This is President Obama’s parting shot to House Democrats...

The tax cut debate may be nearing an end…and it looks like progressives are going to get screwed. Over the weekend – Vice President Joe Biden met with top Democrats in the House of Representatives to discuss a way forward on a tax cut compromise with the Republicans. While much of the focus has been on the Senate - and whether or not they can secure 60 votes to pass tax cuts legislation – the real test will be getting enough progressive Democrats in the House to go along with a compromise that includes extending these cuts to millionaires and billionaires. The deal – apparently being worked out now between the White House and Republicans – includes extending the current tax rate for the rich another two years – in exchange for an extension of jobless benefits for the nation’s unemployed. According to the Constitution, legislation dealing with taxes or spending must originate in the House. So it looks like it will now be up to Nancy Pelosi to try to convince enough of her caucus – at least 39 Democrats – to hold their nose and support giving millionaires a tax break worth as much as 700 billion dollars. If she can’t do it – then taxes will go up for everyone at the end of the year. This is President Obama’s parting shot to House Democrats - who for the last two years stuck their necks out for progressive change – only to be repeatedly left high and dry. Many of them lost re-election because of it. So now that raising government income by increasing taxes on the rich to Clinton levels is off the table for our deficit reduction strategy – what’s left? Well- most likely spending cuts on entitlement and social welfare programs. This has been the Republican’s plan all along. After all – jobless benefits – the trade off Democrats will receive – are going to expire at least a year before the millionaire’s tax cuts. And when they do – and the Democrats no longer have a bargaining chip – guess who’s screwed? The nation’s working class.


frankrivera's picture
frankrivera 12 years 25 weeks ago

We as taxpayers bailed out the corporations that were able to maintain the very wealthy elite at the top, and now they have become unamerican and not willing to pay a little more in taxes in order to help the rest of the country. What will it take for the average American to realize that there lives are to change drastically as a result of the perverted greed and politics of the very few. Our children will reap what we sow and in the end, it seems that we are unwilling to step up and protect them from the worst of all evil (GREED).

Makon's picture
Makon 12 years 25 weeks ago

Rolling over for the Republicans is making Obama lose the support of his base and is earning him nothing but contempt from the Republicans for his weakness. Stick to our guns, if the Republicans want to end jobless benfits, and end tax breaks for the middle class unless their patrons, the very wealthy, are paid off, then let it happen. Let the Republicans do it, but make sure it's clear to the public where the fault lies. Never let the public forget who caused it and why.

Jenny L 12 years 25 weeks ago

Most likely, the money that the RICH get from the tax breaks will be given to the Repugs to kill our Democracy. What can the super rich buy that they don't already have - and most of them know every way they can to not pay taxes.

The Bible says that it is harder for a rich man to go to Heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Maybe they all want to go to HELL

I am really irritated with OBAMA for always compromising with the Repugs; and I am totally disgusted with the Republidems. They need to be banned from the government ASAP. Joe Lieberman is disgusting, as are the other Republidems.

readsome5's picture
readsome5 12 years 25 weeks ago

“Open Letter to President Obama ”

Dear Mr. President:

As we approach another Thanksgiving, I find myself looking back over the last 12 months, more so now that I’m older. No matter how bad things may seem; there are still reasons to be thankful. I’m thankful for good health, my family and friends and that we still have a roof over our heads, although barely. Like many Americans, I don’t have a job but we still have a little Social Security coming in, although it’s barely enough to keep us out of the poorhouse and off the streets. I’m thankful I don’t live in Haiti but am even more thankful there are folks who have volunteered to go down there to help those poor people recover. And I’m thankful I live in a country (I still somehow believe) that no matter how opposed our views, we can still come together to solve our enormous problems. The list of those problems is long and getting longer as I write this but I still think true Americans can overcome even the most partisan divides.

I’m a lifelong progressive bleeding heart liberal. I dropped out of high school to find work and take financial pressure off my family. I earned my GED in the service. I spent 3 years in the U.S. Army away from my family during the Viet-Nam Conflict. I would have preferred spending that time in college but we couldn’t afford the tuition. I went to school on the G.I. Bill after my service. I was a member of a dozen or more trade unions and survived a half dozen or more manufacturing plant closings. I was the victim of a predatory mortgage lender and my family lost our home and entire life savings. I was forced to file bankruptcy in a futile attempt to save that home. We were homeless for many months at a time after being forcibly evicted from the home I helped build with my own hands. My credit was ruined to a point where I still can’t use my Veterans benefits to by a home. I’m now trying to survive on Social Security. Through hard work and determination, my parents and my own family have always been comfortably rooted in the middle class but like many American families today, we’re now struggling to survive. I believe I can offer you a unique perspective concerning America’s problems and maybe a few solutions.

On February 22, 2009, shortly after your inauguration, I wrote to you with some ideas I thought might help. At the time, I felt the most important issue crippling our economy was the precipitous loss of good paying jobs. And of course that hasn’t changed. The first three paragraphs in that letter were:

I’m not sure if I should congratulate you on your historic election and uplifting campaign or send you my condolences. You have been saddled with an imploding economy and skyrocketing deficit. I believe most Americans will give you time to begin to turn this catastrophic economic mess around but as you know, it could take a decade or more. As you know, it won’t be easy or painless but I’m trying to be mindful of the resilience and creativity of the American people and your seemingly unflappable grace and determination under fire. You will need every ounce of energy and guile you can muster because no matter how far you reach out to your detractors, there are vast numbers of extreme conservatives working around the clock, in a concerted effort to cause you and consequently our country to fail.

