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The Cliff, And What’s Next

With Bob Oakes in for Tom Ashbrook

Hammering out a deal.  We’ve got the latest news and analysis from the fiscal cliff.

Sen. John Barrasso, left, R-Wyo., talks with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who holds up his watch, near the Senate chambers after a vote on the fiscal cliff, on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 in Washington. (AP)

Sen. John Barrasso, left, R-Wyo., talks with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who holds up his watch, near the Senate chambers after a vote on the fiscal cliff, on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 in Washington. (AP)

Move over Rose Bowl. Today’s big matchup is in the nation’s capital.

John Boehner and the Republicans take on Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in the Fiscal Cliff bowl.  Late last night, the Senate scored a deal. For couples making less than $450,000 dollars a year, big sighs of relief on this first day of 2013.

But  it’s not a done deal. The ball’s now in the hands of the House.  It could get ugly. Is anyone bold enough to place a bet on how this one will play out?

This hour, On Point: Game on: The House readies to vote on the fiscal cliff deal.

-Karen Shiffman

Guests

Gail Chaddock, politics editor at the Christian Science Monitor.

John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and writer for the New York Times.

Lori Montgomery, covers economic policy for the Washington Post.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From the Reading List

The Washington Post “The Senate approved a bipartisan agreement early Tuesday morning to let income taxes rise sharply for the first time in two decades, fulfilling President Obama’s promise to raise taxes on the rich and avoiding the worst effects of the “fiscal cliff.” The agreement, brokered by Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), passed 89 to 8 in a highly unusual New Year’s morning vote. It now heads to the House, where leaders have not guaranteed passage but top officials believe it could win passage in the next few days.”

NBC Politics “Although the Senate agreed at the last minute to avert broader tax increases, the very idea of a “deadline” has lost some of its meaning since each budget deal seems to be merely a prelude to another fixed date when some critically important action must be taken – next up: Congress will have to decide what to do about the “sequester” spending cuts which will come up again in February, as well as decide in March on whether to increase the federal borrowing limit.”

Politico “A rare bipartisan consensus is forming on Capitol Hill over the fiscal cliff deal: Nobody really likes it. Liberals are chafing at the thought of letting more wealthy earners escape higher rates. Conservatives are aghast at letting any tax hike take effect. Moderates in both parties say they can live with it but emphasize they’re not fans, either.”

 

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  • DrewInGeorgia

    Happy New FISCALvUS! Wait…What? Still not yet?
    Aw to he11 with it. So much for more productive topics.
    Hour Two looks pretty good, I missed it when it aired so that’s something I guess. I’m loving the Wolf pic.
    Have fun on the Fiscal-Go-Round everybody.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    How many years will it take before the “ Fiscal Cliff” is just a vague memory ? News flash; prices adjust and the world goes on !

    The real issue is the lack of vision about the future by our leaders and their obvious lack of creativity. They should be addressing the issue of increasing technology and the loss of jobs and the upheaval to our current understanding of capitalism that will result !

    _They should be talking about a shorter workday, labor positive laws and democratizing technology.

    _They should be talking about a faster internet and more low cost online education.

    _They should be talking about companies like “ Reaction Engines” that have developed a new type of rocket engine that will reduce the cost of launching a kilogram of matter into space, from about $ 30,000 dollars to less than $ 700 dollars a kilogram! *

    _They should be talking about Stem Cell cures, breakthroughs in anti-aging research and genetic engineering and eliminating the need for Soc. Sec. and Medicare !

    _Where the H*LL is my android ? Deadbeats everywhere !

    _“They” and “ we” had better get our acts together and get with it, the seeds of a “new order” may be developing, see:

    “ Some rich people want to build an island!!! “ at :

    http://www.tribemagazine.com/board/tribe-main-forum/164166-some-rich-people-want-build-island.html

    * This just shows that the Congress and NASA have been remiss in their duties, doesn’t it ? This is quite a savings and a very real boost for Space development and the opportunities that will result, extraordinary opportunities !

    • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

      I can’t help laughing at the idea of this island. Man will never be able to build what the Forces of Nature can’t destroy.

      “Professing themselves to be wise, they are in fact fools.”

      • sickofthechit

         Dubai has been building Islands for rich people for years.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          People building their Mansions on Sand…
          Wonder what the ultimate outcome will be?

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s like building an economy by printing or passing around other people’s money.

