(Via Hot Air Headlines) I’m putting both of those terms in quotes for different reasons. To begin with (and in reverse order), they’re not ‘tax cuts.’ The tax cuts were done years ago. What the administration is flirting with doing is raising tax rates to pre-Bush levels, in the middle of a sour economy and looming inflation. I know that the Democrats would like to pretend otherwise, but I’m not obliged to help them. And ‘temporary’ is one of those fascinating political terms of art that mean their opposite: there is nothing so permanent as an officially ‘temporary’ policy, as we’re starting to see now.
Moving along, David Axelrod today confirmed to the National Journal that the administration was caving on raising taxes. Admittedly, he was trying to make it sound like the administration was not caving, but that strategy only works when your target audience lacks the mother-wit to click through on links*. Here’s what HuffPo reported:
All of the tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, will expire at the end of this year unless Congress acts. The Republicans in effect “built in tax increases,” Axelrod said. And separating out different categories of tax cuts now — extending some without extending others — is politically unrealistic and procedurally difficult, he added.
“We don’t want that tax increase to go forward for the middle class,” he said, which means the administration will have to accept them all for some unspecified period of time. “But plainly, what we can’t do is permanently extend these high income taxes.”
And this is what the National Journal reported:
“We’re willing to discuss how we move forward,” Axelrod said in an e-mail to National Journal rebutting the Huffington Post story, “but we believe that it’s imperative to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, and don’t believe we can afford a permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthy.”
…which is hardly a rebuttal, you think? Oh, that garbled bit at the end of the HuffPo quote almost certainly was meant to include the word ‘cuts’ at the end of the sentence, but it’s fairly clear that Axelrod is signaling that the President caved… and then went out and used more or less the same language to claim that the President hadn’t caved. Which is vintage Axelrod, really.
This would normally be a rather entertaining fight, except that none of the participants probably actually want to have one.
*Which probably means that Axelrod succeeded in his purpose, at that.