THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
PRESIDENT CAUGHT IN PARTISAN PUSH AND PULL

Democrats pick an odd time to grow a spine

December 11, 2010

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RE “DEMOCRATS rip Obama, look to alter tax cut deal’’ (Page A1, Dec. 9) by Matt Viser: While I am to the left of center, I also consider myself a realist. Compromise is often necessary for a greater good, and this is not the time for what amounts to a battle of ideological purity.

We do not live in a classroom or a Washington think tank. These issues are not hypothetical. We’re talking about desperately needed unemployment benefits being held hostage by a newly empowered Republican bloc. This is weighted against maintaining a status quo on taxes. The GOP effectively used fiscal responsibility (no extension without funding) as a Trojan horse for what they really wanted: a continuation of tax breaks.

The Democrats have picked an interesting time to become vertebrates. A semi-informed public leapt onto the Democrats’ populist outrage at tax cuts for millionaires — a phrase repeated constantly, though the cutoff for tax benefits is a household income of $250,000, which is not exactly poverty, and is a longer way from $1 million than it is from $50,000. Had the party showed more backbone the past two years, its members wouldn’t be faced with such an unpleasant choice in the first place. To cry foul under these circumstances is not in the public interest.

Alan Gold
Portsmouth, N.H.