Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Will Obama capitulate to the Omnibus hostage-takers?

Last week, President Obama likened congressional Republicans to hostage-takers, who were holding the middle class tax cuts "hostage to the high end tax cuts". [In truth, it was the Democrats who were holding the middle class tax cuts hostage to their proposal to end the high end tax cuts.]

A day earlier, Sen. Claire McCaskill made the same analogy [as the President]:

"I'm frustrated the Republicans are holding the middle class hostage for really added tax bonuses for millionaires that we really can't afford right now with our deficit," McCaskill said. "It would be nice if they came to their senses."

Truth be told, Republicans were merely trying to extend the same middle class and high end tax cuts that have been in effect for the past ten years. Nevertheless, both the President and Sen. McCaskill made the same exact analogy - which begs the question: Did the President borrow the analogy from Sen. McCaskill? Or was this simply a case of two Great Minds thinking alike? Who knows.

On Tuesday, Sen. McCaskill [a self-described moderate Democrat] once again, reverted to the "hostage" analogy to voice her displeasure with the new omnibus bill [unveiled on Tuesday], which contains $8 billion dollars in earmarks. The earmarks are predominantly, and overwhelmingly, Democratic earmarks:
Obama last month called for an earmark ban...

Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-partisan group that tracks federal spending, said Tuesday evening it had found 6,600 earmarks worth $8 billion [in the omnibus bill]...

Sen. Claire McCaskill... said the omnibus would present Obama with a tough choice if it passes Congress.

“He know the abuses that occur with earmarking; he knows that it’s arbitrary and we’re not in a time where we should spending money arbitrarily,” said McCaskill. But she added that the rest of the budget is being “held hostage to the earmarks.”
Hence, the question arises:

Will President Obama capitulate to the demands of the hostage-takers? Will he extort billions of taxpayer dollars to pay up the 'earmark' ransom? Will he even bother to use his beloved "hostage" analogy this time around? Or, is this analogy a tactic to be used exclusively to squeeze out more money from the taxpayers, and one that must never be used - by the President - to save taxpayers their hard-earned money?

Only time will tell.

Update - December 15: The Obama administration has advised Congress to pass the omnibus spending bill containing the $8 billion in earmarks.

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