I believe many Americans don’t realize just how bad our economic situation has become. I fear we’re on the verge of another great depression. In some respects, I believe our economy is as bad as the great depression and in some ways worse because many of the same abuses we see today caused the last depression; and because of the worst consequence of globalization, the enormous loss of good jobs, our recovery will be much more difficult and protracted. I felt that during our last recession, we were entering a very long and deep recession and potential depression. But the meteoric rise in the housing sector forestalled the inevitable collapse of an economy relying too heavily on consumer spending and an exponential use of credit. Unfortunately, we can’t depend on the housing sector to help turn this around because that sector will not recover until we somehow create living wages for the bottom two thirds of American workers. It was not just the lending and investment sectors that were a house of cards, but also an unsustainable economy based on more than 70% retail spending and a skeleton of a viable manufacturing sector. Housing prices at the height of the bubble were based on unrealistic and fraudulent values partly inflated by brokers, lenders and underwriters in order to generate higher upfront fees and commissions. These tactics coincided with the stagnation of middle-class wages began in the 1970’s and the consequential influx of a second household member (usually housewives) into the workforce. These inflated home values were not based on values relevant to traditional head of household wages and a historic ratio to apartment rental rates but on a housing bubble fueled by greed and duel wage families. In spite of the latest stimulus, I believe home prices will fall at least another 25 or 30% before they stabilize in relationship to current average wages. The collapse of the housing and lending sectors were not the sole cause of the current economic crisis but symptoms of deeper fundamental problems, all relevant to our progressively bankrupt middle class. I know you and the democratic congress understand the three most important things required to rebuild our middle class, and consequently the American economy, are 1) Jobs, 2) Better Jobs and 3) Sustainable Better Jobs.

I hope you don’t think I’m too presumptuous by writing. I know you have employed many very capable advisors but I watched your speech before the business executives and you stated that you would be receptive to any suggestions they had and that your office door would always be open. The seriousness of our economic situation compels me to offer my own personal and unique Midwest perspective on some of the problems you and our country face, opinions probably similar to those that would be espoused by your grandparents. My experiences over the last 45 years, and especially the last 15 years, relate to every issue and serious problem you will have to address during your first term. These include jobs and the loss of our manufacturing sector, banking and lending, home foreclosures, bankruptcy, health care, social security, the American automobile industry, our system of justice, judicial selections, the environment, labor unions and veteran’s issues. I think that my suggestions may help the stimulus passed by congress, be more effective.

Mr. President, as you stated in your recent post election news conference, the Dems got shellacked. Actually, I believe it was the beleaguered American middle class who again got shellacked. The Midterms were unquestionably a big step backwards. You realize that much of the blame belongs to you because your administration failed to fully explain its achievements and goals. You told Jon Stewart, “We have done things that people don’t even know about.” I know there was a lot on your plate when you took office but in light of the right’s unrelenting opposition to your initiatives, there’s just no excuse for the failure to communicate the merits of the Democrats many accomplishments to the American electorate. It’s a shame that the acknowledgement of a deed well done has become as important as the deed itself.

Had the Republicans been in power, they certainly would have made sure the American public knew of any achievements they claimed (as in “Mission Accomplished”). As a matter of fact, they even attempt to take credit for the accomplishments of others and also try to pass off their own failures onto the Dems (i.e. the enormous national debt caused by the war in Iraq and the Bush tax cuts for wealthy taxpayers).

Many media outlets, especially MSNBC, The Nation, Mother Jones, Slate, the Huffington Post and others did a credible job of trying to explain the Democrat’s accomplishments; but 75% of the country doesn’t watch or read those outlets. The only member of your administration that even attempted to toot your horn was Joe Biden. Mr. President, as you now realize, that failed responsibility lies squarely on you. Before the election, Rachel Maddow, Keith Oberman and Ed Schultz of MSNBC, many in the print media, and progressive radio talk show hosts like Thom Hartmann, Norman Goldman and again Ed Schultz did a very good job of presenting your administrations accomplishments, in spite of the Right’s fanatical opposition and efforts to diminish and obfuscate your successes. But their explanations were far too little and much too late; and again, most conservatives, Fox News listeners and tea party types just don’t listen to them. They take whatever Fox, Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck dole out as pure gospel.

The Rights scorched earth midterm campaign was not just a case of tough politics but a conspiracy to destroy you personally and consequently the Democratic Party. They spent many 100’s of million’s of dollars. And they would have spent billions if necessary. They could care less of the consequences to our country or for most Americans, as long as their rich benefactors and corporate interests are placated. It appears that you now feel you have to move to the right and capitulate to the Right’s opposition to the progressive change agenda you ran on and were elected on. But you must remember that the Blue dog and conservative democrats were creamed in this election. Progressive House Democrats lost only 3 seats while blue dogs lost 30. And most of those losses were in very conservative districts.

America’s middle class suffered the most from that campaign.

The perilous state of our economy and the plight of America's middle class calls for drastic action. Every week or every other week, you should have a “fireside chat” on the major networks, where you explain directly to the public what you have accomplished and are yet trying to accomplish. And while you’re explaining the merits of the many bills that the U. S. House passed (and then died in the Senate) or the bills signed into law, you should be sitting or standing in front of large charts showing the many accomplishments of your administration. For each bill passed in the house and which languished in the Senate, and for each bill signed into law, you should state the benefits to average Americans and also list the members of Congress that opposed those bills and of course their feeble justifications for voting against their fellow Americans. You have been good at reminding voters that the left and right must work together to have any hope of solving our enormous problems. Therefore, I believe you should, on a much more personal level (as FDR did with his “fireside chats”), enlist all Americans in a common purpose struggle to solve our problems. You must re-instill our middle class’s hopes for a better future for all of us, and not just the top 20%. And let those standing in your way suffer the consequences.

