Skip to comments.Report: Some Dems would rather go over fiscal cliff than compromise on “balanced approach”
Posted on 11/17/2012 11:05:04 AM PST by Bratch
Everyone was chummy and hopeful about a deal at the White House today, but if youre surprised to hear that some Democrats are intent on driving a very hard bargain, you must have missed the polling data last night. They promised their base a tax hike on the rich and they can make it happen by doing nothing, with voters primed to blame the GOP for the economic fallout. Under those circumstances, why not go cliff-diving?
[The Gang of Six] reconvened on Tuesday, but the election results presented a new set of problems. Republican officials familiar with the talks say Democrats dug in on demands for tax revenue that Republicans are not willing to meet. Democratic aides say Republicans who had spoken abstractly about the need for more revenues are balking at the specifics.
Things change. Its not just a matter of the numbers changing, and they do, Mr. Durbin said of shifting deficit projections, revenue forecasts and spending totals. Its also a matter of the political environment, and the landscape changing.
Democrats freely admit they have shifted their stance from the defensive crouch of the summer of 2011, when they signed on to a budget deal that cut $1 trillion in spending with no tax increases, to now, when they believe the voters have given them a mandate to raise taxes on the affluent
Both sides insist they want a deal before January, but a rising chorus of voices, especially Democrats, say they would rather go over the cliff than accept a deal that raised too few taxes while extracting too many cuts, especially to Medicare and Medicaid.
Thats the state of entitlement reform in America 2012, two years after a Republican landslide and a VP nomination for Paul Ryan. Heres the question: How many Republicans would also prefer to go over the fiscal cliff (briefly), not because itll help them get what they want but because itll arguably make things politically easier for them to let Democrats get what they want? What I mean is, if Republicans make a deal now to raise taxes on the rich in exchange for deep spending cuts even if they insist on limiting the rate hikes to millionaires only theyll be hammered by the conservative base for selling out. But if they go over the cliff and let the Bush tax cuts lapse, then agree with Obama to extend the old, lower rates for the middle class only, they can claim that (a) they didnt blink under the pressure of the deadline bearing down on them and (b) technically speaking, theyre not responsible for the new, higher tax rates on the rich. In this post-cliff scenario, the new tax hike on the wealthy happens automatically, without any Republicans voting for it; the only vote Republicans would take would be to lower taxes, albeit only on the middle class. In practice, youre getting the same outcome as you would if they made a deal now to reinstate the Clinton-era rates for high earners (plus, er, the initial fiscal shockwave from going over the cliff and the chaos afterward in trying to apply the lower middle-class rates retroactively), but in theory itd be easier to sell politically because the House GOP would have avoided casting any votes affirmatively for new taxes.
Is that sort of posturing valuable enough to them to warrant going over the cliff, or is it just too risky given the likelihood of a new cliff-driven recession and the blame Republicans might get when it happens?
Oh, in case youre wondering, heres Boehners plan to make sure the government remains disciplined in tightening its belt if a deal is reached:
According to a Boehner aide, the speaker suggested that the leaders agree on long-term revenue targets for tax reform and spending targets for entitlement reform, as well as enforcement mechanisms that would kick in if Congress fails to act on either next year.
Sounds like part of the solution to the bind that the sequesters left them in is
if a “compromise” means any higher taxes, there are some of us OTHER people out here who say, go over the damned “cliff, lower taxes substantially, and cut the amazingly-wasteful spending (much of which appears to actually be outright theft anyway)
Everyone came away from the initial summit meeting between Obama, Boehner and Reid with big smiles and a public air of confidence that Fridays kumbaya moment would lead to The Big Deal. Call me a cynic, but Im still not buying it. Yesterday, AP touched on a part of this story, tossing out some ideas about how everyone particularly Democrats might walk away with relatively clean hands if no deal is reached on the fiscal cliff this year. Its all true, but for some of us theres a bit more to the story. The Democrats, for their part, seem to have plenty to gain and not much to lose.
Some Democrats are pushing an unorthodox idea for coping with the fiscal cliff: Let the government go over, temporarily at least, to give their party more bargaining leverage for changes later on.
The idea has plenty of skeptics, and the White House regards it frostily. But it illustrates the wide range of early negotiating positions being staked out by Republicans and Democrats as lawmakers gathered Tuesday for their first post-election talks on how to avoid the looming package of steep tax hikes and program cuts.
But why would this work for Barack Obama? Because as we learned the hard way on election day he can watch the polls with the best of them. And if this train goes off the rails he has reason to believe that he wont be left holding the bag.
A new poll by Hart Researchs Geoff Garin, conducted for Americans for Tax Fairness a group that wants the Bush-era tax cuts to end for those who earn more than $250,000 found that a majority of voters cited changing the tax system as a key factor in their votes, and that the majority broke for President Barack Obama.
