The big hubbub in Washington right now is this new deal worked out by Barack Obama and the GOP--namely, keeping the current income tax rates for two more years (the Bush tax cuts for all income levels were set to expire January 1st) and cutting the payroll tax (that Ponzi scheme we call Social Security, instituted by Crook-in-Chief FDR) by 2%, plus extending unemployment insurance by 13 more months (currently it taps out at 99 weeks--meaning the unemployed would be eligible for about three years of unemployment). The whole thing is supposed to cost about $900 billion, even more than the last stimulus. A few thoughts:
1) Smart move from Obama's perspective. This is bipartisan, so if it works, and juices the economy, he gets credit. If it just increases the deficit and helps nothing, the GOP has partial ownership of it so they can't bludgeon him with it. Add to the fact that every American taxpayer, rather than seeing their taxes go up (which would happen if there was no deal at all), will actually see more in their paycheck due to the payroll tax cut. And--the chronically unemployed get another few months breathing room while waiting for jobs to materialize. This is better news for him than the GOP, which wanted to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, and instead are just getting a two year extension.
2) The House Democrats who are rejecting this bill are retards. The bill gives them absolutely everything else they wanted--unemployment extension, payroll tax cut, extension of cuts for middle class and poorer Americans--and they're fighting to scuttle this thing simply because rich people get to keep their tax cut too??? Try explaining that to the millions of Americans making under $250K--"sorry your taxes had to shoot up during this recession, but we'd rather everyone pay more than allow rich people to get a tax cut." Frankly, their as dogmatic on this issue as the GOP is with keeping those cuts. Obama would be wise to ignore the hell out of those morons from here on out if he wants to be a lock for 2012. Bill Clinton learned that same lesson.
3) That said, this whole thing is a mess for the deficit, and proves that neither Obama nor the GOP are serious about that issue. Spending and entitlements need to be cut, well before we reduce our revenues further. Granted, it's hard to make that argument when unemployment creeps back up towards 10%, but this hole we're in is only getting worse and itself will wreck the economy further when interest rates start getting affected. I'd have some respect for House Democrats if they were arguing against ALL of these goodies, rather than basing everything on a hatred for wealth.
4) Maybe if the hole gets deep enough, that'll make politicians get serious? Already some plans are being floated to cut the deficit by cutting entitlements and simplifying the tax code, and maybe we need a bigger crisis to make that happen. But the reason I'm skeptical is that deficits don't vote--no politician was rewarded at the ballot box for cutting the deficit, and no politician was punished at the ballot box simply for increasing it. And as I've noted before, our country is run by idiots.