 13:37
Nobody has ever said to take ALL the wealth of the top 400 or of anyone. Thats what I call making up facts that may be true, but in reality prove NOTHING.
 
 
0 # pbbrodie 2010-12-08 16:41
Wrong about what? What you just wrote hasn't got anything to do with what Reich wrote or anyone else on the left has been saying. What exactly were you trying to say? I can't think of anyone who has made a single comment remotely resembling trying to take anything from the wealthy.
 
 
+3 # B. 2010-12-09 00:05
Quoting David A. Miller:
Reich and all on the left are totally wrong. A recent study shows that if the gov't took all the current holdings of th Forbes top 400 wealthiest people in the U.S. it would not be able to run the gov't at its current level though april 2011. What has to happen is a major cut in gov't spending at all levels, of at least 25% to turn the financial situation around and to spur the economy to a growth mode.

I like you're idea Mr Miller, if we cut the military and our two wars by 25% we would be in good economic shape. Bravo, now pass you're idea on to you're GOP friends.
 
 
-2 # Conservative 2010-12-10 13:06
David A. Miller you are a courageous man. I thank you. I salute you. Reich is leading these people as the pied piper led the lemmings over the cliff and wants to do the same to us all. I wonder where he comes from (the Clintons?)and I am amazed that he is actually a professor in one of our (formerly?) best schools.

A 1776 American
(Thank you, David McCullough, another great American hero)
 
 
+36 # George D 2010-12-08 12:18
This president IS weak. His "playbook" is well known and understood by his opponents and documented in a book by Tom Hayden entitled "Radical Nomad". In it, it is clear that ANY step is better than NO step in the right direction and compromise is the way to get there. It's a good strategy but Obama invokes it poorly. You don't tell your opponent, up front, what your negotiation strategy is and how far they can push you; OR THEY WILL. We need a replacement for Obama in 2012 or we are in for some very bad choices in the next election. What about a fighter like Howard Dean? Maybe Anthony Weiner? SOMEBODY with a backbone and business/negoti ation savvy.
 
 
+14 # B. 2010-12-08 13:37
Quoting George D:
This president IS weak. His "playbook" is well known and understood by his opponents and documented in a book by Tom Hayden entitled "Radical Nomad". In it, it is clear that ANY step is better than NO step in the right direction and compromise is the way to get there. It's a good strategy but Obama invokes it poorly. You don't tell your opponent, up front, what your negotiation strategy is and how far they can push you; OR THEY WILL. We need a replacement for Obama in 2012 or we are in for some very bad choices in the next election. What about a fighter like Howard Dean? Maybe Anthony Weiner? SOMEBODY with a backbone and business/negotiation savvy.

I can think of none better than Robert Reich. He has the political and economic experience we need to right this listing ship.
 
 
-3 # Conservative 2010-12-10 16:42
But Robert Reich has never held a job. We would be up with the same ikky problem.
 
 
+11 # Homer 2010-12-08 16:56
Bernie Sanders & Dennis Kucinich would make a great pairing....they both have a pair!
 
 
+49 # Todd Williams 2010-12-08 12:20
I was under the assumption that when I voted, with much fervor, for Obama, that he would stop the fiscally irresponsible act of giving tax breaks to the wealthy. He again has disappointed me in his utter disregard for his base, and in this case, the majority of ALL Americans. I hope the Congressional Democrats reject this "deal" Obama has struck with Republicans and force the issue. This is no time for our President to be giving away the store.
 
 
+13 # Dick Huopana 2010-12-08 14:57
The Congressional Democrats better block the "deal" that has been struck. Otherwise, they will suffer the same fate as Obama. Since Obama's inauguration, Republicans have been openly committed to doing everything possible to destroy his current presidency and re-election in 2012. The "deal" he surrendered to appears to have effectively destroyed his presidency and understandably the support of the base that elected him. I voted for him but now believe that for the good of the country, he should resign and get out of Washington. If members of Congress don't block this irresponsible and unaffordable deal, we voters will also abandon those who allowed the deal to survive. Meanwhile, we must watch the debt continue to soar and wonder just when the insolvency poop will hit the fan and spoil, big time, the government's (and taxpayers') spend-and-borro w party.
 
 
+6 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-08 17:55
You said it. If the Demographic Party doesn't block this nonesense, they can kiss their careers goodbye along with Obama's. Frankly, Obama should resign for the good of the country. I've never seen such a disgrace in the Oval Office.
 
 
+5 # bjw 2010-12-08 19:50
Our last president was a real disgrace as were many of his predecessors. In the early days, we were so proud of him and then things went downhill as if he was get transfusions laced with a mind-altering drug. His speech became halting and uncertain. He would now and then show a flash of the Obama we knew and voted for. His press conference yesterday was a person I did not recognize who only showed any fire when disrespecting Democrats as 'sanctimonious. ' He misspoke on several historical references about FDR and SS. His defense was weak and rang hollow.

He must have been given mind-altering drugs in his Gatorade or whatever he drinks. Just as in a Mission Impossible plot.
 
 
+3 # AML 2010-12-10 18:38
Sadly it proves that just because you run the Harvard Law Revue it doesn't mean you can win a court case in the trial of American democracy.

It's easy to forget that the phrase, 'Promote the general Welfare' is in the Preamble to the Constitution. I don't think that was just a flourish of some sort.

The GOP, and apparently the President, have forgotten the basic tenets that our founding fathers risked their lives for.
 
 
+2 # DJulien 2010-12-09 00:01
You have never seen such a disgrace in the oval office? How about George Bush? Obama will always be much better than having Bush again!
 
 
+5 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-09 09:20
Quoting DJulien:
You have never seen such a disgrace in the oval office? How about George Bush? Obama will always be much better than having Bush again!

Julien, I may have misspoke. You have a point. But here's where I'm most unhappy. While Bush was in office he behaved precisely like the thug I thought he was. I came to expect his evil stupidity. But Obama? It seems some how worse to be duped into believing in his greatness, buying into the audicity of hope only to have that good will thrown to the rocks. And even worse, to say that it would have been worse under Bush, as I look at the outcome, I'm starting to wonder if it made any difference at all. To discover that Obama's misadministrati on may have actually lead to a return to Rethuglicon rule with a vengence may very well mean that Obama's failures were the worst. And I still hope that somehow Obama rises to the occasion and things get so much better that I am forced to admit I was foolishly pessimistic and unfair. I love to say in two years that I must have been full of s*** about now, but that won't happen. It will be even worse and the string of lost opportunities will damn Obama.
 
 
+3 # Dick Huopana 2010-12-09 13:47
Both are unqualified to be president of the world's most challenging job. The job requires the very best executive/leade r America can produce. That both Bush and Obama were elected (especially Bush's 2nd term re-election) proves that our political parties can’t or won’t recruit such candidates for voters to choose from. I agree, though, that Obama is definitely a less bad president than Bush (e.g., Obama hasn't committed any war crimes that I’m aware of). BTW, the McCain/Palin ticket only reinforces my comment.
 
 
+4 # Dani Fletcher 2010-12-10 12:21
Well, dhuopana, is an enabler really better than a drunk? Maybe so, but what a slim difference that is. And the dichotomy of Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin is possibly irrelevent. Would the outcome have been that much different? If anything, the outrageousness of a McCain/Palin presidency might have done wonders to unify and energize the liberal/progres sive left, and Congress might have remained in the hands of the Democrats. I just don't see an actual difference of outcome and Obama has set the stage now for a complete take over by the right and a gutting of all social spending. McCain wouldn't have stood a chance at that, but Obama greased the skids. That makes him worse, but I'll go with as bad, simply because I cannot tell the difference in the end.
 
 
+2 # AML 2010-12-10 18:56
Amen, Dan.

