So, is it a deal or not? The president and the Congressional Republicans have reached an agreement on extended the Bush-era tax cuts. From a personal standpoint, I admit that the cuts have specifically profited me, helping to make sure I’ve gotten a healthy refund over the last few years. Collectively, I know that tax cuts, combined with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the expansion of Medicare drug coverage, helped fuel the current economic situation.
There are still widely differing opinions on whether the economic stimulus worked. In an online discussion with former Memphis TV reporter Jonathan Clarke, I thought that the deal, even though it retains tax breaks for the rich, might be a good thing for a lot of folks because it would extend unemployment benefits, drop payroll taxes and keep tax breaks for the middle class.
I have heard the idea that keeping taxes low for higher income Americans will help job creation, because it will give small business owners the capital needed to expand employment. Someone has to explain to me where those folks were while getting those tax breaks over the last few years. It’s my opinion that people with money are most interested in making money. If they believed that creating new jobs in this country would make them money, they’d do that. If they thought shipping jobs overseas would make them money, then they’d do that. And if they believed that sitting on piles of money until they had more confidence in the economic policies of an Administration bullied by a Tea Party and elite class-influenced Republican-controlled Congress, then that’s what would happen. Hey wait – that’s actually what’s been happening!
Okay, we’re in a new economy. I was downsized about a year and a half ago. A few more people in my old department have seen their jobs “redefined.” It seems likely that when the economic cycle turns, it won’t be the same kind of turn we saw in the “go-go” 90s, as reporters used to call them. Still, the economy will improve. It always does, pretty much whatever the President or Congress does. So – should they agree on everything? While I still have a lot of confidence in President Obama, I don’t think he’s got the political savvy of President Clinton. You’ve got to know how to give the GOP their lead for a while. Let them run. They’ll get full of themselves and do something ill-advised. I don’t think the influence of the Tea Party will keep the old-line Republicans from doing the same kind of things they did during the last administration that helped deep-six the economy. On the off chance that I’m wrong, I have no problem admitting it. If John Boehner and Mitch McConnell lead the country in the right direction, that’ll be just fine. But who really thinks that’s what will happen?