Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Horse Head In the Presidents Bed

Remember the scene from the Godfather when movie producer Jack Wolz woke up with the severed head of his prized racehorse in the bed with him? Tom Hagen - Don Vito Corleone's adoptive son, was sent to make Jack Woltz an offer he couldn't refuse. Substitute President Obama for Jack Wolz, John Bohner for Tom Hagen, Mitch McConnell for Don Vito Corleone and the American People for the prize racehorse and you have a modern-day remake of The Godfather.

Tucked away in the massive tax bill Obama is trying to pass in the last days of the current session of Congress -- before a new Republican majority takes over the U.S. House of Representatives -- are several affordable-housing incentives critical to the Gulf Coast and in particular New Orleans. But while Obama has conceded to Republicans by agreeing to extend tax cuts for the wealthy if they agree to, among other things, extend emergency unemployment benefits, there is no word on whether the final bill will include the critical affordable housing incentives written into earlier versions.

Among its myriad tax code provisions, the bill under debate, S. 3793, proposes to extend a low-income housing tax credit exchange program for a year, reauthorize a New Markets Tax Credit program and fund a National Housing Trust Fund meant to pay for affordable rental housing in all states with a shortage, including Louisiana. Introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in September, the bill has fallen victim to partisan haggling. It still must be passed by the House and the Senate.

Most critically to New Orleans, the bill includes a two-year extension of the placed-in-service date for projects being financed with Gulf Opportunity Zone tax credits created after Hurricane Katrina. Without the extension of the current placed-in-service deadline of Dec. 31, Louisiana stands to lose at least 1,770 units and $398 million in total investment dollars for projects that will not forward without more time, according to Louisiana Housing Finance Agency documents. Another 3,230 units across 66 complexes are in jeopardy across the other Gulf Coast states.

Among the developers relying on the credits to finance post-Katrina housing projects are those building mixed-income communities on the site of the former B.W. Cooper and Lafitte public housing developments. At Lafitte, where 220 units are nearly complete, the failure to pass an extension could cost 430 still-unbuilt units financed through deals that rely on the tax credits and have not yet closed, according to the finance authority. For B.W. Cooper, the end of the tax credit program could kill the 410-unit project completely because none of its financing has closed and construction hasn't started. Project developer KBK Enterprises did not return several calls made over the past week requesting comment. In September, company Chief Financial Officer Mike McCroskey told The Times-Picayune that the company was "at the mercy of the federal government."

Without the extension, Lafitte developers Providence Community Housing and Enterprise Community Partners, will have to come up with a way to replace the revenue projected to come from the GO Zone tax credits. Reached Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Providence reaffirmed the company's commitment to completing the 650-unit project, with or without the credits.
The President didn't cave or capitulate, he did what he had to do in order to free the hostages. The question I have is how and why did the Democrats allow the GOP to take us hostage? Democrats had control of the government for 2 years and didn't do a damn thing. President Obama has not only had to fight the GOP and the white wing media, but he's also had to fight members of his own damn party time and time again.
After a two-hour floor debate, the House passed the DREAM Act along mostly partisan lines, 216 to 198, with 38 Democrats voting against the bill and 8 Republicans supporting it.

It's too late for democratic theatrics It's too late to take a stand and draw a line in the sand. This is what happens when the Professional Left is suppressed. The blame can't be placed entirely on democrats and media, The White House did their part too.
The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as health care reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

The White House, constantly under fire from expected enemies on the right, has been frustrated by nightly attacks on cable news shows catering to the left, where Obama and top lieutenants like Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have been excoriated for abandoning the public option in health care reform; for not moving faster to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay; and for failing, so far, to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
I want a President who takes a strong stand and fights for it, not one who is a mediator with hostage-takers. I had a feeling we were heading down this road when the media made candidate Obama renounce, repudiate and reject his pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright. IMHO that was his first mistake because it set the tone for Eric Holder's Americans are cowards walk back, Henry Louis Gates the police acted stupidly beer summit, and the Shirley Sherrod firing.

I was depressed yesterday, but I woke up to the realization the President had a horse head placed in his bed. He was made an offer he couldn't refuse. I'm not going to write President Obama off, I'm going to continue to support him, help him fight and have his back so they can't put any more horse heads in his bed.

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