The Closet Moderate: You wanted bi-partisanship? Here is is:

Monday, December 06, 2010

You wanted bi-partisanship? Here is is:

I don't claim to speak for all of by co-bloggards here, but I think we'll all agree that this bi-partisan compromise out of Washington is a dumbfuck idea.  Alone among the Closet Moderates, I thought there would never be a tax cut I didn't like, but I was wrong.  Listen to the details of this purposed compromise:

  • Extend all Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels for two years,
  • Extend unemployment benefits beyond 99 weeks, and 
  • Reduce the employee's contribution to Social Security from 6.2% to 4.2% for one year (the employer's contribution would, it appears, remain at 6.2%)
These arrangements strike me as, in order, half-assed, bad, and what-the-fuck.  Extending tax cuts for two years is, I suppose, a victory, but it just delays resolution of the uncertainty that has been a part of the tax code since 2001.  Businesses are not going to invest based on a tax clause unless they know that the clause will be in effect for the foreseeable future.  Congress may not think past their next election, but the owner of a business must consider long-term effects of policy on his bottom line before investing.  This extension just delays the inevitable decision.

Stretching the unemployment benefits into a third year of indolence offers a host of other problems, but this is a compromise, after all, and if Obama wants to get something for his non-working-class base, so be it.

The third part, however, if what really gets my goat.  Through all my life, and the lives of my co-bloggards, I heard the tale of how Social Security is going bankrupt.  And it is.  But at a time when cooler heads are talking about pushing back the retirement age or decreasing the growth in benefits, President Obama would rather decrease the amount being paid into the trust fund without decreasing the amount being paid out!  In this political age when everyone is supposed to be concerned about deficits, when we see Greece and Ireland falling under the weight of their own fantastical interest payments, the bi-partisan solution out of Washington is to spend more, tax less, and call it progress.  This extremely temporary tax cut isn't going to magically "grow" jobs, as though the government could sow handouts and reap employment. 

It's a phantasm; it's a charade; it's bullshit.

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