The President’s tax proposals are a good sign. One of the House’s Dixie brigade describes it as a “poke in the eye at Republicans, rather than showing a willingness to cooperate,” which is exactly what is needed. Higher taxes on wealthy parasites have no prayer of making it through this Congress, which is exactly why it is important to make the proposal and stick to it rather than trying to reach a “compromise” that can only be disastrous. In laying down markers, I only wish that rather than proposing more middle-income tax cuts — which are better than nothing, but far from ideal — he had instead proposed greater infrastructure spending, greater support for K-12 education other than charter schools, investments in green energy, etc. All of these would be better for the economy than simply showering money on individuals in the middle-income bands. That he made no such proposal is less a reflection on the President than it is on the left, which has failed miserably in building a constituency for these things.
Meanwhile, however, the danger of an Obama deal with Republicans to promote more job-killing corporate-rights agreements (misnamed “trade” agreements) remains real.