Saturday, November 10, 2012

Obama to GOP: No Tax Cuts For the Rich

     Today's speech by Obama certainly gives us reason for hope. He is clearly willing to own his mandate-and the mandate his party achieved on Tuesday. I know the "m" word can be overused. But clearly there was a choice on Tuesday between to philosophies of government and the American people made their choice clear.

      This was the case not only in the President's strong showing-I wonder if Joe Scarborough still thinks Nate Silver is a joke now, seeing as Nate got 50 out of 50 states right: presuming that the President takes Florida as he seems poised to do-but in the shockingly strong showing by the Democrats in the Senate.

      With 23 Dems facing re-election to only 10 for the GOP they lost just 1 race while the GOP lost three of their own seats. Harry Reid clearly gets it too with his pointing out that the American people expect the GOP to do more than merely obstruct at every turn.

       It's also encouraging that Senator Reid has been throwing his support behind filibuster reform. While there are dangers: we Democrats weren't so enthusiastic about ending the filibuster when the GOP was pushing for it back in 2005. Yet the GOP abuse of the filibuster over the last few years has been so egregious, that clearly something must be done. Reid's approach would not end the filibuster-which has a legitmate role in allowing the minority to be heard, but it would end the level of abuse we have suffered recently.

       One idea Reid and other Dems are looking at is at least ending the ability to filibuster even the beginning of a floor discussion for a bill. It's one thing to be able to filibuster a bill; to not even let it come to debate has served mostly a bad purpose since 2009. The Dems usually don't go for filibuster reform as they quite logically consider what might happen when the GOP takes back the Senate. However, at this point they are realizing that nothing can be worse than the current status quo that requires a super majority even to begin discussion for any bill.

      As to the fiscal cliff, the President is sounding just like we would want him to sound.

      "President Barack Obama, laying down his marker for grueling "fiscal cliff" negotiations, said Friday he won't accept any approach to federal deficit reduction that doesn't ask the wealthy to pay more in taxes.

       "This was a central question during the election," Obama said in his first postelection comments on the economy. "The majority of Americans agree with my approach."

       "Following up, Obama's spokesman said later that the president would veto any legislation extending tax cuts for families making $250,000 or more.

        "The president, speaking in the White House East Room, said he wasn't wedded to every detail of the plans he outlined during the election, adding, "I'm open to compromise." But he offered no indication that he was willing to back down."

      I know there are a lot of "bedwetting" liberals out there that think the President and the Dems are out to make a really bad "Grand Bargain" and give away big on Medicare and Medicaid. I think they're wrong and it's a very good sign that not just Chuck Schumer but also Harry Reid and the Obama White House have voiced grave skepticism about the entire framework of Simpson-Bowles.

       C'mon folks. There's nothing wrong with some cautious optimism. Based on how both Reid and Obama have talked this week there's room for quite a bit of it.

       P.S. My apologies for not giving my usual level of production this week; I continue to be without power over in Baldwin Harbor, Long Island. The traffic light on Atlantic Ave-just north of the Harbor is finally fixed and the telephone poll that had been knocked down and was lying astride the street on the block next to mine has finally been dealt with. Hopefully power will be back soon.

      I do have my power cord back so to the extent that I can get near the library I should be able to write a little more than recently, I hope.


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