It appears you’re now willing to compromise on extending the tax cuts for the richest Americans (which will cost $700 billion dollars over 10 years). Again, to progressives like myself, that sounds like you’re refusing to hold to your principles and promises. I’m sure you’ve read the same statistics that I have concerning the great and growing income inequality in America. Nicholas D. Kristof’s New York Times article “Our Banana Republic,” reemphasizes this stark disparity. “The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24% of income, up from almost 9% in 1976.” “CEO’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001.” “Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.” The richest 0.1% of taxpayers would get a tax cut of $61,000 from President Obama. They would get $370,000 from Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. And that provides only a modest economic stimulus, because the rich are less likely to spend their tax savings.” Mr. Kristof also refers to Timothy Noah (with Catherine Mulbrandon) who just kicked off an excellent 10 part series in Slate “The United States of Inequality,” which claims “the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.” And in Paul Krugman’s book “The Conscience of a Liberal”, he describes this “Great Divergence.”

I suppose you believe you may have to raise the ceiling for the extension of tax cuts to $500,000 or more but you know you can only go so far. If America had the surplus of good paying jobs we had in the 60’s and 70’s, we would not even be discussing tax cuts to stimulate our permanently moribund economy. And I’m sure the 15 million Americans who are unemployed and the 40 million or so who are underemployed would love nothing better than to be able to pay taxes and contribute to our government’s expenses, if only they had a decent paying job. Unfortunately, 77% of Americans today live from paycheck to paycheck and are one minor setback away from living in their car or under a bridge.

You’ve probably read the Salon article in the Huffington Post “Millionaires to Obama: Tax Us” from the “Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength”. Forty or so concerned millionaires have asked that you not extend the tax-cuts for those earning over 1 million dollars. I think most Americans would agree with that. You’ve probably also read the Rachel Rose Hartman Associated Press article “40 Billionaires Pledge to Donate Half Their Wealth.” “Forty wealthy families and individuals have joined Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates (with Melinda Gates) and Warren Buffett in a pledge to give half their wealth to charity. Six weeks after launching a campaign to get other billionaires to donate most of their fortune, the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. released the first list Wednesday of people who have signed what he and Gates call the “giving pledge”. Buffet decided in 2006 to give 99% of his fortune to charity. Gates and Buffett estimate their effort could generate $600 billion in charitable giving.”

What these true Americans have in common is the patriotic belief that we are all in this human struggle together. Conservatives, independents and liberals; rich or poor; blessed or beleaguered; young or old; healthy or sick, Ph.D.’s or high school drop-outs; the descendants of native Americans and pilgrims or recent immigrants; people of all genders, races, religions or sexual orientations, all subject to the same social, economic and environmental challenges and calamities, and all needing to work together so as not to perish.

But try telling that to these newly elected Republicans. We’ve been told they will quickly attempt to re-litigate the Health Care Bill or at least try to de-fund it, even though 47 % of polled American’s believe the bill was necessary or needed to go even further. Even if the Republican aren’t able to substantially change that bill, they certainly will waste precious time that should be spent on more important issues. Their main goal now is to keep the Democrats from accomplishing further meaningful change or reform. I’m sure you probably realize that any efforts to create jobs, has to be predicated on solving the health care crisis. I’m sure that when you talk to corporate executives and business owners about creating jobs, the first thing they bring up is the untenable and unpredictable increases in their health care benefit costs. Their ability to compete globally begins with the skyrocketing costs (as much as $14,000) of each employee’s health care. It’s the most legitimate excuse they use for not creating jobs in this country. Most of the countries we compete with have universal health care. But again, you failed to explain to voters, the necessity of solving those health care problems in order to create jobs. Our only hope lies with your ability to frame the success of the Democrats Health Care reform as a first step in creating living wage jobs.

I’m sure you’ve heard about one of the incoming Republican congressmen who complained that he had to wait 28 days before his taxpayer paid health insurance plan started. At every job I worked, you had to wait at least 90 days to complete a probationary period before you received health insurance coverage.

As reported in the “Inquisitr:” “Incoming Republican Congressman Andy Harris showed a predictable lack of understanding of the very legislation he ran on the platform against, complaining at a congressional orientation session about gaps. Annoyingly, Harris was outraged that he was expected to wait a much shorter than standard 28 days before his employer health insurance kicked in (show of hands, who here has ever gotten health coverage in less than 90 days, when lucky enough to get it at all?) Without a hint of irony, the anti “Obamacare” Harris whined that there should be some kind of government provision so people could opt-in to this sort of thing. He stood and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care, said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap, added the aide who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine. Showing a lack of ignorance regarding the realities of health insurance coverage for the average American, Harris petulantly decried the plan as the only one he’s seen that doesn’t provide coverage from the first day of employment. Currently, nearly 60 million Americans lack health insurance in any form.”

Mr. President, if a U.S. Congressmen who just finished a campaign and is supposed to but doesn’t understand the realities of health care, how is the average American who probably doesn’t even read the newspaper supposed to understand. During one of your “fire side chats,” I believe you should ask each one of these congressmen and women opposed to the Health Care Bill, to sign a waiver giving up their taxpayer paid medical benefits. Another important jobs consideration must be to finally address a fair trade agenda.

Mr. President, you’ve stated you realize all those good paying manufacturing jobs are not coming back; at least in my lifetime. You’re absolutely right. Unless the price of oil gets permanently back to over $100 a barrel and a gallon of gasoline back up over $4.00, those 42,000 manufacturing plants lost during the last 30 years are not returning. The costs of importing goods from half way around the world does not account for the true cost of the fuel used for transportation. Those realistic costs should and must be fairly included in the total cost of off shoring jobs. The U.S. government now subsides, through security and military intervention around the world (including the 2 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), those unaccounted for expenses. Consequently, it’s the American taxpayer who subsidizes those off shore jobs and the resulting lucrative corporate profits.

