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December 01, 2017

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Sometimes it makes sense to lower taxes, even if that results in taking on more debt.

Sometimes it makes sense to do the opposite.

US corporate tax rates are pretty high. Effective rates vary by sector, but still average out around 20 percent-ish. More.

So, there is a reasonable argument to be made that US corporate rates are, relative to other places, high.

Arguing about whether a particular tax regime change is virtuous or not depends on what the current situation is, and how the tax changes are targeted.

The Senate and House bills will be a tremendous benefit to corporations. They will be a mixed bag for individuals, and as written will in fact be net negative for most individuals long term.

They will also add $1.5 trillion bucks of debt to the federal budget over ten years. Which is a lot. It could "pay for itself" by creating overall growth sufficient to offset that amount. That assumes that the additional growth will also result in enhanced revenues to the federal bottom line. Which is not a given.

Whether all of that will be beneficial to the "middle class" - for purposes of this discussion, that appears to be defined as households earning $40K to $120K - depends not only on the direct change to their federal income tax liability, but also on whether other goods and services that they receive that are currently funded by the feds go away due to budget shortfalls. It also depends on whether whatever increased economic growth is created ends up as money in their pockets.

It's likely that some of what they get from the feds now will go away.

It's unlikely given our national history of the last 35 or so years that increased growth in corporate profits and productivity will find its way to their pockets as wage income.

To the degree that they hold equity in businesses, they may some benefit there.

Net/net, really good for corps, of mixed benefit and possible net negative for individuals in general.

and it's completely unnecessary.

I don't have a huge problem with lowering the corporate tax rate.

I'd like to see people who work for a living get a bigger slice of the upside. Tax overhaul or not.

and it's completely unnecessary.

That depends entirely, of course, on how you define "necessary."

If you mean "necessary for the good of the economy," there is lots of room to doubt it. There is some faint possibility that it will do good, but "necessity" is a hard case to make.

But if you mean "necessary to keep our donors sweet and giving us money," as at least one Republican member of Congress has said, then yes it may well be necessary. Although whether those donors would all really walk away seems dubious to me, I may well be wrong on that.

I don't have a huge problem with lowering the corporate tax rate.

Me neither. But, if simplifying the tax code is one of the big goals, lower the rate and get rid of most of the avoidance measures that are now available - especially the ones that account for the big variations among different industries.

Then take another look at subsidies (you know, if we're pretending sensible options are actually realistic).

russell: I don't have a huge problem with lowering the corporate tax rate.

I don't give a damn about the rate, and I bet corporate chieftains don't either. Corporations, like meat people, pay dollars in taxes.

Corporations pay some fraction of the dollars the US Treasury takes in, and meat people pay the rest. Tax "reform" which reduces that fraction (by cutting the rate but leaving "loopholes" in place) simply means that meat people (whose rates don't drop much but whose own "loopholes" get eliminated) end up paying a bigger share of aggregate tax dollars than before.

Incidentally, our heroic corporations (who need help to "compete" in the world) are not multinational merely in terms of their customer base or their work force; they are also multinational in terms of their equity ownership. To the extent corporate after-tax income flows to meat people, Real Murkins should remember that many of those meat people are NOT.

--TP

Absent nuclear war, this is the single thing which worries me most about Trump - that he will maim for decades the US legal system:
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/would-trump-consider-a-court-packing-scheme

Not content with channeling Nixon, he's incorporating the worst bits of FDR....

More on the Careful analysis the Republicans gave to the tax plan.

Nigel,

It's terrible, I agree. And yet the proposal comes from one of the founders of the Federalist Society, that bastion of so-called responsible conservatism.

Apparently he thinks having Donald Trump appoint the bulk of the nation's federal judges is just wonderful.

Get Thee To Hell, demands the GOP's latest beloved representative of all that is Republican.

the GOP is a cult.

What's a little anti-Semitism among evangelical right-wing pussy-grabbing murderers setting up Jerusulam and the World for the End Days?

We ... America .... are fucking insane.

Fuck elections.


here's what I find unutterably FUBAR about the tax bill.

Per the CBO scores, folks who make less than $30K a year are, as a group, worse off. Worse off initially, worse off five years out, worse off ten years out, worse off if the individual provisions expire, worse off if they don't.

