No matter what happens, it is always about the conflict:
No mention whatsoever in the piece of the positives and negatives of extending the policy, just the promotion of the conflict and the obligatory statement from the WH noting they disagree with Orszag. What matters is not whether or not the tax cuts should be extended, but that Orszag is “going against his former boss.”
*** Update ***
A reader writes in:
But it’s worse than that. Orszag WASN’T going against his former boss–he said the tax cuts for the middle class should be extended for two years, and that if the political price paid for that is extending them for the upper-class, too, it’s still worth it. This is pretty much EXACTLY Obama’s opinion. Meaning that it’s impossible to have a story about policy at all without making the policy the frame in which to discuss The Controversy, even if none exists.
It doesn’t matter. Did you hear there will be a fight after school behind the gym! Fight! Fight!
The tweet is even factually wrong. Orzag does not ever say that the tax cuts should be extended. He is saying that as part of a compromise it may be the best way to go.
Sure. Orzag knew this too. It was part of the plan I think.
This is what renders the Jake Tappers of the world ultimately useless. They simply don’t bring a damned thing to the table.
As pointed out in the previous thread, what Orzag really said was “if we have to agree to give the tax breaks to the rich in order to appease the twits in Congress, that’s a worthwhile tradeoff compared to having taxes increase on the middle class, which is what will happen if the Bush tax law simply lapses.”
That’s a long way away from how Tapper is phrasing things, that Orzag thinks the high-end tax cuts are worthwhile in and of themselves.
You expected better from Tapper?
That’s true. The question is what was Orzag thinking? How did he think that would be reported?
Do you think he is surprised by this? I don’t.
Moreover, do you really believe Orazag’s scenario that the tax cuts then disappear in 2013?
I see why Tapper is the focus of this post, but Orzag’s column is pretty fucking awful on a number of levels.
No, I didn’t.
His tweet is a perfect example of why we no longer can trust a single word of what these people say or write. He took what Orzag said and twisted it to something is not.
Hey, you’re missing the point — Tapper tweeted the new mem first. Scoop!
Like Margaret Carlson years ago, Tapper sold his soul for a seat at the popular kids’ table.
Win the minute!
Agreement. Kinda like BTD, first thing I thought when I read what Orzag wrote was “I wish he hadn’t said this. The media’s gonna jump all over this and twist it all out of proportion,” and sure enough…
The news/print media can’t die soon enough for me.
In his defense, the baby in the thumbnail might have typed out that report. Who knows who is to blame here.
The Grand Panjandrum
Woo hoo! JT is Queen For A Day! Again. I propose you guys have a new daily award with a (somewhat) edited version of this video as part of the post to signify just how fucking stupid these people sound.
Who cares about Tapper? who cares about a former white house official? and who cares if the tweeter got it wrong?
The only thing that matters is for now the Obama administration disagrees with extending the tax cuts for the wealthy. The rest of it is poutrage fuel and bullshit. Not necessarily in that order. see below thread.
And governing in a democracy usually involves compromise of one degree or another.
Ever body got an asshole and corresponding opinion. The only thing that doesn’t change is garbage coming out of the village and BTD taking it serious if it gives him a chance to flex his concern trollage.
I don’t know if Tapper’s the weakest media blogger, but he’s certainly near the bottom. And the only columnist more shallow is MoDo.
Does anyone really believe that the WH and Orzag didn’t coordinate this? This is precisely the plan the WH will push. From a tactical standpoint, this is the right thing for them to do. Now everyone is talking about this “compromise.” It doesn’t really matter though because there will be no real compromise. The GOPers will get their way:
tax cuts for the rich for at least another 10 years;
increased debt; and
spending that benefits the public will be cut.
And this time they’ll be able to absolve themselves of at least 50% of the responsibility – which means in a few years everyone will “remember” that it was Obama’s fault.
economics is hard. gossip is easy!
This. I suppose you are happy with this story. Good thinking.
Why is this smart tactically?
I haven’t read the oped, but imo Orszag is really a big time asshole if the first thing he does as a highly paid emmessemmbot is disagree with the Admin’s position on a hotly contested issue on the first official day of the campaign season.
@BTD: I don’t care about this story, that apparently has been reported inaccurately. Why do you spend your time hanging on every piece of claptrap that comes out of Washington, especially from FORMER WH officials. And what I am unhappy about are hand wringing dems looking for any scrap of bs to rag on the dem president, that appears to be some kind of warped vision of political activism.
Why does General BetrayUs want to betray us?
After all, if we cant burn Korans, then only terrorists can burn them.
Hmmm. Why am I paying attention to the just departed Obama budget director’s pronouncements on the expiration of the Bush tax cuts?
It’s not like that is a big issue and that his words will have more impact on the debate than say, John Cole’s or Jake Tapper’s?
I mean really, who cares about the outcome of that debate? Not a big deal really.
Good point Stuck. Thanks for keeping it real.
also, not that it matters, but using a baby in the pic to try to make Tapper look like something other than the useless whore of a hack that he is is kind of pathetic.
A lot of history, policy, or politics books are written the same exact way, and are generally hailed for their insights.
You are very welcome, somebody has to keep it real on Planet Democrat, and call me when Obama starts showing signs of capitulating and breaking his promise to let the top tier Bush taxcuts expire. Then we will have a debate, this is just a sideshow of no great importance.
Obama’s position is that the tax cuts should be extended for people making under $250,000, and allowed to expire for those above $250,000.
That’s Orszag’s position too, but he also says that if the tax cuts end up getting extended for everyone, it’s really not that big a deal.
Is it a really big deal? If not, then it’s hardly worth getting exercised over the “tactics.”
I love how the first commenters here are pointing out that Tapper is basically lying about Orszag’s opinion. (Which he is!)
Our media is so absurd.
The tax cuts expire automatically. If the Democrats want to pass new extensions for the middle class, fair enough. If they go out and pass massive new tax cuts for the ultra wealthy (which is what these would be, the Bush tax cuts will be over) and them come back and cry poverty as they attack Social Security then frankly they deserve to be shot.
The Republicans are crazy and stupid and the Democrats STILL dance to their tune. Orzag’s article is downright disgusting, frankly.
