The sociopaths on Wall Street get their bonuses. Ben Bernanke gets his sinecure renewed? And we get tax credits?
Except that most of us aren’t even going to get those.
What the McEwan says.
Look, Mr President. People who are out of work aren’t going to cheer because you’re offering them tax credits next year. They want a job now. Or at least this year.
People who are working lousy jobs because that’s all they could get want better jobs now, not a lousy hundred bucks off their tax bills next year.
And people who have jobs but are terrified of losing them and all their benefits, their homes, and their pensions along with them want to know that those disasters won’t happen or are less likely to happen to them because the President is watching out for them not for Ben Bernanke’s job and reputation or Blanche Lincoln and Harry Reid’s re-election chances or Robert Gate’s defense budget.
Even people the tax credits will help aren’t going to be helped enough or feel all that helped.
People who are taking care of sick parents aren’t going to turn to each other and say brightly, “At least when this is all over we can use our tax credits to pay a few of the bills we’re racking up here!”
People who need every dollar from their paycheck to pay this week’s bills aren’t going to shrug off the missing dollars from future paychecks because they’re relieved to know that at least now they’re putting away a few bucks towards a retirement they probably aren’t going to have.
This one isn’t even a tax credit. It’s a tax, on employees and employers and on consumers who’ll have to pay the price increases businesses will implement to offset the new tax, and its purpose is to put money in banks for them to invest.
People who have to figure out what to do about the kids today because the school’s declared a snow day, the babysitter canceled, and the boss has warned them that one more day off this month’s out of the question, call in sick again and that’s it, you’re out of here, aren’t going to pause in their worrying and scrambling to comfort themselves with the thought that they’ve got a tax credit coming.
And lots of people with children they’re planning to put through college are thinking, Swell, this will come in handy in five or six years, presuming it passes, presuming it’s still on the books then, and presuming we qualify, which, considering what the qualifications are, no money,basically, let’s hope we don’t!
Then there are all the people thinking, Fine, but we could use the help right now!
I know this is trial balloon stuff. More, bigger, and more immediate help might be offered in the State of the Union. But even if it is, what in God’s name is the White House thinking floating this? That we’re a nation of stupid peasants who will be grateful if the king throws us a few coins as he passes in his royal coach?
Better to withhold the whole loaf then to offer us crumbs. It’s insulting, even if he’s planning to open the doors to the bakery on Wednesday.
Oh yeah, and a spending freeze.
Atrios: Because in a time of deep recession, the people want fewer benefits and higher health care costs.
And Josh Marshall’s psyched. Why? “I'm psyched that we're done messing around with major social reforms and finally getting down to the real business of election year gimmicks.”
Lemieux: “The most charitable construction, reflected in a couple of Matt's scenarios, is that [the President’s] trying to expose "deficit hawks" on both sides of the aisle as frauds. The obvious problem is that the actions of Bayh and Conrad, and 6 years of united Republican rule, have already demonstrated that they're complete frauds. It doesn't matter. To the Fried Hiatts who care about this stuff being a "deficit hawk" is about inflicting pain on Democratic constituencies, not reducing the deficit. One more demonstration that many "deficit hawks" don't want to reduce agricultural subsidies won't solve anything.