Obama Supporters Still in Campaign Mode at K’NEX Toy Factory
President Obama made landfall in Montgomery County on Friday, bringing his plan to avoid falling off the so-called “fiscal cliff” by extending tax cuts to the middle class. He spoke at the operating facility of K’NEX, a company which manufactures parts for companies like Tinkertoy, K’NEX Building Sets and Angry Birds Building Sets.
While there, he told the audience of about 300 activists, volunteers, workers and journalists that his plan to let the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy expire while keeping the levels even for the middle class was the right one—and did so by making some sweet Christmas jokes. “Santa delivers everywhere,” Obama told the audience. “I’ve been keeping my own naughty and nice list for Washington. So you should keep your eye on who gets some K’NEX this year. There are going to be some members of Congress who get them, and some who don’t.”
Although they suffered heartbreaking losses during the election last month—in both the executive and legislative levels—Republicans have continued fighting the president on his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff by easing cuts to domestic programs while raising taxes on the wealthy. Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell strangely laughed out loud at Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week while the cabinet member explained the president’s plan.
The fiscal cliff, as it’s called, is actually the term used to describe the time in which the Budget Control Act of 2011 goes into effect. The act includes the end of the across-the-board Bush tax cuts, and the cutting of more than 1,000 government programs.
“The important thing is that taxes don’t go up on the middle class,” Cindy Bourgeois, 60, told Philadelphia Weekly after the president’s address. “There’s this notion that if he puts through an increase at the high level, it’s going to affect … the majority of small businesses, and that’s not accurate.” Bourgeois, a Hatfield resident, said she’s been an Obama supporter throughout his first term, and finds the Republicans have little on which to negotiate now that they’ve suffered losing the presidency. But she’s holding out for them. “I think many [Republicans] are quite reasonable and I think a lot of the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four years is really quite political,” she said, “but now that the country has decided that this is the approach they want, many Republicans will want to represent their constituencies. Clearly, this is what the people want; they want a fair approach and this is what we need to get out of the mess.”
Bryant Clifton, a machinist at K’NEX, said he’s not too worried about the fiscal cliff, believing Republicans will eventually cave to the president’s plan. “[Obama is] dealing with them the right way,” he said, but he’s “giving Republicans a chance where they don’t deserve one.”
In the run-up to the president’s speech, several pundits criticized K’NEX for hosting the president, including Philadelphia radio host Dom Giordano. The host’s ridicule included a line about how K’NEX’s success was “lucky” because of the 2007 scandal involving Chinese-manufactured toys being covered in lead-based paint. A Friday Inquirer article noted that K’NEX “benefited” from the scandal.