If you think political talk radio is a brutal place, you should try sports talk radio. In the world of news talk, you have a biased hosed with a political agenda attempting to spin current events to make you see them his way. In the world of sports talk, you largely have a field of minds so jammed with statistics and dates that they are unable to form a point of view on anything other than a simple Vegas line, let alone manage to try to find a way to spin the event for the mindless masses who tune it. This can make listening to channels like Mad Dog Radio on Sirius and XM Radio an exercise in frustration. Yet it is an exercise that I perform almost daily, and occasionally I call in to try to straighten some of these guys out. My latest beef? The New York Knicks.
I was opposed to the Republicans making a deal on the tax cuts, but I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with what they have done here. I know that the left is angry, and so are some on the right, but this deal recognizes some real problems and takes strong steps to address them.
1. Economic Recovery
This deal takes positive steps towards fixing the economy by extending all of the Bush tax cuts, but it also takes further steps to put more money in the taxpayers pockets right now. It also reduces the social security taxes that come out of workers paychecks, which is money that will likely go back into the economy as many have had to cut back on luxury items that they previously were accustomed to. Those few extra bucks each week could mean a trip to the theater or a dinner for the family that people had cut out of their budgets.
2. Addressing Failures
Most Conservatives will be upset by the extension of unemployment benefits for 13 months. I am not personally thrilled with it, but there is a positive side to the issue. By extending these benefits, our Government acknowledges several things.
- The stimulus package was a complete failure, thus there is a need for extending the safety net for those who have fallen victim to this failed attempt by the Government to improve the economy.
- There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The cuts on taxes for individuals and business should have a strong effect on the economy. The length of the extension shows the optimism of the GOP that within a year, this move will have real effects that will be felt by working Americans.
- The true way to economic growth is individual liberty and less Government intrusion. Previous attempts at stimulus have assumed the Government knew best where money spent would have stimulative effect. Hence, incentives were given for renewable energy or more efficient cars or winterizing a home. This plan gives the money to the economic engine of this Country, the workers and the employers, and allows them to spend it as they see fit.
This move does seem to largely favor Republicans, and President Obama seemed to throw away any political advantage it may have held for him today when he made the following statement.
"I have said before that the middle class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high end tax cuts. I think it is tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers unless the hostage gets harmed."
This deal had appeared to signal a move towards the center by President Obama. And while many on the left might be placated by this rhetoric, it is a very ineffective way to deal with the independents that have been fleeing Obama like a pack of teenage girls that just saw Justin Beiber walk by. Hostage takers? Give me a break. It's a good way to fire up the base for the primary challenge that is now being promised by the left, but not a good way to win over many Independents who, agreeing with Republicans or not, saw it as a legitimate clash of ideas.
Furthermore, the reality of the situation is that President Obama still has large majorities in both houses of Congress. If he can get run over by a minority of "hostage takers", imagine what is in store for the left when he has to negotiate with a majority in the House, and a virtual majority in the Senate when you cont the votes of the blue dogs who are running to the right following the election day beating they saw their colleagues take.
All of this has extreme leftist Bernie Sanders vowing a filibuster. Yes, you read that right. The majority party threatening to filibuster a deal worked by their own President. Is it still called leadership when even your sheep don't follow? President Obama certainly has a mess on his hands, and it is a mess of his own making. His failure to show any governing skills with super majorities have lead us to this place where one has to wonder if he can even figure out how to get out of bed in the morning without them.