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Game On: President Obama’s Buffett Rule Versus Bush-Romney
George Bush is back to remind everyone that he “dramatically raised the deficit.” Lawrence O’Donnell observed that Bush’s appearance is a huge gift to the President and the Buffett Rule. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is pushing the same old Bush policies that got us into the mess.
Watch here via MSNBC:
Transcript via MSNBC:
O’DONNELL: Yes, he’s back. The man who Mitt Romney tries to pretend doesn’t exist appeared in New York, of all places, today, and helped remind the country how he piled budget deficit on top of budget deficit and dramatically increased the national debt.
BUSH: If you raise taxes — in other words, if you let the — I wish they weren’t called the Bush Tax Cuts. If they were called some other body’s tax cuts, they would probably be less likely to be raised. But if you raise — if you raise taxes, you’re taking money out of the pockets of consumers.
O’DONNELL: But they are not called the some other body’s tax cuts. And as it happened, former President Bush perfectly teed up the tax issue for President Obama today in Florida.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We’ve got to choose which direction we want this country to go in. Do we want to keep giving those tax breaks to folks like me who don’t need them, or to give them to Warren Buffett? He definitely doesn’t need them. Or Bill Gates. He’s already said, I don’t need them. Or do we want to keep investing in those things that keep our economy growing and keep us secure? That’s the choice.
O’DONNELL: Joining me now, Karen Finney, former DNC communications director and an MSNBC political analyst. Karen, you got yourself one lucky president there today.
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It’s luck of the Irish, Lawrence.
O’DONNELL: Trying to get attention to taxes, which is not America’s favorite subject to hear politicians talk about. And there’s President Bush reminding everybody where we got in this fiscal trouble, because I started it, with these gigantic tax cuts, especially the tax cuts at the top end, for the very richest taxpayers. Helps really underline the point President Obama’s trying to make today.
FINNEY: Absolutely. Anytime President Bush is out there, it helps underscore that point. But today, he really did tee it up on a silver platter by even admitting, like, I wish it weren’t even named after me. My goodness. You know, the other thing, when you talk about trickle-down economics, who does that make you think of? The other Bush. It sort of makes this point that President Obama has made, that time and again, when we’ve tried it their way, it didn’t work. Now we’ve got to try something different. When we tried it Bill Clinton’s way, things worked out a little bit better. So why don’t we try it this way and things should work out a little bit better.
You’d almost think that George W Bush didn’t like Mitt Romney. It was super cruel of him to pop up from hiding on the one day when Mitt got a little traction from Santorum’s suspension of his campaign. But that’s Bush; always in hiding when he’s needed and always popping up when he’s least wanted.
The former President’s appearance yesterday coincided with President Obama’s rousing speech on the Buffett Rule in Florida, and served to highlight the exact reason why Obama is out there talking up fairness in economic policy.
If watching Bush brought back President-out-of-touch PTSD, be sure to catch President Obama’s inspiring speech yesterday about why it’s important to have policies that reflect equal opportunity and fairness:
In explaining why he was supporting the Buffett Rule, the President said:
But I also know that the future can be uncertain. Now, we’ve gone through the three toughest years in our lifetimes, economically — worst financial crisis, worst economic crisis…
So at a time like this, we’ve got to ask ourselves a central, fundamental question as a nation: What do we have to do to make sure that America is a place where, if you work hard, if you’re responsible, that that hard work and that responsibility pays off? And the reason it’s important to ask this question right now is because there are alternative theories.
There’s a debate going on in this country right now: Could we succeed as a nation where a shrinking number of people are doing really, really well, but a growing number are struggling to get by?
Or are we better off when everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does a fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules? …
In this country, prosperity has never trickled down from the wealthy few. Prosperity has always come from the bottom up, from a strong and growing middle class.
Conservatives like to pretend that the Bush recession is Obama’s fault; they deny the reality that the economy started into recession in 2007 and in late 2008, while Obama and McCain were still campaigning, took the sharpest decline in decades. It was a terrifying time; images of runs on banks and total destruction of our economy were not far-fetched fears.
It’s three and a half years later, and while the stimulus staved off the worst of it, it wasn’t enough. Republicans forced austerity measures and demanded that the Bush tax cuts stay in effect, while at the same time demanding the deficit that their President created finally be addressed. Republicans were willing to put our country’s credit rating on the line, in fact, to get that deficit that Bush didn’t care about addressed. Our credit rating took a hit for that stunt, just like our savings and retirement accounts took a huge hit for Bush’s deregulation.
Mitt Romney is out there trying to sell himself as a businessman who understands the economy and can “fix” it with the same policies (only more extreme) as Bush’s. He’s never answered why it would work under him when it didn’t work under Bush. Nor has he addressed why the economy is getting better, albeit it slowly, under Obama.
Let this serve as a reminder to one and all that you must vote. You must get your friends and family to vote. You must volunteer or make a donation or drive someone to the polls. We all have to get involved, because the mere hint of another Bush term per Mitt Romney is enough to kill hope for good.