The survey also found that Democrats have changed the landscape on an issue that has eluded them for years taxes. The survey found that most want the Bush-era cuts on top earners to expire, but that Republicans will shoulder blame if all of the Bush cuts, including those on the middle class, expire because a deal cant be reached.
Basically, this works out to a win-win for Obama. Yes, he could look like the great peacemaker and try to strike some sort of grand bargain with Boehner. And if he did, he would likely get some of what he and the Democratic majority want in exchange for taking a slightly less than maximum raise on taxes for the most wealthy. But why?
If he takes a very hard line and forces the showdown to a collapse in discussions, several potentially positive (for him) results are baked into the cake. He can claim that Republicans refused a balanced approach and its their fault that everyones taxes went up. He then has the Democrats force a vote on a bill to only lower taxes on the middle class and the poor and just dares the GOP to vote against it. (They wont.) At this point he has the tax / revenue increase he promised without giving up a single thing. Now the negotiations start anew to talk about spending cuts but the GOPs major bargaining chip is gone. Obama gets to put up a far more shallow version of cuts, and if the Republicans dont like it, they can choose to reject the deal and just let the deficit continue to skyrocket.
What Republican in their right mind could go for this? Perhaps more than we might think.
The Republican Party took the rap for the debt ceiling and is under suspicion for the fiscal cliff. A new Washington Post-Pew Research poll has 53 percent of Americans ready to blame Republicans if America actually goes over the edge and only 29 percent planning to point fingers at President Barack Obama.
Understanding this, thoughtful Republicans are feeling freer to risk the tea partiers wrath and cooperate with Democrats. The teams may disagree on much, but at least theyre now playing in the same ballpark.
How does that work? Fairly simple. Just as Ive been saying since earlier this year, if you needed congressional action to raise taxes it would never happen. But in this case, to raise tax rates all you need is for Congress to do nothing. And when you need nothing done, theres no better crack team than Congress. And once the taxes are up, even the GOP reps who have signed the Norquist pledge are free to sign a bill that lowers taxes even if that doesnt apply to the wealthy. They get to remain covered on their voting record in their home districts and blame the fallout on the Democrats.
Heres the part where I reveal my secret strategy of how the GOP can thwart this plan and come out on top.
Hang on theres somebody at the door.
Can we just push the Dems over the cliff instead?
We have to accept that these people feel confided and imprisoned by freedom. They don’t want the responsibilities that come from having freedom. They feel it is a burden they want to get out from under, and that we are horrible people for imposing freedom upon them.
They want to be taken care of by nanny government. They are children. We are not going to make any inroads until we accept who they are.
Sure they would. They know with the cooperation of the Pravda press that the blame for going over the cliff would be put on the Republicans.
something like we need 2Trillion in taxes...
Help me out here. When did the Bolshevik/democraps agree to that? Did I miss something?
Like some Union Thugs would rather kill the whole company rather than take an 8% pay cut and 25% ownership in the company?
I am almost to the point of saying, America voted for this, let’s give it to ‘em. Then I think of the hurt those of us on the RIGHT side of history will end up enduring.
I am tempted to go over the fiscal cliff. That is really what the Dems and the Prez want.
Let them raise taxes, and let’s all join hands and jump off the cliff together, and then PLEASE let’s blame Obama and stop blaming Bush.
Like an addict will not even attempt to stop their addiction (spending) until they hit rock bottom. Lets go over the fiscal cliff and start a real recovery.
I am all for the gooing over the fiscal cliff, once we stop the 40 billion buck being printed every stinking month in qe3.
But as long as the Gov is printing money, I can’t expect anyone to confirm the goodness of going through hard times for the sake of the economy.
Here’s an idea: Conservatives with jobs go in and ask for a new W-4 and change your deductions from whatever you have now (2,3,4,5) to (7,8,9)...that way no matter what they do, we can reduce our taxes. Then when the tax bill comes due IN April you add all your pets as dependants...Certainly the PETA people count their animals as dependants!
And some GOP would be fine with going over the cliff as well.... LIKE ME.
Let it fail. Let it fall apart. Punish the obama voters. Give them all they voted for.
The Dems have all the Ads ready and the scripts prepared to issue to their minions for the endless TV programs ,so they can put ALL the blame on the GOP
I agree we should go over the cliff ASAP so that we can come out the other side while our country and it’s assets are still intact.
Of course you should be PRE prepared to survive during this period by having assets stashed where BIG BROTHER can’t get at them or even know about them.
The sooner we come out the other side of this crash, the more viable companies will still exist, roads and buildings (etc) will still pretty much intact - BUT - If we doddle and let the government and the bad boys start stripping everything just to pay the bills there will be little left and we will have to rebuild from near scratch.