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"I get very passionate about what I think is right."-Hillary Rodham Clinton

Wednesday Morning Reads

Cause who wants to get into hot water?

Cross-posted at Sky Dancing.


Ah, it is Wednesday…that wonderful day during the week that many refer to as “Hump” day.

Well, if you missed the President’s press conference yesterday, here is the transcript from The WH:

Press Conference by the President | The White House

I will follow that up with some opinions and predictions about the Tax Deal announcement.  It sure was inspirational to see The One doing what he does best, standing up for the Democratic Ideals, like a tower of Jell-O. And away we go…

Liberal Groups Turn Their Ire Toward Obama : Roll Call:

President Barack Obama’s tax cut deal drew protests Tuesday from progressive groups that have spent much of the first two years of the Obama presidency drumming up support for his initiatives such as health care and financial reform.

At the same time, it elicited rare praise from prominent business trade groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that have aggressively opposed much of the president’s domestic agenda and helped finance GOP efforts to wins seats in Congress in the November elections.

According to Jason Linkins at HuffPo: You’ll Never Guess Whose Taxes Are Going To Go Up Because Of The Tax Cut ‘Compromise’

You know, with all the talk about who is mad at President Barack Obama and who stands to win or lose what election over this tax-cut deal, not as much attention has been paid to the practical beneficiaries of the deal. Well, over at The New York Times tonight, David Kocieniewski’s got the hard numbers, and finds that the deal is actually a very good one, as long as one or more of the following terms describes you:

–“the highest earners”

–“the wealthiest 1 percent of the population”

–“the wealthiest Americans”

–“hedge fund managers and private equity investors”

–“an individual earning $110,000”

–“4 million taxpayers with income in the mid- to high six figures”

–“Estates over $5 million”

To those of you who fit the descriptions above, congratulations!

Jake Tapper…President Obama to Democrats: It’s Not Enough to Have ‘a Purist Position’ and Feel ‘Sanctimonious’ — We Need ‘Victories for the American People’ – Political Punch:

A feisty President Obama came to the White House briefing room to defend his tax cut compromise with congressional Republicans and push back against criticism from Democrats and progressives that he sold out too much too quickly.

His message to frustrated liberals is that his “job is to make sure that we have a North Star out there: What is helping the American people live out their lives? You know, what is giving them more opportunity? What is growing the economy? What is making us more competitive? And at any given juncture, there are going to be times where my preferred option, what I’m absolutely positive is right, I can’t get done. And so then my question is, does it make sense for me to tack a little bit this way or tack a little bit that way? Because I’m keeping my eye on the long term and the long fight; not my day-to- day news cycle but where am I going over the long term?”

And a H/T to Dak on Richard Greener Richard Greener: Obama Must Step Aside — No Second Term Seriously, read the whole article, it is that good.

Only 8 elected Presidents have been rejected in their bid for a second term. They are: John Adams 1800; John Quincy Adams 1828; Martin Van Buren 1840; Benjamin Harrison 1892; William Howard Taft 1912; Herbert Hoover 1932; Jimmy Carter 1980; George H.W. Bush 1992. Lyndon B. Johnson is not among them only because he dropped out allowing his Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey, to become the 1968 Democratic Party nominee. Humphrey lost to Richard M. Nixon in what is still the closest vote differential in Presidential election history.

Today we sit on the precipice staring at the ninth deserving member of the Presidential Rejection Club. That would be President Barack Obama. As I believed Lyndon Johnson when I was a young man, I made the same mistake 44 years later. I believed Barack Obama in 2008. I supported his bid for the Democratic nomination over other, arguably more qualified, Democrats because I heard what Barack Obama said he would do “when I become the President of The United States of America” — and I believed him. Change we can believe in? I thought so. I put my money where my heart was (even if it had been someone else’s heart before me). Barack Obama was the first Democrat, the first non-independent candidate, I voted for, for President, since I cast my first ballot for LBJ in 1964. Fool me once… fool me twice.

On Crooks and Liars, this post is short and to the point. Tax Compromise: Good, Bad and Ugly | Crooks and Liars

The Good

Child tax credit – In general, refundable tax credits are far more valuable than deductions or even rate reductions. The Child Tax Credit gives eligible taxpayers (low income families) a refundable tax credit of $1,000 per child. That’s a significant break for families who most need it. It’s estimated to benefit 10.5 million families with 18 million children.

