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Cookies for Susie and Obama’s “Temporary” Tax Compromise

Courtesy of Mish 

Woman with tray of cookies

President Obama has agreed to a tax deal that’s bound to please deficit-hawk hypocrites on both sides of the aisle. The cost is a mere $30 billion spread over 10 years. Spreading the cost over 10 years is an interesting concept given that the extensions are "temporary" for only 2 years.

Of course the last extension was "temporary" and the next extension will be "temporary" as well which makes me wonder about that $30 billion cost.

I have a better idea, why don’t we just "temporarily" extend these deals until 2020 and be done with it? We might be in a genuine recovery by then.

Of course we will then have to factor in the idea that we may need to "temporarily" extend the benefits "one" more time lest we sink the nascent 2020 recovery.

Obama’s Proposed "Compromise"

Inquiring minds may be asking "Just how compromising is the compromise, and more importantly, what’s in it for Susie?" Those are very good questions. The answers can be found in the article Obama Agrees to Extend Tax Cuts for Everyone for Two Years.

President Barack Obama said he’ll agree to a two-year extension of all Bush-era tax cuts in exchange for extending federal unemployment insurance. The plan also would cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points.

Obama said he would accept a lower rate for the estate tax than Democrats wanted in order to break a stalemate over extending the Bush tax cuts before Congress adjourns. The current tax rates, enacted in 2001 and 2003, are set to expire Dec. 31.

Without the compromise, middle-income families would become “collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington,” Obama said in televised remarks. He said he still believes the nation can’t afford to permanently extend the top tax rates.

“This compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery,” Obama said.

In addition to keeping the current tax rates for all Americans, the plan outlined by Obama would extend aid for the long-term unemployed for another 13 months. The payroll tax — which funds Social Security and Medicare — would be cut by 2 percentage points during 2011 to help spur hiring.

Obama also endorsed allowing a full deduction for equipment purchases that currently must be deducted over time. The proposal would accelerate $200 billion in tax savings for companies in the first year and benefit 1.5 million companies and several million individuals who run businesses, according to White House estimates.

Total revenue lost from the so-called expensing proposal over 10 years would be $30 billion; companies taking the immediate deductions wouldn’t be able to write off their expenses through depreciation in years to come.

Meaning of Compromise

I have discussed congressional compromises on several occasions, most recently in Meaning of "Compromise"

Sometimes the word to fear most out of congress is "compromise". Typically it means both parties load up a bill with massive amounts of spending while simultaneously preaching the need for deficit reduction.

To congress, the word "compromise" does not mean giving up anything you want. Instead, it means giving the other guy something you do not want him to have in return for a similar favor.

The process is much like asking a group of kids at a birthday party if they want cherry pie, chocolate cake, or fudge for desert and if there is no consensus winner, everyone gets a full slice of each, with chocolate chip cookies thrown in for good measure because that’s what cousin Susie likes. It’s irrelevant whether or not cousin Susie is even at the party.

Chocolate Chip Cookies for Susie

Susie was not at the party. Nonetheless, like a bolt out of the blue, president Obama proposed kiddies get two additional cookies not previously on the menu.

1. A two percent payroll tax reduction
2. A full, upfront deduction for equipment purchases, in lieu of depreciation

I am all in favor of cookies, especially tax-cut cookies. However, I want to know how the deficit-hawk hypocrites on both sides of the aisle intend to pay for them. The answer is they don’t intend to, which of course is what makes them deficit-hawk hypocrites in the first place.

The war-mongering will continue and so will the earmarks and so will a host of other things we cannot afford and do not even need.

But, hey, let’s pig out. Cookies are on the table.

The question of the day is: Are there any Senate republicans with the backbone of N.J. Governor Chris Christie?

We are about to find out. A vote is coming up.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Originally published at Mish’s Global Economic Trend AnalysisCookies for Susie and Obama’s "Temporary" Tax Compromise


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