          • sickofthechit

             Or waging two wars, giving tax cuts and a Medicare drug benefit without paying for it!

    • hennorama

      If one feels the need to live away from land, there’s already a 644 foot ship with 165 residences that continuously circumnavigates the Earth.  It’s named The World and was launched in 2002.  They don’t stay out at sea, of course, but some people do live onboard.  Seems a lot cheaper than building a floating island.
       
      http://aboardtheworld.com/our_story

      And then there are these “Top 10 Man-Made Island Paradises:

      http://www.intlistings.com/articles/2008/top-10-man-made-island-paradises/

      Sheesh – the things one finds along the way … aren’t search engines great?

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        Great links, thanks. I will have to live a million lives to afford one of these !

        • hennorama

          YW Wm_James_from_Missouri. One could say I was simply taking the state motto literally in providing the links, no?

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    January 1, 2013–Happy New Year???

    The rich probably got richer.

    The poor probably got (expletive deleted).

    America’s retreat from reality and march to oblivion continues.

    Have a nice day!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    In all seriousness, the politicians have bowed to their masters: the 1 percenters. I believe that, in our hearts, we knew this would happen.

    As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

    • Gregg Smith

      So Obama gets a tax hike for every American, 6 million of the poorest get to pay taxes again afterBush set them free, cuts to the military and spending increases everywhere else. He can blame Republicans, the press will dutifully parrot and the sheep will follow.

      What’s a Democrat not to like?

      • jefe68

        For those making over $450,000 there will be tax hikes. For those making less, not so much.

        The GOP lost the election, this is what happens when one party wins and the other does not.

        • Gregg Smith

          Do you have a crystal ball? While you are predicting the future, your taxes just went up. It’s now the law of the land. Good luck.

          • jefe68

            My FICA taxes did. But my income taxes did not. 

            You believe taxes are theft, so I don’t see how one of your ilk wold agree with anything.

          • Gregg Smith

            Every rate went up. The 10% bracket is gone and the 15% bracket is no longer indexed to it. The 25% bracket is now 28%; The 28% is 31%; The 33% is 36% and the 35% bracket it now 39.6%. The massive enhancement to the EIC is gone for the poor as well.

            You seriously had no idea did you? It’s true. Why would you comment about what you don’t know?

          • sickofthechit

             It’s not the law of the land if President Obama Vetoes it.

          • Gregg Smith

            He can’t veto the expiration.

    • William

       I would say Obama continued to pander to the low information voter with his never ending class warfare nonsense.

      • Gregg Smith

        Exactly.

      • sickofthechit

         It hasn’t been Class Warfare, it has been Class Genocide.  How else do you explain the 13% shift in the nation’s wealth from the lowest 20% to the highest 20% over the last 30 years?  That’s right, the wealthiest 20% now control 88% of the nation’s wealth, up from 75% in the early 1980′s.  So it is nonsense, but not in the way you see it.

        • William

           So life is a zero sum game? If someone gets ahead they caused someone else to fall behind?
           I would think that those who moved ahead had the skills and determination to get ahead while those that fell behind did not have the skills and determination to get ahead. Or better yet, creative destruction eliminated those skills that are no longer in demand and reward those skills that are in demand. Either way, life is not a zero sum game.

          • sickofthechit

             The way they got ahead at the expense of others was to use their wealth and influence to get the tax code manipulated so that their capital gains, interest, carried interest and hedge fund manager earnings were taxed at far lower rates (sometimes zero) than other income.  Then they declared themselves “Job Creators” and the genocide continued apace.

            Life may not be a zero sum game, but when a tiny fraction of the public benefits so disproportionately from tax policy then it is unfair.  When “collateralized debt obligations” etc. are treated as financial instruments and not as either insurance or outright gambling then the repurcussions of that feeding frenzy negatively effect pensions, homeowners, unemployed all so a select few can profit.

            The reason I say insurance because the various State’s Insurance Commissioners would have been able to regulate it a lot better than our current mechanism and maybe our financial meltdown might have been avoided, or at least mitigated a bit.

          • William

             Who is “they?”, Steve Jobs?