We think that with education and exposure to the world we live in that we become sophisticated and able to see a con man from a mile away, but remember that we were up to here with the silly oafish tactics of a president we considered to be beneath us. Our President is, in fact, smart. But intellect does not always presuppose conscience.

The stupid part is that he is capable of getting re-elected by standing firm. Tacking to the right is du-umb. But, as he earlier mentioned. he's a blue dog.

OK, so we were duped. For now we can only let our representatives in the Legislature know we have their backs, and meanwhile hunt for our replacement.
 
 
+15 # Ezrha Jean Black 2010-12-08 12:23
A pendant to your succinct column -- the Democrats -- no, the entire country (or at least that portion of it that isn't completely brainwashed, braindead or Tea-partied to death) should get itself a new President.
 
 
+32 # Dilu de Click 2010-12-08 12:33
It would be wonderful if Obama were to show he has some backbone. At this point, he resembles Barney the purple dinosaur. If he were to publicly question the Republicans on how the Bush tax cuts will help the deficit, it would show he has a grasp of the problem. Instead he just rolls over so they can kick him some more.
 
 
+26 # Pat Forbes 2010-12-08 12:38
I am heartsick to think our president and the Democrats aren't
Manning up and letting all the cuts expire rather than cave to the greedy. Unless they too are the greedy then we are lost.
 
 
+7 # Homer 2010-12-08 16:58
Speaking of "Manning," that little Private First Class, sitting jail right now, has more stones than our spineless Prez.
 
 
+21 # Edward White 2010-12-08 12:41
No they got everything they wanted. The last jobs report would make them agree to extending unemployment insurance.
Ms President, You have to have balls to be called Mr. President, you just blrew any chance at a second term.
By the way is anyone watching Chris Christie? He is in the process of cutting back all senior citizen programs in New Jersey.
 
 
+5 # Oligarch 23 2010-12-08 17:30
I'm watching-it is inspiring how he is creating a Mogadishu in NJ-all the drug dealers in Camden are wearing T-shirts with the dates the police lay-off will start-cutting senior citizens is just a side show-and wait till you see what he does to public education! Ooooh-chills!
 
 
+35 # AML 2010-12-08 12:43
This is indeed our last best chance at democracy. Since the Supreme Court ruled that money=speech, our next election will be a joke. What I don't get is that even though a corporation is considered to have the rights of a person, doesn't that person need to be a citizen to influence elections?

I can see our founding fathers rolling over in their graves.

It feels like a two story boulder has just cast its shadow on us.

Thanks for sticking with this Robert; they could use some real brains in the White House, but probably don't like what you have to say.
 
 
+20 # Tony 2010-12-08 12:49
It's time for Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, et al to take a stand against these shamelessly pro-rich Republicans and, yes, against their own President, who I sometimes think is really an imposter, who was put in place by the Republicans to sabotage the Progressive agenda from the inside - a modern day Manchurian Candidate. I've never felt so hood-winked in my life. I hope Hillary runs in '12 and takes the nomination away from him. He's lost me.
 
 
-69 # Frank DeMartini 2010-12-08 12:51
I just have one question for you. Who employs people, the poor or the rich? Think about that.
 
 
+9 # Justin Quinn 2010-12-08 13:14
Frank, What's your point. Nice, succinct sound bite, but no point that I can see. Please, enlighten me.
 
 
+3 # Ben Makinen 2010-12-09 00:42
I think poor Frank was trying to say that Oligarch 23 is our boss and that he's now renting rooms in his 5 houses to anyone who wants to work for him, benefits not included.
 
 
+13 # jackie Bolles 2010-12-08 13:28
It is the middle class, small businesses, that employ people.
 
 
+12 # David Peter 2010-12-08 13:32
But where do they employ the people more than likely it is overseas.
 
 
+20 # Mike 2010-12-08 13:38
Your question is based on a false premise: That people employ other people.

The fact is that over 99% of all employer firms are small businesses and that they employ half of all private sector employees (the other half being employed by large businesses and government, predominantly).

Letting the tax cuts lapse for very wealthy individuals does virtually nothing to improve employment as they do not directly employ workers to any significant degree.
 
 
+18 # B. 2010-12-08 13:40
Quoting Frank DeMartini:
I just have one question for you. Who employs people, the poor or the rich? Think about that.

I'll answer that question with a question Mr DeMartini - "Who makes the rich rich ?
 
 
-5 # BradFromSalem 2010-12-08 13:42
The answer is both.

Not everyone that runs a business is rich. Not everyone works for an "owner"; many of us work for corporations that are not real people.

Your question is a moot point.
 
 
+3 # AML 2010-12-10 19:01
The division is between local employers and outsourcers. 98% of "small businesses" actually are small businesses, and hire more new employees than the 2%, such as Bechtel, Koch Industries, and Enterprrise Products.
 
 
+15 # wfalco 2010-12-08 13:48
Quoting Frank DeMartini:
I just have one question for you. Who employs people, the poor or the rich? Think about that.

An intended polarizing question. And not a very good one. Employment has many variables. Small business owners are, in many situations, not wealthy. They are just scraping by and barely claim a profit on their tax returns.
To the dismay of the right wing, a fair amount of us (me included) are employed by government-good old fashioned civil servants...prov iding services for everyone-even your beloved rich.
 
 
+14 # James Snyder 2010-12-08 13:49
I reckon that, all told, the middle class employs more people than the rich and certainly employs more poor than the rich do. In any case, it could also be argued that people who spend money (mostly the middle and poor) on goods and services create most jobs, since jobs creation presupposes desire/demand. And, employers (rich, middle, or poor) simply create jobs to supply goods and services. Its just that the rich are better positioned (financial resources and education) to play/capitalize on desire/demand.
 
 
+16 # Ted Reynolds 2010-12-08 13:52
Quoting Frank DeMartini:
I just have one question for you. Who employs people, the poor or the rich? Think about that.

One question back at you, Frank. Who lays working people off from their jobs, the poor or the rich? Think about that.
 
 
+13 # david mccollum 2010-12-08 13:53
Quoting Frank DeMartini:
I just have one question for you. Who employs people, the poor or the rich? Think about that.


The problem is, Frank, they are not employing people.
 
 
+23 # Lakshmi 2010-12-08 13:54
Then why haven't "they" hired anyone in the last ten years, while they've been hoarding and reveling in their wonderful Bush tax cuts?

It is an ILLUSION to think or propound the theory that tax cuts for the rich = jobs for the peasants.
 
 
+9 # bobana 2010-12-08 14:01
Who do you think spends the money allowing the rich to hire employees?
 
 
+20 # Brian Teitelbaum 2010-12-08 14:02
Bullcrap. Any money that the "rich" would use to employ people would be fully deductable as a business expense anyway. We're talking about "taxable income" here, not gross income. In fact, their taxes should go UP, giving them more incentive to invest the money in the business instead of keeping it all for themselves.

You obviously have never run a business.
 
 
+12 # Stephen E 2010-12-08 14:03
Who works for the rich, the poor or the rich? -- Thus creating employment. Who buys most of the every day products the rich produce, the poor or the rich? -- Thus creating demand. Who utilizes tax loopholes, offshore tax havens and the like, the poor or the rich? -- Thus, who actually pays the bulk of taxes, the poor or the rich? Who invests money in themselves and who invests money in the common good that benefits everyone, the poor or rich? Think about that.
 
 
+14 # Kurt 2010-12-08 14:14
Demand employs people. There is now only weak demand in our economy. Giving further tax relief to those who've enjoyed lax taxes for a decade doesn't increase the demand for goods and services.
 
 
+13 # dgk 2010-12-08 14:18
Quoting Frank DeMartini:
I just have one question for you. Who employs people, the poor or the rich? Think about that.


The rich of course, and they will be employing more when they invest this windfall. In China, Thailand, and anywhere else where they can get cheap labor.
 
