president obama

If you followed the so-called fiscal cliff primetime mini-series, hopefully you were satisfied with its made-for-TV ending: last-minute deal, good guy wins, evil is seemingly put to rest, and folks turn off their televisions and make love in order to release the climatic tension (at least that’s how my night ended). Whew, what a Holiday story! But people who love to critically think about what’s disseminated  in front of them had to ponder what’s next and wonder, if now that all the political drama is out-of-the-way, did all this back-and-forth just amount to hammering out a framework for what Democrats and Republicans will battle over during 2013?

President Obama was solemn in his statements this morning, conceding that the bill was far from what either side of the aisle wanted:

“While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country, and the House should pass it without delay.”

Additionally, The President appeared steadfast in his resolve to fix the problems that face a majority of Americans:

We can settle this debate, or at the very least not allow it to be so all-consuming all the time that it stops us from meeting a host of other challenges that we face creating jobs, boosting incomes, fixing our infrastructure, fixing our immigration system, protecting our planet from the harmful effects of climate change, boosting domestic energy production, protecting our kids from the horrors of gun violence.

While many pundits and commentators hail this deal as a net win for the President, some feel this deal will widen the economic disparities further. One of the few Senate Democrats against the deal was Iowa senator Tom Harkin, who agreed with much of the legislation but was very skeptical about the real economic benefits to the 99% of Americans who are still unemployed, under-employed, or stagnant in their station:

“Instead, we find ourselves voting on an agreement that fails to address our number one priority—creating good, middle class jobs in Iowa and throughout the country. Further, it does not generate the revenue necessary for the country to meet its needs for everything from education for our children, to job training, to other critical supports for the middle class,” said senator Harkin in his statement after the deal was reached.

In a deal that essentially asks everyone to pay — including the working poor and middle-class families who, literally, had nothing to with the current fiscal state, which is totally unfair — allowing the top earners in America, along with their heirs and financiers, to walk away with their real money not touched — as taxes on dividends, capital gains, and estates are only raised to comfortable lows for the foreseeable future — is malfeasance in real-time. And let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that House and Senate Republicans won’t be on Fox News in a few weeks beating the drum for President Obama to deal with the potentially calamitous sequester cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, farm aid, unemployment benefits, and the myriad of others.

Although the callous Bush-era tax cuts will finally fall by the wayside, the fact that big-city representatives in House (Republican and Democrat) — who have constituents who lobbied to have the pay threshold for what is considered rich in America raised from 250,000 to 400,000 — allowed money to dictate policy meant that the burden of the cost for this deal being approved rested upon raiding the pocketbooks of the middle-America, low-income earners, and the working poor.

And the most sinister of all this so-called fiscal drama is that ones who duplicitously put us in this mess will again not risk much in terms of their wealth, power, and influence. Moreover, there was limited talk in cutting military spending to bring the deficit down, a fact that most economists agree is what prolongs our debt crisis.

On second thought, this mini-series is so egregious, it would not have been green-lighted for release on Lifetime.

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  • justanotheropinion

    SS and Medicare consume over 75% of the budget. Until we get serious about reforming those 2 items, we will never get anywhere – no other changes will compensate for the huge spending in these 2 areas. Nothing whatsoever was done about the enormous borrowing that continues (with no real limit), govt payrolls are at an all time high, no reform at all for the crazy tax code and all it’s loop holes and yet Congress just voted themselves a raise…I could go on and on. If every place else weren’t so F’up, it would be a good time to look to move elsewhere. Every last one of them should be immediately fired – and the ax should start swinging at the very top and work it’s way done.

  • Mademoiselle

    Anyone (regardless of your political affiliation) who thought the middle class was going to somehow be spared an increase in taxes this year was fooling his/herself. There’s no way this economy would (or will) continue to survive with the tax code structured the way it currently is.

    Although I am SORELY disappointed that capital gains tax skated by yet another real discussion of why oh why investors, of all people, need tax subsidies on income that not only excludes most of the American population from participating in, but also motivates the greediest people to sandbag the population so they can line their pockets with the flesh of the middle class, there was no real Utilitarian way to raise taxes on only the rich in order to spare the middle class AND dig ourselves out of a hole.

    The tax breaks that were put in place were intended to only be BREAKS, not full-out removals of tax obligations. This country runs on more than just water, and it’s time for everyone to start acknowledging that. Yes, it will mean tougher times, tightening belts, and rethinking luxuries versus necessities for a while, but not-so-newsflash: everything worth having in life requires some type of sacrifice at one point or another.