Drudge still rules their world, even if they no longer read him. I, for one, am actively rooting for the quick demise of the major network news departments.
if this is the tenor of reporting we’re to get, it would at least be more interesting to see what percentage of jack tapper’s or david gregory’s or bob schieffer’s friends and associates would benefit from extending the top tier tax cuts.
Tastes great, less filling
Less filling, tastes great
Ad nauseum. Bit precious to complain about it since everything Homelandian follows the same tedious pattern of us versus them, the reds versus the blues.
The press doesn’t dictate, it illustrates.
“Sure. Orzag knew this too. It was part of the plan I think.”
What plan is that? Please explain this plan, and how you come to know of it? In particular, please identify your sources.
Why would you want to extend them for a year? So that we end up yet again in another election cycle where the bluedogs can do their chickensheet thing and the Repubs can do the “he raised your taxes” bit?
Yes,yes, indeed. But it will all be soooo bipartisan.
“Does anyone really believe that the WH and Orzag didn’t coordinate this?”
Do you have a single piece of actual evidence that they did? This sort of wild-assed speculation based on nothing is a complete waste of time and energy.
Does Obama ALSO believe your “but?” Then it is a huge deal.
Why would they need to coordinate anything? EVERYONE has already been talking about a compromise for months.
Orzag’s plan to get wide coverage of his first column in the NYTimes.
No need for you to go all out to defend Obama from me on this. I puit this all on Orzag.
I think Obama is probably pretty pissed at Orzag today.
“I, for one, am actively rooting for the quick demise of the major network news departments.”
To be replaced by what?
No one associated with Obama has.
The noteworthy part of Orzag’s article is precisely that.
There is a certain disingenuousness in this post and thread about that.
@BTD: What makes you so certain that Orzag is speaking for the Admin on this point rather than trying to land himself a nice piece of wingnut welfare? That’s how I read it. Call me cynical, but I think he’s auditioning for a nice posting to one of those right wing think tanks where he can pose as the “reasonable” Democrat who gives cover to the most outrageous policies.
i agree with wilfred. complaining about the media turning politics into a badly scripted reality show at this point is rather like complaining that your horse isn’t a car. in 1935.
you have a fairly good-sized megaphone here–how about getting off the corporate press tit and trying some of the experimental news folks?
I am pretty sure he is not speaking for the Administration.
Ya know, if a liberal’s main concern is that the GOP should not get their way then maybe you guys don’t deserve to govern. The GOP is not getting their way. they get a few crumbs here and there and you guys just roll over and give them the win instead of taking it and rubbing it in their faces.
I’m not completely sold, but that is at least plausible.
Orzag no longer works for the administration so anything he says does not represent the administration.
@burnspbesq: Interpretive dance by a troop/troupe of trained baboons would be my preference.
Odie Hugh Manatee
With the major corporations owning (and funding) the major
newspropaganda networks, there is little chance of their expiring any time soon. What newsroom needs to worry about funding when the rich own all the damned networks? Just hire some faces and pay them to say what you want them to. Maybe put on a couple of lefties to muddy the waters. It’s a formula that has proven to be a winner.
This is why the internet will have to be beaten into submission, it’s the last great frontier of freedom.
How is extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy not the “GOP getting its way?”
@BTD: I think I misread you in one of your previous comments.
I can’t imagine it comes from the Administration after they have have been quite forceful publically on NOT extending the tax cuts for the wealthy,
if the Democrats idiotically take ownership of the reckless Bush tax regime I will go back to my previous “decline to state” affiliation. I’ll keep fighting Republicans and voting as best I can but I will refuse to be formally associated with a bunch of assclowns.
The 10th-year sunset provision was a trick Republicans used to cram the tax cuts through and game reconciliation (that was before they got kicked out and became process queens). They own the tax increases because that was part of their plan.
Pitch an entirely separate middle-class tax cut if you like to give people relief from the whiplash (though I doubt anyone below the superrich will notice those cuts leaving) but just stand back from the Bush package as it expires under its own inertia.
This whole argument that you have to give the other side what they want, and even sign onto it yourself, because if you don’t they’ll blame you when something bad happens is like battered-wife syndrome.
Sulli the Obot is back with a great little post to warm our hearts. So happy the summer is over.
Just noticed the “DC Press Corpse” tag… LOLZ
@valdivia: It would be nice if everyone left and center became an Obot for the next two months. Or if not an Obot, we could at least spend our time figuring out ways to attack and bitch about Republicans rather than Dems. We will have plenty of time to yell at each other again after the election.
No, Steve. Obama’s position is that the tax cuts for those making less than 250k should be extended permanently. Orszag’s position is that they should be extended for two years, in deference to the parlous state of the economy, then return to the not terribly high Clinton levels.
@BTD: The question was whether it is a big deal, from an economic standpoint, to extend or not extend the tax cuts for earners over $250,000.
Invention of the internet improved our national dialogue because it gave us Twits…. Tweets…. Twits or Tweet…. Puddy Tat?
Chad N Freude
@Omnes Omnibus: @burnspbesq: A reality show in which David Gregory, Jake Tapper, Chuck Todd, et al are locked in a house together vying to be the anchor of a Sunday morning round table discussion show on Fox.
@Chad N Freude: Now if only the house is supplied with real daggers.
@JGabriel: Hmm. That seems to give Obama a big opening to be the good guy, although personally I’m tired of Democrats trying to outbid Republicans on who can give you the biggest tax cut.
@Chad N Freude: My show would be more informative and less nauseating.
On the merits Orzag’s column is awful, and it also encapsulates a loser mentality. On the bright side, one less twit in the administration. I think that he’s trying to show “independence” in his columns for the Times, by the way, and that the administration is not part of the signaling and really is angry at him.
In practical terms, Obama has clearly shown steel when it’s something that he truly believes in (e.g. withdrawing from Iraq.) He knows that extending the tax cuts for the rich is a terrible idea, he’s said so, and in the end I think it’s something that he just won’t give in on. And that’s because the mechanics favor letting them lapse; this is one case where doing nothing actually favors the good guys.
