Smart Politics by Barack Obama: Middle-Class Tax Cuts Are Good for Democrats, the Economy

Obama needs to persuade the Democrats and the GOP to pass the tax cuts quickly.

By + More

By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

As I have reasoned here before, Barack Obama's now unofficially announced decision to put a popular middle-class tax cut in the upcoming economic stimulus package looks like smart politics.

He's keeping his campaign vow to cut taxes.

He's stimulating the economy.

He's using the tax cut as an offering to win Republican votes for the stimulus deal—or, if they turn him down, to appear to the country as a reasonable centrist bedeviled by GOP extremists.

He's making the package more appealing to conservative Democrats, whose ranks have swelled in the last two elections, and will have this to take home to their more moderate constituencies in the purple states and districts.

And by packaging the tax cut with other sweeteners in a time of fiscal crisis, Obama may avoid a months-long war (with the media ruthlessly keeping score) with GOP obstructionists over every obscure clause and comma of a stand-alone tax bill.

The key, of course, is to get it done quickly.

And I'm thinking that this puts the ladies from Maine—and maybe our old pals John McCain and Joe Lieberman—in mighty good bargaining positions.

  • Read more by John Aloysius Farrell.
  • Read more from the Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
  • Read more about the economy.
  • Read more about the Obama administration.
  • Read more about the Obama transition.
  • Read more about taxes.