Even if we can create 2 or 3 hundred thousand alternative energy green jobs in the next few years, it will take decades to catch up. I believe you clearly have to tie the success of the Health Care Bill, a progressive sustainable Energy Bill and fair trade agreements to any hope of creating jobs. And if millions of living wage jobs are not created, there’s absolutely no hope of reducing our exploding deficit, especially if the tax cuts are extended for the richest Americans. And of course many of the State budgets are in even worse financial shape, which will in turn cause an even greater loss of many of the only decent paying jobs we have left. It already appears that the stimulus was mostly offset by the loss of jobs at the state and local level.

I know it must go against your beliefs, but you must finally realize these so-called Republicans will do little to cooperate with you in any meaningful way. As they stated, they want to assure you are a one-term president. Not that you should to give up on bipartisanship, but I think you have to be realistic. Unless you can convince average American voters, including conservatives and independents that your programs are necessary for the worthy changes you promised and which America’s middle class desperately needs, conservative Congressmen and women and Senators will not be persuaded to cooperate. Their allegiance is not to the American middle class but to the political benefactors who shower them with donations.

Nancy Pelosi has stated she will not quit her leadership in the House. She will continue her fight because she feels she has been very effective; and she has. She is arguably the most accomplished Speaker of the House in the history of our country. Under her leadership, the House passed 420 bills, most of which died in the Senate. It’s a shame Republicans in the Senate have been able to filibuster and railroad the many accomplishments of Speaker Pelosi and those progressive Democrats. The right has unmercifully demonized her since the day she became the Speaker. I believe most of which was plainly done because she was the first women leader. Maybe there is yet some way the Dems can pass some of those stalled bills during the lame duck session. Again, I think frequent direct appeals by you to all Americans could make the difference. I still can’t believe how so many people can vote against their families and own self-interests. But as you know, when voters are polled on particular aspects of these bills, they invariably view those issues favorably. Mr. President, you are our last best hope. I know with your intelligence, you can do much better than the web site, “What the f--k has Obama done so,” which put their entire web site together in a matter of just 3 hours. If the Senate and your administration can do half as good as Speaker Pelosi, we can continue to move forward instead of back to the gilded age. Time is short for you to make any meaningful changes. Republicans not only took control of the House but 19 state legislatures flipped control. Consequently, Republicans will have a distinct advantage in the 2010 redistricting.

The re-edited Republican leadership offers nothing but the same old same old; tax cuts for the rich and no equitable or effective spending cuts. That’s not what America desperately needs or wants. Americans believed your election would rekindle the hopes and dreams of erstwhile middle class families like ours who lost hope that our children will have a better life than we had. Please don’t let them down.

In Timothy Egan’s November 2nd New York Times article, “How Obama Saved Capitalism and Lost the Midterms,” he points out the hypocrisy and betrayal you and the Democrats suffered after stabilizing the freefalling economy. “Of course, the big money interests who benefited from Obama’s initiatives have shown no appreciation. Obama as Senator, voted against the initial bailout of AIG, the reckless insurance giant. As president, he extended them treasury loans at a time when economists said he must-or risk further meltdown. Their response was to give themselves $164 million in executive bonuses, and funnel money to Republican this year.” “Money flows one way, to power, now held by the party that promises tax cuts and deregulation-which should please big business even more.”

“President Franklin Roosevelt also saved capitalism, in part by a bank “holiday’ in 1933, at a time when the free enterprise system had failed. Unlike Obama, he was rewarded with midterm gains for his own party because a majority liked where he was taking the country. The bank holiday was incidental to a larger public works campaign.”

“Obama can recast himself as the consumer’s best friend, and welcome the animus of Wall Street. He should hector the companies sitting on piles of cash but not hiring new workers. For those who do hire, and create new jobs, he can offer tax incentives. He should finger the financial giants for refusing to clean up their own mess in the foreclosure crisis. He should point to the long overdue protections for credit card holders that came with reform.”

“And he should veto, veto, veto any bill that attempts to roll back some of the basic protection for people against the institutions that have so much control over their lives-insurance companies, Wall Street and big oil.”

“They will whine a fierce storm, the manipulators of great wealth. A war on business, they will claim. Not even close. Obama saved them, and the biggest cost was to him.”

Mr. President, in 1933, America was at a crucial crossroad when President Roosevelt stood with the American people against the powerful interests who fought his initiatives at every step. When he spoke directly to Americans through his “fireside chats,” he said that giving in to fear and division would not solve anything. Mr. President you have a real gift; when you talk directly to the American people, they listen. The Tea Party folks are rightfully angry. They see their family’s economic security slipping away and their country’s economic power steadily being relegated to third world status. You have to talk directly to them so they can clearly and properly understand toward whom that anger should be directed.

Finally, a report came out just last week that showed 30% of Chicago-land homeowners are under water on their mortgages. And of course there are parts of the country in worse shape. Its clear the largest banks, who got the most help in the bailout, are not moving fast enough to help beleaguered homeowners. My own personal experience with a predatory mortgage lender clearly proved to us that bankers are different from regular people. I think something happens when they’re around all that money. Something happens to their soul. They lose their humanity. They become Mr. Potters. My bank spent more than a million dollars trying to destroy my family instead of fairly cooperating with us. We’ve still not recovered.

There are many millions of hard-working homeowners and families (through no fault of their own) who are in desperate need of a little help. My own nephew, a hardworking construction tradesman, has been off work for almost a year because of the housing crisis. He’s underwater on his mortgage but is still desperately trying to keep up payments by depleting his savings. But his unemployment benefits will soon expire. He hasn’t had a late payment the entire 6 years of his mortgage. He has attempted to refinance his mortgage to take advantage of the lower rates but even his own bank, which holds the mortgage won’t help him obtain a lower payment. It’s like they’re trying to make him fail. That just shows these bank’s arrogance and greed. They will use any excuse to deny viable borrowers a fair hand up, especially by relying too heavily on their credit scores, which may have been damaged through no fault of theirs. Catastrophic Medical expenses, a divorce or loss of employment cause 85% of personal bankruptcies and then fatally damages those folks credit worthiness for a decade or more. These banks got an enormous hand up and were saved from going over a cliff by the bailout but won’t help their own customers. This mortgage and housing crisis could drag on for another decade or more without historic intervention.