Just worse off. No upside, no relief, no consideration, nobody looking out for their interests whatsoever. Nothing. Our offer to them is nothing.

It takes a special kind of malice to give a big upside to the wealthiest freaking people in the country, and kick the poorest in the freaking nuts.

If "malice" just seems too strong a word then I'm happy to go with callous indifference.

If "malice" just seems too strong a word then I'm happy to go with callous indifference.

Kind of randomly, but related: I've been reminded from a couple of directions lately of the death of Fred Hampton, and also of the various phases of violence that attended the long road toward organized labor in the U.S.

Also (related to the other thread) of the deliberate provocation of racial hatred in the early colonies as a way to ward off class conflict. (See Jefferson's Pillow, by Roger Wilkins.)

I think "malice" is a perfectly apt word.

Without going back to find the exact numbers, I'll repeat for the umpteenth time that in the US in 1979, the ratio between the average after-tax household income of the top 1% of 1% to the bottom quintile was roughly 300 to 1. In 2005 it was more than 1500 to 1. russell has reiterated the same thing without the actual numbers: that in roughly that time period, most of the wealth has gone to the top, while the bottom 80% or so has been stagnant. When I get time I'll dig out the details yet again, and the graph.

In my own daily life I know, and know of, very well off people who can't stop talking about all the lazy poor people who can't get up off their asses and get a job. They drip malice.

If "malice" just seems too strong a word then I'm happy to go with callous indifference.

Actually, "malice" seems like pale beer. Are you sure you can't work "viscious" in somewhere?

Or even "vicious"?

I hate auto correct!

Whee!

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/06/tax-plan-glitches-mistakes-republicans-208049

in the US in 1979, the ratio between the average after-tax household income of the top 1% of 1% to the bottom quintile was roughly 300 to 1. In 2005 it was more than 1500 to 1. russell has reiterated the same thing without the actual numbers: that in roughly that time period, most of the wealth has gone to the top, while the bottom 80% or so has been stagnant. When I get time I'll dig out the details yet again, and the graph.

This started to turn around under Obama. I've posted links numerous times. Republicans just couldn't bear it.

I quote myself.

Also, too, this:

https://www.cbpp.org/income-gains-widely-shared-in-early-postwar-decades-but-not-since-then-0

Posted by: hairshirthedonist | December 05, 2017 at 11:21 AM

I'm going to dig for something a little more comprehensive.

Lots of tables (1979-2013):

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/statistics/historical-income-distribution-all-households

Well, five... Is that a lot?

Okay, hsh, here's an article to add to your stats:

Thanks, Obama!

Well, now we know how to address the problem of excessively high morale among Federal employees

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has informed employees who’ve worked extra hours battling a record wave of natural disasters in 2017 that they may have to pay back some of their overtime.

“A bill will be determined and established for any premium pay amounts over the annual premium pay cap and the employee will be notified and billed in 2018 for that amount."
(Emphasis added)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-05/fema-tells-staffers-they-might-get-billed-for-working-too-much

I'm going to dig for something a little more comprehensive.

See Krugman re The Great Compression: https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/introducing-this-blog/

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday that congressional Republicans will aim next year to reduce spending on both federal health care and anti-poverty programs, citing the need to reduce America's deficit.

When did the tax bill pass the Senate, four days ago?

This will, of course, be good for America.

You just don’t know how to compartmentalize, russell.

Only think about how much harder it would be (has been, actually) to sell in the other order. Getting entitlements like Medicare and Social Security slashed first has been impossible while deficits just weren't (really) that big -- Ryan knows because he's tried. Even though it would have allowed tax cuts after.

But now, the tax cuts will drive up deficits and force the desired entitlement cuts.

he could at least have waited a week.

Ha!

Ryan, as far as I can see, still doesn't really get that his whacky ideology isn't broadly embraced. He knows that the Democrats don't buy it, and that some Republicans are reluctant. But that the vast, overwhelming majority of Americans want no part of it simply hasn't penetrated -- let alone that, given only these two alternatives, they would lynch him in an instant rather than give up Social Security and Medicare. Harsh, perhaps, but true.

Shifting gears slightly.

When the announcement about moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem came out, my wife turned to me and asked "What is that supposed to accomplish?" She's generally not all that interested in politics nor foreign policy, but even to her it was instantly apparent that this was idiocy.

