Great news: Left-wing president turns into tax-cutting conservative just before midterms

Why not? Policy-wise, he’s tried Keynesianism, and politically, there are no other options for wooing back a few independents to the Democratic side before November. The left will forgive him if it helps to preserve the congressional majority in the Senate, and since the majority in the House is a lost cause, he’d probably be pushed by the GOP into doing something like this next year anyway. Might as well do it now and take as much of the credit as he can.

With the recovery faltering less than two months before the November congressional elections, President Obama’s economic team is considering another big dose of stimulus in the form of tax breaks for businesses – potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars, according to two people familiar with the talks.

Among the options are a temporary payroll tax holiday and a permanent extension of the research and development tax credit, say people familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to describe private deliberations.

Permanently extending the research credit would cost roughly $100 billion over the next decade, tax experts said. And depending on its form and duration, a payroll tax holiday could let businesses keep more than $300 billion they would otherwise owe the Treasury.

Since prominent lefties like to remind us of how awesomely well Social Security is doing financially, there should be minimal screeching about a temporary revenue shortfall due to a payroll tax cut, no? But wait — that ain’t all.

Worried about the fragile economy and their own upcoming elections, a growing number of Democrats are joining the rock-solid Republican opposition to President Barack Obama’s plans to let some of the Bush administration’s tax cuts expire…

“In my view this is no time to do anything that could be jarring to a fragile recovery,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, a first-term Democrat…

Another freshman Democrat, Rep. Bobby Bright of Alabama, said he would like to see all the tax cuts extended for two or three years, if lawmakers cannot agree on a more permanent plan…

Several Democratic candidates for Senate have also come out in favor of extending them all, including Robin Carnahan in Missouri and Jack Conway in Kentucky.

Coincidentally, Connolly and Bright are extremely vulnerable this year and Conway and Carnahan trail their opponents in red-state Senate races. Which raises the question: If Congress moves to extend the Bush tax cuts even for the rich, will The One dare veto the bill at this point? Or will he break liberal hearts by going back on another oft-repeated campaign promise? I know which way I’m betting.

Via Greg Hengler, assuming this tax-cutting gambit gets tabled, here’s the super-slick economic message they’ll be running on in two months: Um, we shouldn’t have sold the job-creation program known as the stimulus as … a job-creation program.