A New Kind of Grand Bargain


Alex Pareene noticed this, too, but something I wanted to highlight is the fact that the president’s calling his new proposal — a cut to corporate tax rates in exchange for using the freed-up money to fund infrastructure and jobs programs — a grand bargain.  As Pareene writes, this is actually a redefinition of the term:

In the usual “grand bargain,” liberals are supposed to cave on a major priority — spending on social insurance — in exchange for a conservative “centrist” priority — modest “tax reform” that, in the usual formulation, lowers rates. Obama will propose what is supposed to be a major conservative priority — cutting the corporate tax rate — in exchange for things that will actually help people[.]

It’s less appreciated now, because after more than four years it’s now evident that Team Obama is far from infallible, but there was a time, around four years ago, when one of Obama’s most celebrated rhetorical tricks was to redefine the center-left as the center. This latest grand bargain framing looks to me like a textbook example of that.

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One thought on “A New Kind of Grand Bargain

  1. I’d like to ask Ethan if your view of this – and Pareene’s – constitutes further evidence of Obama being “adrift”. But since this is your post, Elias, I won’t ask that.

    Instead, I’ll point out that Obama continues to amaze me by his persistence and ingeniousness as well as eloquence in supporting goals which very few politicos are amenable to. Oft-times despite the winging from his fellow Democrats on the hill.

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