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Top Story — Sen. Patty Murray: If No Revenue from Republicans, Let Tax Cuts Expire, Start Over in 2013

“If the Republicans can’t see their way to significant additional revenues targeted toward the people who are best off and targeted toward passive income and other things like that, then we’re better off going over the cliff and readdressing this with a better Congress in January,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said. “And we would have plenty of time to fix it.” [Politico]

THE SO-CALLED fiscal cliff scheme is in the eye of the beholder. Conventional wisdom is being led by the business community, whose lobbying efforts are strong and loud. As a new CNN poll reveals, the full court press Wall Street has waged, seen daily on CNBC, the most watched financial cable network, is making a dent. This isn’t the first campaign waged on fear that shows signs of working, even if it’s built on pure math myth.

From the AP.

A big coalition of business groups says there must be give-and-take in the negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of massive tax increases and spending cuts. But raising tax rates – a White House priority – is out of the question, the group adds.

Wall Street’s 1% have self-imposed and manufactured the “fiscal-cliff” through their own angst, expecting everyone to buy what they say as economic gospel. But if we’ve learned anything from the financial crash of ’08 and the subsequent massive malfeasance exposed it’s that no one should trust what our Wall Street business community says at face value. The Wall Street community lost the right to have their word taken as anything but what’s good for their bottom line, with it proven they’ll do anything to protect themselves while everyone else suffers.

The reason the elite economic establishment’s marketing talking point phrase “fiscal cliff” freaks out Wall Street and the wider business community is because they’ve decided to weave this drama into the media narrative that our establishment press is sopping up, best represented by the infotainment morning shows across the cable channels.

But backed by powerful lobbying groups like the AARP, as well as unions, both of whom have drawn a cement line, especially on any fiscal scheme cooked up in the lame duck session, progressives in Congress seem to sense they can drive this one and it’s not over any cliff at all. More from Politico:

Bolstering the Democrats’ strategy is the belief that the “fiscal cliff” is actually shaped more like a “slope” where the economic effects will be felt gradually, not immediately. That theory gives Congress some time at the beginning of 2013 to set tax rates and configure budget cuts in a different political environment and with a new class of lawmakers.

But underlying the tough talk is also a sense of liberal angst – the left feels like it was burned by the last extension of the Bush tax rates and didn’t get much of what it wanted in the 2011 debt-limit deal.

If tax rates snap back to the higher levels from the 1990s and painful budget cuts start to hit the Pentagon, these Democrats – led by Washington Sen. Patty Murray – believe they would wield more leverage over the GOP to enact a budget compromise on their terms. And with a January deal, Republicans would technically avoid violating the no-new-taxes pledge that most of them have signed because they would then be voting to cut taxes.

President Obama is in the lead after the November election, with not only the demographics on his side, but the election having been fought and won on raising taxes on the wealthiest as part of an overall economic plan.

Then there’s the Pew Research polling on the subject, which shows 53% of Americans would blame Republicans if Congress falls off their self-imposed “fiscal cliff,” with only 29% saying Obama would be to blame.

“If the Republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire, and we’ll start over next year,” Murray said. “And whatever we do will be a tax cut for whatever package we put together. That may be the way to get past this.”

Senator Murray is exactly correct, though the new CNN poll reveals that the business community’s outreach is starting to work, mainly because most Americans have no clue about economics and the other side isn’t being allowed an equal voice.

Murray and progressive allies need their message to reach far and wide and down into the local press, through Obama supporters and including people on the left who didn’t vote Obama, so that citizens understand the “fiscal cliff” is an economic scheme laid out by Wall Street, who has their own interests in mind. Whether it’s through Facebook and other social media platforms, progressive allies must start whipping the people to this cause so that the fiscal scheme business leaders are trying to gin up into a catastrophe is understood as being nothing but a simple delay until early 2013. A time when care can be taken to craft a progressive economic plan outside end of the year hysteria that is being used as leverage to scare people into believing America’s financial sky is falling when it’s not.

Wall Street’s cocked fiscal gun is doing what it’s intended, which is freaking out their allies at CNBC and Fox News Channel, as well as those at CNN, who are following the business leaders, because conventional wisdom and vested interest in this narrative always wins on cable over actual intelligence.