The cases where he has settled for less are ones where he made a tactical calculus that compromise was better than defeat – on items which were not central to him.
Democrats often think of governing first, media spin later.
Villago Delenda Est
Tapper is a shithead but you all knew that, right?
Be that as it may, it’s what Obama campaigned on, and he’s sticking with it.
Personally, I think Orszag is probably right, that Bush’s lower and middle class tax cuts are also unsustainable over the medium term. But, instead of extending them for only two years (Orszag’s proposal), I think the better and fairer option would be to increase taxes on the rich to 50 or 55 percent – they crashed the economy, they can fucking well pay for it’s recovery.
Of course, that would never make it through Congress, so we’re stuck debating, again, which way the rest of us should be screwed.
Because the GOP platform is extending them permanently.
As opposed to Republicans who think of media spin first, then media spin later.
Chad N Freude
It takes positive action by Congress to extend the tax cuts for anyone. If the Republicans stymie the Democrats’ class-based extension, they can be spun as against tax cuts for the middle class. If they cooperate (watch out for flying pigs), they can be spun as favoring increasing taxes, at least to their thoughtful, contemplative Tea Party minions. This assumes that the Democrats have the wit and will to shape the narrative . . . Never mind.
Reason #35435234234 why hippies deserved to be punched, good and hard, because everything is some secret plot to sell them out.
Putting aside what’s good policy, it’ll kill the Dems if all the tax cuts expire with no extension (permanent or temporary). That’s what will happen if nothing is done.
Chad N Freude
@Omnes Omnibus: But it wouldn’t have the scheming and the backbiting monologues.
Is Lincoln trailing behind by 38 pts? I was surprised to read this TPM article. Btw, that number came from rasmussen, but still that high a number is surprising. What is she doing? Killing puppies on live TV?
And you expect that they will not be extended in 2013? Really?
@Chad N Freude: Chad, Democrats tried to call the GOP’s bluff like this before. They did it with the 9/11 health bill and lost, because at the end of the day, Democrats are expected to compromise.
Anthony Weiner got corned by his constitieuts into admitting the Democrats could have easily passed the 9/11 health bill if they just let the GOP get what they want,I have no doubt a tax cut fight would end like this “Democrats could give you a tax cut, but they’re playing partisan games…because they secretly wanna raise your taxes, since they like taxes”
the depends on how is governing in 2013.
@Chad N Freude: On the other hand, it would have dancing baboons. Oh wait, your proposal has David Gregory. Never mind.
Politics and policy go hand in hand.
Exactly. Not to mention that they essentially bankrolled the “election” of that monster GWB in 2000.
I was just thinking about this kind of reporting over the weekend when I heard an NPR news brief mentioning that Obama was considering a payroll tax holiday. What I wanted to hear next was “Economists estimate this will create N____ to X____ number of jobs and will cost us about $_______________”. What I heard instead was something to the effect of “John McCain responded by saying that Obama’s creating uncertainty”.
I thought to myself: “You have 15 seconds to inform the American people about a topic and this is how you choose to use them?!?”.
I hate these people.
@Nick: The deal on the table is not “extend them for 2 years and then that’s final.” The deal is “extend them for 2 years and we can have the exact same debate during the next election year.”
I predict the tax cuts will all expire on Jan 1, and dems will propose new ones for lower income folks. There are too many moving parts and political chaos to extend them by proactive new legislation it would take in the interim. And if the wingers take back the House, it would be just after they expire.
The dem House and Senate and WH actually do coordinate stuff, contrary to popular opinion. It would be double self defeating for Obama and dems to break their promise to both lower the deficit (which not doing so would do further damage politically) and increase taxes on the wealthy, and a deeply ideological self betrayal.
You heard it here first, or 879th.
@liberal: Why will it kill them?
IMO, they should all expire then have an Obama Middle Class Tax Cut be proposed and let the demagoguery begin.
And the answer is? Obviously yes right?
Chad N Freude
This is up on CNN: “Orszag Breaks With Obama on Bush Tax Cuts”. Getting to the real heart of the matter.
Chad N Freude
@slag: Like actually passing a tax holiday creates uncertainty for businesses. Welcome to Opposite World.
That depends quite a bit on what alternative is proposed. This is one case where the actual polling is quite clear (people support raising taxes on the rich), and where drawing a line in the sand could be of real benefit.
If you’re going to postulate an environment where truth is impossible to get out, well…
Chad N Freude
It’s bipartisanship: One party gives the other party whatever the other party wants and gets bupkes in return.
BTD’s comments remind me of the Michael Moore op-ed telling Rham to fuck off for a report that he said something mean to the UAW. Talk about a waste of energy. Obama did the right thing there and his auto bailout has been a huge success. But I guess highlighting the success is not emo enough for Michael Moore.
BTD is trying to tar the Obama administration with comments from a former staffer. The White House has already come out unequivocally against extending the Bush tax cuts, whether that actually happens, we’ll see. But concern trolling right now is not reality-based.
There’s the ticket! “Double-self-defeating.” How can the Dems not take advantage of this one exquisite act of bi-partisan hari-kiri? Moths to a flame.
P.S Donate to Rob Miller SC-02 against Joe “you lie” Wilson.
@Chad N Freude:
until we have a media and a population willing to hold the other party to the same standard, yeah, the Democrats lot in life is that they have the be the adults in the room.
Chad N Freude
In the interests of full disclosure, I would benefit from a middle class tax cut extension, therefore I am all in favor of extending tax cuts to billionaires and increasing the deficit to reach all the way to Mars.
Shorter version: I got mine, Jack, screw you.
Chad N Freude
@Nick: Adults do not give foot-stamping, breath-holding children everything they demand.
I’m aware. They’re never going to end, because there isn’t a strong movement to end them, there is a strong movement to keep them.
Reasonably high likelihood of Republicans pinning a tax “increase” on the middle class on the Democrats in the middle of the worst post-war recession.
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
@BTD: You forget something. Orzag’s first loyalty isn’t to Obama, or AMC. It’s to Pete Peterson.
@Chad N Freude:
No, but if the Republicans were portrayed as foot-stamping, breath-holding children, Democrats wouldn’t have to be the only ones compromising.
