Is Barack Obama Stupid?

New CBS News poll out confirms every other poll we've seen on the topic - the American people are solidly against tax cuts for the rich.

53% of respondents said there should only be tax cuts for the middle class and no tax cuts for people making over $250,000. That's the number most people in the media are using, but that's not quite accurate. Another 14% said they don't want tax cuts for anybody, including the top bracket. So, the reality is that an overwhelming 67% of the country don't want tax cuts for the rich (including 52% of Republican voters!). Only 26% said that everyone should get a tax cut, including the rich.

So, let's do the math for people who are a little slow. That's 67% to 26%. That's a crushing 41% lead. If it was an election, that margin would be so large they would think it was rigged. The group that doesn't want tax cuts for the rich is more than two and half times the group that does.

If that weren't enough, there is an internal memo being sent around to Democrats on the Hill by Anzalone Liszt Research that shows that 77% of Americans would let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire if the extra money went toward helping small businesses and balancing the budget. 77%!!!

Now, as a politician, how stupid do you have to be on the other side of this issue?

But that's not entirely fair because the Republicans have built their entire party on being on the other side of this issue and they're doing well. Why? Because they get handsomely compensated by those same millionaires and billionaires who benefit from the tax cuts. They use the money they collect from those guys into deceiving the American people into voting for them during the elections. That sucks for the rest of us, but at least that makes sense. There is a logical reason for them to take the more unpopular side of this equation.

Democrats on the other hand just got their ass kicked by that money spent to make sure they lose. Now, they would like to do a favor for the people who just killed them in the election and in the meanwhile take a position that 67% to 77% of the American people are against. How stupid do you have to be to do that?

That is the position of the Obama administration right now as they argue for a "compromise" where they extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich for another two years. Even Pat Buchanan laughed on-air and said that's no compromise at all. That's complete victory for the GOP. Remember, in two years there will be a new president - and if it's a Republican, the tax cuts will be extended forever. Complete and utter victory for one side. Complete and utter capitulation for the other side. Pathetic.

Of course, there are two other explanations for the actions of Obama White House. The first one is that they're not dumb, they are embarrassingly weak. They know they should side with 67% of the American people, they know they shouldn't help the people who crushed them in the last election, they know they are showing no leadership by constantly cratering to the other side, but they can't help themselves. It is in Obama's nature to always compromise, no matter what the situation is. He hates to fight. He is No Drama Obama. He will do anything to avoid a confrontation, including giving the other side exactly what they want in the guise of a sage and tempered compromise.

The last possible explanation is the worst of all. He is complicit. He is among the top 2%. So is nearly everyone he knows. Everyone in his bubble is rich, fabulously rich. So, all of the people he knows thinks it's a brilliant idea to give more tax cuts to the rich, namely them. Plus, most of the Democrats also get campaign donations from the millionaires and billionaires. Though it's self-destructive in the long run because those guys will always give more to the Republicans, they can't wean themselves off of that money. So, they go along with whatever their rich funders want.

All three options are sickening. But there is no fourth option. No one in their right mind can possibly think that opposing at least 67% of the American people to help the political opposition is a good political idea.

And one last note, when President Obama agrees to this and they add another $140 billion dollars to the deficit over the next two years because of these tax cuts for the rich, who do you think the Republicans will blame for that deficit? You guessed it, the man who just gave them everything they wanted -- Barack Obama.

Come on, how stupid do you have to be? Or at least, I hope they're just stupid and not the other options.

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Is Barack Obama Stupid?

New CBS News poll out confirms every other poll we've seen on the topic - the American people are solidly against tax cuts for the rich.

53% of respondents said there should only be tax cuts for the middle class and no tax cuts for people making over $250,000. That's the number most people in the media are using, but that's not quite accurate. Another 14% said they don't want tax cuts for anybody, including the top bracket. So, the reality is that an overwhelming 67% of the country don't want tax cuts for the rich (including 52% of Republican voters!). Only 26% said that everyone should get a tax cut, including the rich.

So, let's do the math for people who are a little slow. That's 67% to 26%. That's a crushing 41% lead. If it was an election, that margin would be so large they would think it was rigged. The group that doesn't want tax cuts for the rich is more than two and half times the group that does.

If that weren't enough, there is an internal memo being sent around to Democrats on the Hill by Anzalone Liszt Research that shows that 77% of Americans would let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire if the extra money went toward helping small businesses and balancing the budget. 77%!!!

Now, as a politician, how stupid do you have to be on the other side of this issue?

