The Obama Administration is not what one might call economic White knights. It can’t even be compared to the charge of the cavalry in the last minute. It may best be described as nebbish. A tepid GDP of 1.3%, continuing layoffs, continuing bankruptcies at “green” companies, and 23 million out of work fits that description well. Which is not the recipe for a successful re-election.
In light of this problem, not so slowly sucking the enthusiasm from Liberals and Democrats while keeping many an Independant away, the Obama campaign has resorted to demonizing the opposition and attacking everything they haven’t covered in mud yet. Even so, this has only slowed the growing tide of polls in favor of Mitt Romney. Something has to change, and the flood of revelations about Benghazi isn’t what is in mind.
Thus, suddenly, the Washington Post reports that a new tax cut for the working class is rumored. This goes hand-in-hand with a virtual promise from President Obama that if re-elected he will cut a deal with the House of Representatives to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion within 6 months of the election.
The mind boggles.
First is the question, how will President Obama strike this bi-partisan accord with Republicans? Something he has failed to do in the past 3 years and 10 months. An accomplishment he utterly failed at, nearly causing the nation to default and directly motivating the first credit downgrade in the nations history while placing the nation on a much quoted “fiscal cliff” that no one in Washington DC wants to have happen yet seemingly cannot be stopped (though the power of a lame duck session of Congress is powerful).
Let’s be honest, President Obama has garned about as much bi-partisan support as Iran has made efforts to stop making nuclear material. To state with certainty that this situation will change, after attacking Republican values and plans for the economy for most of 2012, is wishful thinking at best.
Second, let’s consider the new tax cut. President Obama has been at the forefront of the charge to end the tax cut for the “rich”. He has said, in every debate and on numerous campaign speeches, that America can’t afford the cut (which if done will not balance the budget – that hasn’t existed for 3 years – nor impact the deficit in a negligible manner). He has insisted that the only way to move the nation forward to to raise taxes.
But suddenly, in only a rumor, there are funds to support another payroll tax that will put “hundreds” of dollars a year into payroll taxpayers checks. The kind of tax that put $20 a week (or about $1040 per year, which is hundreds) into the pockets of taxpayers for the last 3 years – resulting in the above mentioned economy. But hundreds of dollars does sound much better.
Going by the viewpoint of President Obama alone, it can’t be afforded. Going by the effectiveness of the current tax cut plan, it’s barely effective.
So what can we conclude?
Well the cynical and honest among us have to say, at this late a stage in the election, that it reeks of buying votes. Legally, without a request for renumeration. Still, ask the average American if they think that such a move won’t garner votes from at least some portion of voters. Based on how close polls are calling the race, if such pleas only encourage 3% of voters, the election could swing in favor of President Obama (though we believe the polls are skewed in favor of the President and are not showing how bad it really is).
How is this not a low class tactic? Unrealistic promises and cash rewards based on an outcome that benefits a singular political party. It’s the kind of tactic one might expect from a high school election, or perhaps an election in Chicago. It surely isn’t presidential.
Even if we accept that President Obama has a masterful deal that he has been waiting to thrust upon Congress, and chose not to enact earlier for whatever unknown reason (obviously not the benefit of the economy), there is still the rumor. It smacks of desperation. Assuming that this was a rogue action by a well meaning but loose cannon campaign staff member, they should be fired and the rumor undeniably stomped into the dirt. Or, if it is real, the Administration should march up to a podium and put it on the table. At least then it can be addressed, and scrutinized for what it is.
Politics is a dirty game, but even this game has rules. Pipe dreams and allusions don’t befit a presidential race, or candidate. Or at least we would like to still believe that.