Krugman’s editorial today blasts the federal pay freeze Obama is pushing for. I had mentioned before that the easiest answer to why President Obama is doing this is that President Obama thinks it is a good idea.
Q [On the pay freeze] And he does not think that Democrats should try to actually extract some concessions from Republicans when he makes moves that anger the left? Because he has angered the left.
MR. GIBBS: Jonathan, I think on a daily basis we anger many people. That comes with the job of governing. The President makes a series of decisions that he thinks are in the best interest of the country and I think, as he said today, not focused on the next election, but focused on the next generation. That’s why the President made the decision that he made with the deadline that we had — not as a bargaining chip or a bargaining tool, but because it was the right thing to do.
Yup. Nice, simple and straightforward.
It might be a good time to advise you to check out a brief written by Lauren Smith of Center for American Progress, Correcting Myths About Federal Pay, which walks through the data tricks that are used to confuse the narrative about this topic. Written a month and a half ago to address arguments coming from John Boehner and Cato, it finds that if you do an actual apples-to-apples comparison the overpaid issue disappears.
It is something that this article, designed to counter and fight priorities that John Boehner and the Cato Institute think are the right thing to do for our country, can be put into play to counter and fight priorities that Robert Gibbs and President Obama think are “the right thing to do” for our country. As a climate hawk, I believe in reduce, reuse and recycle. Reducing is better than reusing/recycling, and I would like to reduce our need to counter this narrative of the overpaid federal worker coming from the administration, but you can’t always get what you want.
Speaking of getting what you want, I really hope this scenario outlined by Jane Hamsher about the tax cut battle isn’t true:
It’s been clear for some time that President Obama made the political calculation that he does not want any of the Bush tax cuts to expire. He doesn’t want to be the guy in 2012 running for President on having “raised taxes during a time of recession.”
But the President also doesn’t want the political blowback of angering people who cheered him on the campaign trail when he promised to let the tax cuts expire. And so rather than just come out and just say that, he’s been actively trying to kill a Chuck Schumer deal to keep them from expiring on income of more than $1 million a year. It was a plan that put the GOP in an awkward position, and had thrown them off message in recent days — hard to be the people fighting for the 315,000 families who fall into that category over the 2 million set to lose their unemployment benefits by the end of the year.
And he’s using unemployment insurance as the cover. It’s amazing how cynical this would be if true.
If Obama had a genuine bipartisan mandate from the election, the mandate would have been the “Do The Exact Opposite Of What George W. Bush Did” mandate. From war to the expanded executive powers to starved infrastructure to fixing a crazy Wall Street to tax cuts for the rich, Americans wanted to see the opposite of it.
And polls show that Americans overwhelming want these tax cuts to expire, and the polls even find it is bipartisan (“Even among Republicans, support for extending all the cuts is less than half at 46 percent”). For someone who gets cover for being obsessed with “bipartisanship” he sure doesn’t seem to be doing the bipartisan thing.