Boehner and the Republicans don’t want to give up the leverage of the debt ceiling forever, or for 10 years, or even, as John Engler, head of the Business Roundtable and a former Republican governor suggested, for five years. But the White House isn’t very interested in compromising on this issue, as they figure that if there needs to be a final showdown over the debt ceiling, it’s better to do it now, when they’re at peak strength, then delay it till 2014 or 2015, when their own vantage might have ebbed. – Ezra Klein
IT’S DOUBTFUL that progressives will learn the latest lesson from the American right, who has once again got their leader, Speaker Boehner, by his political short hairs.
From Ezra Klein, the Washington Post’s man inside the White House:
The political problem is that many Hill Republicans have convinced themselves that they’ll have the upper hand if they let the country topple fully or mostly over the cliff and then restart negotiations with a debt default looming in the background. They figure that although Obama really is willing to let the country go over the cliff, he’s not willing to let the country default and spark a global financial crisis. They are willing to do that, or they believe they can more credibly say they are, and that gives them leverage.
This increasingly influential theory is weakening Boehner’s hand, as it’s giving House Republicans who don’t want to cut a deal a way to argue that they just need to stand firm now and they’ll get a better deal later. Increasingly, there’s concern among Democrats that Boehner will cut a deal that he can’t deliver the votes for. Or that, at the last minute, he’ll back off of a deal because he won’t have the votes. That happened in 2011, when, the White House feels, Boehner cut off the negotiations over the debt ceiling after finding he didn’t have the votes to pass the deal.
As Boehner fights his House base, President Obama reaffirms his 2011 grand bargain priorities in an interview with Barbara Walters due to air on Friday.
“When you look at the evidence, it’s not clear that it actually saves a lot of money,” he said. “But what I’ve said is let’s look at every avenue, because what is true is we need to strengthen Social Security, we need to strengthen Medicare for future generations, the current path is not sustainable because we’ve got an aging population and health care costs are shooting up so quickly.”
“Strengthen” is a word used by political con artists who think the public is stupid.
CAP pushed back today with a white paper illustrating how wrong President Obama is on the subject, particularly raising the Medicare eligibility age.
President Obama also told Walters that “taxes are going to go up one way or the other.” Considering Democrats wouldn’t be in this position if Obama hadn’t extended the top rates in the first place, the President has no one to blame but himself for where he stands today, though progressives are to blame for the Obama’s grand bargain, because they played dead after Obama continued to be true to his conservative economic beliefs.
The American public has been sending this message to the top 2% for months, long before Obama got religion.
A broad swath of the nation’s leading chief executives dropped its opposition to tax increases on the wealthiest Americans on Tuesday, while the White House quietly pressed Wall Street titans for their support as well.
Before Tuesday’s about-face, the Business Roundtable had insisted that the White House extend Bush-era tax cuts to taxpayers of all income brackets, but the executives’ resistance crumbled as pressure builds to find a compromise for the fiscal impasse in Washington before the end of the year.
“We recognize that part of the solution has to be tax increases,” David M. Cote, chief executive of Honeywell, said on a conference call with reporters. “That’s the only thing that allows a reasonable compromise to be reached.”