November 20, 2012

SUSAN ESTRICH: Excuse Me? What “Mandate To Raise Taxes?”

Within days of winning the election, President Obama announced that his victory gave him a mandate to raise taxes on the “rich.”

Come again? This was a two-and-a-half-point election. It reflected a painfully divided electorate. The only mandate I saw was to unite a divided country. . . . I did not vote for Obama because I think I am paying too little in taxes.

Obama needs to be very careful. Yes, he was re-elected. But so were all those folks who blocked the extension of the Bush tax cuts if they excluded individuals and small businesses who make enough money to qualify as rich — but not enough to send their kids to college, or help their aging parents, or buy a home in a decent neighborhood.

We need to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. But Obama must also avoid the political cliff.

One of the amazing things about this country is that the middle class doesn’t hate the rich. We are not a society divided by economic castes. Yes, there are real issues as the gap between the top and the middle, between CEOs and those in good but not great jobs, grows. But beginning a new term with what will look to many like a class war is not the way to fulfill the real mandate of this election, which is to bring us together, not turn us against each other.

Sorry, sister. Divide-and-demonize is all he knows. #Forward! to #Revenge!