 
+13 # Sharon Addison 2010-12-08 14:22
Neither of them do. Businesses do. And they only hire as many as they absolutely need and they pay as little as they can. If there is no demand, there is no hiring.

As far as "rich people hire", the only time a rich person wanted to hire me it was to provide personal services to them at about minimum wage with no benefits. I'd need at least 3 of those kinds of jobs to exist.
 
 
+6 # Robert Griffin 2010-12-08 18:20
Below minimum wage for clerical services in my case.
 
 
+11 # RGS 2010-12-08 14:41
Everyone who spends money "employs" people. Increasing demand for goods and services increases employment. Rich people already can buy everything they want-giving them more won't increase demand, as Mr. Reich points out.
 
 
+8 # Lariokie 2010-12-08 16:26
Frank De the rich employed people before slavery became illegal, and then they switched to a more garden variety of labor abuse--kids come to mind. When unions came along they simply switched to overseas labor. To answer your rhetorical question, the rich employ people, just not American people.
 
 
+11 # lindyb 2010-12-08 16:30
Quoting Frank DeMartini:
I just have one question for you. Who employs people, the poor or the rich? Think about that.

If tax cuts for the rich help unemployment so much, then why did the Bush administration have such a poor record of job creation?
 
 
+11 # Mary E Carew 2010-12-08 16:56
Quoting Frank DeMartini:
I just have one question for you. Who employs people, the poor or the rich? Think about that.


That's easy...

Answer: The rich people do. But next Question: Where are the people they employ?
Answer: Not here in the USA. They're sending jobs overseas as fast as they can so they can make MORE MONEY.
 
 
+9 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-08 17:58
Quoting Frank DeMartini:
I just have one question for you. Who employs people, the poor or the rich? Think about that.

Uh...who under pays people, sends jobs overseas, sells shoddy goods and swindles the consumer charging interest rates that the mafia used to?
Thank about that.
 
 
+37 # Brian Flaherty 2010-12-08 12:53
Everyone is talking about a "deal". . .Bullshit! A deal carries with it the implicit idea of a "tit for tat." You get something and I get something.

This is no "deal!"

The Republicans got EVERYTHING they could ever desire!
1) They scored BIG TIME with their wealthy patrons!
2) They scored points with the "little guy" because they can say "We saved YOUR tax "benefits!"
3) They scored points because they "bargained in good faith with the "tax & spend Democrats!"
4) They "set the table" for the next two years of THEIR legislative agenda, "dealing" [pun intended] with Obama.
5) They showed the American People that Obama is a "paper tiger" who cannot be trusted to stand up for the "little guy!"
6) Obama will NOT honor his promises! In fact, will not even acknowledge he ever made the promises in the first place!
 
 
+21 # Lakshmi 2010-12-08 13:58
AND he has the "audacity" to lecture and chastise the very people who elected him.

Would that he would direct even half the "fight" and sarcasm at the greedy people who do not even have a majority in either chamber (at the moment) that he directs at those who honestly thought he would champion the 98% of us who bought what he was selling.
 
 
+27 # Mike at Charlotte 2010-12-08 13:00
Once again, Reich is right on target. It's terribly discouraging to see the President and the democrats caving on this. I couldn't agree more... the President needs new advisors. Joel Axelrod was on tv defending the cave-in and I couldn't even stand to watch it.

I wonder how quickly the President will cave when the Republicans begin proceedings to repeal his health care programs?

Both sides of the aisle should be ashamed...... and the President should be most ashamed.
 
 
+13 # C.P. 2010-12-08 13:03
Why not use Reconciliation to pass the bill the Democrats want with no compromises. Same for DADT and unemployment and Start treaty.
 
 
+3 # bjw 2010-12-08 20:54
Our only hope is Nancy Pelosi. She has the spunk, but does she have the votes. It is not only Obama that has let us down, but our reps in Congress who represent the majority but have caved time after time for more than a decade.
 
 
+13 # Phil Meyer 2010-12-08 13:07
Message to President Obama: You gotta be tougher than they are.
 
 
-9 # DD 2010-12-08 13:14
I didn't write this but it is a good breakdown:
"One way to look just at the numbers (politics aside), looks like a better deal for the Democrats than the Republicans. The GOP got about $95 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and $30 billion in estate tax cuts. Democrats got $120 billion in payroll-tax cuts, $40 billion in refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and education tax credits), $56 billion in unemployment insurance, and about $180 billion (two-year cost) or $30 billion (10-year cost) in new tax incentives for businesses to invest. That's more stimulus than expected, and less GOP giveaways than expected."
 
 
+3 # AML 2010-12-10 19:13
Nice, but it's still a matter of showing us the bright shiny object while they walk the elephant through the room behind us.

Long term; we're f*$%ed.
 
 
+19 # David Peter 2010-12-08 13:25
Obama has sold out to his corporate backers rather representing who the Democrats used to be - the working class and poor. If the Democrats want support from working families they had better learn quickly. I am tired of major issues of importance to the working class being trampled by spineless democrat politicians. The Democrats need to find some real leaders or get out of the way for a real progressive party.
 
 
+14 # george beres 2010-12-08 13:27
The more extreme the reactions we get from the grossly wealthy, the more convinced we should become that the U.S. needs thorough wealth redistribution. Any personal earnings over $250,000 annually should ALL be taken to be placed in a fund to rebuild our school and social service systems. Maybe then we'll have the pleasure of seeing all yachts repossessed. - George Beres
 
 
+4 # jchere 2010-12-08 20:22
George: Typical simplistic answer to a complicated problem. I live on my 42 ft "yacht" because it cost 1/10 as much as a house,which I don't own.
 
 
+2 # AML 2010-12-10 19:20
I'm sure George was being symbolistic. He means "YACHTS' as in big, ostentatious yachts worth millions. I lived on a yacht as well, purchased at 25% of the value of my house. I miss it still....

Although a tad simplistic, he's going the right direction.
 
 
+17 # Don Jones 2010-12-08 13:28
Mr. DeMartini, the rich have had 10 years to create jobs, what have they done? Shipped jobs overseas to make even more money. I do not buy that they need the tax breaks to create jobs. Besides they take that money and invest in derivitives which do nothing to create jobs!
 
 
-7 # James Snyder 2010-12-08 13:36
I agree with almost all of the criticism above (I, too, am heartbroken and disenchanted with Obama), but I still have a suspicion that the long-term consequences of making an unfavorable deal on taxes with the Republicans and Tea-Partiers might not be disastrous for Obama or progresivism. I imagine that a compromise might deflate instead of embolden Republicans. After all, they are getting what they want (a psychologically deflationary event in terms of the enthusiasm gap) and, given the limitations on the political reality for how far left or right the country can swing on any given policy and/or wave election, and given the fact that, if faced with an Obama vs. GOP (e.g., Palin) election, Obama's unfavorable compromise might begin to secure some much needed political middle ground that would allow a scaled down but advanceable progressivisn to prevail. Maybe. Hard to forsee how it could play out.
 
 
+4 # AML 2010-12-10 19:24
You left out one fact; he's black (in color at least). Perhaps you don't recall how they hounded Clinton, and he was white!)

These people on the right do not believe in democracy, and when we get that through our thick sculls, we'll get somewhere!
 
 
+24 # metcalf 2010-12-08 13:36
Notice also that retired people get NOTHING from this. No young children, so no Child Tax Credit. No job, so no work tax credit, no payroll check so no payroll tax reduction. And the House just voted down a $250 credit for Social Security recipients. How can they afford to SCREW this major voting bloc so badly? Yet another gift to the GOP, to be opened during the 2012 election.
 
 
+7 # jchere 2010-12-08 20:42
Metcalf: People have a short memory.If that was not true, how would the republicans get reelected? They make promises and no checks to see if they make sense. The tea party voted for people that said that they would take away the benefits many of them are living on. It is so much easier to complain than to check the facts.
 
