On a day like this, how could I be pessimistic? I’ll get back to the rose tinted glasses later, but at the moment I will attempt to preserve some nuance.
President Barack Obama’s interview with Bloomberg is frankly hilarious if it wasn’t in such a horrifying context. Some of the quips are simply sub par, like the math comment. I think Kenneth Rogoff is Not Amused.
On slightly more serious matters, he is… largely intransigent. I think I would be too if I had to go through the stuff he did during last July, but here’s the rub: you don’t have time. Clock’s tickin’ and pretty much by the time you have the reactions on your speech from people with enough time to think about it, you need to put pen to paper. Brinksmanship will not help.
Yes, the republican allegations of “he won’t work with us!” are a sad display of total, utter lack of any insight. Memory of 2011? The fact that they lost the election and have a worse base to put down terms on? Hell no, their way or the highway!
What strikes me as so ridiculous though, is that Obama is a) so convinced that higher taxes need to be implemented for the highest earners, and b) that he won’t negotiate benefits reduction. Either of these in isolation, fine, but both? it leaves him in a questionable squeeze, as he can’t renege on either without facing pressure on the other. So why is he doing it, and more accurately, why is he so categorically opposed to both of these being on the negotiation table?
Partially, I suppose we can blame a misdirected campaign policy of “anti-Romney-ism” for the former. Because, well, raising taxes on these people frankly won’t do much good besides casting Obama in a slightly better “look, I did it!” light. Partially, it strikes me as good negotiation strategy: remain absolutely fixed on a marginal issue, and direct all the attention of your own voter base that way, while you arguably lower the coverage of medicare covertly and take political credit for the great deal, while allowing your counterpart a take-home as well.
Is it in good taste? Not one bit. Would it be smart? Yes. Is it? It could be, but then the remainder of benefits puzzles me. There are so many of them, and they are so nebulously large, that if there isn’t anything in here worth cutting, anything here worth giving away just for show and a better negotiation ground on your own flagship proposals in Medicare, then you will have to give so much ground on the one issue you are open to negotiating! It is a lot more difficult as well now when the Republicans have allowed considering double the top bracket compared to the Democrats, which is at least part of the way there.
It leaves Obama undoing a large part of what he spent his first term doing, at unnecessary cost. Can someone help me with this, because none of the actors in this game theoretical example appear rational…