A meeting between President Barack Obama and Congressional representatives originally scheduled to be held on Thursday has been postponed until Nov. 30, the White House said on Wednesday, signaling consensus on the extension of Bush-era tax cuts eluded leaders at the Capitol.
While the Republicans are united in their demand to extend the tax cuts, which were introduced in 2001 and 2003, to all people, the majority of Democrats are against extending benefits for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning more than $250,000.
The tax cuts are scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, and both sides desperately want to reach accord on the issue before then, lest the taxpayers will be forced to cough up more in taxes next year.
However, it's the house of Democrats that's facing a critical political dilemma. The Democratic ambivalence was evident in the White House position last week, suggesting the President would be willing to negotiate a compromise with the Republicans.
White House adviser David Axelrod's statement last week that the President might support a temporary extension of the tax breaks for the high-income group invited the wrath of Democratic circles, especially from the more left-leaning peripheral Democratic supporters.
The view that a Democratic White House could cede to the Republican demand to extend tax cuts for the wealthy was unpalatable for them, in spite of Obama's assurance that his position hadn't changed essentially. The White House had clarified that the administration wanted permanent extension of the tax cuts only for the middle class.
Michael Moore, who represents the left-leaning Democratic supporters, came down heavily on the President, saying Obama was too soft towards the Republicans.
“I would like to say to him with all due respect to please take off your pink tutu, because it’s time to put on the boxing gloves and go fighting for the people,” Moore said while speaking on HBO’s Bill Maher show.
The Centre for Research and Globalization, a Montreal-based independent research and media organization, terms the Democrat's perceived lenience to the rich as a 'sell-out and says Obama's promise to rise above partisan politics has gone beyond that benign goal and become a tool in the hands of the Republicans.
The article, written by Prof. Michael Hudson, says: Now that President Obama is almost celebrating his bipartisan willingness to renew the tax cuts for the super-rich enacted under George Bush ten years ago, it is time for Democrats to ask themselves how strongly they are willing to oppose an administration that looks like Bush-Cheney III.
Obviously, what has angered the leftist support base of the Democratic party is the suggestion by the White House that the administration might be willing to negotiate a compromise with the Republicans and possibly agree to a temporary extension of tax cuts for the super rich.
No gauntlet has been thrown down over the trial balloon that the president and his advisor David Axelrod have sent up over the past two weeks to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent for “just” two more years. For all practical purposes the euphemism “two years” means forever – at least, long enough to let the super-rich siphon off enough more money to bankroll enough more Republicans to be elected to make the tax cuts permanent,” the article says.