David Cay Johnston Asks President Obama To Call The Republicans Bluff On Bush Tax Cuts


Keith Olbermann talked to journalist David Cay Johnston about how President Obama should handle the Republicans and their demand that those Bush tax cuts for the rich remain in place: call their bluff.

Call Their Bluff, Mr. President:

Will President Obama cave on yet another of his campaign promises, this time by giving in to Republican demands to extend all of the temporary Bush tax cuts? The president signaled this on his Asia trip when he said his principal concern was retaining the middle-income tax rates.

Republican congressional leaders have said they will let all of the Bush tax cuts expire unless the president bows to their demand that the top 3 percent of Americans be included in any tax cut extension.

Obama should call their bluff.

I don't think the Republicans are so stupid that they would let all the Bush tax cuts expire if they cannot continue tax cuts for billionaires and the affluent on all of their income. But let's assume that the Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are that dumb, or so beholden to the antitax billionaires funding their campaigns, that they would force universal tax increases.

This is a fight that Obama can win, and win handily, if he has the backbone to stand up for the vast majority and sound tax policies, and to take on the antitax billionaires who are piling up huge gains while unemployment, debt, and fear stalk our land.

A sudden reduction in take-home pay in January would seriously damage our fragile economy, not to mention provoke widespread anger and fear. The economic news would be so awful that a president half as eloquent as Obama could easily focus attention on the Republican all-or-nothing tax policies as the cause of this universal pain.

And like an extra cherry atop a sundae, the Republicans gave Obama a gift when they said they have no interest in renewing his $400 Making Work Pay tax credit. That statement alone lets the president paint Republicans as tax hikers who want to hit people who work, while shielding billionaires.

Moreover, since polls show that hardly anyone knows about this Obama tax cut, which the administration calls the largest middle-class tax cut in history, promoting it would be like getting a second free cherry from the GOP. Read on...

Olbermann also did a great job of laying waste to the talking point that taxing the rich is going to harm the "job creators". The one thing he left out is that those tax cuts are creating jobs alright, just not in America.


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