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Who Will Get Last Fiscal Laugh?

photo: Pete Souza

”Right now, the only thing preventing us from reaching a deal that averts the fiscal cliff and avoids a tax hike on 98 percent of Americans is the refusal of Congressional Republicans to ask the very wealthiest individuals to pay higher tax rates. The President has already signed into law over $1 trillion in spending cuts and we remain willing to do tough things to compromise, and it’s time for Republicans in Washington to join the chorus of other voices–from the business community to middle class Americans across the country–who support a balanced approach that asks more from the wealthiest Americans.” – Amy Brundage, White House Spokesperson

THE LINE right now is that President Obama’s financial offer on the fiscal cliff scheme negotiations with Republicans isn’t serious.

“Morning Joe” was an embarrassing spectacle of typical conventional wisdom today, as was Jon Stewart’s show last night. It’s why it will be so difficult for Democrats to hold the line where they are right now, but President Obama shouldn’t budge until Republicans serve up their own ideas to counter his.

We’re seeing two things here. One is that the negotiations aren’t going well. When one side begins leaking the other side’s proposals, that’s typically a bad sign. The other is that Republicans are frustrated at the new Obama they’re facing: The Obama who refuses to negotiate with himself. – Ezra Klein

President Obama is very unlikely to change his mind on taxing the top 2% and certainly won’t without a Republican proposal on the table to counter the one he offered through Secretary Geithner. That’s something Republicans need to digest.

Everything else, however, is negotiable, minus including Social Security into the mix, because everyone knows it’s not the issue.

Of course Obama’s going to put forth the far reaches of what he wants. Republicans should do the same. Then let them all get down to making a deal.

Senator Mitch McConnell laughed first, but I don’t think he’ll get the last sound bite on this one.

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6 Responses to Who Will Get Last Fiscal Laugh?

  1. Lake Lady November 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    It is actually fairly halarious..the Republicans are just dumbfounded. Joe was a big blubbering baby this morning…I lost interest in the show early because it was obvious he was going to whine and dominate the whole show with his tantrum.

    I agree, I was surprised how off the mark Jon Stewart was.

    I think I like this Obama much better. I am sure he will make me mad soon. But not yet.

    • Taylor Marsh November 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      Obama’s doing a good job on this so far.

      Unless Republicans make a good counter on the upper 2%, my sense right now is that he’ll hold firm.

      As for Stewart, he’s unsurprisingly drawn to conventional wisdom on things like this, using the opportunity to slam both sides. It’s easier.

      As for Scarborough, he was absolutely embarrassing today, with his pal Halperin helping mightily. I can’t watch any of these infotainment shows for long, but today I was particularly quick to turn it off.

      • angels81 November 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

        I’m with you, I almost threw up in my coffee this morning when I turned on Scarborough. I can only watch about two minutes on a normal day, but today it lasted all about twenty seconds.

        As for Bonehead and the rest of the house republican clowns, they still don’t get it. I really think they will let the economy crash again and then try to blame Obama and democrats. I think they really think come 2014 they will be able to take back the senate and gain more seats in the house, because they really believe that most Americans agree with the Ryan budget and that the country is still a conservative right leaning country.

  2. DaGoat November 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I don’t watch either Fox or MSNBC so can’t comment on that, but right now this is just a lot of posturing on both sides and I wouldn’t take any of these reports too seriously.

  3. Cujo359 November 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Good framing by Ms. Brundage, I must admit. I’m still waiting for the “old” Obama to show up, though, because I think that’s his true nature.

    If I were in Obama’s place, and wanted to achieve what it appears he wants to achieve (gaining cover by making the rich pay part of the cost of balancing the budget), I’d have started higher – proposing a new tax bracket at $1 million income or thereabouts, and treating short term capital gains the same as income for tax purposes. Something like that, anyway.

    We’ll see if this new standing firm strategy works, but, like I said, I just don’t think it’s in his nature when it comes to affecting the rich negatively.

  4. TPAZ December 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    My only comment is there is no crisis and a deal (austerity) will get done, anyway. Is that not an act of insanity? Who would allow a surgeon to perform an operation, an unnecessary operation, just because an available operating room inside a hospital exists?

    I have posted the People’s Budget before and will do so again; we can go in an entirely different direction and achieve the same stated goals.

    Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus – Fiscal Year 2012

    Read The Technical Analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (External Link)

    The People’s Budget eliminates the deficit in 10 years, puts Americans back to work and restores our economic competitiveness. The People’s Budget recognizes that in order to compete, our nation needs every American to be productive, and in order to be productive we need to raise our skills to meet modern needs.