But that's not entirely fair because the Republicans have built their entire party on being on the other side of this issue and they're doing well. Why? Because they get handsomely compensated by those same millionaires and billionaires who benefit from the tax cuts. They use the money they collect from those guys into deceiving the American people into voting for them during the elections. That sucks for the rest of us, but at least that makes sense. There is a logical reason for them to take the more unpopular side of this equation.

Democrats on the other hand just got their ass kicked by that money spent to make sure they lose. Now, they would like to do a favor for the people who just killed them in the election and in the meanwhile take a position that 67% to 77% of the American people are against. How stupid do you have to be to do that?

That is the position of the Obama administration right now as they argue for a "compromise" where they extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich for another two years. Even Pat Buchanan laughed on-air and said that's no compromise at all. That's complete victory for the GOP. Remember, in two years there will be a new president - and if it's a Republican, the tax cuts will be extended forever. Complete and utter victory for one side. Complete and utter capitulation for the other side. Pathetic.

Of course, there are two other explanations for the actions of Obama White House. The first one is that they're not dumb, they are embarrassingly weak. They know they should side with 67% of the American people, they know they shouldn't help the people who crushed them in the last election, they know they are showing no leadership by constantly cratering to the other side, but they can't help themselves. It is in Obama's nature to always compromise, no matter what the situation is. He hates to fight. He is No Drama Obama. He will do anything to avoid a confrontation, including giving the other side exactly what they want in the guise of a sage and tempered compromise.

The last possible explanation is the worst of all. He is complicit. He is among the top 2%. So is nearly everyone he knows. Everyone in his bubble is rich, fabulously rich. So, all of the people he knows thinks it's a brilliant idea to give more tax cuts to the rich, namely them. Plus, most of the Democrats also get campaign donations from the millionaires and billionaires. Though it's self-destructive in the long run because those guys will always give more to the Republicans, they can't wean themselves off of that money. So, they go along with whatever their rich funders want.

All three options are sickening. But there is no fourth option. No one in their right mind can possibly think that opposing at least 67% of the American people to help the political opposition is a good political idea.

And one last note, when President Obama agrees to this and they add another $140 billion dollars to the deficit over the next two years because of these tax cuts for the rich, who do you think the Republicans will blame for that deficit? You guessed it, the man who just gave them everything they wanted -- Barack Obama.

Come on, how stupid do you have to be? Or at least, I hope they're just stupid and not the other options.

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Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
Become a Fan of The Young Turks: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

Boosting the Economy--One Big Screen TV at a Time

 

by Walter Brasch

 

          Even the most casual observers would believe that the U.S. is making an economic recovery if they saw the hordes descend upon retail stores on Black Friday.

           Americans began lining up four hours before the stores opened as early as midnight. And they weren't shopping just for necessities. Sale of large-screen TVs and video games were up significantly from two years ago. The consumer Electronics Association predicts a 4.1 percent increase in sales over a year ago.

           About a third of all American adults shopped on Black Friday, up from slightly more than one-fourth of all Americans a year ago, according to analysts from Goldman Sachs.

           About 80 million Americans went into retail stores on Black Friday, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). These Americans spent about $10.7 billion in retail stores, slightly more than last year, according to research analysts at ShopperTrak. For the three-day weekend, sales were about $20.5 billion. Not included in the ShopperTrak data were sales from major retail discounters, including Walmart and Target. Walmart reported sales up 30 percent from last year.

           Sales were pushed by online purchases. PayPal reports online sales increased 27 percent on Black Friday from a year ago. FirstData says sales from credit and debit cards rose 8.6 percent from last year. Overall, retail and cyber sales are expected to increase 2.3 percent from 2009, to $688.9 billion this year, according to data from the NRF.

           But, Black Friday spending isn't the only indicator of a recovering economy. The non-partisan and impartial Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the Recession that began in 2007 probably ended late last year.

           Overall, the economy is up 2.8 percent in 2010, according to the CBO. Bloomberg, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley, plus dozens of others who track the economy also show at least a 2 percent increase this year, with at least a 3 percent increase next year. Even the conservative Wall Street Journal points out the economy is up 2.5 percent, with a 2.8 percent increase predicted for 2011. The National Association for Business Economics, analyzing data collected by 51 professional economists, notes the gross domestic product grew about 2.7 percent this year, and will rise 2.6 percent next year.

           In related data, the Dow Jones average, which plunged at the end of the Bush–Cheney years, is up about 10.5 percent in the past six months. The CBO reports that although unemployment is hovering at 9.6 percent, without the Obama Administration's stimulus plan, unemployment would be between 10.4 and 11.6 percent.  By the end of 2011, unemployment is expected to drop to 8.7 to 9 percent, according to several major analysts, including the Wall Street Journal.