 
+14 # mrgaribaldi2263 2010-12-08 13:36
I don't think the Dems are going to stand for it in Congress. How much will middle class taxes go up? A couple hundred bucks a year? The rich are looking at thousands and millions in new taxes due to the scale.

I have no problem letting all of the tax cuts expire just to spite the upper class. As noted by Sen. Sanders in his mind-blowing article on the Fed (that's posted here in RSN, the largest corporations got loans and other benefits of around $3.3 Trillion since 2008. Now they get tax cuts, too?
 
 
+4 # AML 2010-12-10 19:30
Spite is one thing; revenue that gets us out of the debt, that's logic.

The Bush Tax cuts represent the most irresponsible financial shift in our history, and absolutely must expire.
 
 
+18 # banichi 2010-12-08 13:38
Actually, historically neither the poor or the rich do, though the poorer are more likely to. That's because statistics show that small business employs more people than the rich do by far. Yet the 'deal' Obama made only really benefits the 1% the most. It is not aimed at helping create jobs, so you seem to infer. For the most part, the rich only employ the minimum they need to get an existing job done - if it is not shipped overseas so it costs them less - and not to expand anything but their own bottom line. Small businesses are middle-class businesses, and they are also almost exclusively local businesses in the sense that they are started where their owners live and employ people in the same areas.

Face it, the rich only focus on conserving and increasing their existing wealth, though there are a few exceptions. The small business owner, who is focused on serving a population, also employs people from the local population. They know that if they don't do a good enough job, and give people what they want, they are history. The tax cuts don't help the ones who could create jobs anywhere near as much as it does those who don't.
 
 
+15 # BradFromSalem 2010-12-08 13:40
By the end of January we the left must have in place at least the semblance of an a campaign o replace Obama on the Democratic ticket.

He has left us no choice.
 
 
+4 # Anarchist 23 2010-12-08 17:37
I propose Sen. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Dennis Kuchinich-also of Ohio-they have both been courageous and outspoken for the large majority of the American Poeple-they would make a great democratic ticket for 2012! PS sorry I can't spell-but check these two out!
 
 
-11 # Maggie Homza 2010-12-08 13:43
I am amazed and appallingly struck by most of the comments posted before me. This President and the Democrats have already fulfilled more campaign promises than any before them in the first two years of an administration. I worked for the election of President Obama and I believe in him to this day. Others, particularly those who have never been elected to a national office, might want to listen to President Obama's
reasoning and be less judgmental. Many of the comments posted are exactly what the Republicans want to read!
 
 
+4 # AML 2010-12-10 19:42
While I admire your loyalty, I cannot endorse that of our President. Of ALL the issues, he has caved on the one that changes the terrain.

We tolerated the compromises on health care; we tolerated the weakness of financial reform. But this is the straw that breaks our camel's back.

He has let the GOP corner him into bargaining for unemployment compensation, estate tax, etc. in trade for the essence of our financial stability: fair taxes.

He has arranged a temporary fix, gambling that he can kick his own can down the road and catch up later. Unfortunately there is no later.
 
 
+15 # JohnHartmann 2010-12-08 13:45
This tax bill is the coupe de gras for democracy. The vast unemployed will become the army that steals the oil. The Democrats and The Republicans are one. Who will defend us now?
 
 
-11 # Ted 2010-12-08 13:45
Wait a minute: While I'm frustrated too, I think Obama has shown some wisdom: There are indications that this deal will move the economy forward. That will benefit most Americans. That's better than all of us just yelling at each other and getting nothing done. And we can still keep working hard for what we think will make things better.
 
 
+5 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-08 18:09
Quoting Ted:
Wait a minute: While I'm frustrated too, I think Obama has shown some wisdom: There are indications that this deal will move the economy forward. That will benefit most Americans. That's better than all of us just yelling at each other and getting nothing done. And we can still keep working hard for what we think will make things better.

When you make deals with the devil, who win? Go ahead, guess.
 
 
+19 # Mashingthegas 2010-12-08 13:49
I have three questions for you:

When did the rich forget who, exactly, made them rich?

When did the rich stop losing sleep over the fact that while 98% of the country was shouldering the effects of the worst depression since '29 they were doing better than ever?

Are you fabulously wealthy or do you suffer from the long-odds belief that you'll someday have a chance to be pissed that someone might ask you to pay another measly $28,000 out of your $1,000,000 salary?
 
 
-14 # Michael Maynard 2010-12-08 13:50
As much as I respect Professor Reich, he left out and important part of the deal, the extending of unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed.

But when are we going to get over Obama bashing? He was on point in his talk about liberal purists. What this deal did was show the hypocritical nature of the Republicans who talk about deficit reduction, but don't want to make the wealthy pay their fair share to reduce it.
 
 
+7 # Mike K 2010-12-08 17:11
What about the 99's? Also what kind of a deal could Obama have gotten if he had rallied his base for once? There was real over whelming and bipartisan support for ending the tax cuts for the rich (unlike the illusionary support Republicans create for there issues) that Obama could have leveraged for a better deal. Instead the white house indicated before negotiations even started that they were willing to break a key campaine promise and extent the Tax cuts for the rich.
Further more this deal came less than a week after Senate Republicans backed out of a similer deal before the ink on it was dry.
 
 
+8 # Anarchist 23 2010-12-08 17:42
this country has swung so ffar to the right during my lifetime that Nixon would look dangerously leftist in todays' political world! Clinton was supposed to be a 'liberal' and he destroyed welfare while creating only minimun and low wage jobs-doing nothing to help single mothers and their children. A society is judged by how it treats its poor and helpless-we rank somewhere in the 90% percentile for callousness and cruelty. Yes, other places like the congo are more brutla but pray tell me-whose foreign policy and armies helped create the terrible destruction we see around us-two on-going wars abroad-plus Pakistan-and another war at home with outr own citizens-'liber al purists' -to the barricades!
 
 
+4 # AML 2010-12-10 19:46
I am not a purist; I am a person who can see a shell game when it's apparent.
 
 
+16 # Tyrone 2010-12-08 13:51
Call your Congressman and tell them not to vote for this "chicken crap". The Repugs will have to vote for extension of unemployment benefits no matter what and their leader said he would approve tax cuts for 98% of the population (excluding the wealthy top 2%) if that was the only option. President BO gave away the store for nothing (that really stinks).
 
 
+10 # Florida 2010-12-08 13:52
Isn't it nice to know that when we play chicken with the President that we can win. We will show the Man who is boss during the next two years.
 
 
+3 # Oligarch 23 2010-12-08 17:43
thanks for such a simple-minded outlook-politic s as a game of 'chicken'-I'll think of you and all your freionds in FL as my minions-while I am sipping my wine on my balcony in my 5th house in a foreign nation-keep votiing Republican!
 
 
-10 # Carmen Lodise 2010-12-08 13:57
$770 b. is stimulus; $130 b. is tax cuts for rich. I often agree with Reich, but not this time.
 
 
-10 # Mike Pedersen 2010-12-08 13:59
Of course, President Obama is forced to compromise. The democrats lost the House. Not enough people got off their ass and voted in the mid term elections.
 
 
+14 # BradFromSalem 2010-12-08 14:59
Funny, I don't recall ANY Republican compromise when they lost the House. Why is Obama compromising BEFORE the debate. He should be out in front of this issue and the entire economic mess we are in. Make ther case for Liberal Keysian solutions. Unless, he actually is insane and believes that if we do the same chicken crap over and over, eventually it will work.
 
 
+3 # AML 2010-12-10 19:51
You are correct, and for that reason Obama said he got a shellacking.

What he left out was that 14 million first time voters, who put him in office, stayed home in the mid-terms. It would have been smart to keep these young people engaged.

The "shellacking" was from the left.
 
