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All things considered, the initial payroll tax holiday could have been nothing other than an Obama political gimmick.

For starters, if Obama and the Democrats had actually wanted to give the people a tax break, why did they not choose the income tax system? The truth is that they were never in favor of a tax break in the first place. In fact, the only thing Democrats like more than taxes is spending it.

But, Obama had a plan. And that plan was two-fold: 1) convince the uninformed that he was in favor of lower taxes, and 2) put the Republicans in a box where they would be damaged whether they supported or opposed his plan. And that is just what he did. As I stated above, Democrats love taxes, and Obama is no exception.

On one hand, Obama knew he could score political points if he pushed for lower taxes – after all, all wage earners love lower taxes. However, he also knew that by selecting payroll taxes as his vehicle he would be putting Republicans in a no-win situation. If they supported his plan they would be labeled as exacerbating an already diminishing Social Security Trust Fund. And if they opposed him, they would be branded as favoring higher taxes.

It should be understood the Obama administration could not have cared less that the ratio of those paying into Social Security to those receiving benefits has dropped from 16.5 to 1 in 1950 to only 2.9 to 1 today, and in 2010 the Social Security Administration actually had a cash deficit. They knew that such facts fall on death ears since most voters can only see as far as their next paycheck.

So, no matter what position the Republicans took, Obama would be the victor, and they would be losers. That was the scenario for the one-year 2011 payroll tax holiday. To the people, Obama had given them a tax break. They were actually seeing a few more dollars in their paychecks. That was good. And how could they forget it since the President mentions it in every campaign speech

Therefore, as 2011 was about to come to an end, the jaws of the political trap had already been set. All Obama had to do was call for a one-year extension of that popular tax holiday. And he got it.

At first, the House balked. Republicans were willing to go along with extending the tax holiday provided it was offset by other savings. Of course, in the end they caved, partly because of defection within their own ranks especially in the Senate. However, they did manage to garner a small consolation prize.

Inserted in the bill at the eleventh hour was the requirement for Obama to make a decision either for or against the Keystone Pipeline project within sixty days of the signing. And he signed it into law, even though doing so put him in the middle of an in-house war.

The unions want the pipeline because it will mean an estimated 20,000 good paying jobs. However, like with almost all progress, environmentalists oppose it. So, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the President’s decision will be. If he chooses in favor of the project he can expect big labor working to get out the Democrat vote next November. But that will surely upset environmentalists who in the past have been champions of his socialist agenda.

On the other hand, should Obama oppose the pipeline he will not only be eliminating good paying jobs during economic hard times and high national unemployment but will also weaken his position with labor whom he desperately need to do the ground work for his campaign. Such action will however, please environmentalists.

But maybe such dilemma is but a small price to pay for victory. And clearly the President has scored a political victory, although it may be short lived in light of the fact the extension was only for sixty days, not the one year he had so wanted to get him through next year’s election.

Still, when you think about it, it’s almost amusing how the President was able to turn the table on tax-cutting Republicans, especially considering it was nothing more than a political gimmick.

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