          • Michael Strassman

            again, for every ‘steve jobs’ there are 10 faceless chief executives who made nothing themselves, but have simply inherited someone else’s job. the rich are not a meritocracy, they are a new aristocracy built on connections and being in the right institutions instead of blood inheritance. Your ‘faith’ in individuals’ ability to pull themselves up if they just try hard enough is bad faith. The reality, which you’re likely aware of but don’t want to admit, is that overcoming the impediments of poverty or even a middle class existence–poor schools, lack of connections to get entry into jobs with a future, lack of parental support at home to overcome poor schools–is too great for all but the most extraordinary to overcome. Insisting that all young people have extraordinary drive and no small amount of innate talent to overcome those impediments is patently unfair. While mediocre talent and normal work ethic is enough to achieve success if you’re born to the right class, you would point to the 1-in-a-1000 kid who makes it out of poverty or working-poor status as evidence that anyone can and should do it. You’re either lying to yourself or trying to put one over on the rest of us, the same way Mitt pointed to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as evidence of a thriving meritocracy in America, which is like pointing to Michael Jordan or Yo Yo Ma and saying ‘anyone can be an elite athlete/artist if they just try hard enough.

          • Wm_James_from_Missouri

            “… again, for every ‘steve jobs’ there are 10 faceless chief executives who made nothing themselves,”.  You are too generous, it is probably 1 out of every thousand .

          • Michael Strassman

            correct, but of course those on the other side of the argument would never believe it.

          • Michael Strassman

            yeah, right, all the rich just pulled themselves up by their boot straps…you’re either deluded or lying. The rich are not a bunch of Bill Gates-ian entrepreneurs, but stewards of companies other people built, and they didn’t get there because they’re smarter than you and me (well, maybe you), but because they went to the right prep-schools, knew the right people, got into the right business schools (paid for by mom and dad), and had the tracks greased for them to succeed in corporate America. The deck is stacked, and those who deny it are immoral, out of touch, or just stupid. Whether or no life is a zero sum game (and it probably is…there  simply isn’t enough wealth to go around) we have a moral obligation and the notion of shared risk which should compel us to provide for those less fortunate or able to get ahead, despite perhaps giving it their all. The lives of the rich are not significantly diminished by providing that more equal playing field, while the lives of those less fortunate are surely miserable without such measures.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Equivalent Sacrifice. He’ll never get it.

          • William

             Your future is in your hands so if you choose to give up and rely on other people to get your ahead, then you will fail.

          • Michael Strassman

            yeah, I am successful (relatively) and I’ve got a work ethic and some brains, but whether I would have achieved what I have without educated parents who could encourage me academically, pay for my college, and help me meet people to give me a chance at my first job is anyone’s guess. Without my brains, I can guarantee not.

          • Steve__T

            Life is not a game, You may see yourself as a player, But I don’t play with my life, nor my loved ones. You want to play games with your life that’s your choice not mine leave, me and mine out of that. I don’t care for whatever bias politicians have they need to remember why they were elected, to do a job, their job is not playing games with peoples lives.
            They are there to make life better for all not just a few.

            When or while your playing this game with your life, I hope you don’t have to play with cheaters, but I think you will. Unless you are the one that cheats and thinks, It makes no difference how I win as long as I win. That makes the game meaningless and a zero sum game.

          • William

            If Obama is not playing a game with our lives then what exactly is he up too? FDR tried the “blame the rich” economic and political policy and only made a bad situation worse. What is Obama’s end game? Make life “fair” or perhaps “change America” to a….?

    • Don_B1

      It goes beyond the politicians; the MainStreamMedia has evaded its responsibilities in direct relationship to the decline of its revenues from selling newspapers and the advertising it used to make its money from. Good, in-depth reporting does cost money and in the old days, after spending large amounts to gather news, the profits of media companies were still large. But now each company no longer has news departments they run “in the public interest.” It is all in separate profit centers which they demand show a profit.

      Then there is the master cliche from the press: “When both sides complain about the coverage we are doing right.” Well, when one side is telling lies and the other side is telling the truth, the media has a responsibility to at least provide the evidence that the average citizen can use to draw the correct conclusion, if the press does not outright say so. But this rarely happens today, even with the news sources that have the best reputations.

      Consider the issue being discussed today: the “Fiscal Cliff,” which is purely an artifact of today’s “deficit hawk” politicians. They are using an artifact of the Greater Recession of 2007-2009 which they, and they alone, have worked strenuously and with much success to extend into the Lesser Depression.

