A Passing Thought on Obama, Socialism and the Tax Compromise

If Obama is really the socialist (if not Communist!) that he has been so often described to be by his political opponents (and, I will add, by commenters to this blog) then why is he willing to compromise on the tax cuts?  Surely if he was a hardcore socialist his preference would be to allow the Bush tax cuts to lapse (and indeed, to be pushing for tax increases).

I will set aside the problematic formulation that would allow for top marginal rate of less than 40% to be hardcore socialism (let alone Communism!) and just leave the observation as is for the moment.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Trueofvoice says:

    There seems to be something in the human psyche whereby to see ourselves as the good, we must cast our opponent as an unmitigated evil.

  2. mantis says:

    It’s all part of his evil plan. He’s just lulling us into a sense that we are a free capitalist (35% top marginal rate) nation, and when we least expect it BAM!, he’ll seize all means of production, assets, and the media (or sign a bill raising the top marginal rate to 39%. Same thing.).

  3. Steven,

    That’s one of the things that has got me down about the right these days: nothing to offer on the economy and a world view that is completely divorced from reality.

  4. Trumwill says:

    a world view that is completely divorced from reality.

    A worldview divorced from itself, in a weird sort of way.

  5. Austin says:

    He wants to get re-elected. Plain and simple.

  6. JKB says:

    It’s socialism-by-surprise. He lulls us into consent by an implicit understanding of protection. But when that protection breaks, he won’t stop. It may be that we even thank him for it. But later, we’ll feel screwed.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Mantis writes it as parody. Then JKB apparently writes it with serious intent.

    Trippy, man.

  8. sam says:

    @JKB

    “It’s socialism-by-surprise.”

    Ah, bullshit. Now, if you want to talk about surprise, and come away thinking that maybe there just might be hope for us yet, check this out.

  9. Andyman says:

    Obviously, his handlers are changing the marching orders. Sharia first, then socialism.

  10. Max Lybbert says:

    > If Obama is really the socialist (if not Communist!) that he has been so often described to be by
    > his political opponents … then why is he willing to compromise on the tax cuts?

    Perhaps because he can read the writing on the wall as well as anyone else (last I heard, 2/3 of Americans supported extending the tax cuts; that’s not the kind of number you want to push back against if you can help it). Besides, if his economic team is correct and we’re in for a sluggish economy for two years, from a political standpoint it makes sense to try some “Republican ideas” to make sure the Democrats don’t get the full blame for a sluggish economy.

    Please note, I am *NOT* calling President Obama a socialist; I am simply suggesting some reasons why somebody not wholeheartedly behind extending the tax cuts would compromise on the issue.

    > Surely if he was a hardcore socialist his preference would be to allow the Bush tax cuts to
    > lapse (and indeed, to be pushing for tax increases).

    But his preference *IS* to allow the tax cuts to lapse (or is there another reason he called Republicans “hostage takers” when they weren’t willing to negotiate the way he negotiated in Chicago) and, indeed, he has been pushing for tax increases (and managed to get some).

  11. An Interested Party says:

    “But his preference *IS* to allow the tax cuts to lapse…”

    Not true…he only wants the tax cuts on those making over a certain amount to expire…

  12. Stephen Ernest Smith says:

    What has happened is that George W. Bush has perfected a device allowing him to steal Obama’s soul and replace it with his own.

    If you think about it Obama now IS George W. Bush: He advocates (a) lower taxes, esp. for the rich; (b) massive deficit spending; (c) the gutting of Social Security; (d) continued war in the Middle East; (e) “buying off” the poor/middle class with payoffs and; (f) sacrificing tomorrow to pay for today.

    Evidently Dick Cheney used the same machine to take over the soul of Joe Biden, who negotiated with Sen. Mitch McConnell (a slightly larger, but even more creepy version of Dr. Miguelito Loveless of the “Wild, Wild West.”

    Where’s Artemis Gordon, when you need him!