College Tuition Tax Credits – The Recovery Act included refundable tax credits of up to $2,500 to assist with college tuition, books and costs. This deal extends those, and makes college affordable for families and students who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

Unemployment Insurance Extension – Although it doesn’t help the 99ers at all under the current framework, it does give some breathing room to the unemployed and puts the burden on business to let go of the trillions they’re sitting on for job creation. Since a key GOP talking point is “tax cuts create jobs”, 13 months should be more than enough time for that to play out, even though it hasn’t for the past 10 years.

Business Investment Tax Breaks – Allowing businesses to expense 100% of their capital investments in one year is a huge jump start to job creation. This is a win-win.

The Bad

2% Payroll Tax Holiday – On its face, it looks great. But if you scratch under the surface, it’s really not. The Republicans have long wanted to reduce the payroll tax in order to strip Social Security of its security. Shifting $120 billion from paychecks to a government budget item leaves that piece ripe for cutting when the deficit hawks come to town. At the same time, no one will want to let that provision expire since it’s of such immediate benefit.

More importantly, it’s bad policy. It’s the equivalent of telling employees they shouldn’t contribute to 401k plans or save for retirement in hard times, and is basically a way of eroding Social Security’s rock-solid financial standing. We’re at a point where the taxable wage base should be expanding. If they’re unwilling to do that to cover the shortfall from this payroll tax holiday, then it’s going to put the whole program on shaky ground.

The Ugly

Extending lower tax rates for high income taxpayers This sort of goes without saying. It’s the big bonus for them stooping down and agreeing to extend unemployment. It’s bad policy. It reinforces the idea that “expiration” is a myth” and gives political ammunition where none should be allowed. Extending them for two years on the premise that Democrats can run on their expiry is foolish, given the fact that Democrats aren’t letting them expire now.

Temporal rate cuts create a situation for business and industry where sitting on large amounts of cash, maintaining austere hiring practices and continuing to make the specious claim that ‘uncertainty’ leaves businesses with no option will continue to erode all efforts at legislation and governance, which is, of course, exactly what conservatives want. Extensions of temporary rates are far better political ammunition for conservatives. Permanence would kill it as a political talking point.

Estate Tax Concessions The 35% estate tax rate with a threshold of $5 million is really generous, but that’s not really the worst of it. That could be acceptable, except that it is once again a temporary and fleeting thing. That means it will come up again in the middle of the 2012 election at a time where the money boys will be looking for the friendliest party to their cause.

And over at FDL Action, Eight Predictions About Obama’s Tax Cut Deal | FDL Action

Prediction 1 – Within 138 hours of passing these massive deficit-expanding tax cuts for the wealthy, Washington DC will once again be over run by “serious” people screaming about the looming deficit crisis and the need to make regular Americans’ “share the sacrifice.”

Prediction 2 – The deficit hysteria will lead Obama to embrace even more misguided policies like a pay freeze on federal employees that will counteract a large share of the stimulus effect of this deal.

Prediction 3 – President Obama has effectively endorsed an expensive “new normal” on the estate tax that is even more generous that what George W. Bush passed. It is unlikely to ever be raised. The result over the long term will be an even greater economic stratification and even more justification for the deficits hawks to lecture the middle class about how they must share the sacrifice so Paris Hilton can inherent an even larger family fortune.

Prediction 4 – The “payroll holiday” will be used as proof that Social Security is going bankrupt and needs “reform,” i.e. cuts. In the long run it will undermine the social insurance contract. That this weird deficit spending is credited to the trust fund cut in the “Social Security payroll tax” — instead of a “tax credit” designed to do exactly the same thing — shows it is part of a long term attack on the Social Security program.

Prediction 5 – The deal will end up a massive political problem because most of the middle class tax cuts and unemployment insurance extension expire after only one year. While their stimulative effect will help the economy in 2010, their end will cause most Americans real income to fall in the critical period leading into the 2012 election. It will put President Obama in a horrible bargaining position at that point.

Prediction 6 – The massive cost of this deal will be integrated into a very popular and effective Republican attack in 2012 that will go something roughly like this, “President Obama grew the deficit to a massive [some number] billions, more than any other president.”

