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Froma Harrop
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Monday 14 January 2013
This time, he suppressed the urge to publicly consider raising the Medicare eligibility age and, meanwhile, President Obama put off the clash over entitlements for another day.

Left Should Know, Obama Did Good

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To my friends on the left: This one's for you.

Your grumbling that President Obama again gave away the store to Republicans is unwarranted. The deal to evade the fiscal cliff was no repeat of the debt-ceiling fiasco of 2011, when Obama famously bargained with himself. This time, he suppressed the urge to publicly consider raising the Medicare eligibility age. Meanwhile, he put off the clash over entitlements for another day.

Obama did cave or compromise (pick your term) on his earlier resolve to let Bush tax cuts expire for households earning over $250,000. The final package sets $450,000 as the cutoff.

The right wing's tactic of negotiating while holding a knife to the economy's throat may have blinded the left to noting that, while good theater, it is not very effective. It is also most unpopular.

By putting off dramatic cuts in spending and raising taxes only on the most cushioned Americans, Obama has avoided what made the fiscal cliff so scary—the specter of draining over $500 billion from a still-weak economy. A second round of recession could have followed, with the blame bouncing back to Obama and the Democrats.

Some liberals balk at setting such a high income level for letting income-tax rates rise. They are correct that more people should be paying more taxes. But they should understand that taxation is partly a mind game. Breaking through the right's icebound stand that taxes should not rise for anyone ever was no mean achievement.

Complaints that this and only a handful of other tax changes basically enshrine the reckless tax-cutting of the Bush era miss the point. Nothing is forever, and now the very rich have less incentive to propagandize against raising taxes lower down the income scale as a means to protect their own rates.

Be mindful that support for government programs, such as Medicare, depends on more than the level of benefits provided. It also relies on taxpayers feeling they are getting more value for their dollars—and that the money is there. Obama has been taking quiet steps to start restoring fiscal balance, while preserving the essence of worthy government programs. These changes haven't grabbed the big headlines, but over time, they will build confidence that America can have well-run public programs and fiscal sanity at the same time. Some examples:

This week's fiscal deal continues the good fight, started by the Affordable Care Act, to curb waste and abuse in health care spending. For instance, it lowers Medicare payments to doctors who give more than one therapy session to a single patient in a single day. At the same time, it stopped the scheduled 26.5 percent cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, guarding patients' access to care.

Obama may nominate Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, another move toward rethinking priorities. The former Republican senator from Nebraska has long questioned America's bloated defense budgets and penchant for carelessly sending Americans into foreign battle. A decorated Vietnam veteran, fiscal conservative and independent thinker, Hagel has the credibility to oversee paring the defense budget in a rational way.

Another reason for optimism is Obama's statement that he will not let anyone use threats to America's credit ratings as a bargaining tool, as he did in 2011. "While I will negotiate over many things," he said, "I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills they've already racked up through the laws they have passed." Mr. President, hold that thought.

As a final reality test, my unhappy liberal friends, listen to the groaning on the right. Do that, and you'll conclude: Obama did good.


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ABOUT Froma Harrop
Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Seattle Times, Denver Post and Newsday. The twice-a-week column is distributed by Creators Syndicate, in Los Angeles. Harrop has written for numerous other publications, ranging from The New York Times and Institutional Investor, to Harper’s Bazaar and Metropolitan Home. Previously, she covered business for Reuters Ltd., in New York, and was a financial editor for The New York Times News Service. A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary, Harrop was also honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Over the years, the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has named her for five awards.

What the authors points out

What the authors points out here is that some of the "growing up" on the streets of chicago is finally starting to show in Ho'Bama. In 2011 he was way to much of a Havard silver spoon sissy about dealing with congressional terrorism and peed his pants when they stuck a knife to his throat. Now he just may do what a street wise street kid would do when the cancervatives sneek up from behind and stick a knife to his throat demanding our lunch money this time, elbow the dombf%^&s in the ribs and kick 'em where it hurts.
Such would be great, but his wall st supreme white masters won't let him and he'll just have to cry uncle when they tell him to "bend over boy."

He's still a jerk. Romney

He's still a jerk. Romney would have been worse, but it would be better to have anyone elected to any position who is not either republican or democrat. They are sold out. When elected they DO damage you.

Subconscious paradigms of virtually every govt office holder include that we are basically doing the right thing. Reps want to keep all the money in the hands of those that least need it, by taking it away from the people that enable the rich parasitic classes to factually BE wealthy. No workers, no markets, no wealth. Period.

Dems don't think we should be able to spend our own money. Tax the sheeeit out of everyone, and regulate them to be nice the way the "vision" says they should be. Lemmings. Politically correct. blah, blah.

