I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Monday, December 13, 2010

Welcome to the working week

Government is a messy business. Especially this one.

I keep away from politics for the most part in this blog because there are already dozens if not hundreds of witty, insightful, indispensable bloggers focusing on the subject, and I'd rather read their work than try to compete with it. But the reaction over the past week to the tax cut deal has been fascinating, and I can't help commenting.

Nobody on the left likes the deal. They're outraged! I don't like it either. Taxes are going to have to go up in this country -- we are going to have a domino effect of state and local governments collapsing if they don't -- but the idea that millionaires should have their tax rates return to Clinton-era levels -- when if I recall correctly they were all doing just fine, thank you very much -- is political anathema.

And everyone blames the president. There is a great deal I wish that he would do differently. I wish we could have a real progressive in the White House. But we can't, not in this political climate, and I was never under the illusion that Obama was going to be any kind of saviour.

Especially given what he has to work with: a deeply dysfunctional Senate where filibusters make almost any legislation impossible, Republicans who refuse to support anything the president wants, and Democrats that for the most part have forgotten that they have spines. The expiring tax cuts should have been addressed before the election, but Democrats were too afraid of the tea party and apparently found themselves incapable of explaining the simple facts that the tax cuts add trillions of dollars to the deficit and the middle class would not have been affected.

So this is what we're left with. It isn't pretty. But I don't have much patience with the congressional Democrats who are whining about it now and threatening to derail the agreement. They knew this was coming, and if they had addressed it before the last possible minute, we might have had a better outcome.

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