White House caves on tax hikes in debt ceiling talks.

Personally, I’m not entirely certain why the Obama administration is so adamant about raising taxes on small businesses, but they’ve at least abandoned their previous position where a possible early end to Bush-era tax breaks (now scheduled to expire in 2012) was on the debt ceiling negotiating table.  Unfortunately, the White House is still adamantly refusing to accept the pesky objective reality that there are no Magical Revenue Generators that will allow the country to boost the tax-to-GDP revenue ratio to 25%, forever.  In other words, the Democrats don’t want to even think about making spending cuts, and they’re reacting to exasperated Republican calls for them in precisely the same way that pigs react when you don’t refill the trough with swill.

I know that people out there get exasperated with the GOP some times, but if there’s been a better contrast in recent memory between Bad and Worse* than in the comparison of this Congress to the last one, I can’t think of it offhand.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*More like Not Perfect and Hideously Awful, in my personal opinion – but I sometimes have to factor in a certain institutional pessimism when I write stuff for the VRWC.

Obama retreats on tax hike.

We won.

It looked that way earlier in the day, and it’s now confirmed.  The ‘deal’ will be that the White House ‘delays’ raising taxes for two more years in ‘exchange’ for getting a thirteen-month extension on unemployment benefits*.  That last is problematical, but given the Democrats’ moral weakness thus far the GOP might still be able to keep pushing a little and get offsets in federal spending elsewhere to make up the difference.  Besides, it’s Christmas: the optics are bad.  Even if we don’t get that, everybody who matters is going to breathe a huge sigh of relief.  The Democratic establishment will have a fig leaf for their cowardice and the Right will have successfully kept the Other Side from delivering another kick to the groin to the US economy; it’s not perfect, but it’ll keep things from getting worse until 2012.

By the way, ‘deal,’ ‘delay,’ and ‘exchange’ were all in scare quotes because this wasn’t really a deal; more like the Democrats finally admitting that they didn’t have the guts to raise taxes in the middle of a sour economy.  And the White House isn’t delaying raising taxes; even assuming that Obama’s in a position to raise them in 2012 he won’t dare do it then, either.  And it’s not an exchange; as noted above, the GOP can give ground on this topic readily enough, particularly if we can take the opportunity to gut some useless spending elsewhere.

In other words, it’s pretty much all over except for the gloating.

Moe Lane (crosspost) Continue reading Obama retreats on tax hike.