      Sure, the U.S. has had an annual deficit of around $1 trillion (often capitalized for emphasis) since 2009, which the CBO had predicted in early January 2009. But what spending programs has Obama put in place (note that the healthcare reform, PPACA, does NOT go into full effect until 2014, and the few items that have gone into effect are NOT expensive) to make that “deficit” permanent? The CBO projects a slowly declining deficit based on current law and the lack of any significant stimulus to shorten that period, which, given the current Republican intransigence, would appear likely.

      But see:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-26/the-deficit-not-as-bad-as-they-want-you-to-think.html

      and:

      http://www.businessinsider.com/closing-the-deficit-is-painless-2012-12

      to see that more than 2/3 of the deficit is due SOLEY to the Lesser Recession that is occurring because of Republican obstruction of the spending on things like the American Jobs Act, which would have lowered unemployment by more than 1% by now and the deficit would have been lowered by almost the same amount as the AJA would have cost.

  • StilllHere

    Delay in the necessary spending cuts … so predictable.

    Debt ceiling should be a good opportunity to leverage more cuts.

    • Gordon Green

      By that logic, any senator could threaten that the US default on its (already accumulated) debt to get his or her way.  That is truly despicable, and the only reason democrats don’t do it is they actually care about what happens to the people in this country.  The republicans just want their way, the people be damned. Otherwise, there’s no reason democrats couldn’t do the same thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Did Americans really think Obama could raise taxes on that $250 to $400,000 households.  With spousal incomes these are the bloated incomes of attorneys, doctors, dentists,  college professors, mid Wall Street people,  Hollywood types. This also includes the cushy lifestyles of the dual federal worker households, diplomats, spies and other parasites that dwell inside the Beltway and embassies world wide.   This game is rigged from the start.  The reality is that the US is still bankrupt, printing money and waging wars.

  • sickofthechit

    The wealthy hold the upper hand.  As they have forever.

  • sickofthechit

    Maybe if we all just started sending all types of balls (golf balls, basketballs, tennis balls) to the President and Harry Reid they might begin to understand what we want done.  Veto it Mr. President, Veto it!

  • Markus6

    Though I think they’re dopes in many areas including the environment, gun control, military spending, the Republicans are the only ones showing any courage fiscally (although not a lot). They’re the only ones providing any reality in solutions (flawed as they are). Even the most aggressive tax increases proposed by Obama barely dent the debt. You have to cut back on entitlements. And as soon as you do, you run into the Jack Beatty’s of the world who trott out grandmothers who will starve, or children who won’t get shoes. They never mention the massive waste in government, like government employees retiring at 50 with 80% of their last years pay. They love the emotional arguments.

    There’s little upside to suggesting cuts – much easier telling those who now depend on some form of government payment that they’re getting there’s …. regardless of the 15 Trillion in debt.

    • jefe68

      Hyperbole.

      • Markus6

        Exactly. And I shouldn’t have singled out Jack as he often does bring facts (though he’s very selective about which side they support). 

        • sickofthechit

           You should look up “hyperbole” though.

        • Steve__T

           ???

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1711179847 Nancy Zelman

    What about Section 4 of the 14th Amendment? Doesn’t it clearly prohibit these challenges by the “loyal” opposition?

    “Section 4.
    The validity of the public debt of the United
    States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of
    pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or
    rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor
    any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of
    insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for
    the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations
    and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

  • crtum

    Listening to this show makes youthink the biggest issue we have in this country is who to blame.  Bob, is this all we are really worried about? What is the right thing to do?  Nothing, Democrat or Republican, are doing makes any real dent in the debt….

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    John Boehner is responsible. WHY when he put the “Fiscal Cliff” in place in 2011 did he not spend HOURS every day for the next year working with ALL members of Congress to work out the simplified tax code he wants? To figure out which credits, deductions and loop holes should be removed? To figure out WHAT spending is unneeded, WHAT could be made more efficient, WHAT is just not affordable, etc?

    Were I to set a time bomb at work such as this and wait until the last second for the Lone Ranger to come save the day, I would be fired.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Or blown to bits when the bomb you built went off because you refused to disarm it…

    • hennorama

      BHA – remember – when the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 was enacted in early August of 2011, the political dynamic was much different than today.  In mid-2011, the TEA partiers had first come into the Republican caucus in the House, and Pres. Obama’s overall approval rating (per Gallup’s weekly poll) was just over 40%, and under 30% on the economy.

      Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans thought the deficit, debt, and the economy would be winning issues for the 2012 elections, and thought they were boxing Pres. Obama in through the BCA.  They figured they’d win the Presidency and more seats in both houses of Congress, then do whatever they wanted with the budget, taxes, and spending.  They felt no need to DO anything until after the elections they figured they would win.

      This didn’t exactly work out the way Republicans had hoped, which is why they are being dragged kicking and screaming into a fiscal conundrum deal.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VW5VIIMKD54CTIWTDEGPZ52XZE C

    Thank you for addressing the role re-districting plays in this, however brief it was.  I think it’s about time.  Would be interested in hearing a whole segment regarding this topic.

  • rkean

    How can John Harwood say that “entitlements” are responsible for the deficit and not mention Pentagon spending?! Amazing! If it weren’t for 2 unfunded wars and the Bush tax cuts we’d be sitting pretty, or at least much prettier.

    • Markus6

      I’m with you on the unfunded wars and some of the tax cuts. However, though I suspect they’re a big chunk of the national debt, my guess is they’re under 20% and will be a significantly smaller percentage of a projected 20T debt in a few years. But someone may have better numbers.

      • rkean

        Check out National Priorities Project, super number crunchers. And think about the result of spending on the social safety net v. military bases, weapons, killing people around the globe. And the most amazing fact of all- the Pentagon hasn’t been audited for over 10 years!

  • scottmartin49

    John Harwood is either an ignoramus or a lying sack. BLUE states are net PAYERS into the Federal Government. RED states are net beneficieries. Either/OR- not a worthy participant in the conversation. 

    Just as green, biased, and lightweight as Matt Continetti; another ‘Conservative’ NPR will call on from time to time.  

  • Michael Strassman

    A major obstacle to change in the country on entitlements or taxes is cultural…the vast majority of Americans are deluded by a few major myths about this country and ourselves, namely that anyone can achieve wealth, that we are a country of equal opportunity, and that people don’t rely on the government for anything. Survey after survey shows that a majority of Americans think they will be rich in their lifetime, which is patently ludicrous by the numbers, let alone the skills of the person answering. Secondly, the country has never been less mobile economically speaking and we are one of the worst industrialized countries in terms of social mobility…the deck is stacked for the rich and connected who have a clear path to success, while the middle class and poor face huge obstacles. Lastly, people who receive enormous aid (rightly so) from the government refuse to admit, whether its a mortgage tax credit, unemployment, social security, medicare, and any number of services that help the struggling middle class and lower levels of society hang on. In this environment of self-delusion and American myths that die hard, the Republicans sell the ignorant their own world view back to them and point the finger at Democrats and accuse them of wanting to take away an America that no longer exists and that the very rich have already taken possession of. I say this as someone in the upper middle class who went to school with many of the rich and soon-to-be rich, so I know whereof I speak.

  • Imran Nasrullah

    My view is that we are held hostage by a far-right contingent – Tea Party conservatives and others of the Grover Norquist ilk – who will not compromise because their brand of political and economic “fundamentalism”.  Reasonable people on the left and the right (centrists) are stymied because of this.  Of course, it was the policies of the far right, neo-cons, etc. during the Bush era that positioned us for this mess by pushing outlandish defense budgets, wars, BIG GOVERNMENT (homeland security), tax reductions for the very wealthy, etc.  I just don’t think they deserve a seat at the table.

    • scottmartin49

      Imran, I agree. It’s all part of a very strange transformation that’s occured during my lifetime that I declare as, “Since when are DEMOCRATS expected to be the grownups?”
      All of this is simply petulence. Generations of Republicans became so incensed at losing favor for their conservatism that, in power, they let liberal policies on debt and spending rip (see; Nixon,Reagan) while preaching sin and repentence. Open bar at church…
      They then found strawmen to knock down, placing blame and harming any group unable to fight back electorally, all the while continuing to coddle a self serving majority. REPUBLICANS are, in actuality, the hogs enriching themselves at the public exchequer trough.   

    • Gregg Smith

      When Boehner pointed out to Obama that he put $800 billion in new revenue on the table (far far more that a top rate hike would generate) and asked him what he got in return, Obama said, “Nothing, I get that for free”. The Tea Party is not the problem.

      • sickofthechit

         Gregg, They were called the Temporary Bush Tax Cuts and should have died a natural death years ago. 

  • Imran Nasrullah

    I agree with Michael Strassman. He has nailed it.