 
-15 # Adam Neiman 2010-12-08 14:00
what is the core progressive principle? Tax the rich or defend the most vulnerable? that's the devil's bargain Obama was handed.

He made the hard but correct choice-at some serious risk to his own job security-and preserved a lifeline for 2 million vulnerable Americans.

The economic elite would sacrifice us for the bottom line, the educated elite for the party line. From the perspective of those sacrificed that doesn't add up to a dime's worth of difference.

The day the liberal elite starts thinking of us as human beings, not as integers to be added or subtracted as needed to secure the greatest good for the greatest number, is the day they will have earned the right to be our champions. Until then, far too many of us will be seduced by the faux populists on the right.

Other than ardent partisans, the only Americans closely following this debate were the 2 million American families whose futures hang in the balance. While the curses of 100,000 polibloggers rain on his head, the president will be in our prayers this holiday season. God bless you, Barack Obama. It wasn't easy but you did the right thing.
 
 
+6 # Oligarch 23 2010-12-08 17:45
Yes, he threw the 2 million a life-perserver- but he is not helping them and the '99ers' or any others into the big boat-that's the big boat we Oligarch occupy-where we eat and drink and watch the rest fight for crumbs!
 
 
+4 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-08 18:14
Adam, the core progressive principle is to protect the common good. Your false dichotomy: tax the rich or defend the most vulnerable, is unspeakably stupid. And you think liberals don't think you "us" a human being? Need I remind you that it isn't the liberals and progressives who are threatening to take the food out of your mouth?
You don't get it, do you.
 
 
+4 # bjw 2010-12-08 21:11
He did not defend the vulnerable. He accepted scraps that will keep some afloat for a few months only. After that, they are facing homelessness, joblessness, hopelessness. This will not be a double-dip. The big dip is on the horizon. The life boats have been scuttled. Listen to the business reports. They see a protection racket for those still in the market in some sectors and are preparing for the bigger dip.
 
 
+1 # Advocacy 2010-12-11 11:28
The false dichotomy was from the fact that the Republicans stole something that belonged to the people anyways, then demanded--and GOT--a King's Ransom for it!
 
 
+13 # Bob Cassidy 2010-12-08 14:04
Keep up the good writing Mr. Reich. The president is entitled to his opinion - and I'm happy he is our president - but he doesn't want another "civil war". I'd just as soon have it and get it over with. If the R's, and some Dem's want to vote against unemployment benefits, make them do it. Call their bluff.
 
 
+16 # T Hodges 2010-12-08 14:06
Damn right, Robert. Throw all your shoes at the man who has sold the last vestiges of democracy to the Plutocracy!
 
 
+9 # Marty Lee 2010-12-08 14:06
My deal with Republicans would have been to let tax breaks for people making over $100,000 a year expire completely and let the tax breaks for those making between $50,000 and $100,000 expire in part. Lumping people who make $200,000 a year in together with the 44 million people who are currently making $22,500 a year and less is absurd in the first place.
 
 
-8 # mblockhart 2010-12-08 14:08
How do you propose to force a Republican controlled House to approve unemployment extension? The highest priority now is the recession and there's a lot of stimulus here. We can deal with the deficit later. I'm with the President who obviously has as his first priority the middle and low-income people who will be hurt by a tax increase. If we can't get Republicans to do the right thing we should get them to do the half-right thing at least.
 
 
+3 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-08 18:16
Too many stuck on stupid I see. I'd gladly pay double my current middle class tax rate if I had any say on where it went...supporti ng the unemployed and the poor.
 
 
+4 # jchere 2010-12-08 21:01
You are all missing an important point. As the fed prints more money, the value of the $ goes down. When that happens, you must pay more $ to buy things. To do that, you need to earn more $. As your income goes up to buy the same things, you move into a higher tax bracket, so the govt takes more of what you earn. Your savings are worth less. You are all being screwed.
 
 
+10 # Todd Williams 2010-12-08 14:21
Mr. Frank DeMartini's comment is so typical of the American "sheeple" and their penchant for shutting down their brains as they drift into the neocon opiate pushed by Rush Limballs, The Beckster, The Huckster and Mama Grizzly. Wake up Mr. DeMartini, you've been conned again. My suggestion is to really, really study the facts about this tax issue. Don't just hook up to the Fox Noise drip bag. There is a real world out there somewhere beyond the pablum dished out by the likes of Hannity and O'Reily.
 
 
+13 # josediablo10 2010-12-08 14:22
Robert Reich is right. As for this President, I have just about had enough of his stupidity. He has surrounded himself with dummies. Just take a look at the people he has appointed in his cabinet and at his advisers. With the exception of Hillary Clinton, I don't think any of the others have a clue. No wonder you never hear them on the Sunday morning talk shows. With the exception of Axlerod, I have yet to see his cabinet appointees and advisers come out and support him passionately. What a waste, nice guy, like him - but WTF!!
 
 
+5 # Lariokie 2010-12-08 16:29
josediablo he is not stupid. He is one of them. Add up all his results to date and you find a pathology that distinctly favors the super rich.
 
 
+10 # John de Beck 2010-12-08 15:07
Caving in is not leadership. The unemployed would rather face tough times than lose the future to the rich! Obama got blackmailed and fell for it! The only hope is a tough Senate Democratic Fillibuster!
 
 
-8 # ProfT 2010-12-08 15:11
Wait. It was not a negotiation, it was a hostage situation and our guy did the best he could. GOP has promptly done a great deal of damage. Keep counting their damage.
 
 
+6 # Mike K 2010-12-08 17:13
Yes it was a hostage situation and Obama let the hostage be taken.
 
 
0 # servitive101 2010-12-15 09:40
last time i looked the dems still have control of both houses! they shoved healthcare up our you know what, why not this?? mmmm wonder why
 
 
+3 # fredboy 2010-12-08 15:12
The real question is why didn't Obama and his team keep Congress?
 
 
+7 # Susan W 2010-12-08 17:16
Because they were too chicken to bring up this whole nasty tax fight before the election so the American sheeple had no idea where they stood.
 
 
+6 # Mike K 2010-12-08 17:18
I think it's largely because he aliented his base by not standing strong on the public option and not starting off negotitations with a call for single payer. Also his White House has been to busy with policy, inside the belt way barganing and not trying to get his nimnees or the hndreds of bills that passed the house through the senate to pay attention to minor things like politics or public opinion.
 
 
+12 # ProfT 2010-12-08 15:13
Honestly, I would have liked to see ALL of those tax cuts expire. And the blame would have been on the GOP jerks.
 
 
+16 # Susan W 2010-12-08 15:19
All Obama had to do was nothing; let the tax breaks expire then shame the Rs into passing unemployment extensions.

Now that he has bargained with a reduction in SS taxes it is only a matter of time before the howling starts about the deficit and cutting SS is the only answer. As the Rs say once you have a tax cut it is almost impossible to raise it back up and I'm sure this applies to SS taxes as as well as income taxes. Talk about playing right into the hands of the enemy. And Obama wonders why he has lost his base? What a fool.
 
 
+18 # Pauline Warren 2010-12-08 15:21
FILIBUSTER, Bernie Sanders - filibuster until midnight Dec 31. Let these damned tax cuts expire and die. Let the
Republicans rot in hell for all of me - they have morphed into something that is unrecognizable. They are killing my Republic. I am repulsed, repelled, disgusted and furious. What stupid people to follow such reptillian throwbacks.
What future will the children have if they prevail? I cannot bare to think of it.
I shall disturb, fight, annoy, wreck and whatever else I can think of to stop these ghouls. May God curse their every breathe!!
One Great Grandmother
 
 
+5 # michelle 2010-12-08 19:19
and... let's donate $5 each day Senator Sanders filibusters to his account on ActBlue.com. That is a sure way to make our voices heard.
 