Still, it seems like a good question, and I think I have maybe come up with an answer. It is NOT a matter of keeping a campaign promise -- Trump's interest in keeping promises, per se, is nil. And nobody with two brain cells to rub together thinks it will improve the prospects for peace in the Middle East.

But it does have one huge plus for him politically: It was pretty much guaranteed to set off protests. Big, possibly violent ones. And Muslims protesting the US, especially if some violence can be generated, plays into his demonization of the religion. Which is one of the few things that could be called a policy constant in his administration.

Or, maybe, it is an actual recognition that somehow every other country in the world gets to pick their capital and it's stupid to deny reality.

Israel is never giving up Jerusalem. Never. So why pretend it's on the negotiating table anyway?

there's your answer, wj. Republicans love it.

Since every other country in the world has its Israeli embassy in Tel Aviv, why move ours? And get nothing in return. Nobody doubts that part of an eventual peace settlement will be recognition of West Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. But you don't get anywhere in a negotiation by unilateral concessions. Which is what this was.

But you don't get anywhere in a negotiation by unilateral concessions.

Trump got the Palestinians to abandon the idea of the US as an impartial broker. that's something. plus, violence, more anti-US rhetoric, and cheering from the "if the left hates it, it must be a good idea" crowd.

We aren't negotiating with Israel, and their position, which is valid, is why should they give up anything to keep Jerusalem? Why should it ever come up in negotiations?

That makes negotiating harder, because the other side assumes it is on the table to get something for it.

It all depends on whether you think it's a good idea to kick hornet's nests or not.

At the Washington Monthly Nancy LeTourneau points out the appeal this action has to the End Timers.

We are, or at least we were, attempting to broker negotiations. And sometimes, to broker a settlement, the broker gives something as well.

On top of which, we have skin in the game in that we have an interest in a more peaceful Middle East. Which, among other things, requires changes in the way its governments deal with their people. Changes which they currently avoid by pointing to boogie man Israel. Something which would start changing with a peace settlement.

Fort Sumter.

ump wants violence so he can kill.

He's a goddamned, cold-blooded vermin killer, as is the Republican Party, the most dangerous entity on the face of the Earth, whose pussy ump now has well in hand.

His closest confidants, who ump would kill in an instant if they were disloyal to him, brag that he is a killer.

We need many more killer hornets.

Is it going to make the situation better, or worse?

What benefit do we derive from officially recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and/or moving our embassy there?

What benefit does anyone derive from it? What harm flows from it?

It's true, nations can decide on where their own capitals are. Other nations can choose to recognize those choices, or not.

Nation states are sovereigns. They can more or less do what they want. And, whatever they do or don't do will have real effects, in the real world. And, they will be obliged to deal with and live with those effects.

So, not really such a simple or straightforward decision. It certainly "recognizes a reality", but it ignores others. The others, however, don't go away.

I'm really not up on the history of the I-P conflict, but is Marty ignoring some of it in saying they get to pick "their" capital? I don't think it's quite like the US deciding that its new capital should be Montreal, but I also don't think it's quite as simple as the US deciding its new capital should be St. Louis, either. Anyone?

Jerusalem is literally on the border between Israel and the West Bank. More than on the border, it straddles the border - part of Jerusalem is physically in territory that Israel claims, but which is not universally acknowledged as being legitimately theirs.

Whatever claim Israel makes to Jerusalem - historically or otherwise - can be matched by equally credible claims from other folks.

It is, basically, a bone of contention.

It's not clear to me what this statement from Trump will accomplish other than stirring up an already difficult and complicated situation.

I am completely supportive of Israel's right to exist, I am also completely supportive of Palestine's right to exist. They both have a claim to the city. This is not going to help sort it out.

Well if I recall correctly (too lazy to look it up while using my phone) the UN, as part of the resolution creating Israel, had something to say on the subject.

But one of the critical nuances in the discussion is between Jerusalem and West Jerusalem. Unfortunately, the current administration doesn't do nuance.

I repeat my Salomonic plan: Move Israel to Cyprus, Cypriotes to Greece and Turkey, and Palestine to Eastern Germany/Western Poland.
Then have a neutral power (China or maybe North Korea as a part of solving another problem) nuke the Temple mount with the dirtiest stuff in their arsenal, creating a mile deep crater and a landscape so toxic that no one sane would come near it (free tickets for milleniarist Kristians(TM) will be provided).

the current administration doesn't do nuance.

nope. they do knee-jerk. with heavy emphasis on the jerk.

