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The President’s willingness to reach an agreement with Republicans on controversial tax issues is the right step to take. The real question now becomes whether the Democrats in Congress will follow suit and actually pass the proposal.
That’s a lot less likely.
On Monday, President Obama said an agreement with those across the aisle would extend expiring income tax cuts for all Americans, something he had previously rejected, not wanting the extension to apply to those making more than $200,000. The compromise would also renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed as well as grant a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes.
There’s give and take on both sides. Congressional Democrats might not be so willing to give as the President. But hopefully they’ll make it happen sometime this week.
The President claims he is still against extending the Bush-era tax cuts for those individuals with incomes over $200,000 or couples with an income over $250,000. He’s willing to take the step as long as the agreement for the extensions would be temporary, not permanent. Though the cuts should be permanent, this would be, at least, a start.
“We cannot allow this moment to pass,” Obama stated.
He appears to get it. But will other Dems?
The plan includes an extension of unemployment benefits that should bring them on-board, if they’re really willing to compromise. Under the plan workers who have been laid off for more than 26 weeks and less than 99 weeks, some two million individuals, would not lose their benefits over the holidays with as many as seven million at risk by the end of next year.
The proposed compromise would also have a one year Social Security tax cut that would apply to workers, dropping from 6.2 percent of pay to 4.2 percent for one year, as well as extending other tax breaks for some lower-income families.
Don’t expect Senate majority leader Harry Reid and his counterparts in the House to jump on board. They haven’t been too quick to hear what the voters told them in November. The Democratic-controlled House—that’s soon going to change, the Dems know all too well—recently voted to let the tax cuts for the higher income levels lapse. Senate Democrats would do the same, if they could.
The President understands that reaching an agreement is in the best interest of everyone involved, even if he’s not for all the provisions. It will be unfortunate if Congressional Democrats don't come to the same conclusion. And soon.
If something isn’t done, the typical family will see taxes go up about $3,000. And plenty of small businesses could be hit even worse. Unemployment is going up and the failure to pass this compromise is only going to further the problem.
It’s up to the Democrats to make this happen before Congress breaks for the holidays. The American people will soon see just how much its elected leaders are willing to put politics aside and do what’s right.