“And governing in a democracy usually involves compromise of one degree or another.”
-Could you say that louder so the fake-ass-progressives can hear it?
Not to speak for BTD but IIRC he has stated at least twice that Orzag did this for his own reasons and Obama is likely pissed about it.
Ah, comment #38
“I think Obama is probably pretty pissed at Orzag today.”
@BTD: Two more years of lower tax rates for high-earners isn’t really a big deal either way, if that were the only issue. The problem is that putting off the day of reckoning means that we’re setting ourselves up for yet another argument about tax rates next election year, and maybe the next and the next after that. Frankly, if I were Obama I’d rather bite the bullet now than save it for my own re-election year – not that there’s really a bullet to be bitten since large majorities support getting rid of the high-earner tax cuts.
Obama certainly has come out against extending tax cuts for the rich. And yet there is his recently-departed budget director opposing him in his very first column for the NYT. And there are multiple Democrats in congress floating trial balloons about this issue.
So I’d agree that blaming Obama for wanting Bush-style tax cuts for the ultra wealthy, or of planning to pass them, isn’t reality based at all. However, worrying that the Democrats are indeed considering extending these obscene tax cuts is absolutely reality based. The idea is absurd, a complete capitulation of kind of equal playing field the Democrats claim to champion. And yet here we are, in reality, with Democrats suggesting the absurd may be exactly what they’re considering doing.
I can’t believe Obama would let it happen. I can’t. But….
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
Does anyone but Versailles and the deficit scolds give a shit about the deficit right now? No!! People want jobs!!
It’s quite plausible the Republicans won’t let a middle-class-only extension through Congress. At that point, the alternatives are a temporary or permanent extension for all, or no extension at all.
I think “no extension” would poll terribly.
Of course, one could argue that people would end up blaming the Republicans. I’m not sure about that.
Chad N Freude
@Nick: That’s one of the numerous points I try to make around here. Quoting myself: “This assumes that the Democrats have the wit and will to shape the narrative . . . Never mind.”
@Chad N Freude: Here’s a possibly better analogy.
My little cousin was a fucking brat when he was a kid. He was whiny and greedy. Often we’d be out as a family and he’d whine he wanted something, he’s stamp his feet and throw a hissy fit and make a scene and my aunt would try to discipline him, but my aunts and uncles and grandparents would yell at her and tell her “but he’s just a child,” or “he’s not being unreasonable” and eventually she would end up giving in because it was a losing battle anyway.
think of my cousin as the Republicans, my aunt as the Democrats and the rest of my idiot family as the American people.
Maybe it’s different in politics, but an EX anything is usually not considered to have their finger on an inside pulse.
This is just more fuss over nothing. The Bush tax cuts can DIAF; my taxes went UP under the Chimperor, which amazed and dismayed me, since I don’t make much at all.
But I wasn’t Chimpy’s constituency, either.
But all of this is sound and fury; since I’m going to be paying taxes until death, fine; I’d like something for them. I’d like good schools, and police, and firemen. I’d like bridges that don’t fall down, and stuff like that. I want my money’s worth!
This argument has sucked in several nonliberals I’ve used it on. I’m becoming fond of it.
Compromising with a “revolutionary power,” as Krugman correctly described the Republican Party, is on the whole pointless.
I don’t know if it is “smart.” But it is the only the sole means available to them of controlling the conversation. If they get what Orzag argues for, then maybe it’ll work out somewhat better politically and for the rest of us. I just don’t think it’ll ultimately be limited to a 2 year extension because Congressional Dems will cower and GOPers will say “no.”
Chad N Freude
@Steve: Don’t you get it? We’re establishing a new American tradition, the biennial tax cut extension.
@Chad N Freude:
you assume all it takes is the wit and the will to shape the narrative. It doesn’t. Democrats have zero control over the narrative. Zero. I know it’s not something people on the left like to face, but there have been times when they tried to take control of the narrative, like with unemployment and 9/11 benefits, FingReg and even with healthcare towards the end, but all times, their attempts failed.
The real meat of the issue is what not to spend it on (e.g., IMHO a military budget that’s pushing $1T).
Chad N Freude
@Bullsmith: I’d like to see an Obama press release to the effect that Orszag left his position in the administration to spend more time with his family. Or, more realistically, to spend more time dating hot chicks.
Can’t say I understand your theory of how this is tactically smart.
@Chad N Freude: I know. It’s so wrong. On every level.
And by the way, today’s Google logo is a decent analogy for how our “news” organizations work.
A lot of people criticize the mainstream media because it doesn’t have the particular bias that they themselves have. However, “it’s all about the conflict” is a valid and important criticism. Universities even teach in journalism classes that conflict/controversy is one of the journalistic “values”. Unfortunately it leads to exaggeration of conflicts and a lack of any deep analysis as to the real issues involved.
This is the same criticism that peace journalists have when the media reports international conflicts, btw. That and the media’s tendency to use military jargon like “collateral damage” instead of more accurate language such as “dead civilians” of course has negative implications for world peace.
Another thing that annoys me is the “he said, she said” syndrome in which both sides are given “balance” even though one person might be telling outright lies that are not exposed.
“2 years” becomes permanent in 2 years.
Chad N Freude
@Nick: I really, sincerely, honestly believe that they don’t have a good grasp of public relations or any serious marketing skills. They can’t frame a snapshot, let alone a debate.
@Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:
IF you can’t read, that’s not my problem.
Chad N Freude
@slag: Cute. But I don’t agree that it’s analogous to how news organizations work, because it ends with a coherent picture.
Actually, yes. A fair review of Tapper’s work would suggest he is actually one of the better reporters in DC.
Chad N Freude
@Lynnehs: Balance, indeed. It’s like the old joke about the sausage maker who claimed his sausages were 50% rabbit meat. With every horse, he put in a rabbit.
Well, maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was pretty funny when I was 10.
@Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:
Yes, actually, a lot of people do (wrongly) give a shit about the deficit right now. They do because most people apparently don’t understand that you use public spending to fight a recession in which both private spending and private investment are down. They do because it “just makes good sense” that you’d spend less when you’re in the red — hey, it’s just like their own household budgets.
