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Emergency Aid and Tax Cuts for the Rich

With Washington aflutter about tax cuts for the rich, a sign of Rhode Island's continuing struggles this morning. The Rhode Island Foundation, which generally focuses on long-term, systematic change, is doling out $300,000 in emergency grants to organizations dealing with immediate needs. Rhode Island Meals on Wheels, Amos House, and the Woonsocket Protein Collaborative are among the recipients.

Lefty critics of President Obama have often appeared overreaching in their insistence that the administration stick to principle in a Washington built around compromise. They have struggled to get through to left-of-center friends more loyal to the president. But the critique of Obama's compromise on tax cuts for the rich seems to be breaking through - creating a bigger problem on the president's left flank just as Republicans get ready to assume control of the House.

Obama, after all, had broad public support for his oft-stated opposition to extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. He had ammunition for the fight, had he chosen to fully join it. He had a public that understands, on some basic level, why philanthropists in a state like Rhode Island might still feel compelled to give out emergency aid.

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