 
+9 # The_Baron 2010-12-08 15:55
This president has NO fight in him,sad, but true!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!
 
 
+5 # clash 2010-12-08 16:18
President Obama has let us all down. We cannot support him any more. We must now work hard to establish a replacement for him. I urge Hillary Clinton to resign as Secretary of State and come out in force against this capitulation. She can win the base and secure the democratic nomination for President in '12. Lets not waste any more time with the false hope of Obama. Draft Hillary!!!
 
 
+3 # bjw 2010-12-08 21:26
Hillary has already announced her retirement from public life after her present post.
 
 
+4 # Jeff Humfeld 2010-12-08 17:20
Robert didn't even mention the worst part which is the elimination of the "Make Work Pay" provision. Which will actually raise taxes on many of the working poor. Screw this guy I will not vote for him again even if the Reptiles run Sarah cheerleader and they are ahead.
 
 
+5 # Warren 2010-12-08 17:21
Obama is basically a slightly left leaning Republican; he should switch parties; take all the people who support him to the Repubs; fight it out with the Tea baggers and if he wins run for Pres as a Republican. the Dems could then get somebody who supports Democratic concepts. then let the people vote and decide the direction of the country.
 
 
+6 # MtnMan 2010-12-08 17:34
The call for a Democratic Filibuster is wise. Everyone posting here should call all your US Rep immediately and tell them not to support an extension of tax cuts. Its is clear that this is far from settled---- even on the Republican side----- Even Ron Paul says tax cut extension are stupid. So stop ****hing and start phoning your Reps. And yes, in January, we need to locate a new candidate for President-----b ut it won't be Hillary--- Maybe Dean, or even Biden, or Greyson.
 
 
+6 # giraffe 2010-12-08 17:42
Frank, as usual, is absolutely correct - BUT: How does Obama deal with the BULLY? Seriouly give some thought to pushing the BLAME onto the R's. Not all who make over $250K can create jobs. Give the break to those when they create jobs in the USA (generously) - but not to the $$ earned by golden parachutes, trraders, bankers (who won't lend), mortgage forclosure companies (who don't even know who owns the loan) -- GET the picture. Picking on OBAMA (as dissatisfying as the DEAL he made is) - only makes the Turle and Boner (etc) Laugh Out Loud (I saw them on TV lauging s as they gave their opinions (an entitlement) but remember they are not entitled to their own FACTS. Get creative - with "what do we do with the bully now"-- Frank? You're on MSNBC tonight 12/8/2010 - Attack the bully and shame those who follow the bully blindly.
 
 
-6 # Wayne Schwab 2010-12-08 19:24
Reich seems to be caught up in the "imperial presidency." He thinks if the President is tough he will prevail. That's quite insensitive when unemployment payments are lapsing as he writes.
 
 
+7 # Bev 2010-12-08 19:30
President Obama is starting to look more and more like a Trojan Horse.

He is an enabler, at best, rewarding the right wing for being obdurate.
 
 
-5 # Nelson Williams 2010-12-08 19:58
You know, I remember back during the Bush Administration when Mr. Reich supported these tax cuts, loudly. Now he suddenly has found religion at the 11th hour. Where was all this righteous indignation when the Democrats took a pass on dealing with this issue last fall? Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, was practically pleading with them to take this on before the election. It fell on deaf ears. They now talk about how the President is not campaigning on this. He spent all of October campaigning on this. He is supposed to keep campaigning now that there is finally moral outrage? Where was this outrage in September, when it really needed to be dealt with? The President is keeping the poor from having their taxes hiked by 50% and giving some hope to the unemployed and he got the estate tax back. If the House and Senate Democrats had their way, they were ready to push this into next year. Ignoring all of the other things that we need to do and probably ending up with nothing. The President is sick of this kind of crap and, frankly, so am I. I am sick of people, liberals included, using the weakest of us just to try to get a victory. He did fine. Okay, folks, snark away.
 
 
+3 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-08 20:50
Are you sure you're done apologizing for the cretin, or would you like to add a little more whine?
 
 
+5 # E.B. eichbauer 2010-12-08 20:28
I had HOPE that just maybe Obama could restore the government to what our founding fathers meant for it to be, a government of the people, by the people and for the people. But I now accept that my hope was misplaced. I have no alternative but to accept the fact that it is now a government of big corporations & their lobbyists, run by big corporations and their puppet politicians and definitely for big corporations and that 2-5% of "the people" who benefit from this arrangement.
There is plenty of blame to go around. I blame myself for so naively thinking that Obama could and would effect Change. I blame those who have successfully bought politicians, I blame the politicians of all stripes that have sold their souls, and their country, I blame the media, mostly owned by those whose success of defrauding the government allowed them to buy all the independent media outlets (Hello Rupert), but mostly I blame the American people for so easily buying into, and allowing to happen, a system of government so corrupt that it’s only hope for survival is another civil war.
 
 
+9 # Deborah Nicely 2010-12-08 21:31
The damage done to this nation by GWB is huge and can only be put right by hard work on the part of a Progressive. Obama is not that person and cannot put our nation back on track. We need a new candidate now. It is likely that Obama will not run again in any case. I suggest that serious Dems get behind Russ Feingold. Now.
 
 
+7 # DW 2010-12-08 22:26
Obama and most Democrats are still capitalists. It is now obvious to most true liberals that we, the socialists and anarchists in the party, must split from the Dems. No more "lesser of two evils" ideology - that's Obama in a nutshell.

The socialists and anarchists on the left (myself included), must split from the democratic party and start a new revolution. Even if that means losing the presidency for the next 12-16 years. We must do it now, or perish!
 
 
+3 # Maggie Worden 2010-12-10 02:13
Here, here! Now what?
 
 
+6 # phrixus 2010-12-08 22:37
The Obama legacy: "Profile In Cowardice" or perhaps "Change That Didn't Happen." Maybe a lower/middle class raffle is in order - proceeds to buy the President a spine. He obviously shares more than a little genetic material with Neville Chamberlain. The only potentially worse situation would be another Republican in the White House. But not by much.
 
 
+5 # Texas Patriot 2010-12-08 22:57
Obama is a Trojan horse. He pretended to be a champion of the people in order to get inside the walls where he would be able to co-opt the Democratic party and thus provide his ultra rich political backers the ultimate protection of eliminating the last political checks and balances against their greed.
 
 
+2 # Mike 2010-12-09 10:13
Bless Dr. Reich,
But he doesn't seem to quite yet understand (at least in the- supposedly- dumbdowned sphere of public discourse) that Barrack's (I wont venture on who his real father was) "base" was always the bankers and Chicago machine. Reich is appalled that Barrack is not playing the 2-party game by established 20th century rules. But its the 21stc and, like it or not, money-votes trump little-people votes.
It takes men with courage, not skillful connivance, to stand up to and challenge this new reality. And obviously Barrack is telling us that he ain't one of the boat rockers.
I'm reminded of the 'classic' SNL sketch from the mid-70s, about Dominican [irony] Republic baseball player Chico Escuela, of "Baseball... been berra berra good... to me" fame.
Inside baseball (banker's world politics) was berra, berra good to the so-called 'Federal' Reserve US, c.1920s-70s. But that fun park ride is long over, and real people need to step up to the real plate, before the global Order boils this Republic & its middle class alive, like the proverbial frogs in hot water. Easier said than done in info-overload world; but we still vastly outnumber them.
 
 
+4 # Mukul Khurana 2010-12-09 00:59
I am not the kind of person who believes in conspiracy theories or gloomy talk--but really!?! Sellout to the rich (Tax legislation) and quieting of voices (Assange). Doesn't Nazi Germany make sense now? We are laying the foundation...
 
 
+3 # Oz 2010-12-09 10:19
If you think Nazi Germany got the way it did circa 1936-45 without any 'conspiracy', then I'd like to sell you some ocean-front property in Kansas, possibly including Dorothy and Toto.
 