  • crtum

    I agree with this statement:
    “people who receive enormous aid (rightly so) from the government refuse to admit” and if we as a country want these services then we as a country should pay for them.  Raise taxes on everyone or/and cut spending to pay for them.  Simply raising “rich” people taxes will not raise enough money. I personally would cut defence and end the war afgan, pull all the troops home and close millitary bases world wide.  But in order to balance the budget and give everyone the services we want, we would need to do more than defense cuts.

    • sickofthechit

       Maybe, but it would be a good place to start.

  • jefe68

    Robert Reich sums it up and he lays it out better than I can:

    The deal emerging from the Senate is a lousy one. Let me count the ways:

    1. Republicans haven’t conceded anything on the debt ceiling, so over the next two months – as the Treasury runs out of tricks to avoid a default – Republicans are likely to do exactly what they did before, which is to hold their votes on raising the ceiling hostage to major cuts in programs for the poor and in Medicare and Social Security.

    2. The deal makes tax cuts for the rich permanent (extending the Bush tax cuts for incomes up to $400,000 if filing singly and $450,000 if jointly) while extending refundable tax credits for the poor (child tax credit, enlarged EITC, and tuition tax credit) for only five years. There’s absolutely no justification for this asymmetry.

    3. It doesn’t get nearly enough revenue from the wealthiest 2 percent — only $600 billion over the next decade, which is half of what the President called for, and a small fraction of the White House’s goal of more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction. That means more of the burden of tax hikes and spending cuts in future years will fall on the middle class and the poor.
    4. It continues to exempt the first $5 million of inherited wealth from the estate tax (the exemption used to be $1 million). This is a huge gift to the heirs of the wealthy, perpetuating family dynasties of the idle rich.

    Yes, the deal finally gets Republicans to accept a tax increase on the wealthy, but this is an inside-the-Beltway symbolic victory. If anyone believes this will make the GOP more amenable to future tax increases, they don’t know how rabidly extremist the GOP has become. The deal also extends unemployment insurance for more than 2 million long-term unemployed. That’s important. But I can’t help believe the President could have done better than this. After all, public opinion is overwhelmingly on his side. Republicans would have been blamed had no deal been achieved.

    More importantly, the fiscal cliff is on the President’s side as well. If we go over it, he and the Democrats in the next Congress that starts later this week can quickly offer legislation that grants a middle-class tax cut and restores most military spending. Even rabid Republicans would be hard-pressed not to sign on.

  • JGC

    I am glad there seems to be a permanent fix for the alternative minimum tax.  This has been a 20-year toothache.

  • Adrian_from_RI

    I listen ad nauseam to the arguments for higher taxes for people making a quarter, one, or half a million dollars and then to reach a last minute consensus at $ 449,999,999.99. This would be hilarious if it was not so scary.  It is scary because we expect solutions for our financial crisis from the very same people and institutions that caused the fiscal cliff in the first place. No wonder that a Pravda editorial refers to us as a nation of infantiles.  
     
    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2012/11/26/russian_newspaper_obama_was_reelected_by_illiterate_society
     
    I am a great admirer of our Founding Fathers and the Republic they established. America was to be a republic where the only legitimate function of the Law was to protect my Inalienable Rights to my life, liberty, and property and where the pursuit of happiness was my own business and responsibility.

    Over the last century we changed from a republic to a democracy. Now the law is no longer an instrument of justice. The law has now been turned in an instrument of plunder. We now consider it legitimate to use the political process to try to enrich ourselves at the expense of others.

    Initially our Presidents were the product of an enlightenment culture. Now our president is the result of the ever growing 47% and NPR and the main stream media egging on the 47%. Will we ever find our way back to the Enlightenment?

    By the way, for those few who wonder where the Financial Cliff came from I recommend you read “The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure” by retired bank CEO John Allison.

    • jefe68

      Oh boy, talk about hyperbolic nonsense. 

