Will the Reign of Witches end January 1st?
(hat tip to Maggie Mahar at Health Beat blog)
A little patience,” Jefferson wrote, “and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolved, and the people recovering their true sight, restoring their government to its true principles. It is true, that in the meantime, we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war, and long oppressions of enormous public debt. … If the game runs sometimes against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost. For this is a game where principles are the stake.
Thomas Jefferson in writing to John Taylor after discussing Mr. Martin’s patent.
Jefferson complains of President Adams, the Federalists, and the Sedition Act which was used to quiet dissent and criticism. Our present situation allows a Republican minority led by their leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to hold the nation hostage to the terror of cuts in domestic programs and defense in January after failing to compromise with the President on tax increases and spending cuts. In answer to the obstructionists, what if the second term President Barack Obama let the cards fall where they may and the cuts happen? Peter Orszag suggests it may not be so terrible to allow the nation to temporarily drive off the fiscal cliff to break the backs of the Republican party whose only weapon is to hold hostage the nation’s economy. Perhaps the newly elected president could have a plan to bring to an end the obstructionism of the Republicans whose sole goal was to keep Obama from being re-elected.
Jonathan Chait suggests there may be such a plan to end the reign of witches. November 7th
Obama does have a plan to break the legislative impasse and settle the long-term struggle over the scope of government. It does not rest on the GOP’s coming to its senses and thinking of the national good. The plan is the very opposite of naïve. And he can put it into effect even more quickly than Romney could enact his own plan. Here is how it will happen. On the morning of November 7, a reelected President Obama will do … nothing. For the next 53 days, nothing. And then, on January 1, 2013, we will all awake to a different, substantially more liberal country. The Bush tax cuts will have disappeared, restoring Clinton-era tax rates and flooding government coffers with revenue to fund its current operations for years to come. The military will be facing dire budget cuts that shake the military-industrial complex to its core. It will be a real-world approximation of the old liberal bumper-sticker fantasy in which schools have all the money they require and the Pentagon needs to hold a bake sale.
Allow the program cuts to take place, the tax breaks to end, and place the Republicans in their own predicament. He could then go back and restore the middle lower income tax breaks and domestic program funding. What Republican will deny a tax cut to its primary constituency and the restoration of funds to the third rail of Social Security and Medicare? Medicaid the program of choice for most of the middle income in going into Nursing Home care would not be far behind. Having opposed any compromise over the last two years with the objective of denying President Obama the presidency in 2012, the Republicans may have spent their powder in opposition and also in flexibility to compromise and in turn becoming a hostage to their own divisiveness. Lobbyists and executives are already pushing the Republicans to seek an agreement on tax increases and spending cuts. McCain and Lindsay have signed a letter calling for a bipartisan agreement to head off cuts to the military and defense contractors. Twixt and between . . .
Chait posits there is not an immediate need for a bipartisan agreement to head off the Thelma and Louise driving off the deficit precipice action of the US. With the resulting increase in taxes, revenues will swell and eventually lead to a deficit reduction allowing it to decrease to 1% of the economy and stabilize through 2022. All Obama has to do is wait and restore the programs he wishes after January 1st 2013. Of course, this begs another question.
Former 2008 Democrat transition lead John Podesta “does not envision Obama playing chicken with the Republicans even though the President comes off an election victory and holds the Republicans in a tight space.” Question for the Victor; How Far Do You Push?
I guess my question is, which Obama will emerge? One who has learned bipartisanship with this crop of Republicans will not work or the Obama who will go down in history as one of the weakest presidents ever who appeases the Republicans with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to gain tax increases. During his campaigning, not much was heard on the domestic issues from the incumbent President until late in the campaign leaving a gap in what his positions truly were with regard to immigration, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. creating tension amongst his followers.
Mr. Obama seemed to address this tension in the closing speeches of his campaign. ‘I want to see more cooperation in Washington,’ he said in Mentor, Ohio. ‘But if the price of peace in Washington means slashing student aid, reversing his health care program or cutting people from Medicaid’ he added, ‘that’s not a price I’ll pay.’
The next 53 days will tell us which President has taken office in the second term.