Without new media and the social media world business leaders might have already easily won; except now you have an avenue from which to raise the roof and push back on Wall Street’s fiscal cliff scheme campaign. But you’re going to have to campaign to get it done, which includes contacting your senators and representatives.

This is a huge test for progressives, who can only win if their allies, including those amid Obama’s election coalition, get on board and whip up the American public to join the unions and AARP so that the business community and the American right, which represent a minority on this issue, don’t win this dangerous game that will hurt the middle class and working people the most.

What has changed? For one thing, the crisis they predicted keeps not happening. Far from fleeing U.S. debt, investors have continued to pile in, driving interest rates to historical lows. Beyond that, suddenly the clear and present danger to the American economy isn’t that we’ll fail to reduce the deficit enough; it is, instead, that we’ll reduce the deficit too much. [...] Now yet another organization, Fix the Debt, is campaigning for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, even while making lower tax rates a “core principle.” That last part makes no sense in terms of the group’s ostensible mission, but makes perfect sense if you look at the array of big corporations, from Goldman Sachs to the UnitedHealth Group, that are involved in the effort and would benefit from tax cuts. Hey, sacrifice is for the little people. So should we take this latest push seriously? No – and not just because these people, aside from exhibiting a lot of hypocrisy, have been wrong about everything so far. – Paul Krugman

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22 Responses to Top Story — Sen. Patty Murray: If No Revenue from Republicans, Let Tax Cuts Expire, Start Over in 2013

  1. Jane Austen November 26, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    When are we going to start listening to Paul Krugman?

  2. Taylor Marsh November 26, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Hey, when are people going to STOP listening to Wall Street, the same people who caused the ’08 collapse we’re trying to climb out of today!

  3. angels81 November 26, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    All the talking heads this morning and over the weekend are saying that Obama and democrats have to put medicare, medicaid and social security on the table or there will be no deal from republicans. Democrats and Obama better stand pat and reject this bullshit and if it comes to going over the so called cliff, then step on the gas and lets go, No deal is better then a bad deal. If Obama and democrats want to grow the gains they have made, they better hold true to the folks that got them all elected or the mid-terms will be very bloody for democrats, and Obama can kiss his legacy goodbye.

  4. TPAZ November 26, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Taylor, this piece is brilliant. Thank you. Now, all we need is a bumper sticker: Don’t be a schmuck for Wall Street’s scheme. And, can we get the White House to discredit and denounce this Wall Street fiscal scheme, too.

    • Taylor Marsh November 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

      So appreciate, TPAZ.

      We need a bumper sticker *now*!

  5. Jane Austen November 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    I was never a fan of Ronald Reagan but he said “social security has nothing to do with the deficit.”

    angels81 – I second you.

    TPAZ – let’s get that bumper sticker going. I think people have been apathetic too long and they had better start taking notice of what’s happening in Europe. It ain’t getting better over there; it’s only getting worse and that’s what’s going to happen here if the Dems in Congress don’t put a stop to Wall Street’s shenanigans.

  6. mjsmith November 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I would like to know what the people in our Government are really doing. The way things are now, the interest alone on our debt will be unsustainable.

    We are already over the fiscal cliff. We do not even know how bad things are because Congress refuses to allow an audit of the Federal Reserve or the Pentagon.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter November 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

      Gosh…that would have to start in the repugnantklan/teabagger controled House wouldn’t it?

  7. spincitysd November 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    ” Wall Street’s 1% have self-imposed and manufactured the “fiscal-cliff” through their own angst, expecting everyone to buy what they say as economic gospel. But if we’ve learned anything from the financial crash of ’08 and the subsequent massive malfeasance exposed it’s that no one should trust what our Wall Street business community says at face value. The Wall Street community lost the right to have their word taken as anything but what’s good for their bottom line, with it proven they’ll do anything to protect themselves while everyone else suffers.”

    And another great Missourian gives ‘em hell.

    • Taylor Marsh November 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

      heheheh… humble thanks to you, spincitysd.

    • Cujo359 November 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      “The Wall Street community lost the right to have their word taken as anything but what’s good for their bottom line, with it proven they’ll do anything to protect themselves while everyone else suffers.”

      Actually, I think they taught us that in 1929, we didn’t heed previous lessons. Unfortunately, every new generation seems to have to learn that lesson over again.

