Obama’s Tax Deal, in links

by zunguzungu

William Black’s first column explained why the President folded on a winning hand on taxes, the second column showed that the economists the administration was citing as supporting its plan were virulent opponents who were delighted that the President was capitulating to the Republicans, and the third column shreds Obama’s claim that he got the better of the Republicans in the negotiations.

Robert Reich attacks the deal’s extraordinary cost and regressive tilt and abominates the fact that it confirms the Republican worldview.

Mike Konczal isn’t impressed with the tax deal at all.

Dean Baker describes how the deal will give the Republicans a much stronger hand in the future, as if they needed it.

James Kwak argues that “to call [the administration’s] framing disingenous would be kind,” and notes that “the only thing on that board that isn’t a tax cut is extended unemployment benefits.”

Calculated Risk and Kid Dynamite point out that the “13 month extension of employment benefits” doesn’t mean at all what the administration is counting on you to think it means: people don’t get 13 more months of benefits (as the administration has been allowing everyone to wrongfully presume), instead, the way unemployment benefits are structured will simply not change for thirteen more months.

Jason Linkins points out that it raises taxes for people making less than $20k, or families making less than $40k.

Marshall Auerback argues that the tax deal isn’t so bad, at least compared to the fact that Obama and his team operate from a basically and disastrously wrong and misguided philosophical approach which it exemplifies:

…the philosophic void left by the abandonment of the New Deal and the Great Society has been filled by neo-liberalism and Wall Street-centric policies. The president himself has championed these philosophies ever since he got his party’s nomination in 2008,and promptly began stuffing his team with failed Clintonite retreads. There is a reason why the Dow Jones rose almost 600 points the day that Lawrence Summers and Tim Geithner were appointed to his economic team. The markets knew that Santa Claus was coming to town. That is the real reason for the unhappiness of his party’s base. That’s not the kind of change his supporters were looking for. Nothing the president has done since his inauguration marked a decisive break from the past failed policies embodied by these figures…The neo-liberal era has been associated with the erosion of working conditions and rising inequality in outcomes far beyond anything that could remotely be justified by disparate individual or sectoral productivity trends. The president doesn’t understand this. His base is legitimately peeved. He continues to champion a system that has generated a massive redistribution of national income away from workers and productive sectors. Rather than tinkering around the edges of a profoundly corrupt tax system, the president has to embrace a completely different growth model going forward. This has to be the focus of what’s left of his time in the White House, especially if Obama wants to extend it beyond 2012. Do this, and the president will find that his “sanctimonious”, “whiney” base might actually become enthusiastic about him again.

Ezra Klein offers this graph:

Which Peter Nunns glosses, effectively, as “Victory Declared in the American Class Struggle!” (for the millionaires).

And James Galbraith:

On the topics that I know most about, the administration is beyond being a disappointment. It’s beyond inept, unprepared, weak, and ineffective. Four and again two years ago, the people demanded change. As a candidate, the President promised change. In foreign policy and the core economic policies, he delivered continuity instead. That was true on Afghanistan and it was and is true in economic policy, especially in respect to the banks. What we got was George W. Bush’s policies without Bush’s toughness, without his in-your-face refusal to compromise prematurely. Without what he himself calls his understanding that you do not negotiate with yourself. It’s a measure of where we are, I think, that at a meeting of Americans for Democratic Action, you find me comparing President Obama unfavorably to President George W. Bush.