Prediction 7 – In 2012 when the tax cuts are set to expire President Obama will once again fold like a broken lawn chair. At that point he will have even fewer Democrats in Congress than he does now. There is nothing in his past behavior with Republicans to lead anyone to believe otherwise.

Prediction 8 – Almost no one in the media will bother to mention this “deal” is totally unnecessary if Democrats were just willing to use their power to quickly end the filibuster. The Republicans in 2005 showed that merely threatening to end the filibuster is a very effective tactic. There is no need for Democrats to give in to these legislative hostage-taking tactics.

This over at Politico:Anger of House Democrats boils over – Jonathan Allen –

House Democrats railed against President Barack Obama’s tax cut deal with congressional Republicans in a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday night, even as there were signs that the White House could pick up enough support for the package to win enactment.

Speaker after speaker expressed frustration at the president’s acquiescence to Republican demands for a multi-year freeze on the rates for top income in exchange for an extension of unemployment insurance and a basket of Democratic-favored tax breaks, according to several Democratic sources.

What is interesting about these opinions, and actually all the angry speak from the Left, it seems the Koo-laid has finally run its course…like a virus. Only instead of this being one of those annoying stomach things that last for 24 hours, this particular Obama DINO viral diarrhea has been going on for over 2 years. This has me thinking forward. Now, I will be the first one to stand up and say that I am disappointed about Hillary Clinton getting out of public service. However, I will not dwell on this recent announcement from Hillary. I want to move forward, enough of the complaining. As Hillary supporters, we all were well aware of the One’s deficiencies. So lets put this behind us, and use the collective anger as inspiration…or at least a real firm kick in the ass.

It is time for us to seriously discuss a movement towards finding a challenger to Obama in 2012. There is a rumbling going on over at Cannonfire. Perhaps this New Deal can bring not only those 18 million voters who knew what we were in for with the big O…maybe it can bring all liberals together and embrace our historic past…and finally get a real Democrat in the White House.

I want to put this challenge out to all of our readers, don’t just voice your concerns, act on them. We really need to concentrate on this movement and keep the momentum going. I am willing and able to move on from 2008. I am going to get organized…and to hell with disagreements that broke up the party,  my Democratic Party. I want my party to focus on its core values again.

Okay, now I will move on from my rant to focus on some news and events going on with Women’s Issues, this article below from The Guardian caught my eye.

Secrets and lies: Tackling HIV among sex workers in India | Kevin EG Perry | Global development |

Protecting the rights of women who work as prostitutes is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of HIV. And in Orissa, India, that approach is working – even amid deep-rooted taboos…

There are more than 500 women engaged in prostitution in Damanjodi and its satellite towns. Their poverty drives them to sex work out of desperation and in the terrible knowledge that the risk of contracting HIV goes with the territory.

Although not all of the women present are sex workers, many are. Das’s job is to distribute condoms and educate the women about safe sex practices, but in reality she does much more – from arranging safe places where they can find some refuge from harassment, to suggesting alternative ways of earning a living. In a world without social workers and where the police can cause as much trouble as the customers, she is often the only friend the women can turn to.

It is encouraging to read about programs that are doing something to improve the health and life of women who have no other source of help, and end up destitute with no other option except to become a sex workers. When Hillary does step out of public service, she will be able to focus on the one thing that is so important to her…being a powerful advocate for Women, and I support her with all that I am…I think Wonk is on to something with The Hillary Rodham Clinton Foundation.

And in other pro-womens issues, thank you Dak for this information from the No Limits Foundation:

Yesterday we had a great conference call with JoDee Winterhof, Vice President for Policy and Advocacy at CARE.

She spoke about the programming that CARE is doing to reduce poverty, expand microfinance activities and expand opportunities for women and girls. She spoke about the The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act that passed the Senate last week. Contact your House Representatives and urge them to vote for it here. In the Senate, it is bill S. 987 and in the House it is bill H.R. 2103.

JoDee mentioned a Washington Post article about this legislation to end child marriage, read it here.

More magazine recently featured CARE President Dr. Helene Gayle, read the piece here.

CARE is holding their annual conference on March 8th – 10th, read more and sign up here.

So what are you reading today? Give us the scoop!


Filed under: SD Reads File Cabinet

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