Sanctimonious Commander-in-Brief

December 14, 2010

Original publication: The Huffington Post

Date of publication: December 12, 2010

Huffington Post logo

Sanctimonious Commander-in-Brief

By Jim Worth
Posted on The Huffington Post, December 12, 2010

The Tax Reform compromise may be President Obama's Swan Song.

The release of the compromised tax bill, negotiated between the Administration and Republicans, has resulted in acrimony between Obama and the congressional members of his party.

His uncharacteristic display of anger over his tax deal was misdirected at Democrats who feel the agreement struck between the President and the GOP is bad on several levels. His anger should have been leveled at the Republicans who shamelessly held crucial parts of the tax bill hostage.

He insists that this compromise is "a good deal for the American people."

Is it such a good deal; the only deal he could obtain?

It adds nearly a trillion dollars to the deficit over the next two years.

The President referred to Progressive Democrat's dissent as sanctimonious for not embracing the compromise. Sanctimony is defined as 'a show of being morally superior to other people.' But, when has doing the right thing for the American people become sanctimonious?

The President's "sanctimonious" admonition of Democrats who had expected more, should have been directed at the obstruction of the Republicans.

Freshly stung in the last election by unacceptable compromises from positions of strength, one would think that the President would have learned a lesson. His continued acquiescence, ie; giving up on the public option, not taking on the big banks, settling on a lesser amount for the needed stimulus, etc., played right into the Republican's hands and cost the Democrats greatly in both the House and the Senate.

Asking Democrats to concede their position of strength, is asking those still in Congress to put themselves in an intractable position for the 2012 elections.

There are compelling reasons to reject this compromised fiasco.

Yes, the President, in addition to the extension of the bottom four tax brackets, received some good things in the negotiations -- many of them necessary for the country's survival: a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits, earned income tax credit, child tax credit, and the payroll tax cut. These add to the deficit, but will do something to help the economy grow and those in need.

These are all programs the Republicans had to vote for, especially had the President backed them into a corner. They couldn't afford to let these benefits expire for the huge numbers of citizens in their states and districts who relied on them just to survive.

The other two concessions are seen as a gift to the obstructionist party. Extending the tax brackets for the wealthy and the changes to the estate tax are seen, flatly, as giveaways.

Ace Greenberg, on Squawk Box on Friday, stated, "I don't understand why my taxes didn't go up. A few percent is not going to change the way the uber-rich live."

Others have echoed the same sentiment. When the Republicans moved to eliminate the estate tax in 2003 Bill Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins adamantly opposed its elimination, advocating the wealthy giving back for the opportunities this country has afforded them.

Paul Newman, Annie Dillard, Ted Turner, and many others came forward in 2007 to oppose attempts to repeal or reduce the estate tax. One year ago, John Bogle, argued in a press call of United For a Fair Economy, for the preservation of the estate tax prior to the expiration in 2010 saying, "the wealthy owe a large part of their fortune to the country and its government," referring to the opportunities they have been given that helped them amass great wealth.

Read the full column by Jim Worth on HuffingtonPost.com

Share: