Petitioning the left and Obama’s Threshold for Change in the face of Republican aggressions: Is there a compromise?
President Obama has pushed a foray of bills, passed a number of ground breaking laws that are probably the envy of many US Presidents that have served in that office, the past half a century. The President has continued to bend over so much on a number of legislative issues that many in the left are disillusioned with his position on a number of legislative arrangements, most especially the current negotiation on giving a tax cut to millionaires in the name of saving the middle class from decapitation. It is no longer news that we are in a depression: more Americans are unemployed, more Americans have lost their health insurance, more kids are hungrier, more families are out in the streets, more homes are in disarray and more retirement savings have been lost forever, due to the excesses of the past Republican Presidency. We need to start making some very effective choices and not kicking the can down the road. The Republicans always want to eat their cake and still have it! The President has to draw a line in the sand and dare the Republicans; anything less is yielding away the power of the office.
The President attempts to position himself as hardly interested in back-stabbing wars of politics, putting himself above board regarding the politicization of the legislative process. However, the reality is, true governance is politics and politics involves the wielding of power, occasionally with some tough love. The constant aggression from Republicans on many legislative fronts is designed to counter well-intentioned public policies from this Whitehouse. The traditional argument against the increasing national debt from Republicans has been seen as hypocritical and disingenuous. Going a borrowing from foreign countries to feed the insatiable greed of the Republicans and the obnoxiously rich among us, is astoundingly ridiculous. Yielding to the Republicans on any ground after what they did to our economy is unacceptable to the left.
The burden of excessive debt is one that is espoused by national economic advisers; however, Republicans hardly listen to the associated challenge, often pointing fingers at Democrats as the real problem. Republicans want to fight two wars at astronomical costs and still expect the nation to be financially healthy. Republicans want to portray themselves as against the nation taking on more debts, but they are often ready to commit the nation to policies that compounds the problem of the deficits. Giving tax cut to the rich while many Americans are losing their homes and livelihood is absolutely wrong; and, this is why many in the left are against negotiating with Republicans on the Bush tax cut legislation. If Republicans want a fight so be it, it is better the President exerts his authority rather than allow Republicans to have their way.
In American politics, interest groups fight for what they believe in and share the pain and sufferings of their decisions. In America of today, there is more wealth concentrated in the hands of 5% of the population than the reminder 95%. There are more billionaires in America today, holding down more wealth, eight times more than when Republican Reagan first gave the rich a tax cut in the 80’s. The second Bush Presidency extended further tax cut to the rich, deregulated the economy to the extent that fraud began to be considered as commerce. The middle-class have been so marginalized to the extent that many in the left are effectually saying the distribution of wealth in America of today is an abomination for a representative Democracy. To counter the aggression from Republicans, the left are saying, the President needs to curtail their excesses, else they become an unruly and unwinding power broker come January, 2011; a powerful position that can unravel the rest of Obama’s Presidency.
A second argument against the President’s attempt to negotiate with Republicans on the Bush’s Tax Cut extension, is the impact that a decision to default on Republicans’ wishes for extension of the tax cut to the Billionaires will have on the whole economy and the nation’s deficits. Many of the Billionaires being extended tax cut benefits, have more wealth and are in better financial health than some States in the Union. If States in the union are contemplating cutting basic health care insurance to the poor because of tightening budget deficits, how can any Republican or blue dog Democrats justify giving money to the rich who do not need it? According to many respected economists, the rich are not going to re-invest their newly acquired wealth from the nation’s confers through the tax cut extension. The poor and middle class who need this tax cut, will out of necessity for survival spend whatever tax cut that ends up with them, thereby invigorating commerce and the economy.
In the context of a declining economy that needs to create millions of jobs, the tax cut to the poor and middle class would do the nation better than any of the mammoth millions that will end up in the pockets of the rich. Further, the argument that if the Presidency had not gone into negotiations with Republicans to get the amiable agreement that has been touted by the President as serving the middle class better, while carting away millions in estate tax reprieve for the rich, is hardly tenable. The added argument that Republicans would just go ahead and pass themselves a tax cut in January when they are in the majority, is also disputable. Frankly, except no lawmaker is aware, Americans are getting better literate about their democracy than twenty years ago. The terrain for fight for the hearts and souls of this country is fast changing; and, if the Republicans believe they can bamboozled the public as in the past, they are about to receive a rude shock. If the government is bailing out automobile makers, banks, insurance companies, some foreign countries and the rich, leaving out the majority of the populace, the government is preparing a beautiful bed for a class war. This is not sounding alarmist, all you need is to look around your neighborhood, poverty is here, real poverty is here and no Republican, no matter how blind he or she wants to be, can deny this. Republicans can continue to delude themselves that they have been able to arm twist a Democratic President. Can they do same to all the voters and citizens? Probably not!
The third argument against negotiating with Republicans comes out of the deleterious impact of the President jettisoning his promise to the middle-class and allowing Republicans to take advantage of the power of legislating to derail doing the greatest good to the greatest number of Americans. A President that announces an amoral decision to extend tax cut to the rich at the expense of the millions of the unemployed, homeless and hungry middle-class, who allows Republicans to derail his intention of facilitating the greatest good to the greatest number of Americans, has probably failed in his duty. This is why many of us in the left do not see eye-to-eye on this negotiation with the Republicans. If Republicans really want a fight, lets them bring it on. It is not the first time they have promised to hold the nation to ransom and this will not be their last.
Finally, the constant fear of election results and its implications may be doing this President less good, if he continues to capitulate to the wishes of Republicans, just because they will be in the majority come January or because they could pull a joker, is probably not wise and realistic. If the Presidency reduces the power of its office, Republicans will take advantage of this and ask for more. They will use the legislative process to kill more bills or policies, because they realize a weakness in the Presidency. Just as Republicans are able to negotiate down the bargaining power of the Presidency on the extension of the Bush’s tax cut, they are more likely to do the same for other bills, including the climate change bill. President Obama must step up his grandiose bully-pulpit power and use it effectively, without fear or favor. This argument is consistent with the wishes in the left and why it seems we are disillusioned with the decision to negotiate with Republicans on the extension of the Bush’s tax cut for the wealthy among us. Call it discrimination against the rich, but it’s a discrimination that hardly disadvantages the affected. If in doubt, we would be more than agreeable to switching places with the millionaires on this one.
The blog today attempts to draw out the implication of the Presidency shying away from a fight with Republicans, on an issue that many people in the country agree is out of line with the real essence of being an American. The President went against the grain of the wishes of the people who elected him. Democrats live by Principle not by wishes of a few bully. You cannot take John Boehner's word for it as is espoused by the President. You simply cannot take a politician's word for it! Republicans are bullies and they have effectively used their stance to change the course of history. It seems that the President failed to realize that if you do not take a fight to the bully, the bully will rise again. The implication of his position on negotiation with the Republicans has for all intense and purpose makes winning for the Americans, now and in the future, even more difficult. The measure of a man is in living up to his words. The President failed by not living up to his promise to the left by rewarding Republicans' obstructionism. The President is probably deluding himself by assuming that he has done the middle-class some good by agreeing to the position of the Republicans. Americans are on the side of the Presidency, if it is not extending tax cut to the rich or extending high end tax cut to billionaires. The President would hardly get the support of the left if he continues to accept position of weakness to his Presidency or negotiating away the baby and the bath!