Thursday, December 9, 2010

Robert Reich on Tax-Cut Deal as Confirmation of Republican Narrative

This is what I meant when I wrote yesterday that the principles underlying President Obama's political decision-making are neo-conservative ones that reward the rich with the expectation that rewarding the rich will then turn around and pour capital into the economic engine of our society and spread wealth around: Robert Reich notes that Obama's tax-cut deal confirms the false Republican narrative that has gotten us into the economic crisis in which we find ourselves:

By agreeing to another round of massive tax cuts for the wealthy, the president confirms the Republican story. Cutting taxes on the rich while freezing discretionary spending (which he's also agreed to do) affirms that the underlying problem is big government, and the solution is to shrink government and expect the extra wealth at the top to trickle down to everyone else.

Obama's new tax compromise is not only bad economics; it's also disastrous from the standpoint of educating the public about what has happened and what needs to happen in the future. It reinforces the Republican story and makes mincemeat out of the truthful one Democrats should be telling.

With Mr. Obama, we find ourselves in the hands of yet another New Democrat who has conceded large ground to the neo-conservative movement, and who is actually doing their work for them by making "pragmatist" decisions that sell out anyone to the left of Newt Gingrich, and anyone motivated by ethical principles that require us to look at our socioeconomic life first and foremost from the standpoint of those on the margins, and not from the standpoint of the obscenely rich.

This is the new principles-lite style of the Democratic party, which completes the neo-conservative revolution of the latter part of the 20th century by gutting the traditional principles of a party rooted in the New Deal and Civil Rights movement.  Gutting these principles in the name a best-we-can-do pragmatism that is only a smokescreen for the decision of these principles-lite leaders to keep serving the very rich at the expense of the needy . . . .

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