When Is It Time For Obama To Get Tough With Republicans?
It’s been my contention that the tactic to be used with Republicans during the lame duck session is outreach, and that once the new term begins the president can afford to be less conciliatory if Republicans have not shown equal grace. Given opportunity to do just that, the GOP has done nothing but bite the hand that’s been outreached to them. So, is it time for the president to call Republicans what they are… “Party of No” Obstructionists?
Paul Krugman outlines missteps by the White House, beginning with the freeze on salaries on federal workers, which is “transparently cynical” and “trivial in scale.”
The truth is that America’s long-run deficit problem has nothing at all to do with overpaid federal workers. For one thing, those workers aren’t overpaid. Federal salaries are, on average, somewhat less than those of private-sector workers with equivalent qualifications. And, anyway, employee pay is only a small fraction of federal expenses; even cutting the payroll in half would reduce total spending less than 3 percent.
So freezing federal pay is cynical deficit-reduction theater. It’s a (literally) cheap trick that only sounds impressive to people who don’t know anything about budget realities. The actual savings, about $5 billion over two years, are chump change given the scale of the deficit.
This nice gesture of peace before the summit with the right was met with bellicose rantings of John Boehner, et al, who failed to graciously accept the offering. Krugman reminds us why tax cuts for the wealthy are where the president should take a strong stand: “…over the next 75 years the cost of making those tax cuts permanent would be roughly equal to the entire expected financial shortfall of Social Security.”
Outreached hands by the White House are slapped, not shaken. Should the next outreached hand be a fist?Click here for reuse options!
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