           Since December 2009, employment in the private sector has risen

by 1.1 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 2.5 million jobs are expected to be added in 2011, according to the American Bankers Association’s Economic Advisory Committee  Unemployment, according to the ABA, should decline to about 8.5 percent.

           But, there are still almost 15 million unemployed, most of whom saw their companies downsize or send jobs overseas. At the same time that Congressional Republicans blocked extending unemployment benefits, they have protected the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Under the Obama plan, individuals earning less than $200,000 a year would continue to receive the Bush-era tax cuts. The cost to protect the rich would be more than $3 trillion over 10 years. It appears that President Obama, under heavy political fire, will yield to the Republicans, who campaigned heavily on a promise to cut spending—except for their own special interests, of course.

           Related to the unemployment problem, more than a million Americans, will lose their homes to foreclosures. The sub-prime mortgage crisis began when government regulators and the Bush–Cheney Administration disregarded numerous warnings and then fell asleep while financial institutions became even more greedy between 2006 and 2009, and lured millions into a false sense of security.

           Overall, America is slowly on the path to recovery. But, to those who lost their jobs and then their homes, it just doesn't seem that way.

  

[UPDATE x2] Lame Duck Round Up - 90 Second Summaries

With 90 Second Summaries, we aim to cover policy items due to receive close attention in the coming weeks and months that are not being properly explained by most of the press corps. As a result,  over one third of our episodes cover pieces of legislation that are receiving action or are expected to receive action during this lame duck session of Congress. We did not hit every hot topic on the board, but we got to a good number of them. Without further ado, here's a roundup of the bills we covered that you should know about as the lame duck session unfolds:

Unemployment Insurance Extension:

UPDATE: The unemployment insurance extension failed to pass in today's House vote.

The House votes today on a suspension bill to extend unemployment insurance by three months. David Waldman explains:

Now, suspension bills need a 2/3 vote to pass, so that's a pretty high hurdle -- 290 votes, at least 35 of which would have to come from Republicans. So why bring the bill to the floor that way? Suspension bills aren't subject to amendment, nor to the motion to recommit. So although the hurdle is high, it's a straight-up yes-or-no vote on unemployment benefits extension. Click here for more information on the unemployment insurance extension.

The Dream Act:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced he will bring up the DREAM Act as a standalone bill in the lame duck session. In the past, the Senate has attempted to attach the DREAM Act to larger bills.

Click here for information on the DREAM Act.

The Expiring Bush Tax Cuts:

The deals are still being hammered out on this so the specifics of what legislation will pass are still little fuzzy. By all reasonable expectations, an extension of some sort WILL get passed before the end of the year.

Click here for more information about extending the Bush tax cuts.

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act:

UPDATE 2: A compromise was reached on the Tester Amendment and it will be included in the Senate bill. It is still unclear whether or not a similar provision will be included when the Senate version is reconciled with the House version.

This bill has been moving its way through the Senate somewhat quicker than most of us expected. Cloture passed yesterday, 74-25, on the motion to proceed to debate (generally a proxy for cloture on the final bill) and the Senate is expected to pass the bill today or tomorrow. The hot topic has been the Tester Amendment, which provides exemptions for small and local farmers from the new regulations. The Tester Amendment will likely pass, but H.R. 2749, the House version of the Food Safety Bill, was passed without a similar provision. The two bills will have to be merged and whether or not the Tester Amendment will survive that step is unclear.

If the Tester Amendment is indeed included in the Senate bill, then it is scheduled to be our next 90 Second Summary (that will be Monday).

Click here for more information about the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

 

Forcing Republicans to Choose

Trumka, Dem leaders in talks on forcing a vote on middle class tax cut extension onlyGreg Sargent:

AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka told reporters moments ago on a conference call that he's been aggressively lobbying the White House and Dem Congressional leaders to hold such a vote. Liberals are pushing for this course of action -- rather than a fake "compromise" on extending all the Bush tax cuts temporarily -- because it would represent a genuinely confrontational approach, forcing Republicans to choose between supporting Obama's tax cut plan and opposing a tax cut for the middle class.

..."It's absolutely insane that in these tough economic times, some people want to continue the George Bush tax giveaway for millionaires," Trumka continued. "It doesn't create jobs. It's bad policy and it's bad for the economy."

Trumka, in a formulation that just might stick, labeled an extension of the high-end cuts "Tarp Two."

For starters, Merkely is on board, and Schumer has forced Republicans on record that it's all about the breaks for millionaires for them.

This one is so obvious, the argument is writing itself.  If Republicans want TARP Two, let them vote on that after you stake them out on cuts for the middle class.

 

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