1. I suppose that it is easy for Republicans to pop popcorn and watch as Democrats tear each other apart. More on that issue here. But there are serious policy issues to deal with here. As I have written before, extending the Bush tax cuts for two years is nothing compared to the palliative effects of a permanent extension, per the findings of Milton Friedman’s permanent income hypothesis. But it would be disastrous to allow distortionary taxes to increase in this incredibly weak economy. As such, the President should ally with Republicans and try to pass the tax plan with Republican votes–assuming that he is able to get Nancy Pelosi to agree that at the very least, the plan deserves a vote in the House.
Of course, if he fails to do that, and if Democrats allow taxes to be increased for everyone at the end of this year, the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats will deserve all of the blame they get in the event that an even weaker economic situation eventuates.
2. We need some kind of immigration reform, and we are not going to round up 12 million illegal immigrants to kick out of America. Thus, while the Senate can refuse to pass the DREAM Act, the problem is not going away. Bill Clinton once said that the solution to Middle East peace was clear, and that everyone knew what it would require. We would just have to wait until people got tired of the situation being awful in order to implement the solution everyone knows will have to be implemented. The same, I think, can be said of immigration reform. Eventually, we’ll end up doing something along the lines of what the DREAM Act would have us do, once we have exhausted all other alternatives, and once we come to believe that the situation has reached a crisis point.
3. I continue to wonder why it is that we won’t let patriotic gays and lesbians serve in the military. There is no excuse whatsoever for continuing to try to resist the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.