O lies. Said he would label GMOs - never even tried. He DID however appoint GMO corporation people into positions to further prevent that from ever happening - and your kidney and liver cells die as we speak. Your soils provide worse nutrition than virtually anywhere on the planet.

He wants to take away what little work there is and give it to people that aren't even supposed to legally be in the country. Theoretically O is a lawyer, but he apparently doesn't understand the basic concept of illegality. He tries to make it legal to hire aliens. Our LAW states that "aiding and abetting the hiring of an illegal alien " is a felony offense. If congress & O push this sheeit through, they are felons. There are actually many very valid reasons that we need to get rid of the illegal aliens that live and commit crimes in every state in the union.

He is just the same old pile of crappp in a different flavored wrapper.

PREJUDICE has rendered the

PREJUDICE has rendered the Republicans and conservatives ignorant with blinders about the way the Republican controlled house of representatives has basically suppressed any Economic growth since President Obama won the election in 2008. I consider all of the Republicans TRAITORS to Democracy since they have abandoned the oath they took to support the Constitution but have instead chosen to bow and scrape to Grover Norquist, whoever the hell he thinks he is. I would like to sue the Republican Party members in congress for dereliction of duty by not honoring the oath to this Nation and instead giving their allegiance to an entity outside the government whose intent is to over throw the government.

, he suppressed the urge to

, he suppressed the urge to publicly consider raising the Medicare eligibility age. ??? That and the cut to the SOCIAL SECURITY C.O.L.A. were both on the table when john boehner got up and walked out for his plan "B" When the TEA PARTY refused to go along - because the deal was that after the midnight end of the BUSH TAX CUTS they would re-write them - so they wouldn't look as if they were signing on for a tax increase.......
Obama did cave or compromise (pick your term) on his earlier resolve to let Bush tax cuts expire for households earning over $250,000. The final package sets $450,000 as the cutoff. PERMANENT TAX CUTS
and as our president already approved them for the Fiscal Cliff -
JUST LIKE THE AID FOR SUPER STORM SANDY - APPRIVED 60 BILLION DOLLARS IN THE SENATE >>>> THE HOUSE GOT UP AND WALKED OUT, and what did they say - they woould approve 17 billion dollars ?????

I wish the author would

I wish the author would explain. I can't wrap my mind around this one, but maybe that's because I'm not looking to make excuses for the president. Can someone explain:
"Complaints that this and only a handful of other tax changes basically enshrine the reckless tax-cutting of the Bush era miss the point. Nothing is forever, and now the very rich have less incentive to propagandize against raising taxes lower down the income scale as a means to protect their own rates."

on taxes bho got 99% now is

on taxes bho got 99% now is time to give up 1 day of golfand come up some cuts

[quote] "Another reason for

"Another reason for optimism is Obama’s statement that he will not let anyone use threats to America’s credit ratings as a bargaining tool, as he did in 2011."

Seriously? Obama has made too many promises to count. The number he's actually kept, however, is much easy to keep track of.... zero!

I'm disturbed that Nation of

I'm disturbed that Nation of Change would post this left-chastising centrist crap.

We are deluged elsewhere with Obama Dem propaganda and it's cheerleaders and duped fans. If we want insults designed to further marginalize the left and silence criticism of Obama, we can use the National Memo website or reread the text of Obama's press secretary telling the nation the left is a crybaby not to be indulged.

Were it the case that Obama was at all less accommodating of the right in regards to "fiscal cliff", it is at least in part a consequence of the left growing more vocal in its criticism.

But those of us pressing for real change and a hard-left turn contend Obama gave us more of the same old duplicitous and right-shifted centrist appeasements. The difference between repeal of the Bush cuts at $250K versus $400K is not negligible, and $250K was the only specific position he campaigned on.

But more importantly, he has not once nor does he now make it plain to the public -- much less take to the bully pulpit to rail against -- the just-passed repeal of the Bush cuts above $400K preserves TWO THIRDS of the huge cut the wealthy got with Reagan, which cut explains a large portion of the present and future deficit as well as the obscene transfer of income and wealth from the many to the few.

Harrop argues Obama did good preserving the ongoing transfer of wealth from the many to the few.

I am puzzled by the "coincidence" of this article in N of C and one just yesterday ("The End of Pasta?") propagating the nonsensical views of a climate-change minimizer.

I agree with you, Greg, that

I agree with you, Greg, that it was a push from the left that kept the fiscal "cliff" talks from moving further to the right, not some new found progressive thought in the White House . . . remember who initially put the chained-CPI for Social Security on the table in this latest round . . . t'weren't the Republicans . . . .only hollering from our side stopped such a ridiculous offer.

Does the president have an unenviable job? Yes. Is he faced with working with the strangest, most disconnected, and ill-informed Congress in my lifetime? Most certainly. Has he used his significant rhetorical skills (outside of elections) to support, promote, and encourage the active involvement of average citizens in the issues of the day while capturing the media agenda? Absolutely not. He's ignoring (and his staff are condemning) the only ace card he has to counter the loons on the right: the public.