They want jobs AND they want a drastically lower deficit post haste, and they want Obama to magically make that happen. Kind of a problem, isn’t it?
Yeah, I’m not really getting why a guy who left the administration because he didn’t think they were worried enough about the deficit is supposed to now be their secret mouthpiece. Is it because people aren’t quite sure who Orszag is or why he left?
@Chad N Freude:
I’d prefer to see a reality show in which David Gregory, Jake Tapper, Chuck Tood, et al are locked in a house together vying to be the anchor of a garbage barge.
Chad N Freude
@John Cole: I agree, I always thought Tapper was pretty good. I think that when a good second-tier journalist gets a gig with the MSM he goes over to the Dark Side and becomes a superficial hack. It’s probably a combination of protecting his position and assimilating into the Borg.
@Chad N Freude: Yeah, but that assumes the mouse doesn’t move over it. Somebody’s always moving that damn mouse.
@shortstop: Most of those good Americans I know who talk about how they have to balance their budget each month have 20-30 year mortgages, 3-5 year car loans they haven’t paid off and probably will get another new car when that finishes, and many have student loans they will take a while to pay off, and they work for companies that have mortgages on their properties, borrow money for new equipment or training, and often use short term loans just to make payroll. None of them seem to understand that this puts them and their employers deep in debt, because it’s considered normal.
@shortstop: I really think a huge number of people believe that “the deficit” is a technical way of saying “the bad economy.” Especially if you think the economy is bad because Obama spent too much and can’t pay for it, you can have a whole conversation about “the deficit” and feel like you really get it.
Chad N Freude
@FlipYrWhig: But it would lack the drama.
@Chad N Freude:
No, they don’t, because to market Democratic ideas, the people you are marketing to have been smart, thoughtful and rational and the American people have proven to be none of those things.
Chad N Freude
@Nick: I disagree. If your target audience is stupid, thoughtless, and irrational, you tailor your pitch accordingly. I’m one of those cynical people who believes that anybody can be sold anything. This was a Big Idea back in the fifties, when “hidden persuasion” was exposed. Advertising and marketing techniques were laid bare, and . . . advertising and marketing continued as though nothing had happened.
I have wanted to hear someone in officialdom make exactly that pivot on the nation-as-household analogy that’s always used to advocate “belt-tightening.” Like you said, people take on debt as a matter of fucking course, not just when they can’t pay their bills but also when they’re being forward-looking and see an opportunity for the future. It’s really not that scary a thought.
_All_ discussion of The Deficit presumes that debt is debt and it’s always kind of foul-smelling and you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. But we actually _don’t_ treat debt that way on the household level. I would _love_ to have a debate about whether a regime of deficit spending was _more like_ borrowing money to start a business or like going to a fancy restaurant when you can’t afford it. Because I think there are good arguments out there being unmade about why borrowing is crucial now because it turns into future profits, so to speak–enough over time to fund the repayment of the debt.
@BTD: Why didn’t they make the tax cuts permanent in 2001 or 2003?
@Chad N Freude:
I go back to what mistermix says; yes, the current marketing strategy isn’t working, but no one knows how to make it fucking work. Not you, not I, not Obama.
Why the hell can’t the Democrats point out, loudly and repeatedly, that the tax ‘raise’ coming January 1 was voted into the law by the Republican Congress and signed by George Bush?
The end of the lowered taxes was part of the compromise that turned our deficit into a mountain of shit, and the ones that proposed, voted and enacted it were Republicans!
And yes, I think a new law should be proposed, not to extend the Bush tax raises, but to replace them. It would have a lowered middle-class rate, a modest rise for the next tier, and a whopping 50% for the top tier. If they don’t want those taxes, they can invest in things the country needs. Hell, that used to be the reason for higher tax rates anyway — at a certain point, people will invest (to make future gains but postpone present pains) and keep their income under the punitive level.
That investment is what the Republicans claim the rich bastards do, but really don’t. Because with low taxes, they have no incentive to do so. They waste their money, or spend it abroad, when what we need is to keep that money HERE where it does some good for OUR citizens.
Targeted categories of investment could protect the wealthy from the increased burden of taxes their past actions have brought on them. Tax policy has always been more than just income for the government, so let’s load up (50% tax rate on the super-rich) and then AIM that sucker at our problems — jobs, infrastructure, jobs, pollution control, climate change, and jobs.
And then we cut the Defense Dept. budget in a targeted way, too — converting all those distributed manufacturing jobs from aircraft carriers and tactical nuke bombers to solar, wind, geothermal, and similar green technology.
And if you think taxes will be hotly debated, wait till that last plan gets proposed. But we need to do something, that’s for God-damned sure.
@Chad N Freude:
How about a reality show in which Tapper, Gregory, et al are locked away and replaced by Bob Ley, Mike Lupica, and Jay Bilas? I would bet the overall quality of the product would increase noticeably. Sports guys at least care about getting the facts right.
@El Cid and @FlipYrWhig: Excellent point — even the “Why can’t the government handle its finances like I do?” argument is false.
To follow up on the start-a-business-vs.-hit-a-fancy-restaurant-you-can’t-afford analogy, though: I think many or most of the people complaining about the deficit are convinced that we only have one because we’re publicly funding other, undeserving people’s forays into fine dining. In other words, making it clear that incurring public debt is actually normal procedure and good business is only half the battle — people also have to understand that it’s debt with a good reason…and a future payoff. And that second sell seems to me to be infinitely harder than the first.
“Not to mention that they essentially bankrolled the “election” of that monster GWB in 2000.”
Yanno, you might want to consider cutting back on the stupid and unfounded generalizations. Some of us in that top one percent of the income distribution that y’all love to hate have busted our asses and opened our checkbooks to elect democrats ever since it was Humphrey against Nixon. What have you done besides whine?
Right. And the other stories floated out there this weekend about this possible “compromise,” and that certain Dems aren’t inclined to “raise taxes” in a recession, are just coincidences. That Orzag worked in the WH until recently also means nothing. That we’ve seen this compromise-before-bargaining tactic of Obama’s several times before is nothing to consider.