The status of Jerusalem has been in dispute since the Partition in 1947. It was aggravated further by Israel's conquest of the entire city in 1967 and their proclamation in 1980 that a 'complete and united Jerusalem' to be the capital of Israel.

Insofar as 'might makes right' I guess you could say that Marty is correct....but you know, two way streets and all that.

Thanks, all. Pronoun trouble strikes again!

The various claims and counter-claims on East Jerusalem, specifically, are a freaking hot mess.

We've just placed ourselves firmly, and uniquely, on one side of that pissing match.

Most likely, there will be blood.

Good times.

I try not to bother with the Obamabots, just as fanatical as Moore supporters, but here is Matt Bruenig today with numbers and charts

How Obama Destroyed Black Wealth

"However, the total homeownership rate can be misleading in that it includes people with negative equity, which is worse than owning no home at all — it is merely “a rental with debt.” After the crisis, the percentage of black homeowners with negative equity exploded by twenty-fold, from 0.7 percent to 14.2 percent — and unlike white families, did not reach its peak until 2013."

"Between 2007 and 2016, the wealthiest 10 percent of white families saw their wealth expand by an average of $1.2 million (21.6 percent), the next wealthiest 10 percent of white families increased their net worth by an average of $141,000 (15.5 percent), and the top 10 percent of black families grew their wealth by $78,000 (8 percent). Everyone else experienced wealth declines as high as 40 percent."

Thanks Obama!

And more emotionally, here's a Vicious Rant by a black leftist I have been holding. Or maybe a righteous cry.

"Yet, given this shell game that is our politics in DC, what Obama accomplished in 2008 and throughout his administration stands out for its sheer malignant brilliance. Barack conned me and countless millions of Americans into voting for an empty suit who talked a good game while enriching his corporate benefactors. Obama was nothing but a grifter who sold dreams to his followers and manipulated the hopes of the downtrodden and dejected in order to gain the White House. One of the very first meetings Obama had at the White House was with an array of banking executives where he hosted the thieves of Wall Street for a state dinner instead of locking them up in the gulags. Obama conspired to protect the very same criminal enterprise that committed the biggest heist in the history of humanity."

It gets worse. Or better.

How Obama Destroyed Black Wealth

it's not often i come across an article that refutes its headline in the first paragraph.

The Obama presidency was a disaster for middle-class wealth in the United States. Between 2007 and 2016,...

which means the author has deliberately picked a starting point that's happened before Obama took office and before the 2007 collapse. and, of course that collapse, not Obama, is the reason for the 'disaster'.

Jacobin, as always, sucks.

Like I said, Obamabots.

The collapse may have happened on Bush's watch (although Obama and the Democratic Congress hold much responsibility at the least for summer and October 2008).

The failure to provide for recovery, and in fact assisting the bankers at the expense of homeowners is on Obama.

"homeowners with negative equity exploded by twenty-fold, from 0.7 percent to 14.2 percent — and unlike white families, did not reach its peak until 2013."

This is like saying FDR & Dems would have had absolutely no responsibility 1933-1938. Contemptible, and this obsession with symbolic anti-racism and elite tribal politics is exactly what provided the means to the immiseration of black families.

yes the 2007 collapse was enormous. Obama didn't cause it. it took a long time to fix. because it was enormous.

here's another completely unsurprising fact: the words "Congress", "Senate" and "Republican" appear nowhere in it. not once. ~2000 words, no mention of the single most important obstacle Obama faced in his tenure. does the author not understand how our government works? does he not care? more importantly, why does he mislead his readers?

well, it's Jacobin. and they exist to complain about Democrats, not to analyze reality.

Hell, people can read the article, although cleek obviously doesn't want you to, and see for themselves whether the failure to implement HAMP, pursue vigorous regulation of the mortgage markets and financiers, and use the Justice Dept in 2008-2011 was entirely the fault of Republicans in Congress in 2012-2016.