    Our Budget Eliminates the Deficit and Raises a $31 Billion Surplus In Ten Years
    Our budget protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and responsibly eliminates the deficit by targeting its main drivers: the Bush Tax Cuts, the wars overseas, and the causes and effects of the recent recession.

    Our Budget Puts America Back to Work & Restores America’s Competitiveness
    - Trains teachers and restores schools; rebuilds roads and bridges and ensures that users help pay for them
    - Invests in job creation, clean energy and broadband infrastructure, housing and R&D programs

    Our Budget Creates a Fairer Tax System
    - Ends the recently passed upper-income tax cuts and lets Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2012
    - Extends tax credits for the middle class, families, and students
    - Creates new tax brackets that range from 45% starting at $1 million to 49% for $1 billion or more
    - Implements a progressive estate tax
    - Eliminates corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies; closes loopholes for multinational corporations
    - Enacts a financial crisis responsibility fee and a financial speculation tax on derivatives and foreign exchange

    Our Budget Protects Health
    - Enacts a health care public option and negotiates prescription payments with pharmaceutical companies
    - Prevents any cuts to Medicare physician payments for a decade

    Our Budget Safeguards Social Security for the Next 75 Years
    - Eliminates the individual Social Security payroll cap to make sure upper income earners pay their fair share
    - Increases benefits based on higher contributions on the employee side

    Our Budget Brings Our Troops Home
    - Responsibly ends our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to leave America more secure both home and abroad
    - Cuts defense spending by reducing conventional forces, procurement, and costly R&D programs

    Our Budget’s Bottom Line
    - Deficit reduction of $5.6 trillion
    - Spending cuts of $1.7 trillion
    - Revenue increase of $3.9 trillion
    - Public investment $1.7 trillion

    Support for the People’s Budget

    President Bill Clinton

    “The most comprehensive alternative to the budgets passed by the House Republicans and recommended by the Simpson-Bowles Commission”

    “Does two things far better than the antigovernment budget passed by the House: it takes care of older Americans and others who need help; and much more than the House plan, or the Simpson-Bowles plan, it invests a lot our tax money to get America back in the future business”

    Paul Krugman

    “genuinely courageous”

    “achieves this without dismantling the legacy of the New Deal”

    Dean Baker

    “if you want a serious effort to balance the budget, here it is.”

    Jeffrey Sachs

    “A bolt of hope…humane, responsible, and most of all sensible”

    Robert Reich

    “modest and reasonable”

    The Economist


    “Mr Ryan’s plan adds (by its own claims) $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, but promises to balance the budget by sometime in the 2030s by cutting programmes for the poor and the elderly. The Progressive Caucus’s plan would (by its own claims) balance the budget by 2021 by cutting defence spending and raising taxes, mainly on rich people.”

    The New Republic

    “…something that’s gotten far too little attention in this debate. The most fiscally responsible plan seems to be neither the Republicans’ nor the president’s. It’s the Congressional Progressive Caucus plan…”

    The Washington Post

    “It’s much more courageous to propose taxes on the rich and powerful than spending cuts on the poor and disabled.”

    Rachel Maddow

    “Balances the budget 20 years earlier than Paul Ryan even tries to”

    The Guardian

    “the most fiscally responsible in town… would balance the books by 2021“

    The Nation

    “the strongest rebuke…to the unconscionable ‘Ryan Budget’ for FY 2012.”

    Center for American Progress

    “once again put[s] requiring more sacrifice from the luckiest among us back on the table”

    Economic Policy Institute

    “National budget policy should adequately fund up-front job creation, invest in long-term economic growth, reform the tax code, and put the debt on a sustainable path while protecting the economic security of low-income Americans and growing the middle class. The proposal by the Congressional Progressive caucus achieves all of these goals.”

    The Washington Post

    “The Congressional Progressive Caucus plan wins the fiscal responsibility derby thus far.”

    Rolling Stone

    “This is more than a fantasy document. It’s sound policy.”


    “instead of gutting programs for the poor like Medicaid and Medicare, food stamps, and the new healthcare law, the People’s Budget focuses on cuts in defense. It also doesn’t scrap new financial regulations designed to at least partly stave off another massive financial collapse like the one that put us in this mess in the first place.”

    “No liberal should speak about this budget negotiation charade going on in Washington without mentioning this truly serious and patriotic alternative document that maintains the American middle class infrastructure for future generations.”


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