What do you really think the result of this “debate” is going to be? That’s where Obama is looking.
Democrats filibustered, they used reconciliation, reconciliation expires.
Please name at least one instance when a former member of Obama’s administration floated an idea in a column that ended up being adopted by the administration. Just one.
ETA: Also, keep in mind that legislation only needs to be passed to keep the tax cuts in place. If no legislation passes, the tax cuts expire naturally. So the people who talk about how we have to pass legislation to ensure that the tax cuts expire are lying to you.
The update to this post is wrong – you write “[Orzag] said the tax cuts for the middle class should be extended for two years, and that if the political price paid for that is extending them for the upper-class, too, it’s still worth it. This is pretty much EXACTLY Obama’s opinion.”
That is NOT Obama’s opinion. If it is Obama’s opinion, then we are in big trouble.
Because of the reconciliation issue, which required a revenue neutral CBO report over the 10 year horizon.
It was thus limited to a 10 year period.
Their belief was they could make it permanent now.
In that Jake Tapper Twitter avatar, which one is the reporter?
Right, but I think the questioner meant that if extending these cuts was important, why was it not done in the years following the initial 10-year-sunset bait-and-switch deal.
This all reminds me of the cheap-suit hustle to “fully fund” entitlements, and then give those same dollars off the back of the truck to the super wealthy, because “it’s your money.”
If it is Obama’s opinion, it’s also big news, because that’s a 180 from what he’s been saying for the past two months.
Cause they never had anywhere near enough votes to overcome the Democratic filibuster. McCain, Snowe and Chafee opposed them, only three Democrats supported them. They were, at best, five votes short of making them permanent.
This Tweet is emblematic of what’s wrong with the media period. This morning I heard about a poll that said more than 60% of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. I didn’t hear anyone going any deeper into this poll to see just who these people blame for the wrong direction. I’d bet just as many (if not more) people blame the GOP as do Obama. But of course the GOP is going to twist this to make it all anti-Obama.
@BTD: I don’t see why it would be any easier for the GOP to make the cuts permanent now.
In any event, I don’t see any downside to Obama just sticking to his guns. If the bill on the table extends tax cuts for those making under $250,000, while letting them expire for everyone else, there is no way the Republicans will have the guts to filibuster that bill. The challenge is getting there. I’m not sure if the Senate has a procedure, the way the House does, to prevent the Republicans from bringing up an amendment that would extend the cuts for high-earners as well (how many votes would such an amendment get, I wonder).
Chad N Freude
@Nick: That’s because we do not work for Sterling Cooper. The Democrats need experts at creating catchphrases (“death panels”) and slogans (“Just Do it”). Substance doesn’t count.
You’re still “opening your checkbook” in 2010? You should give online. It’ll save you valuable time you can use to further your recurring laments about how poorly you’re treated as a high earner, a no longer youthful fellow, a Christian, blah blah blah.
Chad N Freude
@debbie: And just exactly what is the wrong direction? What would be the right direction? It is an unbearably stupid poll question. I don’t know why nobody ever seems to ask the respondent what they mean by “wrong direction”. Oh, wait, that might actually trigger a thought process. Never mind.
@Chad N Freude:
Yes, but “Extend Middle Class Tax Cuts, but not for the rich because the deficit is too big, but not big enough to end the tax cuts for the middle class” doesn’t say “catchphrase”
Chad N Freude
@burnspbesq: Flaunting one’s wealth on this blog is unwise.
I’m totally with you about the idea that a big chunk of deficit hysteria is colored by the idea that moochers and layabouts are getting ahead and rule-abiding everyday Joes are not. But what I wish would happen, and I don’t see why it would be so difficult — even for conservative Democrats who either genuinely suspect all government spending as waste or act like they do to get elected — to divide and conquer: liberal Democrats can talk about the importance of spending in the short term, and conservative Democrats can talk about the importance of saving in the long term; each can use however much of the other’s rhetoric as they see fit; and both should be happy and feel at home.
This is more true than is fair.
Chad N Freude
@Nick: That’s why advertising professionals are needed. “Tax breaks for us, not for the bankers.” Clearly, I’m not an ad pro, but something like that.
@ruemara: Life isn’t fair, and that’s especially true in politics.
Politics is not for the faint of heart, the easily squeamish, the frustrated and the dreamers. It’s dirty, messy, disappointing, discouraging.
Somebody mentioned some time ago that perhaps the messaging on this should be the Obama Tax Cut not the expiring Bush Tax Cuts.
Also too, you don’t extend tax cuts for 2 yrs now because it bites you in the ass in 2012. If you are going to extend, extend for a year or 3 yrs or even 5 yrs but not in an election cycle year.
@Chad N Freude: The problem here is that we’re submitting to the right that tax breaks are the answer.
Do you remember when Bill Clinton stood up and said “If you want me to get a tax cut, vote Bush. If YOU want a tax cut, vote Democratic” That message went no where.
@shortstop: He can also distinguish musical notes only saber tooth tigers can hear.
Why don’t you just give it a bit and see what Obama does with it before we determine (evil!) plan and motive?
You saw what he did yesterday with Social Security. He made himself the protector of Social Security against his own deficit reduction committee, and that’s a fairly transparent political maneuver, which I think will work, by the way. The speculation on blogs re: Obama-Social Security was much more devious than “I will protect Social Security against the ravages of that the deficit committee I seated”, which is what he actually said.
Democrats in Congress were just handed two beautiful issues to run on: saving Social Security and tax cuts for the rich. See if they’re smart enough to grab them.
Because Obama isn’t running. Democrats in Congress are. If Democrats in Congress want to run to the populist side of Barack Obama, he’s given them a great opening. He can’t run their races for them, and, incidentally, he’s more popular than they are.
I think you need to read this thread.
I am the person arguing against John Cole’s false update that Orzag expressed the same views as Obama.
The plan I am referencing is Orzag’s own, to increase his own prominence.
I stated expressly that I think Obama is probably pissed at Orzag today.
It is John Cole, contra me, who is saying that Obama holds the same opinion on this as Orzag.
