Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.
With the "fiscal cliff" deal that was reached and passed by the Senate many are claiming both victory and doom and gloom. While I definitely think that we could have had a better "deal", I will concede that I definitely believe we would get much worse. However, one thing that is certain at this point. Nobody can breath a sigh of relief or declare victory or defeat until the looming debt ceiling debate is over.
Many of my fellow Progressives were disappointed with the deal. They feel the President conceded too much too early and showed weakness in negotiating. They feel that he has done this far too many times in the past with tax cuts, the public option and other things in the past. I can definitely agree with them on that. They were lashing out today at the deal reached in the Senate:
Richard L. TrumkaMa, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., said in a Twitter message on Monday that the agreement was “not a good fiscal cliff deal if it gives more tax cuts to 2 percent and sets the stage for more hostage taking.” Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, said on the floor on Monday that “no deal is better than a bad deal, and this looks like a very bad deal.”http://www.nytimes.com/...
Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning Princeton economist and columnist for The New York Times, wrote a series of blog posts with titles like “The World’s Worst Poker Player” and “Conceder in Chief?” Like others, he said the deal was bad not just because of its own provisions but because, in his view, it undermined Mr. Obama’s insistence that he would not negotiate over a coming debt limit vote.
“Anyone looking at these negotiations, especially given Obama’s previous behavior, can’t help but reach one main conclusion: whenever the president says that there’s an issue on which he absolutely, positively won’t give ground, you can count on him, you know, giving way – and soon, too,” Mr. Krugman wrote.
In the Senate, Earl Blumenauer summed up their frustrations and the problems with this bill nicely:
"We cannot continue to have by far the world's largest and most expensive military, the world's lowest taxes, the most expensive and inefficient healthcare system, and continue to allow our country's infrastructure to fall apart all while America grows and ages," he said. "This agreement represents absolutely the least we could have done under these circumstances."http://thehill.com/...
In Senator Harkin's case he showed the courage and independent spirit that has won him great respect around here by voting against the bill. Sen. Blumenauer also was spot-on in his critique. But while I can understand the complaints and frustration as a Progressive I must admit I feared the final "compromise" would be much worse and thought maybe we should just go "cliff diving".
The good part is anything that has Republican zealots in the House whining like spoiled children who did not get their way must do just a little good for America as a whole. They were out in force lamenting the fact that at least a few of the people they truly represent are going to have to contribute a small amount to the mess they created and were bailed out for. They are also sad that for the moment they have failed in stealing your Social Security and ending Medicare. Rep. Scott Rigell:
"Leaders in Washington continue to over-promise. They're likes salespeople who tell their customer they can have an $30,000 car but only pay $18,000 for it. Who doesn't like that deal?"I did not see him crying when Americans are forced to be more productive and work harder and longer hours and still live at or just above poverty. I do not see him complaining about how some folks in this country want to make a $30,000 profit by spending a few hundred on Chinese slaves. Due to Republican policies of outsourcing, trickle-down, and waging a constant war to erode workers rights, wages and benefits most of us would love to have $1800 to spend on a car, much less $18,000.
And the lamentations and gnashing of teeth on the right continued. They simply had their hearts set on balancing the budget on the backs of working Americans and getting the added bonus of beginning the process of phasing out Social Security and Medicare. Darrell Issa and Louie Gohmert were among the mourners:
"I wish I could say this was a proud moment," Issa said. "It isn't. We're kicking the can down the road.I am embarrassed for the generation of Louie Gohmert too. With their greed, trickle-down idiocy, outsourcing, and erosion of workers rights they have redistributed so much of our nation's wealth to themselves in the last thirty years they crashed our economy. Now they are determined to make things even worse to keep from sacrificing anything themselves. They had hoped to see the fruition of their starve the beast strategy and did not, yet.
"We're taking up a bill that will not do anything to cut spending. I'm embarrassed for this generation," he said.
But the most outrageous statement might have come from Mo Brooks of Alabama:
"I will not condone with my vote a process that denies the American people an opportunity to participate in their republic on issues of this magnitude," he said.I think maybe Mo needs to find Curly and Larry and go back to his old job. Being a stooge. We have enough of them in the House already. He has already condoned denying the American people an opportunity to "participate in their Republic". The American people told him loud and clear they wanted taxes raised at a lower level and did not want their Social Security and Medicare stolen. Did that matter to him?
This bill is in no way a victory for anyone. It could have been a lot worse though. We at least stopped the "chained CPI" garbage Obama had put forward as a "compromise" and for the time have saved seniors some money, Medicare cuts, and have delayed the phasing out of Social Security and Medicare for generations of younger Americans. Sadly, these "wars" are in no way won.
We still have in this country a war on working Americans and a complete disdain by those who wage it for people who work or who have worked and retired. We will still face seeing our wages and standard of living fall as our jobs are shipped to Chinese slaves. In two months we will have to fight tooth and nail to save our social safety net in once again.
The true legacy of Obama will be made or broken not by this deal but by his actions from this point forward. He simply cannot concede too much in the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations. If he allows Republicans to brand him as the person that began the process of ending Social Security and Medicare he could still go down in history as a weak, disastrous President.
I hope he realizes millions of us are willing to stand behind him to insure that does not happen. He simply has to fight for us.