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Obama and the Bush Tax Cuts—This Time With Feeling

In honor of Obama’s opening gambit on the Bush tax cuts, a brief reminiscence from late 2010, the last time he found himself in this position. From my favorite book on the subject:

By the time the White House turned to strategizing for the Bush tax cut showdown that began later in November, almost the entire political and economic team had concluded that the way to proceed was with an aggressive opening bid: say, insisting that the upper income tax cuts expire while all the middle-class cuts stay in place. This would put pressure on Republicans and give Democrats leverage in striking the eventual deal. Only the president disagreed, opting to go straight to the negotiation without the political salesmanship beforehand. “His argument was, look, if we’ve already decided that we’ve got to get a deal—that we’re not willing to [let taxes go up for everyone]—then we ought to actually try to engage in something serious,” said a top White House aide.

Good to see that the president is willing to be a bit less serious this time around. 

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