Sample:"However, largely due to foot-dragging at the Department of Justice, the settlement ended up being toothless. Much of the cash went to “short sales” (simply selling an underwater home) instead of principal reductions, or to other weak relief. Servicers even received roughly $12 billion in credit for waiving outstanding debts from short sales in states where such a waiver is already legally mandatory. JPMorgan Chase allegedly claimed credit for forgiving loans that it had already sold."

it takes a special kind of blinders to look at hundreds of years of history and conclude that obama was the cause of a decline in black wealth.

i would have loved to see the FIRE sector get a massive ass-kicking from the feds. instead they got buckets of free money. i think that sucks.

obama was part of that. i have criticized, and will probably continue to criticize, him for that.

here is the thing. obama was probably the least ideological POTUS we've had in a long time. which angers people who wanted him to be an avenging liberal hero. he was and is a pragmatic technocrat.

and that was and is his virtue. it's why he was a really good, maybe great, president. he had an agenda and a point of view, but advancing them was not his primary goal.

i found that frustrating, but it's why we made whatever progress we made under his administration.

he wasn't there to make people like me feel all happy and victorious. he was there to get stuff done. that's a good goal for a POTUS.

obama was probably the least ideological POTUS

Cause he was there to serve the banksters and set himself up for the payoff after he left. I agree there wasn't much ideology, just cynicism, cruelty and greed.

"it takes a special kind of blinders to look at hundreds of years of history and conclude that obama was the cause of a decline in black wealth."

Well, as Bruenig says, the black upper class did very well. 200 years of racism has little to do with the systematic transfer of mortgage equity from the black working class to the banksters, this time under black leadership. Although Coates does show in his study of redlining in Chicago, where Obama could have learned the practice.

"Cause he was there to serve the banksters and set himself up for the payoff after he left"

Somebody tell Marty that bob swiped his mind-reading tinfoil hat, m'kay?

Don't need to read his mind, in Obama's own words to Wall Street, quoted in the great article linked at 6:11:

“My administration,” Obama noted, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

He was proud of whose interests he served, and made sure it was public knowledge.

lol

“My administration,” Obama noted, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Which was, quite simply, true. And, if you were paying attention, was him explaining to them why he was NOT serving their interests in the way to which they were accustomed.

But hey, if it doesn't fit the ideological narrative, ignore it. It works for the far right, after all, why not for a Marxist, too.

Cause he was there to serve the banksters

The plain fact of the matter is that the federal government is, at this point, extraordinarily beholden to the interests of capital. That's not something Obama created, it's not something he had any possibility of solving. It was the water he swam in, happily or not.

The force of institutional and structural inertia is something I would think you, of all folks here, would grok.

There are things we could do to change that. We don't seem to be highly interested in doing so. I don't know why, it is frankly a mystery to me.

But at this point in time, you don't pass go without accommodating the banksters. Maybe you could achieve House Rep. Maybe Senator, although I think the available Senatorial slots for folks who want to school the banksters is probably full. You're not going to achieve POTUS.

That's all FUBAR and may end up corroding the public institutions and functions of this country beyond repair. But it's hard for me to single out Obama as being especially responsible for it.

Work with the banksters and be POTUS, or go after them hammer and tongs and be... not POTUS.

I guess we could just burn it all down, but I don't think there's a big constituency for that.

Since the French Revolution, there has always been an issue on the Left regarding effectuating our goals in light of actually existing political reality. It's not every day you have revolutionary circumstances like 1917 Petrograd, or 1930's China.

cf "propaganda by the deed" back in the 19th century, Stalin's decree during Weimar that the Social Democrats were the main enemy-not the nazis, and the rather disappointing outbreaks of political narcissism we have witnessed lately with our rather embarrassing Green Party headed by somebody who cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be called a Leftist (Sir Ralph) or an un-elected anti-vaxer.

(They don't have this problem so much on the right, because as a rule, they are already running things) :)

Certainly the Dems, as currently constituted, are too beholden to corporate/elite constituencies.

But that sick gaggle of tens of millions of voters is the best tool we have. It is a tool that has been moving consistently more to the left since the days when the conservative segregationists were forced out.

So use it already.

The time for the shiny object of social revolution is not yet apparent to this observer.

But that sick gaggle of tens of millions of voters is the best tool we have.

yep.

