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President gave in too easily



Published: Sat, January 5, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Brian Gilmore

McClatchy-Tribune

Hold the high-fives. President Obama’s apparent victory on the fiscal cliff is more like a late-game touchdown that is still being reviewed by replay officials. For one thing, Obama’s decision to agree not to impose higher taxes on incomes between $250,000 and $400,000 will result in far less revenue than he needs to get. There were similar concessions on dividends and capital gains, and a huge giveaway on the estate tax, which will benefit only the richest of the rich. As a result, Obama’s deal will bring in just 40 percent of the planned revenue.

Second, it was troubling that Obama was willing to compromise despite his recent election mandate. During the negotiations, he reportedly offered up a new formula for calculating the Consumer Price Index, which would have resulted in a decrease in Social Security payments. This inclination to abandon his base and core principles of his party is not promising.

There are positives to the fiscal cliff deal worth noting, though. Pressure from labor and other progressive groups helped save Obama from himself. This coalition advocated hard for a deal that did not trade away key parts of the social contract in cutting the deal. In the end, this worked. Unemployment compensation was extended for those in temporary need. The earned income tax cut for the working poor was bolstered. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security also were not traded away for weak tax hikes. The package, to a small extent, addressed even alternative energy.

The real key, however, was decoupling the Bush-era tax cuts. The fact that the middle class and the wealthy were financially linked in the tax code never made sense anyway because of the nation’s huge wealth gap.

More battles

But no one should sleep. There are more battles waiting on even more important issues, including a battle again over spending cuts to the social contract. Compromise is part of politics, but the social contract — that bedrock principle of a humane existence and democracy in the United States — must be preserved above all. Too many have fought for it for too long for a Democratic president to give it up now.

Brian Gilmore is a writer for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Comments

1ytownsteelman(628 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Your vaunted "social contract" is driving this country into bankruptcy! There was no such thing when this country was founded, and it should not exist today either. It is not a bedrock principle, it is a mutilation of our principles. Liberals will not be happy until we are all poor and living off of a meager government handout.

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2dmacker(274 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Whatever it took to get back to the golf game in Hawaii....

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3olddude(201 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Obama definitely got the better deal in first quarter of this political football game.. He got some of what he wanted without giving an inch on entitlements or the debt.. Heck, he was given the go-ahead with printing up some more money for unemployment and pork such as wind farm credits...The reason John B. and Mitch M. gave in to this was that they think they will have more leverage in two months when the negotiations begin again.... And so what does the liberal propaganda machine say now... We didnt get much in the first quarter, were disapointed... It is their goal now to reduce the leverage gained going forward..

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4theoldwrench(243 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Since S.S.is not apart of the budget (Hero Reagan words) why any talk of change, Reagan and Tip said the changes they made would Protect S.S. for sixty years it"s only been 28 years. How many things around us today, were around then? I wonder if any teabaggers aroud here refuse to accept S.S. If they were true patriots they would send it back to fund the DOD. As for tax credits why was nascar given them!!!!!!!!!

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