Mr. President. You have justifiably taken the banks out of the student loan program so that those loans will be more affordable for average American families. You must do something similar with home mortgages. Since the crisis began, the federal government now guarantees more than 95% of mortgages. Why not just cut out the middleman for struggling homeowners. The federal government should not just be liable for the risk of those potential defaults but should also rightfully collect the interest on those mortgages for the taxpayers benefit. That would go a long way towards paying off our national deficit. I believe every State should have a bank like the Bank of North Dakota, the only state owned bank in the nation. The bank was established by their legislature in 1919 in order to benefit their states farms, businesses and families alike. As highlighted in Michael Moore’s movie “Capitalism, a Love Story”, they had a moratorium on foreclosures for farmers, businesses and homeowners during the entire depression. They also refused to get involved in the latest banking shenanigans and are as strong as ever today.

You’ve stated that even if it costs you reelection, you will do the right thing for America. Many, including myself, thought the economic crisis and circumstances that caused your election called for extremely bold action, but the Republicans and conservative Democrats opposition fatally watered down many of the necessary remedies. If we’re to believe the experts, FDR’s and the Fed’s timid-ness at times caused a double dip, and added several years to the depression. I hope next Thanksgiving, I will look back on these next 12 months and be thankful that you and the democrats were able to overcome the Republican obstruction and avoid another depression. If I were you Mr. President, I would go out with both guns blazing. As long as you stand with the American middle class against the banks, insurance companies and big oil and as long as you explain your actions directly to all Americans, I believe you won’t fail. You told the American public that you can’t solve our problems alone, that you need our help. It’s time you asked for it. I’m doing my part by staying fully informed, preaching to as many people that will listen and writing as many letters as I can.

Exactly two years ago, on Thanksgiving 2008, I had a guest editorial published in Chicago’s Southtown Star Newspaper. I expressed my hopes for our country and was thankful you were elected. I believed we finally had real reason to feel hopeful after 8 long years of fear mongering and war. Please don’t let us down Mr. President.

Good Luck Sincerely, John A. Hanno

Stanman's picture
Stanman 12 years 25 weeks ago

This massacre of the middle class has gone on for some time least back to Ronald McReagan. But I have never felt so alone as an American as now knowing that there WILL be a compromise about the tax cuts for millionaires. All I have heard about for the last year is the deficit, and how it MUST be dealt with immediately. These taxes would have taken the deficit down by $700 Billion. This is therefore a "no-brainer"...except that this is America, where the rich rule and the people suffer. Get used to it, or prepare for the real revolution. What have we got to lose?

M1919A2's picture
M1919A2 12 years 25 weeks ago

RESIGN and turn yourselves in for prosecution!

lnt1956's picture
lnt1956 12 years 25 weeks ago

If President Obama and the Democrats cave to the Republicans, they might as well just hand everything in DC over to them and go home.

treachery,disloyalty, betrayal, faithlessness; sedition, subversion, mutiny, rebellion; high treason, lèse-majesté; apostasy; literary perfidy.

This is the definition of Treason: and also for Republican's behavior lately.

Seriously! They are holding all of us hostage, they are blackmailig Congress & the President and they are jeopardizing national security delaying START.

They are betraying the American people. They care about tax-cuts for the top2%. Hello!!! there are far more important issues facing this country than making the rich, richer, while letting the poor and umemployed lose even more. not to mention what they are doing to this country for generations to come.

On Dec 9th it will be the one year anniversary of my brother Tom's death, he was 55 yrs old, lost his job & health insurance couldn't afford COBRA, his unemployment ran out so he couldn't afford his heart medications and he was found, frozen dead on his porch. We helped out as much as we could but didn't realize he had such expensive medications.

This in America? He was a Republican, too. Oh yeah, Ed Hanway, CEO of Cigna Health received a $28 million compensation package for 2009. And my brother dies..........Do people like Hanway need a tax-cut or do millions of Americans like my brother need it more.

Do these people EVER have enough?

I love this country and will continue to fight for what is right but I am ashamed and disgusted by the greed and heartlessness of the Republican Party. Are they so out of touch with what's happening out here? They ignore their constituitents wishes and act on behalf of the wealthy and the corporations that fill their campaign warchests.

Where are all the jobs that they vowed the bush tax-cuts would create? WHERE ARE THEY?

It didn't work then and in this on the edge of the cliff economy, it will surely push us over the edge.

Nice work John, Mitch and John Kyl et al. And you caim to be Christian and Patriotic? Mmmm... really!

lnt1956's picture
lnt1956 12 years 25 weeks ago

Listen to Krugman!

It's what he DOES!

pointybongo's picture
pointybongo 12 years 25 weeks ago

The following is from the comments section in the NYTimes, in response to Paul Krugman's column of Dec. 2, "Freezing Out Hope." It was the 8th most highly recommended comment, out of a total of 669. It was written by a New Yorker named Karen Garcia; it's one of the most accurate portrayals of our situation I've seen.

comment # 14,

Barack Obama is neither spineless nor inept. He has just succeeded in fully outing himself as President of the Corporate Party of America. He merely pretended to be a Democrat to gain the nomination and win the election. He dropped the pretense the minute he started stuffing his cabinet with Wall Street insiders and Clinton leftovers. We were still so in thrall to his personality cult, we either chose not to notice or hoped against hope that our eyes and ears were deceiving us. No politician who ran on such a message of hope and change could be that crass. But he was.

