*Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who served as co-chairman of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, compared the president’s economic agenda to that of Republican President Ronald Reagan on Friday.
“If we cut taxes for the wealthy, while maintaining massive military spending in support of two wars, then the new Republican Congress will be empowered to cut social programs in order to reduce the deficit,” Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., a longtime friend and sometimes critic of the president, said in a statement. “So it will be a choice between cutting programs for the poor, children, the unemployed, the uninsured and veterans or allowing deficits to pile up. That was President Reagan’s strategy: A ‘starve the beast’ plan of lowered taxes and increased military spending that would force Congress to make deep cuts in program for the most vulnerable.”
Liberal House Democrats have expressed outrage with the deal Obama cut with congressional Republicans to extend individual income and other expiring tax rates as well as unemployment insurance benefits.
But the proposal still looks to be on track for enactment. The Senate voted Thursday night, 65-11, to clear its decks to consider the bill, and proponents of the legislation were hopeful that a basket of sweeteners would help soften opposition in the House.