    • rap12

       Right…hmmm…having a bit of amnesia are you?  Hmmm…seems  the 47% + fought George’s illegal wars while the top was stashing their monies rather than supporting the troops they declared so great prior to the fight…and who do you think has been paying for the wounded when they return?  Not the tax stashers.
      How about that Wall Street thing that George and Cheney handed to Obama?  Hmmm….and what about that promise to make Obama a one term President before he even was sworn in?
      I suggest you read the history.  Check A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn….it’s not re-written by monarchy the way that George demanded the Iraq history books be revised immediately after his invasion..
      Like I suggested recently…
      Perhaps we the people should be voting on individual issues rather than the leaders who thought they could buy this election with their stash cash…they lost…that’s a statement in itself.  Wake up we the people decided not to live under the gold of monarchy

  • jefe68

    The more I read about this deal I’m convinced this was again a huge mistake on part of the President conceding to much and giving in to the GOP. It’s amazing how dysfunctional our government is. Part of me wonders if our experiment with democracy has failed or is on the way to failing. 
    If we had a parliamentary system the GOP would be making a lot of noise, but that’s about it.

  • arydberg

    The whole think strikes me as one ongoing soap opera.     It may be that the idea is to keep the public from getting wind of the real controversies like the 10 – 20 planed nuclear reactors.  

    see
    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/new-reactor-map.html

  • hennorama

    If this fiscal condundrum consolation prize deal gets enacted, almost everyone will be paying more in income tax and/or payroll tax.  Virtually everyone can find at least one thing about the deal to hate or complain about, so it’s probably a pretty good deal.  It’s too small by half, but we’ve gotta start somewhere.

    Again, assuming it goes through.

    Now (cue the boxing and/or soccer announcer) “Let’s get ready to Sociaaaaalll.”  The next tussles will be over the debt ceiling, and Republicans will continue to focus on trying to cut Social Security and Medicare (not that there’s anything wrong with that ;-)).

    What should we call the upcoming debt ceiling battle?  We need a catchy name, hopefully better than “Fiscal Cliff.”  A Debt Ceiling Sobriquet, if you will.

    How about “Debt Ceiling Dustup?”  Maybe “Debt Ceiling Biff”, to rhyme with Fiscal Cliff?  We can call the worries about it “Debt Ceiling Fret” or “Debt Ceiling Sweat.”  The negotiations can be called “Debt Ceiling Wheeling and Dealing.”

    Some proposals will likely be called “Debt Ceiling Stealing”  or “Debt Ceiling Social Security and Medicare Repealing” but that’s getting a bit far ahead right now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

      I would call it a joke. With a lot of posturing thrown in, just to liven things up a bit. These Congress persons have to watch their steps. Their major contributors are watching.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    I’ve been watching the “proceedings” of both the House and Senate online now for over two hours. The House has been out for most of that time, subject to recall. The Senate has just re-convened; meaning that the camera is on and a  few people are wandering around. If there’s any sense of urgency, it certainly doesn’t show. I’ve seen far more liveliness at funerals. LOL

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Busy Work. Damn they’re good at it…

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Someone stop the Fiscal-Go-Round, I’m dizzy and I want to get off.

    • Gregg Smith

      Markets are closed, they get another free day. Take some dramamine.

      • rap12

         The markets = origin of this crisis

  • Gregg Smith

    The deal reached in the Senate adds $4T to the debt over the next decade. Nice work guys.

  • rap12

    What if people across the country became the deciders and voted on these issues?
    It’d be cheaper and the results would be in by now like them or not.
    We need to get back to the JOBS issue….

    • Gregg Smith

      That’s mob rule.

      • rap12

        Interactive democracy paying attention.

  • hennorama

    First Boehner abdicates responsibilty by saying “It’s up to the Senate.”  Then the Senate acts and votes for a compromise deal passing it overwhelmingly 89-8.  Now House majority “leader” Cantor says he can’t support the bill.

    Then we have Republican asshat spokeshuman Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) calling the 89-9 Senate vote “the votes of sleep deprived octogenarians.”  This disdainful mischaracterization (3 current Senators are age 80 or over) is needless.

    This is after sanctimonious Senators McCain and Corker characterized Pres. Obama’s recent remarks as “the President of the United States …. he kind of made fun, he made a couple of jokes… sent a message of confrontation to the Republicans,” and “the president … heckling Congress.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34222_162-57561432-10391739/obamas-fiscal-cliff-remarks-leave-gop-angry-confused/

    If Republican Senators and Representatives think the President’s remarks were making fun of or heckling Congress – they should get out more.  I doubt they’d enjoy hearing the comments of average Americans, who hold them in far lower regard.

    Kabuki theater anyone?

    • Gregg Smith

      Obama was a first class jerk yesterday. It was arrogance on parade. Did you see it? It was amazingly brazen and unproductive.

      • Mike_Card

        It was exactly what he should have done.  Treating congress like adults is not the way to get anything done.