I decided to engage Jake Tapper on Twitter and see if he’d respond to the points brought up in this blog. He did, but didn’t back down. Oh well. You can follow the tweets below, but it ended with me telling him to Stop Hurting America :)
Feel free to chime in, fellow Twitter-ers.
Huffington Post is just as bad about the drama, unfortunately. On their politics page they have a link that says “Obama’s Latest Stimulus Plan Gets Panned by Krugman.”
If you follow that link it goes to a story by William Alden whose second paragraph reads:
But if you actually follow the link to Krugman’s blog the first thing he says is:
He then goes on to say that it is too small and won’t get passed anyway, which is true.
Would anyone really consider that “panning” Obama’s plan? The stupid, it burns.
I don’t think it’s a given that Obama is pissed at Orzag today, BTD.
I don’t think it matters, in any event. It’s officially election season, and neither Orzag nor Obama are running.
Congressional Democrats have to make the case for why it is important for them, as lawmakers, to retain a majority. They have to show they have some essential role here.
I don’t know why they aren’t out, this morning, with a ringing endorsement of the President’s carefully crafted and presented position on Social Security.
All of them. “We stand with President Obama on protecting Social Security. Cutting the deficit doesn’t mean cutting Social Security”. Taxes, same thing, tomorrow. I mean, Jesus Christ. Does he have to hold their hand?
@Chad N Freude:
I refuse to feel guilty about, or apologize for, the fact that I was lucky enough to stumble into a career that is intellectually stimulating and pays well. Having money is morally neutral. How you get it, and what you do with it, is what matters.
And can I also say how much I am enjoying watching Republicans tie themselves in knots opposing Obama’s proposal to make the reseRch credit permanent – something Republicans have been pushing for at least 20 years.
Well, we’ll see.
I just wanted to be sure you understood that it was not me arguing that Orzag expressed an opinion held by Obama, it was John Cole.
I thoroughly disagree with that assertion.
On C-Span this morning I heard Bernie Sanders give a kick-ass speech about Social Security at a town hall. Didn’t catch when it took place, though.
We will see, BTD, but would you admit that perhaps some of the elaborate conspiracy theories re: Obama and Social Security were a little unhinged? You see why I’m growing skeptical when we try to determine motive.
Obama did a fairly typical political maneuver yesterday, where he set up a commission on deficit reduction then took Social Security off the table. Presto! Barack Obama is the savior of Social Security. That’s a lot simpler and cruder than the elaborate theories I read, on what he was really thinking or planning.
I’ve been trying not to say anything, but that is not what he has done. I quoted his exact statement, where he very cleverly uses the boogeyman of privatization.
There are many acts the commission can take to cut SS, or further damage the safety net without full privatization.
Cornerstone, Congressional Republicans are running on privatizing Social Security. That’s what they’re doing. That’s what GOP majority means. Maybe the near-obsessive focus on President Obama and his secret, devious plans is misplaced?
I fully expect you to still be nattering on about what might possibly happen when the deficit reduction plan comes back while Speaker Boehner takes the gavel, and privatizes. Good Christ, it’s all Obama all the time.
What would you have Congressional Democrats run on? President Obama’s hypothetical secret plan to cut Social Security? That’s a productive line of inquiry. Nice stump speech.
When I float a conspiracy theory, let me know. I said I think Orzag wrote that column (he may believe or not, the issue is his motivation) to get some prominence for his first effort in the Times.
That’s a conspiracy of 1. Or, in plain English, not a conspiracy theory. But my point is not so much about Orzag’s motives, but rather the harm Orzag has done.
I don’t know, but suspect Obama is not happy with him today.
Chad N Freude
@burnspbesq: Not guilt. Discretion.
as you have told us your conclusions, we can have no doubt that you are eager to tell us how you arrived at them.
so, then, how’d you get yours? who pays your fees? corporate America? individuals via tort actions? insurers? the wealthy? and when you say “intellectually stimulating” what does that mean? UCC work? securitization? securities litigation? compliance? jury trials? class actions? discovery? motion practice? patent practice? white collar defense? in house? tort settlements?*
*none of these questions ask the poster to violate a confidence, so we can all look forward to some great answers.
@sparky: Why should you care?
@kay: IF you can’t read, that’s not my problem.
I often read your blog and am always eager for constructive criticism.
Two points, in response to this one:
1) Orszag’s position is that the Bush tax cuts benefiting the middle-class should be extended for two years and then ended. He says Democrats should be willing to extend the Bush tax cuts on wealthier Americans to extended the ones for the middle class — but that all of them should be phased out in two years.
Simply put, when your “reader” says that is “pretty much EXACTLY Obama’s opinion” — that is pretty much completely wrong.
White House officials say they will fight attempts to extend the Bush tax cuts on wealthier Americans. And it is not the president’s position that the middle class tax cuts be ended in two years — a key part of Orszag’s argument.
2) On whether the media covers conflict too much — yes, we do.
But I don’t think that’s a fair criticism in this case. This is a conflict over an economic policy disagreement, one between the president’s former budget chief and the president, one that is going to be a big issue in the coming months. It’s a conflict that’s important.
You’re right, the short blog I did on the disagreement — quotes from Orszag, a response from the White House — is not a piece on “the positives and negatives of extending the policy.”
As the debate heats up, I will no doubt write a more comprehensive blog post on it. But I thought it was worth writing a shorter piece, linking to Orszag and letting the White House respond, to at least provide some news and context.
Hope you’re well.
I do international tax and tax controversy. I help multinational businesses navigate the complex, confusing, and often inconsistent tax rules of the multiple countries where they operate. And when disputes arise, I assist in resolving them.
Some of my clients are very large, some of them are not so large. Some of them want to take aggressive actions to minimize their worldwide effective tax rate, at any cost – which I normally advise against because of the risks involved. Far more of them have more modest goals: they don’t want to pay tax to two countries on the same item of income, they want to pay tax where they have real economic activity, and they don’t want to pick unnecessary fights with tax authorities.
@Jake Tapper: Bring back Static Cling!
Thanking you in advance. That is all.
All right; not quite all.
