Republican extremists once again save Obama from himself:
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Barack Obama, by Paul Krugman: These days, political events occur, as it were, twice — the first time as near-tragedy, the second time as farce. [For those puzzled, the reference is here.]
In 2011, President Obama very nearly did immense damage to both the social safety net and the future of his party by offering a disastrous budget deal — a deal that would have raised the Medicare age, cut deeply into other programs, all in return for not much revenue and no rise at all in tax rates. Fortunately, he was saved from himself by what Gail Collins calls the rabid ferrets — the Republican back-benchers who wouldn’t accept any rise in taxes on the rich whatsoever, and effectively scuttled the deal.
This time around, Obama holds a much stronger position, yet for a couple of days there he seemed once again to be negotiating with himself. The offer he made earlier this week wasn’t nearly as bad as in 2011, and some reasonable progressives believe that the benefits — extended unemployment benefits, infrastructure, and extension of some other tax breaks that benefit the poor and middle class — are worth giving up a full return to pre-Bush taxes on the wealthy and the cuts in Social Security that would result from changing the price index. But it was an offer, not a deal — and there was good reason to fear that Obama, having arguably already given away too much, was getting ready to give away substantially more.
Rabid ferrets to the rescue! ...
Some alleged experts still think we’ll have a deal before we go over the cliff. Maybe they know their business, but I don’t see it. And the capitulation we all feared seems a lot less likely than it did two days ago. Thanks, ferrets!After all the effort to protect social insurance programs during the Bush administration, it's disappointing to see Obama trying so hard to give it away. I thought the programs would be safe once they were in the hands of Democrats, but that hasn't worked out as well as I thought it would.