Voters, White House Playing Two Different Games On Deficits


You know what really pisses me off when the president starts talking about "balance," "shared sacrifice" and "skin in the game"? It's that, despite the poor, working and middle class losing their jobs, their savings, their equity and even their homes in the past five years (with more of them on food stamps than ever before), and the one percent making more money than ever, Obama talks as if it's a brand new game of Monopoly -- and we're all starting with the same amount of money in the bank! Hey, Mr. President -- we've done our share, now it's time for the other guys to cough up:

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Friday that he would insist that tax increases on affluent Americans be part of any agreement to avoid a year-end fiscal crisis, setting up a possible confrontation with Congressional Republicans who say they will oppose a rise in tax rates for the rich.

In his first remarks from the White House since his re-election, Mr. Obama made it clear that he believed his victory had validated his relentless campaign call for wealthier Americans to pay more and that he expected Republicans to heed that message.

“I just want to point out this was a central question during the election,” he said in brief remarks in the East Room. “It was debated over and over again. And on Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach.”

Mr. Obama said he had invited Congressional leaders to the White House next week to begin talks as they return for a lame-duck session of Congress. He said he was willing to make some concessions as long as the final fiscal bargain was properly balanced between new tax revenue and spending cuts.

“I’m not wedded to every detail of my plan,” Mr. Obama said. “I’m open to compromise.”

We know you are, Mr. President. That's why we're worried.

But here's a little comic relief from the National Journal, in a story titled "Left Divided Over Grand Bargain":

The AFL-CIO organized a day of action on Thursday--part of a broader post-election campaign to protect entitlements--with dozens of events scheduled nationwide to urge lawmakers to avoid such a deal.

A "grand bargain" to prevent the year-end onset of tax hikes and spending cuts "could cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, all to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans," the labor group argued on its organizing site. But the union campaign is being met with resistance from others on the left.

"We, like you, are ecstatic about the reelection of President Barack Obama and what it means or American growth and prosperity," wrote Jim Kessler, senior vice president for policy for Third Way, a liberal think tank with a centrist approach, in an open letter to the groups involved with the day of action. "However, as fellow progressives, we were disappointed to learn that you will be leading an effort against the President to impede a balanced grand bargain."

In order to protect safety-net programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, the left must embrace reform, Kessler writes. As structured, the programs risk becoming insolvent and their rising costs eat into spending that could go to other progressive goals such as investments in infrastructure or education, he argues. And, while raising taxes should be a part of addressing the "fiscal cliff," it's far from the solution.

Ha ha, get it? The Third Way is now a "liberal think tank" with a "centrist approach." And that's why, as "fellow progressives," we're supposed to give a crap about what they think.

Oh, my sides are aching!


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