Well, but Tapper Face of Great Concern aside, have you ever met one you deemed insignificant? This is hardly the first, or the thousandth, time you’ve been called on this. This is what you do–pretty much all you do.
Beyond a chronic inability to get anything right I think this also shows that most of our media mouthbreathers there is no such thing as a middle/working-class tax cut.
In my years of following this shit it’s apparent that their viewpoint goes beyond thinking that low taxes for the wealthy are more important to automatically equating high taxes with “high taxes for the upper income brackets”. Part of it is self-serving and part is an internalization of the idea that the rich pay more than their fair share in taxes.
Also, too: Much of the national press is lazy and deeply,deeply, stupid.
Tapper is right, Cole is wrong on this:
“Orszag’s position is that the Bush tax cuts benefiting the middle-class should be extended for two years and then ended. He says Democrats should be willing to extend the Bush tax cuts on wealthier Americans to extended the ones for the middle class—but that all of them should be phased out in two years.
Simply put, when your “reader” says that is “pretty much EXACTLY Obama’s opinion”—that is pretty much completely wrong.
White House officials say they will fight attempts to extend the Bush tax cuts on wealthier Americans. And it is not the president’s position that the middle class tax cuts be ended in two years—a key part of Orszag’s argument.”
@AxelFoley: whoever said (or wrote) that?
@xian: Your question should really be directed at Allison W., but yeah, who is she actually responding to? Even to the extent that she’s correct, it’s true of everybody — any partisan wants to begrudge their opponent political victories.
I’ll concede that, for instance, liberals don’t care to talk about W’s policy successes in Africa because it admits that he did something right. But I can’t imagine any liberal actually opposing W’s African policies themselves just to deny him a victory.
So I question both the premise (that “a liberal’s main concern is that the GOP should not get their way”) and the implication that such a concern would be specific to liberals.
Try saying that 3 times fast, lol.
this is an example of why twitter is the absolute stupidest fucking thing ever invented when it comes to politics.
policy is supposed to be about nuance and understanding of issues and the history of them as well as their impact. instead people try to boil it down to a handful of words. it’s great for the soundbite-addicted modern media, but absolutely terrible for anyone who has any real understanding of what’s going on. it’s great for those who aim to promote conflict and boil issues down to the absolute lowest common denominator.
on the other hand, it’s done wonders for snarking.
This seems to be not a policy disagreement, but a strategy disagreement. Both parties are in agreement that the best policy is to allow the expiration of the tax cut for the wealthy, while extending the tax cut for the middle class.
Orszag and Obama disagree over whether the best strategy is to roll over for the GOP, or to shame them into passing a middle-class extension sans the extension on the wealthy.
Orszag is saying compromise if you have to.
The White House, FINALLY, is not going into the debate with the “one from this column, one from that column” approach and instead is staking a position for the middle class and against the rich. Now, will they fold and end up compromising? No doubt. But at least their proposal is not the compromise, and then Republicans say “let’s make them permanent” and we end up with another 10 years of tax cuts for millionaires.
One other thought…
Why the hell would they choose a 2-year extension? So Dems can get pounded over the head with tax increases in a POTUS election year? That makes no sense.
You should not, however, question the sad reality that Allison’s favorite game is huffily knocking over such strawmen.
@shortstop: I can’t believe no one re-tweeted my “Strawllison” quip.
Regardless, once they fold and end up compromise, they’re still going to get blasted for compromising, even if they started in a position more to the left.
THIS this This, t to the h to the i to the s.
Axel, when you wrote “This” after quoting Allison’s post, I assumed you meant you agreed with it. It’s true the original non sequitur moment came for me when I read her original comment and couldn’t tell whom it was in response to.
@Corner Stone: I actually did not see that until I came to the same conclusion.
@xian: He does agree with it. He doesn’t give a shit as long as it can be used against liberals. Or putative liberals, or imaginary liberals, or pen1s liberals, or any variety of liberals which he hates.
I can take from this that if Orszag and Obama are in agreement, neither of them really care about deficits, as neither of them are interested in taxing as much as we are spending.
Not that I’m comforted by that.
Tapper is right and the loons on this thread are howling at the moon. Orszag has the stones Dear MIsleader lacks and the brains that OMB will be missing for the rest of his four-year fiasco.
Not one substantive comment from any of the NYT Upper West Side spiritual pilgrims. The Democrats are simply all about process, and are flailing to find the magic button or soft spot to apply their extortions which they call “contributions.”
The Ponzi politics that the $50 billion Dear Leader Obama talked about in Milwaukee is transparently a bribe to unions—no non-union projects will receive any monies whatsoever. Pay off the thugs and the rest will wallow.
Democrats have one principle: “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.”
This half-baked tyro is turning out to be all smoke and mirrors. DL Obama has no substance and the Dem congress is going to evaporate like the committee hearings that were never held for the trillion-dollar [and counting] health care fiasco. And the monster Obamacare is so full of unconstitutional absurdities—buy health insurance or go to jail—that in the future he’ll be known as a biyotch POTUS.
talking points fax arrived late today, daveinboca?
@burnspbesq: just coming back here now, but didn’t want to let this go by.
thanks for taking the trouble to indicate what you do. so, if, perchance you see this i’ll ask you this question:
i gather that you do tax work for multinational entities. so, since you spend your working hours working for corporations and against various governmental entities, why do you donate money to Democrats?*
*i’m not being sarcastic or flip here. i really am curious as to why you would do this, given what you do for a living. to make the point of why i am asking, excuse a bit of hyperbole for the sake of clarity: giving money to Ds in your position seems rather like, say, a Rockefeller giving a child a dime after he’d just destroyed the child’s parent’s business.
@daveinboca: Wow, amazingly stupid of you. Ponzi scheme? Want to elaborate, or are you too busy working on Frank Luntz’s knob?
I don’t mind your idiotic name calling (Dear Misleader! ha ha ha ha ha!!!! repub makes a funny!), but get some facts straight: Obama is more intelligent than anyone, and I mean anyone in the GOP. Bar none. If he is stupid, your entire party is the proverbial box of hammers.
Also, the “go to jail” thing is bullshit. Learn some facts, and stop bobbing up and down in Luntz’s lap.