Last week, David Axelrod told Sam Stein of the Huffington Post that Obama was going to back down on the Bush tax cuts.
President Barack Obama's top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.
That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week's electoral defeat.
"We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. "The world of what it takes to get this done."
"There are concerns," he added, that Congress will continue to kick the can down the road in the future by passing temporary extensions for the wealthy time and time again. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."
It has been widely assumed that the president would have to accept an across-the-board deal of some kind, but Axelrod's remarks were the first public confirmation of that fact -- and by a figure regarded as closer to Obama than any other White House staffer.
Axelrod, on FOX News Sunday this morning, went wobbly on his previous statements.
[C]ontra what he told our Sam Stein, Axelrod says that Obama's position has not changed on tax cuts, he rules out a permanent extension of ALL the tax cuts. Just an extension of the "middle class" tax cuts. We don't have the money to spend on "millionaires and billionaires," he says. But what about a TEMPORARY extension of those upper level tax cuts? Axelrod says he "won't negotiate" that on the air. (He also won't answer that question...so, I guess the White House is open to it?)
Wallace goes fishing, and gets Axelrod to say that middle class tax cuts should continue, but we cannot "afford to permanently extend the tax cuts" on those upper income earners.
Let me translate from the original bullshit: The White House would LIKE to keep the "middle class tax cuts" and end "permanently" the tax cuts on the rich. But they'd probably compromise on a "temporary" extension of the latter. They have no leverage, though, AT ALL, because they gave all that up by punting before the election. So, they'll be forced to accept a "permanent" extension of all. And the policy people will say, "Veto that sucker" and the political people will sigh and say, "Sign that please." And who wins those fights?
Of course, the folks at the Huffington Post have an Axe to grind, given Axelrod's exploitation of the outlet for the White House's trial balloon.
Axelrod also was on Meet the Press today talking taxes.
President Barack Obama will not go along with a permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest, presidential adviser David Axelrod said on Sunday, without closing the door to a temporary continuation.
"There's no bend on the permanent extension of tax cuts" for the wealthiest, a Republican proposal that Obama has long opposed, Axelrod said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
He did not respond directly when asked whether Obama would agree to tax legislation that couples a temporary extension for top earners with making permanent the current breaks for the middle-class.
"We are looking forward to sitting down with (congressional) leaders," Axelrod said. Obama has invited a bipartisan group of congressional leaders to dinner at the White House this week.
Forget the class warfare. Raising taxes is no way to stimulate the economy.
Obama is so busy playing politics that he's failing miserably as an effective executive.