Obama, tax cuts, and principle

Obama can't risk a middle class tax hike that would damage the recovery and hand power to a cynical GOP. So he'll cave on extending tax cuts to the wealthy instead

Robert Shrum

If the President and Congressional Democrats are ready to compromise on a temporary extension of all the Bush tax cuts, for the rich as well as the middle class, then they ought to heed Macbeth’s advice: "If it were done, when it’s done, then were well it were done quickly."

The House has voted and let Republicans register themselves as champions of the few. Now, move on to the final compromise, tied to extending unemployment compensation and an agreement from Republicans to abandon their unconscionable hostage-taking of the New START treaty, which they’ve threatened to block unless they get their way on tax giveaways to the wealthy. The episode has revealed the partisan depths of a GOP that would re-ignite the Cold War and raise the risks of nuclear war to make sure the wealthiest get their unfair share. They would leave the long term jobless without help or hope at Christmas time.

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Robert Shrum has been a senior adviser to the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, the campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and the British Labour Party. In addition to being the chief strategist for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign, Shrum has advised thirty winning U.S. Senate campaigns; eight winning campaigns for governor; mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major cities; and the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Shrum's writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New Republic, Slate, and other publications. The author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner (Simon and Schuster), he is currently a Senior Fellow at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.