Inquirer readers had a lot to say about the tax-cut deal Congress considered last week.
Let us hope that the far-left Democrats do not resort to the same intensity of demagoguery that many of us Democrats have accused the Republican right wing of engaging in for so long ("Area Dems criticize tax deal," Thursday).
President Obama - yes, a Democrat - has reached a compromise with the Republicans. Do both parties get all that they want? Of course not. Did the Republicans maybe achieve a little more than 50 percent of the deal? Perhaps. But let's get real. This is the best deal we are going to get, and if the new Congress is seated, without a deal in place, compromise may go out the window.
Yes, the tax plan will add to the short-run deficit, but the country cannot take a chance of incurring another bout of severe recession. So, let's stop the political pandering, get behind the president, and get this deal enacted.
Criticism of President Obama is racism, or at least that's what we've been told by opinion makers and Democrats for the last two years. Well, the latent racism of the left wing has been awakened under the guise of anger over the president's extension of tax rates for the wealthy. How convenient.
The first issue that the left can go after the president for, and they are doing it with vigor. These racists will use any issue to display their anger at the first African American that the country elected president.
I can picture them now - college professors, editorial writers, environmentalists, community activists, government bureaucrats - sitting around, a glass of white wine in hand, or something stronger, pining away for the days when a good ol' boy from the South ran the country.
As much as it rankles the Democratic base that the Obama administration has agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts to all income groups, a little perspective is in order.
It is certainly true that Republicans can be accused of holding the economy hostage for the extension to earners above the $250,000 mark, or even above the $1 million mark. And Democrats can only hope that GOP cynicism will become apparent to middle-class voters. But look at the numbers and one can understood why the Obama administration felt that it was the best deal it could make.
The two-year cost of the total package, which includes the tax-cut extension, unemployment benefits, and the 2 percent payroll tax reduction, is estimated at $900 billion plus. Of that, $136 billion goes to tax cuts for the high earners. That leaves $764 billion plus in spending, or stimulus, that most Democrats favor. It is unrealistic to believe that a better deal could be made before the Republican-controlled House takes over in January.
I love the euphemism "payroll-tax cuts." These are contributions to the Social Security Trust Fund, folks! The deal proposes, and The Inquirer supports ("Not an easy choice," Wednesday), raiding the trust fund by reducing FICA contributions as a back-door stimulus.
What happened to all the hand-wringing about Social Security's looming insolvency? I thought Social Security was supposed to be independent and not a slush fund to be raided when tough political decisions were called for.
The tax cuts will be extended - which will do nothing to decrease the deficit. Unemployment will be extended - which will increase the deficit. Managing the deficit will mean decreased government spending - which will mean more unemployment - which will mean fewer government services and more people in need - which ultimately means that while the rich have smooth sailing, the rest of us will be heading into the storm.
If this is what a Democratic president does with a Democratic Congress, I tremble to think what will happen in the next two years.
Led by Republicans, the party of fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets, another $700 billion stimulus program is coming that will continue the Bush income-tax cuts for everyone, including the super-rich, for another two years. It now appears that our only hope to avoid bankruptcy is for the Chinese to keep buying U.S. Treasury bonds, which, of course, will be rated AAA.
As the tax deal is currently crafted, the extended unemployment insurance would immediately benefit me but would add to the irresponsible runaway deficit. My children and grandchildren - and yours - will suffer the consequences.
When we blithely ignore reality and responsibility, how can we ask federal employees to share the burden, our young men and women in uniform to die, and our legacy to pay for our mistakes?
Where is the common sense? Simply let all of Bush's tax cuts expire. The convoluted compromise announced this week is untenable. Where is the courage in our legislative and executive branches? Where is our shame? I'll give up extended benefits. What will you do?