From Evan Thomas, now of Politico, on the President’s State of the Union address. Not surprising but worth noting.
Yeah, I agree with all of it. It was a disheartening speech. It was a pathetic speech, really. I mean, here he’s got, the President of the United States needs a mandate for rebuilding the infrastructure, for getting control of the deficit, for tax reform. So what does he talk about? Raising taxes on millionaires, which I guess you have to do, but it is a tiny problem compared to all the others. And so he is running on sort of cheap pandering. And I’m sure the speech was well written, and it was sort of vaguely moving at the end when he talked about the military, but it was overall a pathetic speech.
I admit I was a little stunned by the fatuousness of Thomas’s statement, not that he has to like President Obama’s speech but the idea that higher tax rates for the very wealthy doesn’t figure into deficit reduction, infrastructure building and tax reform is just facile and dumb.
TPM Reader HW adds some more thoughts.
How does Evan Thomas expect deficit reduction, tax reform and big investments in infrastructure to actually happen if the people in this country who earn the majority of the income pay a tax rate of less than 14% annually? Does he want Obama to propose a magic set of spending cuts that will pay for all these things and at the same time be wildly popular? Do these pain caucus DC politicos really imagine that there is a vast pile of government benefits being strewn around the country and held in mattresses, and if only a centrist President would give a fantastic speech that doesn’t offend their upper class friends, that money will be readily available? I wonder what Evan Thomas’s grandfather would think of this nonsense.
The funny thing is, these same people will talk about us becoming Greece. They might note that one of the biggest fiscal problems Greece has is that people there do not pay taxes. So, if you are really sweating about becoming Greece, maybe tax fairness is PRECISELY the issue you should want Obama to talk about. Of course, what is the ratio of public employees and lower income retirees in Evan Thomas’s social circle vs. wealthy taxpayers? I suspect that ratio explains most of not all of this beltway point of view.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.