Perry Bacon Jr.: Why Obama Had to Take the Fiscal Cliff Deal
Some observers of President Obama, including liberal Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, are disappointed in the way the president handled recent negotiations on the fiscal cliff. Krugman says that the president had the chance to land $800 billion in revenue, and only got $600 billion, putting him at risk of being remembered as a political wimp.
Others, such as Perry Bacon at TheGrio.com, don’t agree. Bacon says that if you look at the details of the recent deal the president took, you can see that Obama actually succeeded during the negotiations. All perspectives should be considered, but one must also remember that TheGrio is owned by MSNBC, which has a direct incentive to always make the White House look good. So, we doubt that Perry’s commentary would have seen the light of day had it been as critical as that of Krugman. But here’s some of what Perry had to say:
Some liberals were disappointed with the agreementPresident Obama accepted to avoid the fiscal cliff, which included dropping his pledge to raise taxes on all income above $250,000 and not including a provision to raise the debt ceiling, giving the GOP a chance to start another fiscal crisis in less than ten weeks.
But the actual details of this agreement were almost entirely in the president’s favor. Moving off of his desired numbers on taxes allowed the president to get billions of dollars in programs for the working poor and unemployed Americans that Republicans would only agree to as part of a larger compromise. The deal includes $30 billion to help Americans who have been unemployed for longer than six months, as well about $120 billion spread over five years to keep in place increased child tax credits for low-income families with children and those paying for college that were in the 2009 stimulus and scheduled to expire.
While cuts may come later, there are actually almost no new spending reductions in this agreement. (The cuts from the 2011 debt ceiling negotiation will still eventually occur.) Obama successfully fought a Republican push to include Medicare or Social Security reductions in this deal.
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