 
+2 # Jens 2010-12-09 03:47
If the current tax rates are an abomination, that didn't just start this week. They've been an abomination for 10 years. And the philosophy behind them has been an abomination for 30 years. They're America's abomination - the choice we've collectively made to take a fair deal and then modify it so that we borrow from the future to shovel money to people who don't need it. It's an abomination because it's economically inefficient, the people who we shovel money to don't change their behavior much - because the problem is with demand, not supply, never more so than right now. And it's an abomination until we stop it.

So how do we stop it? We could let all the tax cuts expire. It would be blamed on the Democrats.

So would letting all of the tax cuts expire now be a good way to build societal consensus around a fairer deal? No. It would make people angry, hurt people, and could tank the economy.

In the short term, we could demand a simultaneous raising of the debt limit, so that the zealots don't have us over a barrel in the spring.

In the long term, we focus the anger on building a consensus that the old deal was the correct one.
 
 
+6 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-09 09:38
Sounds nice Jens, but you're assuming that all of "us" engineered the tax cuts that have been occuring since Reagan. "We" didn't. We were told by the elites that lowering taxex would stimulate the economy and more and more money would go into job creastion, which of course never ever happened. It wen't into the pockets of the wealthy. For the benefit of the nonwealthy the taxes could have been lowered and the tax rates on wealth kept the same and the economy would have been healthier.
Bottom line: we wouldn't even be having this conversation if the tax rate on wealth had been left alone. The ONLY point that matters is that the wealthy aren't paying more than half of what they were when Reagan came into power, and that fact alone has done more to damage the economy than even our thoughtless and stupid wars of late. This welfare for the wealthy, not mere tax cuts, IS the whole issue.
What's needed is the tax cuts to expire, the tax on wealth doubled, further extensions for unemployement funded by new taxs.
Youre absolutely right in your last sentence. The old deal was the right deal, that old deal being the tax structures under Eisenhower.
 
 
+4 # Activista 2010-12-09 12:50
" wealthy aren't paying more than half of what they were when Reagan came into power" - and tax cuts correlate with deficit. BTW Reagan created new taxes - like 10% on un-employment benefits.
And hi started us on the Soviet Union track with military spending.
cedarcomm.com/~stevelm1/USDebt.png
 
 
+6 # SelfAppointedCoachOz 2010-12-09 10:35
"Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that was used used to create them"
- Eienstein

We've got big problems, for which most of the DeeCee Establishment seems bewildered, if not actively committed to making them worse.

Why not start with the good old 5Ws and H?

WHO- is benefiting from the changes this century
WHAT- have been the principal changes
WHEN- did the bad changes begin; do they appear to be part of a trend or cycle that will end 'on its own' at some point?
WHY- on Earth would anyone want to destroy the US middle class, and its CONSUMPTION-bas ed GDP? Perhaps someone above the level of DeeCee gov't and 'Federal' Reserve has decided that mass-consumptio n economics is no longer "sustainable" in the 21st century?
HOW- can 'they' take down such a vast middle-class consumption economy?

Answer these 5 basics, in a way that most 'reasonable men' (non-blinkered) would acquiesce to, and you/we will be a lot closer to understanding the problem and how to take effective action.
 
 
+3 # Maggie Worden 2010-12-10 02:10
Finally, a wider view. First rule of journalism: Follow the money. When it comes down to it, there are simply too many of us. Suddenly the Great Depression goes Global. Some Reality Show this is.
 
 
+3 # Seastink 2010-12-09 09:54
Obama is weak. He makes the United States of America a laughingstock to the world. This should help a bit unlike Democratic bumbling. The country will be a better place when this clown is gone in two years.
 
 
-5 # Concerned Economist 2010-12-09 10:36
Before the rich would hire people and expand business again, they need some certainity to the future. I hope that two years would be enough time for them to do something positive...If you really wanted to put the 21% unemployed back to work, then (1.) place a tariff on imports equal to the differential in wages with, let's say the Chinese, and that will bring back the manufacturers and tens of million Middle Class jobs. And (2.) deport the illegal aliens and give their stolen low-end jobs to our unemployed. These two measure would solve most of the problems we have in America.
 
 
+5 # Activista 2010-12-09 12:30
First stop wars - 0 military budget - and we do not have deficit.
"and give their stolen low-end jobs to our unemployed" - sir you did not spend one hour on the filed or fixed your roof.
---
this tried Clinton - and our "unemployed" did not earn even the transportation cost.
You will make sure carier in the Palin's administration.
 
 
+5 # Activista 2010-12-09 10:54
Oligarchs rule - Obama became our Yeltsin - powerless - ruled by corporate interest. Add to it Clintons/Summer s - Siamese twins of Israel - and US is kaput.
Learn about collapse of Russia economy under the Jeltzin. People who will seek asyle elswhere will find that their pensions will be worthless like ruble after Yeltsin era.
Wikipedia: Boris Yeltsin came to power with a wave of high expectations. On 12 June 1991 he was elected president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic with 57% of the vote, becoming the first popularly elected president. However, Yeltsin never recovered his popularity after a series of economic and political crises in Russia in the 1990s
 
 
+8 # Jane Gilgun 2010-12-09 12:40
Whatever happened to public dialogue about the public good? Say no to extending tax cuts for the wealthy. Make estates worth more than $1 million taxable.

I thought the US was a democracy. I thought the US was about the common good.

Where is the sheriff?
 
 
-5 # IMadsen 2010-12-09 16:03
Jane, you thought wrong.

The US is a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Our founders warned us about democracies and their dangers above all other forms of government. If you examine our founding documents, you'll understand that the US is about personal achievement and personal responsibility.

Common good is achieved by individuals operating in their own self-interest.

You should pick up a book, Jane.
 
 
+1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-10 12:43
Well, IMadsen...you should pick up a book yourself. Try the dictionary."Rep ublic - a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives , and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch." The Oxford American College Dictionary.
The observation that we are a constitutional republic, not a democracy, is a stupid right wing canard that doesn't mean a damn thing. A republic is, by definition, a democracy and the argument that ours is not a constitutional democracy AKA republic is pathetic. And to say that the common good is achieved by individuals operating in their own self-interest is a lie. That statement's just a tame expression for justifying the behavior of the mafia. Common good is achieved by socially responsible individuals behaving fairly with all revealing an intelligent understanding of an enlightened self-interest that realizes that whats good for the whole is good for the individual. Common good is achieved by an enlightened interdependence which knows that anything less such as pure independence of action, is the law of the jungle and guarantees that what defines "right" is might, Very Hilterian.
 
 
-9 # IMadsen 2010-12-09 15:59
What a bunch of class warfare whiners! The "rich" are people just like you, who instead of bitching, expended their energies by making something of themselves.

Instead of the envy and hatred of those who succeed, you might consider channeling your efforts into your own success.

The wealthy are just people like you who directed their energies positively. They do no owe you any part of their success.
 
 
+5 # Z 2010-12-10 11:28
I don't know, IM. The roofers are working pretty hard on my roof right now, and I'll bet they're only being paid $8.50 a hour, and I don't know that the owner of the company is rich. They're all positive people, though. Why should the super rich, many of whom inherited wealth and status, be considered more virtuous and more deserving?
 
 
+4 # J.A. Miller 2010-12-09 21:41
We should notice that the Republicans voted down a $250 payment for the Social Security recipients. It shows that the Republicans only care about the rich. Obama should have stood up to the Republicans, and said no to the welfare to the rich! Why is to OK to cut tax for the rich and not give a crumb to the elderly? Because the Republicans don't care!!!! It's that simple!!!
 
