Press Sec.-- Pres. Obama's "firm postion": He will not approve Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000



I like that tweet, but I still fear for Medicare and Medicaid. The GOP wants to cut into them the way many of us sliced into our Thanksgiving turkeys.

Zeke Miller also tweeted:

He’s willing to make tough choices as president to achieve that balanced approach,” Carney says, after saying tax cuts 4 rich are off table. 

Which is why I fear for Medicare and Medicaid.

And he tweeted:

Carney: I think we remain confident that we can achieve an agreement.

Democrats have been afraid, very afraid, of being labeled as "tax-raisers" by Republicans, and so they have found themselves backed into corner after legislative corner.

So how many of you thought President Obama caved on the last battle over extending the Bush tax cuts? Hands?

David Corn disagrees, and says so in his "The Myth of the Obama Cave-In":

But that narrative was wrong when it emerged—and it is not the key to predicting what Obama will do in the present predicament. Obama didn't wave the white flag in 2010. He turned a face-off over the Bush tax cuts into an opportunity to enact a second stimulus that he otherwise could not get past Senate Republicans. His failure at that time was not that he mustered insufficient mettle; he failed to convey to the world that he had jujitsued the GOPers. [...]

A game of chicken was on. Obama and the Democrats claimed the Republicans were holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage. (No tax breaks for the rich, then no tax breaks for anyone else.) And the GOPers were daring Obama to stick to his position, see all the tax cuts perish, and end up being blamed for a rise in taxes for everyone. [...]

Obama and his aides felt boxed in. ... Obama was willing to eschew the fight his Democratic comrades yearned for in order to win something bigger and better: more stimulus to aid the ailing economy. The president was also reluctant to see the game of chicken conclude with a crash that would result in taxes going up for the middle class and out-of-work Americans seeing the end to unemployment benefits. That could cause hardship for these Americans—and hinder the entire economy.... Obama could stop the continuation of the tax breaks for millionaires, yet quite possibly only until the new Congress came to town—and there would be no new stimulus to boost the flagging economy.

He also wanted to achieve other goals, like ending Don't Ask Don't Tell and immigration reform, among others. He felt that if he went nuclear on the GOP over tax cuts, he'd never stand a chance with other agenda items. Not at that point, anyway.

So what he ended up with was a payroll tax cut, a child tax credit, additional unemployment insurance, renewable energy grants, and more. As David Corn points out, Obama "won $238 billion of stimulus in return for yielding on $114 billion in high-income tax cuts." And yes, it came at a political price.

But, as Corn writes, "This was not full capitulation. It was a strategic retreat to accomplish a bigger mission." The problem was, he says, that the president didn't communicate what he was trying to, and actually did, pull off. Instead, it looked to us like he caved.

Corn ends his piece with this: "What happened two years ago is not an indication that Obama is likely to yield in the new face-off, but that he will be assessing the political dynamics in gridlocked Washington and be willing to bargain hard for a good deal with true benefits. That's not caving in. It's governing."

Which is why I fear for Medicare and Medicaid. I'm in wait and see mode.

Please read his entire Mother Jones piece here.