Evoking a little Jack Nicholson, Steve Forbes told me the tax bill is "as good as you're going to get."
If a tax increase had been allowed to take place in January—the alternative to extending the current tax policy — “the US economy would have taken a real hit,” Forbes told me as my guest host on Worldwide Exchange this morning.
“The fact that the Republicans got a reduction in the death tax from 55 percent to 35 percent I think made the deal even better,” he said, adding that, “I’m a little surprised that some Republicans are scoffing at it.”
Some see the 83 to 15 Senate procedural vote as a victory for Obama and his Republican allies. “Did you ever expect to hear that?” I asked.
“It wouldn't have happened before the election.” He added that, on the House side, there's some outcry about the spending side of the bill, but overall he says that it is good for the economy and bullish for stocks.
So, with the tax bill, the South Korean trade deal, CEOs coming to the White House tomorrow—is the administration more business friendly after two years?
“I don't think president's attitude toward business has changed,” Forbes said. However, he added that the Obama’s potential run at re-election in 2012 has made him focus his efforts: “When you face the prospect of losing office, you start to say ‘how do I keep this office?’”
According to Forbes, Obama’s compromise on tax policy is a step in the right direction, but he faces many more tough battles ahead, including health care and simplifying the tax code.
He said that Democrats are starting to talk about tax implication in anticipation for the 2012 elections, adding that, “Things are changing in the US very, very fundamentally on the tax front.”
“The environment has changed with high technology,” Forbes said. “In the president's election in 20008, people [came] together electronically. You saw it with the tea parties in past elections. People are getting mobilized and I think it's going to be a major issue in 2012.”
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