 
-3 # Conservative 2010-12-10 13:52
"Tax cut" is a misnomer... 1% of the rich still pay 50% of the taxes in this country and 70% of people pay no tax. Republicans (and I do not know one rich one) want to see people stand for something... once again that did not happen with the Democrat win of the Obama presidency ... you have choices... stop depending on the government for every thing... the Democrats have made all of these Americans dependent on their "entitlements" to the point they can't take care of themselves anymore except to hitch rides to the polls to vote for those who will give them more entitlements... it will stop only when Americans of all ages, of all religions, of all cultures, etc. stand up ... what happended to "don't ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?" for goodness sakes... our country needs people to stand for something.

A 1776 American
 
 
+3 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-10 18:29
You sure do thrive on cheap talking points. I like entitlements, oh, say, like being entitled to fair wages, entitled to a quality education, entitled to single payer health care, entitled to quality job training, entitled to our jobs not being shipped of for slave labor in third world countries to perform, and lets not forget being entitled to non-extortionat e mafia type interest and finance charges... you know, the entitlement for an honest days wages for an honest days work, not being ripped off by the financial wolves tearing our doors down, and stuff like this. But of course we aren't entitled, according to the right, to fair taxation, fair wages, our jobs (for God's sake), or freedom from being systematically raped by the finance and banking industries. So let's stand for something, like fairness, which no Rethugliecon in their right mind would ever back because that would diminish the range of their theft, manipulation and greed.
I can take care of myself, except that I can't escape the wage slavery, joblessness crises the wealthy have caused, and no matter how hard I work, I'm one illness away from total financial destruction. But I suppose that's my all my fault, eh?
 
 
+1 # RICHARDKANEpa 2010-12-10 00:03
It made Obama look like an in-between and a mediator. It helped the START TREATY go forward, and if it got progressives to do what they want instead of asking big daddy what to do it for them it will accomplish alot. See,

http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/26-26/4210-cheer-obama-but-oppose-his-tax-extension-deal
 
 
+5 # Maggie Worden 2010-12-10 02:00
No, duh. I used to worry Obama would be a target for assassination but why now? He's got Jimmy Carter Syndrome - too good for the job. There is a time for building consensus, and a time to push your agenda and get 'er done. Now it's time to look for a better candidate in '12.
 
 
+5 # ffarron 2010-12-10 03:11
Robert Reich got it exactly right: the outrageous thing about the superrich is not how many homes, yachts, private jets etc. they own, but that they convert their wealth into the power to effectively GOVERN this country. We are a democracy in name only; actually we are a plutocracy. A democracy is supposed to be governed with the consent of the governed - every survey shows that the Republicans do not have the consent of a majority of the governed. THEY OUGHT TO BE IMPEACHED!
What galls me is that NO ONE has the guts to SHAME THEM by challenging their much flaunted "Christianity." Would Christ have given money that we don't even have -that we have to borrow from foreigners - to the rich and deprived the poor? Social Security recipients haven't received their COLAs in 2 years; today congress cut the subsidies to public transport, so just to get to work will cost the lower income people more and THE REPUBLICANS COMPLAIN ABOUT CLASS WARFARE!??
Seems to me that THEY ARE THE ONES WAGING CLASS WARFARE AGAINST THE MIDDLE AND LOWER INCOME GROUPS IN THIS COUNTRY. What Reagan called "starving the beast;"
the "beast" being the sum of all social services.
 
 
-2 # Conservative 2010-12-10 13:35
It is against the law (do you care?) to give any one running for public office a test for religion. (Article 6 of the United States Constituion.)

A 1776 American

p.s. Boy! Phew! Reich really loves riling you up, doesn't he?
 
 
-1 # Conservative 2010-12-10 13:31
You know Z... if one of the roofers decided to become a competitor of his/her now boss he/she would hire people to work at more than minimum wage (if its $8.50 a hour) and they would be the proprietor, the rich guy... Yes? do you agree? I say yes, because that guy creates jobs, that guy stayed up nights to figure out how he/she would become that entrepreneur, improve the art of roofing ... etc. It takes some finesse to build the wealth by good grace and hard knocks; did you ever try to build wealth to pass along to your kids, eh Z? You only merit to debase one of those hard-working people when you become one. On the other hand, are you one of those entitled many... entitled to that same hard won wealth??? Who are you talking about when you talk about "the super rich," are you talking about movie stars or the roofer's boss? If there are differnce between the "inherited wealth and status" of those to diametrically opposites...
who is considering who "more virtuous and more deserving?" I would answer that Obama and rich democrats like Reich and Clinton, not the roofer boss. Come clean Z.

A 1776 American
 
 
+1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-10 18:34
Oh Conservative, you know if that roofer even tried to start up his own company, if he actually got good enough at it that he was building wealth for himself and for his descendants (which his descendants are not entitled to by the way), some corporate monolith would come along and undercut him to the point where he'd be forced out of business for good. Ever heard of Walmart?
 
 
+3 # Tomaline 2010-12-11 03:39
It saddens me to have been duped into believing in Obama.

As an senior Obama staff told Keith Olbermann, the reason we, the American people don't "get it" is that we don't understand all of the facts.

Obama and his advisers are nothing more than cynical arbiters of corporate interests.

Shame on us for not "getting it."
 
 
-3 # jlohman 2010-12-11 08:38
I see no value in Sanders' pretend-filibus ter, why is he not putting a hold on the tax bill?
 
 
+3 # ericlane 2010-12-11 09:15
It's becoming obvious that Obama just doesn't get it. Everything he has done is half-assed. A health care bill that does nothing to hold costs down, allow everyone access to care, or create a public option. More tax breaks for the filthy rich. Endless wars. And now, he is going to help in destruction of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the only social safety nets the middle class and poor have. Maybe it's time for a true Tea Party from the left, one based on justice and compassion. Not greed and arrogance. We could call it The American Party.

It's also time to start looking for a presidendial candidate that understands what it means to be a Democrat!
 
 
0 # servitive101 2010-12-15 09:36
the article is right in one aspect,the '"TAX" deal is an OBAMANATION!! first of all, and this is a fact, this is NOT a tax CUT deal, but in fact a deal to CONTINUE the CURRENT tax rates for EVERYONE! further more how do tax cuts (if this were) COST anything???? you people need to pay attention, obama is using this "deal to further his agenda! what costs in this deal is all the liberal democrat spending added to it! someone explain to me how UNEMPLOYMENT BENIFITS HELP THE ECONOMY??? JOBS help the economy, not entitlements! heres a word for all you libs to look up REGANOMICS! heres another FACT LIBS dont like, ronald regan was responsible for the LARGEST peacetime GROWTH of the american economy in this countries HISTORY! how did he do it?? across the board TAXCUTS, which accually resulted in MORE tax revenue comming to washington! how? the EVIL so called RICH got to keep more of THEIR money and CREATED JOBS! oh yeah, EVERYBODY got to KEEP MORE OF WHAT THEY EARNED!! obama is holding the economy hostage with HIS policies, not the republicans! and for the record i am neither democrat or republican!
 
 
0 # LawrenceEfana 2010-12-16 14:14
If I were to live in a political system, one that is presidential and democratic with a senate, house of representatives or a congress, I would seek more to know why I should go out voting at their respective elections. In economic or employment times like the one we are in, I would not joke but go out politically to understand the implications of being held a hostage. I would then be sure I interpret and apply JFK's most quoted statement well: how dysfunctional adversarial party politics does obstruct swiftness. Being held hostage and ideas of obstruction, would help me appreciate this tax-law debate. For me it would be an opportunity, come 2012 to say 'truly' I understand the President and can go all out because his political wisdom is now clearer to me. In crisis times, daydreamed poorly recalled history, opportunism and or insensitive party politics can muddle-up and make politics irrational, but for a pragmatic political leader, it is always an opportunity, hopefully if the population/elec torates/voters, benefit from active debates about implications and lessons for the country and future. See the short falls but go out preparing American masses for the challenges ahead.
 

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