Obama is not "caving" to Republicans because of political osteoporosis or gonadal insufficiency. He's been a member of their club all along and is just playing his leading role in D.C. Power Theater. He's not some genius strategizing in a multi-dimensional chess game the rest of us don't understand. He's not a sell-out to his base. To merit that dishonorable distinction, he would have had to have some principles to begin with. It appears he never had any.

The charade is over, Mr. President. Nobody expects you to jump your corporate ship and join us in our leaky lifeboats. You are not the president of the people and you never have been. What we will do about it remains to be seen, but there are choices - including, but not limited to, a third party, a primary challenge, general strikes, the rise of a strong labor movement. The revolution may be quiet, or it may be bloody, but the change we can believe in is coming. We don't need a phony leader to achieve it. Maybe the smartest thing would be a quick resignation for personal reasons and a long and lucrative career in reality TV. The transition to a parallel level of stardom would be as glib and fake as the one that began in November 2008.

Backwoods MT's picture
Backwoods MT 12 years 25 weeks ago

If the FatCats get another tax break the only honorable thing that the Democrats in congress can do is commit Hara-kiri.

michael deterding's picture
michael deterding 12 years 25 weeks ago





BARACH is the name of the steed the Islamic prophet Muhammad (mpbuh)* rode to Heaven on his midnight sojurn.

The empty surprise ?

The president is a most skillful politician !

For years he has been able to convince almost everyone that he is representing the Democratic party and by his actions is exceeding to the wishes of the electorate/base . (Look at his CH legacy) .

See... he is a 'publican. ( sock puppet...Harvard law?.... Bushes went there too !!! ....please... )

As it looks to me now, for these two plus years after the Republicans have been " voted out " of office, their policies continue to be enacted,, hmmmm?. For at least the next two years, probably, their policies will be enforced ( it's the law now ) .

( Wikki the resumes of his staff if you doubt it! )

{{{Elections are the means by which the corporations introduce the public to the regime of new legislators.}}}

Brothers/sisters, do not!!!!!!!! make the mistake of taking on the blue helmets.

( united nations armed forces reserved for commuicating with insurgents ) .

Believe me, they will come, and they kill you, if you provide them a stage. Remember Kent State!!!! Ohio is the Tiananmen Square of the Amerikkkas. How about the DNC in Chicago. Any body else still hurting from that one? The corporations the youthful are just learning to hate have been moving with impunity in the third world for decades.

Wise ones please! Organise and continue to rally around peaceful truth (tough to see though eh? )

Beware any member of the CFR (council of foreign relations, or any Rhodes Skkkolars, hint,, Hillary,,Bill,, fill in the ever growing list ,,even Kristofferson was one wasn't he? . Your next leader/landlord/banker may/will be a Chinese Rhodes Scholar.

After reading over the previous posts, the next paragraph I am including the following as a mention and a clue for those among you who claim to be Xtian.

The sign of the Mosiach is the Menorah, (six lamps/lights, with a central shamus/matchlight). Those xtians among you who insist upon believing in a cross!!! ( how do they tell the ignorant to "sign/write their name?)" YOU will be probably end up being be impailed upon it.

{{{{{{{ * ( may peace be upon him),,,, this is an obligatory salutation following any mention of the Muhammadan prophet. I include the acronym here in deference to political correctness and in no sense do I intend it to be interpreted as my paying any homage or me lending the smallest creedence to the antecedent (upon whom, in this blogger's opinion, there is bloody way efffen much acclaim already) }}}}}}

blogs to follow re: mpbuh

Hear Ed,, Hear Thom, Learn Bernie for your heart.

uncle blabby

michael deterding's picture
michael deterding 12 years 25 weeks ago

there is no honour in following the traditions of a false god

maxadams's picture
maxadams 12 years 25 weeks ago

Last month I came to believe Obama uses bipartisanship as a cover for his back room deals with big business - like giving away the public option. This month I have come to believe that he went to Wall Street before becoming a candidate in 2007 and made a back room deal with them - campaign money in exchange for giving them everything they want. Wall Street and Big Business were willing since Palin-McCain were wild-cards. So it came to be that Obama conned the American public by making Progressive campaign promises while all along he knew he would be governing more radically Right-Wing than Bush.

michael deterding's picture
michael deterding 12 years 25 weeks ago

There is no honour in giving ANY homage to a false mighty one (let alone one's soul/life). Ask the soul of any troop that has died for the corporations.

proudlyliberal's picture
proudlyliberal 12 years 25 weeks ago

I agree 100%!! Where are those so called PATRIOTS, when you need them?


RE: Republican Holdout for Extra Tax Cuts for the Upper 2% (on income above $25k), or other unreasonable demands


The Republican leaders argue that the upper 2% of the wealthy in our country need to have extra tax cuts (above $250k), to help dispel the “uncertainty” of creating jobs in a down economy. And supposedly this is the Republican leaders’ main reason for voting against the tax cuts for the rest of the 98% of the country, whose income is less that $250K.


Given the unreasonable stand of the Republican leaders to apparently and solely lobby for the upper 2% of the wealthy in our country, the Democratic leaders could consider taking a different strategy to the problem, than they currently seem to be taking.

Instead of continuing to cave to what seems like a “Spoiled brat political party having another temper tantrum”, it might be wise for the Democratic leaders to take some practical advice from respected parent counselors. That advice is that parents should never give into the unreasonable demands of their children. To do so only reinforces the bad behavior of their children. Also giving in to such demands deprives the child of learning many important lessons in life, including respect for their own parents, as well as society as a whole.


The change in strategy for the Democratic leaders could be as simple as them REPHRASING THE ARGUMENT regarding allowing extra tax breaks for the rich. The Democratic leaders should not buy the ridiculous and irresponsible argument that the wealthy need and deserve extra tax breaks for any reason during a country’s hard times.

