Editorial: So much for the deficit

Published 8:07 am Monday, December 13, 2010

Clearly, the only people conservative Republicans will fight for are America’s wealthiest citizens, then deficits don’t matter.

The $858 billion bill contains $801 billion in tax cuts and $57 billion to extend emergency jobless benefits.

President Obama criticized “sanctimonious” liberals desiring “the satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people,” so in his run to the middle without standing to fight, we hope he’s mindful that his second stimulus package might also be a GOP trap, since Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is on record saying job one is destroying our elected chief executive.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see that Republicans’ next move after jacking up the deficit that mattered so much at the midterm election, they will then use “Obama’s deficit” to justify gutting domestic programs such as Medicare and Social Security that they find onerous.

With Obama inviting Bill Clinton to the White House, many wonder if he’s brushing up to become the triangulator in chief.

They also consider who the president can count on being in his corner when conservatives come to repeal health care, investigate his administration like a trumped-up homage to Ken Starr and keep casually denouncing him as an anti-American socialist.

While some bash Obama as a “sellout” for a tax deal that could further stimulate the economy despite conceding billions to those who inherit big estates, the middle — if there still is one — might respond to his moderate image of settling for sensible results.

From Obama’s perspective, he won $197 billion in benefits for the non-rich, $146 billion in business tax cuts to prod job creation and a $280 billion extension of the middle-class tax cut.

One conservative commentator wrote, “Only Republicans want to talk about success while Democrats seem more comfortable in the company of failure and dependency … The longer someone gets a check for not working, the less likely that person is to feel motivated to look for work.”

Only a person who has not had to hunt for a job when there aren’t any could be that heartless.
Obama’s approval ratings are at the lowest level of their presidency.

He’d lose to Mitt Romney if the 2012 election happened today, stands slightly ahead of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee yet would still trounce former Alaska governor Sarah Palin because of the erosion of support from liberals after he led his party to landslide losses in November.

Enter Clinton, who stepped to the White House briefing room podium Dec. 10 and assured reporters,

“I don’t believe there is a better deal out there. If I was in office now, I would have done what the president has done.”

Clinton, saying he devotes an hour daily to studying economic issues and analyzing what action to take, said the proposal to trim Social Security taxes is the “single most effective tax cut” to support economic activity and create jobs. “I expect it to lower the unemployment rate and keep us going.”

Clinton so enjoyed being the center of attention again, he remained after Obama left, delivering an economic tutorial and riffing on the need for the Senate to ratify a U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty.

Of course, it’s hard to glimpse Clinton and not be reminded of his rebound to re-election after getting clobbered by the 1994 midterms.

Obama indicated in an interview NPR broadcast Friday that he is considering an overhaul of the tax code to rein in the national debt, but acknowledged, “It’s a very complicated conversation … I think we can get some broad bipartisan agreement that it needs to be done. But it’s going to require a lot of hard work to actually make it happen.”

Meanwhile, we’re still larding the tax bill with special-interest perks such as ethanol credits because no one has the backbone to address the debt when it comes down to raising taxes or sacrificing to reduce government borrowing.