Never mind all the junk talk

Never mind all the junk talk around the whole American financial republic ending debt scene; impeach Obama as a war criminal as a warning to the others who perpetrate crimes against humanity be they financial, by subterfuge, or the physical acts of torture and war.

The following statement is an

The following statement is an absolute truth:
"Capitalism is now an ideology pure and simple, with a propaganda boilerplate and patter all its own. It is used to camouflage the real truth, which is that Congress has sold out to corporate interests; that members of Congress are bought and sold in a behind-the-scenes market where votes and money are constantly traded; that America's megabanks and corporations do not believe in competition but obsessively seek market-distorting tax favors, subsidies, federal rulings allowing "venture capitalists" to gobble up or destroy competitors and drive small businesses into extinction." The first step that is urgently needed to correct this shameful situation is to initiate a massive grass roots movement by getting enough signatures on the petition by clicking on or copying and pasting into your browser -

Let us all get our heads out of the sand and recognize finally that we no longer have a Democracy (government of the people by the people and for the people). What we do actually have is Plutocracy (government of the people by the lobbyists for the rich and powerful corporations, banks and individuals).

So, the remedy is obvious. Take the money out of politics so that members of Congress will be responsible only to the people that voted for them. To accomplish this it will require a massive grass roots movement by the majority of our citizens that can be started when they have all signed the petition at -

If clicking on the link does not work copy and paste it into your browser.

There never was a "fiscal

There never was a "fiscal cliff" that's a load of baloney. We have been on a credit system ever since we were taken off of real money years ago starting a "fiscal bubble" that continues to grow. Fiscal cliff malarkey was started to put more fear into the American people so they would be grateful that they got their taxes raised again, and the rich won't have to pay their fair share, but we can all breathe a sigh of relief that some great tragedy was avoided. What a crock.
Neither party wants the deficit gone, because then the corporate banks can't haul in trillions in interest on it, and that's who the democrats and republicans represent, not the people.

Yes. The fiscal cliff is a

Yes. The fiscal cliff is a load of boloney for all the reasons you stated. Maybe some inroads can be made to get rid of that nonsense. I do not think it will disappear in this administration but it will be interesting if Obama holds fast against this hostage taking.

This sounds like propaganda

This sounds like propaganda distributed by the white house. Unfortunately, I think what we are seeing here is the beginning of the sell out of the people by the President and the Democratic party. I might be wrong but I have the feeling that Obama is going to take the Wall Street bribe and assume the Uncle Tom stance like Clarance Thomas does so obviously every day.

Thank you Froma Harrop.

Thank you Froma Harrop. Granted there is a lot left to be done. The president as much as admitted in his press conference today that the citizens cannot reward their representatives with their votes next time if they hold such fixed views. Mr. Chet Dude would have us think that ANY president can again dare to go on a crusade against dark powers much like Robert Kennedy. I personally am thrilled to have such a skilled president in these conditions and when I hear the right scream about this president being a socialist, I know that Obama is hitting some fanatic's nerve with another action. The right wing is so intractable, that is why you hear this "executive order" thing floated so much. Obama cannot afford to over use this, but he will use it. We need to elect another president like him in 2016.

For once, I'm speechless at

For once, I'm speechless at this disingenuous "article"...

It's so riddled by a bizarre undercurrent of mindless belief in the fairy dust that is the "global economy" and "capitalist thought" (an amazingly oxymoronic concept) that it's difficult to know where to begin...

Maybe at the end...the far right is howling because Obama didn't defund Planned Parenthood, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid outright. They're pissed because he's only destroying the Social Safety net a piece at a time -- not nearly fast enough for them...

As for the "debt" and "credit rating" nonsense, where else are the capitalists of the globe going to safely park their ill-gotten gains?

Ah, I notice that the author has ever been a "business writer" -- that explains the stunning level of myopia displayed by this screed...

(I, for one, am glad that Nation of Change has been printing these sorts of articles lately ... it's good to know what the "enemy" is "thinking". Keep 'em coming - in moderation...)

Another good sign is that

Another good sign is that Obama has nominated Hagel for Secretary of Defense. It's a good sign that we'll pull out of these unnecessary and expensive wars. The budget that has grown the fastest is the Pentagon's, and with it corporate welfare and wasteful spending. It's the very first thing that should be cut.

I'll bet you $1000 to $100

I'll bet you $1000 to $100 that the execrable war budget will NOT DROP AT ALL over the next 4 years...

A pretty safe bet since Obama has only INCREASED the total war budgets over his last 4 years...

We could have used whatever you're smoking back in the 60s...

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