Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Time To Re-Tool!

Yeah. Now it's fighting time for the president! Or so I see:

In his speech before a joint session of Congress, scheduled for 9 p.m. Washington time, Obama has a chance to retool his message as he seeks to give some momentum to his agenda before the November election that will determine control of Congress.

"He has to send a clear signal to the country, and to his own party, about what his top priorities are and what he is really prepared to fight for," said Bill Galston, a scholar at the Washington-based Brookings Institution who was President Bill Clinton's domestic-policy adviser. "The signals coming out of the White House have not been clear and to some extent they have been contradictory."

Health Care

The president's main domestic priority, an overhaul of the health-care system -- which represents about 17 percent of the economy -- has hit snags in Congress.

White House aides said the administration hasn't been successful in selling the U.S. public on the health-care plan.

The effort "became a caricature of its component parts," Robert Gibbs, the president's spokesman, said yesterday. "To the degree that that's a communications failing, I think people here at the White House and others would certainly take responsibility for that."

The communication effort has certainly been pretty miserable. I have no idea why the administration wants to urinate on its base, but that's exactly what has been raining here in the left-commie-feminazi land. (I really feel funny writing that because I'm so middle-of-the-road and polite in reality.) Why does it matter? Because the GOTV effort and the people who do most of that, and also because I doubt the administration wants the base to stay at home in November.

But I wouldn't count on any sunshine for us in the SOTU speech, either:

Since Brown's election, Obama has injected a populist tone into his speeches. During a Jan. 22 town-hall meeting in Elyria, Ohio, he used the word "fight" or "fighting" more than 20 times.

Afterward, the president was still in a feisty mood as he toured a sporting-goods factory and was given a shiny football helmet. "I'll need this during the State of the Union," Obama said. "I can knock some heads with this."

Sounds like the sunshine will still be reserved for the one-sided bipartisanship, even when it is rejected.

Well, I promise to watch the speech with an open and hopeful mind, wanting something, anything, pleasesir, to make me feel better.

Then on the specific tools mentioned in the first piece I linked to: Obama appears to promise accelerated depreciation for firms. Depreciation refers to the percentage of the purchase price of durable capital equipment (say, trucks) which can be deducted in taxes in a given tax year.

Because something durable produces income for the firm for more than one year, its price becomes a tax deductible cost also divided over a period of years. How much can be deducted in each tax year depends on the rules. When depreciation is accelerated, larger percentages can be deducted earlier and that helps firms which are struggling because it reduces the amount of taxes they will have to pay early.

In theory, this should boost investment in durable equipment.