That might as well be the title of his new column at Truthout, Why Is the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers Helping the Republicans? I mean, come on:

If the President’s strategy is to hold his ground and demand from Republicans tax increases on the wealthy …

Now Hold On There Bob,

What makes you think that is Obama’s strategy? On economic/financial matters — Wall Street and the rich people stuff — has he ever given the impression he’s anything but a Republican? Knowing that the President is a Republican, carrying forward the legacy of his hero, Ronald Reagan, your apparent confusions (I assume you aren’t really confused but are instead engaging in self-thought control in order to keep your ‘mainstream card’) in the following paragraphs are very easy to answer:

If the President’s strategy is to hold his ground and demand from Republicans tax increases on the wealthy, presumably his strongest bargaining position would be to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on schedule come January – causing taxes to rise automatically, especially on the wealthy.

So you’d think part of that strategy would be reassure the rest of the public that the fiscal cliff isn’t so bad or so steep, and that at the start of January Democrats will introduce in Congress a middle-class tax cut whose effect is to prevent taxes from rising for most people (thereby forcing Republicans to vote for a tax cut for the middle class or hold it hostage to a tax cut for the wealthy as well).

Okay then, here it is, in the unlikely event the great Robert Reich is authentically confused: The President’s goals are to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He wants to do this with a bare minimum of symbolic and avoidable ‘tax increases’ on his and his party’s main campaign donors, the rich. The best leverage for attaining the preceding expires on January 1, when there would be, as you note, automatic tax increases on the rich (his and his party’s main campaign donors (oh, I mentioned this already)).

In order to achieve his real goals, President Obama and his people are now and always have been on the same team as the Pete Peterson campaign against Social Security, the same team as the debt fearmongers, and the same team as the ‘we love austerity’ folks. And so, as you would reasonably expect, his Council of Right Wing Economic Ideologues is fearmongering the fake fiscal cliff.

You’re a helluva smart guy, your Keynesian/New Deal take is right on, and so I’m sorry for even slightly pretending you don’t understand all of the above. I’m sure it was that impermissible narrative thing that made you sound like a clueless idiot in your latest piece.

Sincerely,

fairleft