Monday, July 9, 2012

Reason #231: Here We Go Again

For the first time this year, President Obama has begun to push for the Bush Tax Cuts, set to expire at the end off the year, to be renewed only for taxpayers making less than $250 thousand. We had this debate in 2008, and again in 2010, when he famously (infamously?) gave in and extended the cuts for everyone for two more years. 2010 gave him a reprieve until after this year's election (and helped grease the wheels for Don't Ask, Don't Tell), but rather than avoid the subject, he now seems committed to making "tax fairness" a major platform of his campaign.

Indeed, while Democrats are expected to bring Obama's version of the extension to Congress in the next month, no one really expects it to reach his desk before November. The posture is the key thing here - Democrats know it's politically impossible right now, but they want voters to go into their booths in four months beleiving that this is where the Dems drew their line in the sand.

The Republicans, for their part, seem happy to draw their own line in front of renewing the entirety of the tax cut, and are of course preparing their own doomed piece of legislation reflecting as much.

The 2000 presidential election was the first one I really paid attention to (and was old enough to understand), and I remember very well the near-universal rallying cry of "these two people (Bush and Gore) are identical, so who gives a shit?" As much as people complain about the hyper-partisanship that has become the status quo in Washington, there's something to be said for the two parties at least having clear distinctions for once--on both fiscal and social issues.

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