One of those pieces that points out something obvious that everyone ignores

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/11/trump-russia-bush-saudi-arabia

Here is an argument that Obama should have gone after the banksters.

http://www.ianwelsh.net/could-obama-have-fixed-the-economy/

This makes sense to me. If you ever had a chance to do it, 2009 was it. If you fail, you fail. But people will see someone trying to prosecute the scum who nearly wrecked the global economy.

This doesn’t mean I endorse everything said in the link. I don’t know enough. But trying to prosecute the banksters and breaking up the too big to fail banks seems like something worth risking a one term Presidency to do.

There are powers above and beyond what we can comprehend. We have no idea what we are up against, the sheer killing ruthlessness of it.

No one survives taking them on. If it happens to be a nigger, even if he hosts them at the White House, which is even more of an affront to their fucked up, self-righteous, purely American sensibilities, all the more reason to fuck America up its ass.

Fuck you, republicans.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/12/5/1721381/-House-Republicans-want-to-end-student-loan-forgiveness-for-people-in-public-service

Do you see the deadly catastrophe coming to the filth in the conservative movement?

Have you watched the flames in California?

That's a preview for America.

A couple of contrarian observations about Donald's links

To explain the Jacobin article, it's just like Tessio in the Godfather 'It was never personal'. The Saudis are paying extremists not because it is personal (I wouldn't be surprised that we know a lot about this because we used the Saudis as cut outs), but because they are looking to find ways to extend their interest. I don't say this to dismiss the article, but when you think of the system of national governments as a mafia that may want to have an accident happen at various times to various heads of states, you can see why Saudi Arabia is still a member of the family.

As for the second link, If Obama had been willing to be a one-term president, he could have done that, but he had no intention of being a one term president. It would have been better if Obama had been in his second term and he just said 'screw it', but still going into his first term, he's not going to go out in a blaze of glory. At least that is my take on this. People don't run for president to become one-term presidents, so you've already selected for people who are more willing to go along to get along. I'm also of the opinion that Obama had a lot less wiggle room, certainly than FDR or Reagan, which I've said any number of times before.

If you ever had a chance to do it, 2009 was it.

yep.

There are powers above and beyond what we can comprehend.

agreed.

I'm also of the opinion that Obama had a lot less wiggle room, certainly than FDR or Reagan

the fundamental fact of the Obama presidency.

Bank bailout: The first $700b of bailout money was handed out to the banks by Bush. The Fed's holding of billions of bad paper at par on their balance sheet continues the bailout to this day.

The housing crash was a deep systemic shock to the FIRE sector, but nothing like the total collapse of the first couple years of the Great Depression.

The Saudis are paying extremists not because it is personal (I wouldn't be surprised that we know a lot about this because we used the Saudis as cut outs), but because they are looking to find ways to extend their interest.

For anyone who isn't already aware, the background here is that, a century ago, Abdulaziz Al Saud made a deal with the devil. In exchange for clerical support in his taking over the Arabian Peninsula (founding Saudi Arabia), he would support them in pushing their ultra-fundamentalist version of Islam (Wahhabism). With lots of money from oil, they have been able fund massive proselytizing efforts around the world.

But today, the Saudi royal family find that they can't get off the tiger. Most of the ibn Saud family, and educated Saudis generally, have Western educations and can function just fine in the modern world. But that is not at all true of the Wahhabist clerics. And the Saudi royal family doesn't see that they can maintain their legitimacy without the clerics' support.

THAT's where their interests lie. Not in pushing fundamentalist Islam. Not in funding terrorism. Not even in being the biggest regional power (although they certainly don't mind that). But in staying in power at home.

Here is an argument that Obama should have gone after the banksters.

...

This makes sense to me. If you ever had a chance to do it, 2009 was it

It seems to me that Obama had a choice. He didn't have unlimited political capital. He could either go after the banks or vastly expand health care. He could NOT successfully do both -- in fact trying to do both would probably result in achieving neither.

So he made a choice. You can argue that he should have made a different one. You cannot plausibly argue that he should be faulted for not doing both.

over at LGM, there's a 'law' known as Murc's Law: only Democrats have agency. it's a good law.

you can see it in action when people complain that the Dems should have been able to stop the GOP's tax bill. the GOP is just a dumb animal, the Dems can choose to let it piss on the rug or they can stop it from pissing on the rug.

there's a similar (but unnamed) law with respect to Presidents: everything that happens on a President's watch happened because he wanted it to happen. only Presidents have agency.

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