In the Arena

Childish Tax Things

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It seems to me that President Obama is doing just about the right amount of consulting with Republicans over the big stimulus package, given that the Republicans are promoting a theory of economic expansion–tax cuts uber alles–that not only has been proven defective in recent years (last year’s attempt at short-term stimulus didn’t work), but also runs counter to the larger goal of the package: to build a more efficient, green, digital, fiber-optic economy of the future. 

According to the Washington Post, Obama seems to have made some appropriate adjustments to the package that may please Republicans and also keep to the larger goal–like a tripling of tax incentives for alternative energy projects. But I’m not so sure how much farther than that he should go, especially when it comes to indulging the Republican disdain for long-term thinking. Indeed, in the purest political terms, anything that Obama can do to cause House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner to complain publicly seems a terrific idea–the guy makes a fool of himself, in an anachronistic Era of Acrimony sort of way, almost every time he opens his mouth. His latest, after meeting with Obama Friday, was to complain that there was some money in the plan to fund the production of condoms. I’m all for that, by the way–and I’m sure Boehner would be too, if a new condom factory were planned for his Ohio district (which might not be a bad idea).