I’m hard to shop for, so I like to build wish lists. Here are a couple of things that don’t fit on standard wish lists, though.
• I wish people would actually do what they promise when they run for election, and the recent compromise between President Obama and Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts shows both could do better.
I wish 2008 Barack Obama would have come to President Obama and told him he ran specifically on letting tax cuts for the richest 2 percent expire. Maybe Candidate Obama could have also explained that President Obama had higher majorities in both houses than President Bush did when Congress passed those tax cuts.
Candidate Obama also could have advised President Obama to decouple tax cuts for people with annual incomes, using $250,000 as the annual income, so opponents couldn’t take nuclear treaties and unemployment insurance hostage in the final weeks of 2010.
On that same compromise, I wish Republican candidates would have told us what they believe — deficit spending only matters when Democrats do it.
In a July town hall in Oklahoma City, Sen. Tom Coburn said, “We have to live within our budget. What we have is an obligation to our kids and our grandkids.” And he said federal spending practices are the fault of “chicken politicians who don’t want to have to take tough votes.”
The tax cut extension he endorsed added a $700 billion obligation to our kids and grandkids. But when he was asked what spending cuts (I’ll call them “tough votes”) were necessary to live within our budget, he said, “I’d issue this challenge: Anyone who thinks we oughta pay for tax cuts, oughta have to put up a list of programs that we oughta eliminate to pay for them.”
• I wish the 2011 NBA lockout (it’s happening) will do something to improve the balance of the league, instead of allowing stars to use guaranteed contracts as leverage that only benefits the top sixth of the league.
If you watch the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Toronto Raptors this season, you wonder, “Do they have players injured? Oh wait, that’s the whole team?” That’s because they lost LeBron James and Chris Bosh, respectively, to Miami in the offseason. And other stars left smaller markets (Utah, Phoenix) for bigger markets (Chicago, New York).
Somehow, there’s title parity in other sports. The San Francisco Giants beat out the Texas Rangers to be the 10th different World Series winner in 11 seasons. Or the NFL, where eight different teams have won the last 11 Super Bowls. Or the NHL, where seven different teams have hoisted the Stanley Cup since 2003. The NBA? Seven different champions in 27 seasons.
My ideal wish list includes many more items, but one of those two would guarantee a merry Christmas. I doubt they’re coming, though. Guess I’ll have to settle for a copy of “Inception.”