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Friday, July 1, 2011

Will Obama Cave Again? Debt Ceiling & Bush Tax Cuts

If Pres. Obama Caves Again Like He Did Last Fall On The Bush Tax Cuts, I Fear Senator Mitch McConnell's Dream Of Him Being A "One Term President" May Become A Reality.

I Understand Clearly That In The Political Arena A Certain Level Of Compromise Is Necessary.

However For Leadership Purposes, Too Much Compromise Often Leads To Being Seen As Passive Or Weak.

I Support Pres. Obama But He Must Hold The GOP Accountable.

They Too Were Elected To Do What's Right For ALL Americans NOT Just Wealthy People!

I Also Suggest That Pres. Obama Watch His Back When It Comes To Former Pres. Bill Clinton.

Even For All The Good He's Done In This World, Bill Clinton STILL Remains A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing!

President Obama ready to deal on Bush tax cuts for the wealthy

The White House signaled Wednesday that President Barack Obama is ready to cut a deal on the Bush-era tax cuts — accepting a temporary extension of the cuts for the wealthiest Americans to win renewal of tax breaks for middle-class taxpayers.

Such a deal would run counter to one of Obama’s longest-standing and most often-repeated promises from the 2008 campaign — that he would end the tax cuts for wealthier individuals.

But Obama’s top political adviser, David Axelrod, said Wednesday that the White House has to deal with “the world of what it takes to get this done” — a signal to Democrats that they don’t have the votes to kill the high-end tax cuts in the face of a new Republican House majority and resistance from Democratic moderates in the Senate.

“We have to deal with the world as we find it,” Axelrod told the Huffington Post.

Axelrod’s remarks confirmed what many on the Hill had long suspected, that lingering concerns over the weak economy and the political aftershocks of last week’s election would compel the president to accept a temporary extension of the high-end tax cuts.

In an e-mail to POLITICO, Axelrod said: "There is not one bit of news here. I didn't go beyond what we said before."

A White House spokeswoman also didn't attempt to walk back the comments Thursday morning, arguing that Axelrod was echoing what the president already stated in his weekly address Saturday.

“The president has been clear that extending tax cuts for middle-class families is his top priority, and he is open to compromise to get that done,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki wrote in an e-mail. “He has also expressed concern about the cost of making the highest income tax cuts permanent and is looking forward to discussing this and other issues with bipartisan congressional leaders next week.”

But the move is already being interpreted by the progressive base as a cave-in. They see little reason to cede ground to Republicans because polls show voters don’t favor renewing tax cuts for the wealthy. They say they want Obama to hold firm to his longtime campaign pledge to let those high-end tax breaks expire.

"Obama caving on the high income tax-cut issue guarantees that he will attract an intra-party opponent from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party," Boston University law professor Cornelius Hurley wrote on POLITICO's Arena. "The White House misreads the mood of the country. Tea partiers do not reflect that mood. Independents and Democrats disenchanted with Obama’s lack of conviction do."

Jane Hamsher, a frequent White House critic, posted reaction last night to Axelrod’s comments under the headline, “Obama Twists Own Arm, Says ‘Uncle’ to Extending Bush Tax Cuts.”

“If he’s the ‘political genius’ guiding the Democrats these days, they should consider themselves lucky it wasn’t 100 seats” that they lost in the House, Hamsher wrote on her blog FireDogLake.

The White House signal on tax cuts came as progressive activists, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top labor union leaders diverged sharply with the president over recommendations Wednesday by the co-chairmen of his deficit reduction commission. The recommendations included $200 billion in spending cuts, $100 billion in tax increases and a call to raise the Social Security retirement age to 69.

White House spokesman Bill Burton said the president wanted to wait to see the final recommendations before judging its work. By contrast, Pelosi called the recommendations "simply unacceptable."

Axelrod's comments on tax cuts are the kind of signal Democrats on the Hill have been seeking as they open negotiations next week with Republicans during the lame-duck session of Congress.

In his weekly address last week, Obama reiterated his campaign pledge of protecting the middle-class tax cuts. He also said the country cannot afford to permanently renew the high-end tax cuts, which would cost $700 billion over the next 10 years.

He appeared to outline the shape of a potential deal: a temporary extension for wealthier taxpayers and at least a temporary extension for the middle class.

The tax cuts expire Dec. 31, placing pressure on Congress to strike a deal on an extension during the lame-duck session. (See: Hill digs in for lame-duck tax fight)

"We don't want that tax increase to go forward for the middle class," Axelrod said. "But plainly, what we can't do is permanently extend these high income taxes."

Sources: AP, MSNBC, Politico, Youtube

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