    To be 100% honest, I do believe if corporations are squeezed too much in taxes, it would hurt the average American more than it would help the national debt — not because I think corporations are the heart and soul of this country (actually, quite contrary). I believe corporations are so greedy and so willing to suck the blood and soul out of every American just to make a buck, that any increase in taxes will directly translate to an increase in consumer prices and a decrease in stateside jobs. So, I can understand how sensitive the debate must have been (due in no small part to how deep these corporations have their hands in politicians’ pockets) when the topic of corporate tax rates made it to the table. I don’t agree with it; in fact, I feel more discussions need to be had in order to find an equitable way to force corporations to contribute their fair share to our economic sustainability and growth (beyond just spurring more purchases). However, just like we can’t increase taxes on rich individuals without affecting middle-class and poor people, it won’t be possible to increase taxes on large corporations without affecting small businesses. It’s the way our form of capitalism works.

    In short (haha): we need to stop thinking about winners and losers when it comes to such serious topics. I’m disgusted at how political these men and women made this entire fiscal cliff “saga.” I would like to see the president put together a task force to redesign the tax code from top to bottom, another task force to redesign the federal budget top to bottom, and a third to oversee the execution and continual review of the feasibility and long term ramifications of both. It’s time for innovation and unconventional plans of action. Our country should never be allowed to go into a deficit, ever. It should be every president’s priority to ensure our country at least breaks even every year, otherwise we’re all failing and losing. Until we get there, expect to continue to see an increase in taxes and a disparity in treatment of the rich, the poor, and the legal entities.

    I’ll end with my Kanye West moment of the day: John Boehner doesn’t care about tri-state people. Give us our damn Sandy Relief money, man! What’s wrong with you?

  • art

    Come on,

    Are you real?

    The action has been taken, do not focus on fiscal policy instead focus on monetary policy. While you are doing that remember the constitution says that real money is only gold and silver.

    But the action has been taken to monetise all the debt, now they have increased the money supply by 3000 per cent, you know what that means? They called it quantitative easing, they shold have called it finacial armageddon. They are going to drown us all in inflation, I have never seen anything like it. But this is not 20 per cent inflation, that is Zimbabean style inflation.

    The die is cast,

    The Teaparty should have been protesting way earlier, but now anyone carrying US debt is going to see inflation eat those babies up.

    The only safety is to buy silver and gold. Europe and America will be like the Weimar Republic.

    People like Paul Krugman, will argue that that amount of inflation will help the economy.

    But why have these guys done this? From inside Information, I understand that They wanted to wipe out new wealth and consolidate power.

    But we will all see the fall out from this action, It is going to be ugly, real ugly.

    Obama is not a hero, and he will not be once inflation gets out of hand. This stuff about Democrats helping the poor is rubbish, they are going to create a number of the new poor. ( The so called Conservative government in Britain is doing the same)

    But that is the long term goal of Communists and Fabian socialists, to destroy the middle class. But there is going to be an almighty fall out, politically. I am struggling to envision how the world is going to look once that money is fully in the economy.

    People buy as much gold and silver as you can, land is another way to defend you assets .

    People have been warning Americans of that these things will happen, but they have happened now.

    I want you to go to any Economists and ask them to predict the inflation rate if the money supply increases by 3000 per cent?

    The only slavation is that there is a time lag before these things take place, you can all do something about this.

    I am trying to see if I can get an inflation hedging fund before the trouble starts.

    The Queen of England, went to inspect the gold two weeks ago in the Bank Of England, I do not think it is a routine visit. She also went to see the British Cabinet, I think she is worried and to tell you the truth I am worried to.

    People you can still buy silver coin at 27 dollars and it is going to be worth a lot more, when inflation become a big problem.

    Economically we can forecast what will happen, but politically , no one knows what will happen. In Germany they elected Hitler when Inflation got truly bad. We have sleepwalked into something crazy!

  • Mademoiselle

    @art I’m curious. What are your thoughts on what should/could be done to lift the entire economy? Your proposal to buy gold and silver, and to hedge against inflation is very individualistic. Considering the entire American economy is suffering, how do you propose the American people and its government act to change our current trajectory?

  • Keepitreal

    Some people like it when there are millions of poor people running around, it gives them power.


    More like most politicians LOVE it because they’ll have a built in voting bloc of government dependents. It’s already happened, we are screwed.