  8. Uh-oh November 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    You go Patty! She is my senator and I say more power to her!

    I hope that the dems hang tough in spite of what Obama does–we know that he wants his “great betrayal”. The crazy thing is that if Obama cuts “entitlements”, not only do the republicans get to blame the dems, but they get to blame a black man for it. I think that is why the elites chose Obama, and he is trying hard to do their bidding.

    • Cujo359 November 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

      I think the elites chose him because they knew he was their man, was competent enough to not destroy the world while he was in office, and was charismatic enough that he could convince enough Americans that he wasn’t their man that he would win. If you look over the other choices available to them back then, all the others except Hillary Clinton didn’t qualify in one way or another. Even Hillary wasn’t reliably enough theirs to be the best choice, so it was Obama.

      Even MOTUs have to work with what they’re given. ;-)

  9. Cujo359 November 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    What’s Obama’s approach? Here’s what CBS said back in September, during the height of the campaign:

    start quote:

    Mr. Obama’s plan for reducing the deficit would cut $2.50 in spending allowances for every $1 of increased tax revenue – the same deal House Republicans turned down during last year’s near-government shutdown episode. When Pelley reminded him of that, the president reasoned, “That’s part of what this election’s about,” adding that GOP nominee Mitt Romney told “Face the Nation” in June he stood by an earlier pledge not to raise taxes, even if it meant $10 in spending cuts for every $1 increased revenue.

    end quote

    IOW, he wants a little less cut, a little more revenue. Such a choice. No wonder progressives are so enthusiastically backing him.

    Not only is the fiscal cliff a lie, so is the debate going on in DC. A “grand bargain” would be a bargain between two opposing sides. In this case, the real opposing side is the truth, which is that until the government spends the amount of our current output gap, $2 trillion a year or so according to Paul Krugman in his pre-Obamabot days, above what it’s spending now, and who cares about the deficit?

    Instead, they’re debating two “alternatives” that are both largely the same thing, and are both complete nonsense.

    • Cujo359 November 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

      CORRECTION: what it’s spending now, we’ll stay mired in this depression, and who in his right mind cares about the deficit?

    • Cujo359 November 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

      Paul Krugman on the output gap issue, BTW. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to find that one, and a second link would have put me in moderation purgatory anyway.

  10. tonyb39 November 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Taylor, another fine piece, thank you!

    Angels,
    i so agree with your post and thank you…Lets go over this cliff if it comes down to cutting SS and Medicare..

    • Taylor Marsh November 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

      Heya tonyb39, thanks very much.

  11. secularhumanizinevoluter November 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    I once again after a brief spurt of hope triggered by seeming sanity in an election am preparing myself for the BIG let down of Dems caving to the beaten minority……JEEBUS CRISPIES will the Dems ever grow some balls? Although it will be sweet if Reid makes the repugnantklaner/teabaggers actually stand in the well of the Senate and keep talking…then call the vote when they pass out!!

  12. angels81 November 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    I don’t trust democrats to hold the line when republicans put on the full court press, which they will do. We the people need to put the pressure on democrats to do what we have asked them to do. I’m afraid progressives and liberals will do what they always do after a election, which is withdraw, and then complain when they don;t get what they want. We need to make our voices heard that medicare, medicaid and social security are off the table. Until the rich start to pay their fair share to help this country grow, the rest of us will not give one damn thing. We’ve already given our fair share, so don’t ask for more until we see you do your part. That is the message democrats need to bring to the table. Nothing more or less.

  13. ladywalker68 November 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    Begin Quote
    “Wall Street’s 1% have self-imposed and manufactured the “fiscal-cliff” through their own angst, expecting everyone to buy what they say as economic gospel. But if we’ve learned anything from the financial crash of ’08 and the subsequent massive malfeasance exposed it’s that no one should trust what our Wall Street business community says at face value. The Wall Street community lost the right to have their word taken as anything but what’s good for their bottom line, with it proven they’ll do anything to protect themselves while everyone else suffers.”
    End Quote

    AMEN and HALLELUJAH!!!!

    From you fingertips to God’s ears. One of the best quotes EVER! Thanks and keep ‘em coming, Taylor!

    • Taylor Marsh November 27, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      I’ll do my best, ladywalker68.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong