Author Archives: MGONOLA
Time to test the whole reinvention thing…
Today the US Census bureau announced the happy news that Michigan suffered a .06% drop in population over the past decade and will, therefore, lose a Congressional seat. We can thank a poor economy, old people, old-people-in-Florida, and young-affluent-couples-not-having-children for causing Michigan to be the ONLY state to have a population decrease in a country that saw a 9.7% national increase since 2000.
Bloggers and political nerds will now respond with craftily drawn maps slicing and dicing Michigan into odd shapes that either greatly benefit the GOP or the Democratic Party, either way the only map that matters is the one the Republican DOMINATED Michigan House and Senate send to Governor-elect Rick Snyder’s desk.
Rick Snyder, a man who ran on both reinvention of the economy and government, must now decide how much a champion of reform he wishes to be. Both California and Florida have are examples of reinvention and innovation in reform efforts that demand districts be drawn without consideration of incumbency or party, and are contiguous and intact. Additionally, Snyder ran as “not a politician,” while partisan redistricting is one of the most political undertakings our country undergoes.
The question remains, will Governor-elect Snyder bend to the pressure of his party and sign a highly partisan redistricting plan that would easily pave the way for future Republican victories, or will he demand a bold plan based on a set of ethical principles that reinvent redistricting in reMichigan.
Obama: handing out tax cuts or possibly back massages.
I have spent over ten hours (in a horrible 2 hour commute every day) this week listening to NPR be entirely transfixed by the emerging deal made by President Obama, his beleaguered Democratic forces, and the empowered, minority Republican Party over the future of “The Bush Tax Cuts.” When the deal was announced earlier this week Republicans cheered while Democrats cried out with a million voices in pain.
HuffPo plashed apocryphal headlines across its page, FireDogLake breathed fire, and Bernie Sanders started threatening a filibuster. All the while the Democratic Party opinion leaders missed something important - most Democrats (especially those that supported the President) support the Tax Deal. It seems we are once again ceding fact to the hot heads at the edge of both the Republican and Democratic Parties.
In the end this deal is a good deal. (Read Here For Details) The hyperbole surrounding its conception and its contents are over blown and I want to explain why.
The deal is actually really good from a Democratic perspective. Both Jonathan Cohn and the NYT point out that this deal is LOADED with economy stimulating tax policies, unemployment insurance extensions, and other goodies. These economic stimulants will affect 156 million Americans and create/save 2.2 million jobs (thank you CAP) Go figure we spent all last week salivating for a deficit reduction plan and this week the Republican Party approved $450 billion dollars in additional spending. Only in America.
When deciding between the deal where everyone loses and I get a whole bunch of stuff (All I Want For Christmas Is Earned Income Tax Credits)… I usually pick the latter.
Yes, the high-end income tax cut extension and estate tax giveaways are ugly. Democrats should not like them and should be angry they exist. Get over it. On balance this deal affects more middle-to-low income Americans thank high-income Americans is a good deal for the economy.
This is also a deal that punts this issue to 2012. Usually I am all “PLEASE GOD DON’T” when Democrats punt issues down the line, but I trust the full force of the Obama Campaign to eradicate these tax cuts during an election season when the economy is on the mend and Democrats are not JUST coming off of a nasty midterm slaughter at the polls.
The NYT reported that this deal was forged between VP Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell in some tax deal bunker in the Capitol (Biden’s office). Liberals are angry that they were excluded from the table and did not have a say.
Yup, that is the whaaaaaaaaaaaambulance you hear.
In an era where the Republicans have just enough power to cause serious headaches this deal was completely necessary. It paves the way for lame duck legislating of DADT and the Dream Act, which would not have seen the light of day in the Senate without a Tax Cut Deal. Additionally, the tax cuts were not made permanent, which means there is still time to get their messaging right, which it hasn’t been for the last several months, and win this battle in 2012.
Importantly, this deal clarified for all involved (Democratic Party, Republican Party, the Media, bloggers, Sarah Palin, that caribou she shot) that the only thing the Republican Party really cares about are the rich. According to their spin they “won” because they got two policy priorities, the high-end tax cuts and estate-tax deal, that really only help people who own and have an intimate knowledge of monocles and/or top hats (not a reference to Mr. Peanut).
I have argued this before. Obama has always been and always will be a pragmatist. He ran on “hope” because we really needed it after eight years of Bush-grown, country-sized rot. Yet, nothing about his rather progressive (please… try to argue with that) agenda has said he is an idealist. He will compromise to get the win that creates the most good. In this tax deal his win brings good to millions of Americans, opens the door for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, provides time for the passage of the START treaty, and hopefully see the DREAM ACT passed.
All in all… I would say that is a pretty good deal.