Instead they, should firmly remind the Republican leaders, and the very wealthy (who no doubt were able to benefit the most during better times) that hard times in their country means that every able citizen should be willing to step up and pitch in to help correct the situation. The reason citizens should be willing to step up and pitch in for their country, during hard times, is that it is the PATRIOTIC THING TO DO.

True PATRIOTS of a country would not have to be reminded of their responsibilities in times of need. And they certainly wouldn’t insist on being bribed with unreasonable and unaffordable benefits, such as extra tax breaks, in order for them to consider doing what they should responsibly do to help their country out as true PATRIOTS.


Famous words of a prior president: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your country”. The Republican leaders and the wealthy that they represent could take a lesson from such wise words. Are they true PATRIOTS of their country? Or are they merely exploiters of it?

If the Republican leaders and the very wealthy that they represent continue to insist on unreasonable and unaffordable demands, during their country’s times of need, then they deserve to have their bluff called. Have them write the legislation on extra benefits for the very wealthy, and be sure that they add that SUCH BENEFITS WILL BE PAID IN ADDITION TO THE $14 TRILLION OF EXISTING DEBT, BY THE CHILDREN OF THE FUTURE GENERATIONS in our country.

Or have the Republican leaders and the very wealthy take charge of finding a country that would be willing to loan them even more money to cover their unreasonable and unaffordable demands. And again, have them put into the loan agreement that THE LOAN TO COVER THEIR EXTRA BENEFITS WILL BE PAID IN ADDITION TO THE $14 TRILLION OF EXISTING DEBT, BY THE CHILDREN OF THE FUTURE GENERATIONS in our country. Let such parties shame themselves with such demands.


Regarding the Democrats, who are justified to be frustrated and fed up with the dirty political maneuvering of the Republican leaders, it would be wise for them to keep the PROCESS OF CHANGE in mind. The PROCESS OF CHANGE goes like this:

1. The status quo is challenged with a NEW IDEA that will involve change.

2. The new idea is often RIDICULED OR MOCKED by those, who are afraid of the proposed change.

3. The longer the new idea is promoted, the more it becomes ACTIVELY RESISTED OR FOUGHT by those,

who are afraid of the proposed change.

4. The change finally becomes ACCEPTED AND ADOPTED by a majority.

The above shows that CHANGE involves a process. It is not reasonable to expect it to happen sooner than the process itself. Winners of change know the whole process, and are willing to wait it out. They don’t give up or quit early. Losers of CHANGE do not know the whole process, or are not willing to wait it out. They do give up or quit too early.

It seems that in order for the Democratic Party to survive, it is vital that it adopt some tactics from the Republican’s own Political Play Book. One tactic involves learning about and then persevering through the PROCESS OF CHANGE. If they do, they will win. If they don’t, they won’t win. And in the end, the whole country will loose big time. That would be too big of a price for this great country to pay.


The Republican Party continues to evolve to the party of: the upper 2% of the wealthy, and those who are easily manipulated.

On the other hand, the Democratic Party can remain the PARTY OF ALL OF THE PEOPLE in our country, regardless of: political affiliation, national heritage, race, religion…if it sticks to it’s principles and does not quit too early. The choice is theirs to make. And they should keep in mind that the majority of the country IS behind them, and IS counting on them, no matter Rush or Glenn say.

michael deterding's picture
michael deterding 12 years 25 weeks ago

The party in power asks

how much can I steal, and hide in the behind borders protected by the u.s. military

michael deterding's picture
michael deterding 12 years 25 weeks ago


do not kill youseff

keep eatin'

timothyganey@gm... 12 years 25 weeks ago

Sign me up!! How do we find a real, honest leader. Is it still possible with out a revelution?

GeoArk2000's picture
GeoArk2000 12 years 25 weeks ago

If you haven't seen it, be sure to watch the 1957 movie "A Face in the Crowd" with Andy Griffith and Patricia O'Neal. It explains why TEA party poor and middle class can be made to vote against their interests.

Meanwhile, the long term answer to building a world with more AUTHENTIC Freedom, Fairness, and an ecologically sustainable to adopt Earthnomics...or Earthrights Democracy. Such a system would gradually remove all taxes (yes, even on the rich) and place user fees on the Consumption of the Earth...including mineral extraction, destruction of mountains, carbon pollution, and -- most significantly - the monopoly of space. The revenues raised would be used to pay for essential community services, wildlife habitat protection, and a safety-net dividend to everyone. Most poor and middle class would come out ahead financially. But, most importantly, we will be saving our planet for our grand children.

Tax Bads, Not Goods.

Lof Chicago's picture
Lof Chicago 12 years 24 weeks ago

The emperor has no clothes. People should have seen that it is the Republicans who were holding the middle class hostage--not the Democrats. I really don't understand what has happened to President Obama. The people who voted for the Republicans during the mid-terms will NEVER under any circumstances vote for President Obama. Those people will always vote against their best interest. In order to get their respect and to get more done he should have held out. Tax cuts for the rich means a higher deficit for the nation, decreased funds for public education, police and fire protection services, public health, Medicare. It will take a miracle now. The Republicans will NEVER have any respect for him. This isn't what I voted for.

