When America needs to be working again, there cannot be talk of a federal hiring freeze. It does nothing to get Americans working.
This isn't compromise. It's the complete opposite. What are the Republicans giving up in this effort? If they aren't giving up something that is rather important, it doesn't make sense. Some days, reading The Huffington Post just makes me want to scream.
President Barack Obama's top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.On the positive side, the president will veto any repeal of the recent healthcare reform.
That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week's electoral defeat.
"We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. "The world of what it takes to get this done."
"There are concerns," he added, that Congress will continue to kick the can down the road in the future by passing temporary extensions for the wealthy time and time again. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."
Axelrod said that his boss would veto repeal of his cherished health care law, though he would "work with people" who "have constructive ideas about how to strengthen" it. The veto threat was not unexpected, but it was the first time that a top administration figure had issued such a threat on the record. And in doing so, Axelrod predicted that Republicans would be making a major misstep by challenging the White House's commitment on this front.Let's turn back to taxes, shall we...
"I'm not going to prejudge what they are going to do," Axelrod said of Republican opposition to the legislation. "But I will tell you this -- we are firm in our commitment, we are willing to work with people to improve this plan we are not going to stand for those who want to undermine it and destroy it."
"The notion of spending the next two years fighting over this, I think, is a complete misreading of what the American people want," he added. "They want us to focus on the economy. They don't want us to fight the battles of the last two years. But we are not going to stand by and go back to allowing people with preexisting conditions to be discriminated against, go back to the situation where people can be thrown off their insurance simply because they become seriously ill or you can't get on your parents' insurance after the age of 20. There are so many things that are just central."
For one, time is not on the administration's side. 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.I'm in the middle class and I'll tell you this right now--I start paying my student loans next year and keep in mind, I don't see enough revenue fromm the blog to where I can quit my job to become a professional blogger. Those with high incomes can live with the Bush tax cuts expiring because frankly, they have the money to do so, even if it's tucked away in a non-taxable offshore account that the government doesn't know about it. You read about those in legal thrillers all the time.
"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."
In other words, the White House won't risk being blamed for raising taxes on the middle class even though, arguably, it is the GOP's refusal to separate the categories that has put Obama in this bind. The only condition, at least initially, seems to be that the tax cuts for the wealthy not be extended "permanently."
UPDATE: David Axelrod denies the story in an email to The Washington Post.
There is not one bit of news here. I simply re-stated what POTUS and Robert have been saying. Our two strong principles are that we need to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, but we can't afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy.Dan Pfeiffer chimed in, too, adding:
The story is overwritten. Nothing has changed from what the President said last week. We believe we need to extend the middle class tax cuts, we cannot afford to borrow 700 billion to pay for extending the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and we are open to compromise and are looking forward to talking to the Congressional leadership next week to discuss how to move forward. Full Stop, period, end of sentence.