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Any middle ground is good on tax issue

December 8, 2010
Marshall Independent

It appears President Barack Obama has found at least some middle ground in dealing with tax cuts. Despite opposition from his own party, Obama this week announced an agreement with Republicans on a plan to extend expiring income tax cuts for all Americans, renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and grant a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes.

Obama campaigned in 2008 on a platform that tax cuts would be extended only for those with incomes up to $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. He said the new agreement calls for a two-year extension of cuts at all income levels instead of a permanent renewal Republicans have been shooting for. Democrats are objecting to the inclusion of upper-income folks in any plan to extend tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 under then-President George W. Bush.

Obama himself doesn't agree will all elements of the deal and it's not perfect (the battle could crop up again in two years and the extension of unemployment benefits might discourage some from looking for work). However, he clearly realizes that if siding with Republicans on this one meant avoiding a stalemate - one that he said would've been a "chilling prospect for the American people whose taxes are currently scheduled to go up on Jan. 1" - than going against his party's wishes is worth it.

It looks as though Obama, in accepting Bush-era tax cuts that should go a long way in stopping deflation, is willing to put up with taking some shots from his own party - not a bad decision considering the shift in power in the House that will take effect next year. Any signs he shows now that portray him in a bipartisan light will pay off later - for him and for us.



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