Richard Startzman's picture
Richard Startzman 12 years 24 weeks ago

I don't understand why we don't hold those 2% wealthy Americans to the fire, we could give them the tax break individually IF they produce jobs. Isn't that the dogmatic rant of the Republicans that without the tax break they can't produce jobs?. For the last 8 years they have had the tax breaks and they haven't produced any jobs so why would we suppose it would suddenly work now? Sure the GOP says employers are on the fence to see if taxes will go up, before they start expansion and job creation. If we give them the two year extention they will still use that bogus excuse again. Here's a solution: let them "earn" the right to the tax extension. Give them the tax break during the first "trial" year, during that time they have to create enough jobs to form new taxpayers to cover their tax reductions. If they create the jobs, the tax break will be extended for another year, if the jobs don't materialize, then we revert back to the older tax rates..Fair Enough? From this point on every idea must have a built in "measuring stick" that holds them responsible and creates a motivating factor. The idea that the richest 2% can't understand the economic dire straits of the American people and help out is absolutely selfish beyond understanding. When will American people become outraged enough to take to the streets and voice an opinion? Mexican illegals have more backbone than Americans who will suffer inordinately before they voice an opinion.

polycif1's picture
polycif1 12 years 24 weeks ago

it is very difficult to not just throw up hands and disengage from normal political discourse of calling, rallies, debate amongst friends and go start some radical stuff. however, i know that the anger and disillusionment needs to be channeled productively. so redoubling our efforts to fight the "corporateocracy" and misguided efforts of the religious right to accelerate their version of what the end times are going to be is a must.

i appreciate all of you that really care about people, this country, and actually those in other parts of the world. justice will prevail at some point...

micka 12 years 24 weeks ago

As one of the 99ers and middle class I was willing to lose out on benefits in order to get our country back on track. As usual the President has caved in to the GOP. He no longer has my support or my vote in 2012

AKbengal's picture
AKbengal 12 years 24 weeks ago

What about the captial gains tax increase, the payroll tax holiday; and health care incentive taxe break. The reality is politics suck and people get squashed in the "sausage making". Obama has gotten some concessions. During the midterm elections people didnt go out and vote for the politicians that would maintain the gains or further the gains of pregressive ideas. You bitch all you want about how money influences elections but it is the people who vote.

Yellowbird7's picture
Yellowbird7 12 years 24 weeks ago

Obama is a Republican. Period.

How many times must we get kicked in the arse?

How many times must we get kicked in the teeth?

This President is doing the kicking.

So how long will it take to realize he is NOT A DEMOCRAT? He himself ADMITTED to being a "Blue Dog", which BY DEFINITION means he is a Republican sitting in a Democratic won seat.

We need to run an insurgency. The Congress needs to STOP BACKING HIM. And the people need to RUN A PRIMARY CHALLENGER. The Congress should NOT go with this idea, or any other ideas this republican president shoves at them. Isn't the recent mid term the proof?


DYLANESQUE 12 years 24 weeks ago

I just posted the following comment on the wrong blog (yesterday's, Monday's!

DYLANESQUE wrote 12 min 36 sec ago

I think Thom spent the first

I think Thom spent the first hour apologizing for Obama. He should be outraged instead!

Wait for another year." he said?! How much more evidence do We the People need!

What about the 2% payroll tax decease? The first attack on Social Security funding by the Republican Conservatives!! (PSY-'CHOP-ATY = the control of all institutions by psychopaths, whether CEOs, the Secretary of the Navy (formerly Cheney; involved in psycho-sadistic marine mammal bursting of eyes, bursting of ears, bursting of lungs by utilization of sonar), or dictators of countries.

The Left is NOT irrational. PSYCHOPATHS are irrational. Earth-destroying Capitalists are irrational.

Mr. Hartmann repeated himself, somewhat like a windbag today. And Thom never criticizes Israel, or displays empathy for the Palestinians, I think --- but I am not positive.

IDEA: Obama gets on his bully pulpit, and demonstrates some principled backbone for once.


Let the Bush tax cuts expire.

Let the Republicans shut down the governemnt, as they did during the Clinton administration.

They then have to change and give in, as they did then, and will be excoriated.

Then make the Unemployment Insurance extension retroactive.

QED [Theorem proved.]

Thom is just too confident and STUBBORN about his views today, and lacks principled backbone.

"Go down to the local Democratic office! Remember, you're it!"

Sure, that's a good idea, Thom. But We the People have tried that.

We got Obama elected, after all, didn't We!


With all due respect, Mr. Hartmann, you are wasting time today, and spinning your wheels!

Respectfully yours,


Amy Goodman

Zager and Evans


PS::--- What did Obama get for freezing Federal employees' salaries? NOTHING, that I see! He gave away the store again --- without a fight.

PSP [POSTSCRIPT PLUS]::--- Stop criticizing Weiner, Grayson, Howard Dean, et. al.


Ravi Batra

Aldous Huxley

Julian Assange

ajackson652 12 years 24 weeks ago

Let us not forget the mid-term elections. The Republican campaign against Senator Feingold of Wisconsin was ruthless, relentless and a huge propagation of lies, half truths and miss-information. By the time Senator Feingold could counter one lie, there were six more slamming his reputation. The Republican campaign propaganda machine is wickedly brilliant. President Obama and the Democratic Party has not shown any ability to message….anything. Forget 2012, it is not there. President Obama’s brilliance was his rhetoric, which he has now proven to be nothing but false messaging. By 2012 President Obama will be the next Lex Luthor!

beckyg's picture
beckyg 12 years 24 weeks ago

This isn't complicated.

1. The Wealth in this country is controlled by 1%. They now control OBama.

2. Whatever happened to "We the People?" - The other 99% of Americans? Don't WE count?

3. The expression, put your money where your mouth is, should be for OBama, Talk is Cheap and so are you. Blah, Blah, Blah! Really! You are all talk! What a pick-up line!

4. I could have just voted for a Republican and had the same results.

5. The morale in this country is terrible, and President Obama, you just added to that! Congratulations!

6. Thom, people are not going to go and vote the next time. We now know, what our mothers always taught us, "Boys Lie."


Becky Gilberto

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Screwed:
"Hartmann speaks with the straight talking clarity and brilliance of a modern day Tom Paine as he exposes the intentional and systematic destruction of America’s middle class by an alliance of political con artists and outlines a program to restore it. This is Hartmann at his best. Essential reading for those interested in restoring the institution that made America the envy of the world."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning and When Corporations Rule the World
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
From Cracking the Code:
"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall