My comment to Krugman in The New York Times about extending the tax cuts

So, what most people would call the work week begins with something that wasn’t on my radar when I went to sleep. Actually, define “sleep.” It was one of the most restless nights I’ve had in some time.

Paul Krugman’s new column in The New York Times went up overnight, in which he made the argument against extending the Cheney/Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest percentage of Americans. He laid out the argument that letting the tax cuts lapse would be the lesser of two evils.

It prompted me to post a comment.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t matter what I write — because Obama and his Republican pals will carry out this week what Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher has so thoroughly laid out as an elaborate sham of political theater. With Obama’s eager help, the Republicans will get what they wanted — the extension of tax cuts for their suffering wealthy at the cost of billions of needed revenue — while people out of work, like me, get another three-month unemployment extension for a handful of millions.

Anyway, here’s how I responded to Krugman (and how different would things be right now if he were Treasury secretary instead of that friend of Wall Street, Tim Geithner?). It’s the first time The Times has approved one of my comments. Mine is Comment No. 24, and has also been highlighted by The Times’ moderators.

And yes, “Virgina,” I do know how to spell Virginia. Just not that late at night:


As one of the prisoners being held in this insidious hostage exchange — out of work 21 months now, my next unemployment extension delayed indefinitely by a president and a Congress without a heart, and at Christmastime, of all times — I’m definitely of two minds, albeit very reluctantly.

Were I not one of the ones out of work, I would say flat-out that Obama and company should reject the Republican tax-cut proposals. And rationally, I know you and the CBO are right. But these are not rational times and these are not rational people we’re dealing with. There are a couple million of us who lost our jobs through no faults of our own, have been truly trying to find a decent job to no avail (I lost count at 170 resumes) and really don’t see a way out at the moment except to continue the benefits in the hope a job comes along before the money runs out for good. And we need whatever tenuous thread that remains of what had been a safety net.

So what to do? Do I choose against ourselves in one form or against ourselves in another form?

I didn’t hold much faith in Obama when I voted for him — my general feelings with presidential elections are “the lesser of two evils” and “300 million people and these are the best we can do?” — but I certainly didn’t expect him to cede all ground to the other party, to be the Great Capitulator. And to cavalierly toss aside the millions of people to whom he had the audacity to give hope for someone better at the top.

Sometimes I get the feeling, justifiably, that Obama and the Republicans are all playing on the same side. Maybe he’ll surprise us. Maybe, Virgina, there will be a Santa Claus. Then again, that might just be one more wasted hope atop the pile of false hopes at this point.

Again, what to do?

UPDATE 12/6: No, Virginia, there isn’t a Santa Claus. Or yes there is, with strings attached. Obama, as expected, continued his campaign of capitulation to the Republican Party by caving in tonight and “compromising” on the tax cuts-unemployment hostage swap. The poor get a year’s reprieve; the rich get two years. Sounds pretty fair to me …

Anyway, Obama, having now abandoned a huge chunk of his campaign promises — makes me think he was the one gaming the system, as he’s so fond of saying about others, lying his ass off to his center and left supporters just to get elected — faces a battle within his own party. And at this point, just less than two years in, does he even have a presidency left to salvage?

Do the Democrats cut bait and run someone else in ’12? Or is this a potentially fatal blow to the party? In any case, comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter at this point is somewhat ridiculous. Carter, to his detriment, was unwilling to compromise, period. Obama, meanwhile, is a contortionist and has bent every which way to appease both the Republicans and Wall Street, at the expense of the millions who put their faith in him — their hope; remember that word? — to rescue us after the near-ruination caused by Cheney and his pals.

All it would take is one good, decent, progressive candidate to step up in the next few months and shake things up — independent or Democrat, doesn’t matter — and move the political football back toward the left, or at least the true center. Someone with heart and a spine. Someone with a taste for a good fight. Someone with a regard for the Constitution, while we’re at it, too. And, just as importantly, someone not beholden to Wall Street.

Is there one? Is there at least one person out of 310 million qualified to be a real president?

UPDATE 12/7: Well, I must have hit some chords — as of 5 p.m. PST today, my comment was recommended by 1,314 readers. Misspelling of Virginia aside, I guess I made some sense …


3 Responses to “My comment to Krugman in The New York Times about extending the tax cuts”

  1. Doug Says:

    I’m glad the NYT approved your comment. It was thoughtful and well put.

    I’m with you, … being surprised at the constant capitulation of President Obama to the GOP…whose strategy is to keep the economy down and unemployment high to better serve their 2012 ambitions. And while I’m aware the President took office, having to deal with a stacked deck…if calling a cheat a cheat is beyond his capacity…then he’s in over his head, or he’s helping to rig the game.

    Either way I’m done with ’em.

    Good luck on finding a gig.


  2. jmucci Says:

    I seriously don’t think there are any good leaders out there…and it wouldn’t matter if there was….the system is sooo screwed up, that nobody is going to make any serious change in anything. I know that sounds cynical…but I guarantee you that no matter who is the next president…no matter what party they belong to…nothing is going to change.

  3. jmucci Says:

    I seriously believe there is no difference between Democrats & Republicans….they are all the same in the end.

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