        • Gregg Smith

          Then he should stop griping about the tone and just admit he’s a ruthless, take no prisoners, Alinski radical.

          • Mike_Card

            If he did, the result would be…?

          • Gregg Smith

            Excellent question! I’m a hopeless romantic so I would consider being honest about who he is lovely but that’s just me. Take GWB or Bill Clinton; Richard Nixon or LBJ,  those are Presidents of deep persuasion without shame. I say say it out loud. You seem to do that. If you go by what he says, who the hell is Obama? Good luck with that one.

            But the cold cold truth is if he  did that he’d be toast. There is no way on God’s green Earth he could have the credibility of an oaf if he said who he truly was, so I should want that…

            …or so I thought. He won. WTF?! Are people blind, ignorant or stupid? Or none of the above? Seriously? Do they get it and want this? Are there legions who don’t care enough to get it as long as that get it? I have always had faith in the power of the people. If that faith is misplaced, I must lose it. I’m busy, I’m tired, I’m getting too old to have to worry about such.

            Now I’m sitting here fidgeting about contemplating doom as a way of ultimate persuasion or taking the high road… again… for squat. It’s Godawful. 

            Looky there, all that (told ya’ it was a good question) and no answer to a one stinkin’ line comment. You nailed me to the wall. I not only have no answer, I don’t even know what I wish it to be. 

          • Mike_Card

            That’s a serious answer that deserves a serious response.  I’m going up top, to avoid the crowding.

          • nj_v2

            Thus proving Greggg knows nothing about Alinski. Cluelessness grows terminal. Perhaps there is a treatment program.

          • Gregg Smith

            I guess anyone who uses bogus math to say Eisenhower’s tax rates brought in more revenue than GWB’s would not see the link between Alinski’s and Obama’s tactics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    “A nation divided against itself cannot stand”.–Abraham Lincoln

    Lincoln was talking about the slavery issue being divisive in his day. But you can take the same statement and apply it to the greed, dishonesty, and partisan politics that afflicts us today, and it is as relevant now as it was over 150 years ago. You could even argue that it is a prophecy for our time.

    • hennorama

      Another thing that Pres. Lincoln got right was the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect 150 years ago, at midnight, Jan.1, 1863.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Well, I KNOW President Obama is a center-right conservadem, but somehow it still hurts to see him act that way. I wish he would stop talking the progressive talk, it just makes it worse when he reneges. 

    • Gregg Smith

      I hear the center right thing often and I have to laugh. How many center right Senators over the years have been labeled the most liberal Senator by the non-partisan National Journal’s ranking? 

      The most common reason I hear is he didn’t get single-payer. That’s hilarious! Don’t worry it’s coming, he said so. He had to reconciliate, bribe and lie to get what he got. And he needed majorities in both chambers plus the Godlike momentum of his imaculation as President. The fix is in. He’s a progressive, look it up.  

      The other is his war footing. He adopted nearly everything Bush did. He didn’t accelerate the Iraq withdrawal. He didn’t close Gitmo. He didn’t end indefinite detention without a trial. He didn’t end Military tribunals. He didn’t repeal the Patriot Act. Well duh! He couldn’t. It’s a dangerous world and Bush was very prudent in all those decisions. It was what had to be done. 

      The dude is the most radical left President we’ve ever had. Only the far far far left (NPR devotees) thinks otherwise.

  • Mike_Card

    Now I read, “Can’ter won’t support the Senate bill.”  What a surprise.  He’s the biggest dick head in the House, if you don’t count Bachmann.  All he does is expose the ignorance of the 7th district of VA.

  • CrisShag

    I believe it’s time for elected representatives from both parties to stop being concerned about their party and start being concerned about their individual constituents. There are real people in each of their districts who are suffering hardships, suffering if you will, as a result of the partisan block. It’s time for action and we all know none of us will like everything about it but it’s got to be taken.

    I am a 63 year old woman who, due to the economic crisis of 2008, is now in a job making $9.00 per hour. While I’m glad to have a job at all, within the next two week my hours will be cut from 36 to 29, if I’m lucky and 26 if I’m not so lucky because no one in a position to do anything about it is working to make things better.  I’m not alone out here. There are plenty more like me.

    As a result of the stalemate in the House of Representatives  I’m facing higher taxes. I cannot afford to have less income than I have.

    If our elected representatives cannot get beyond being elected to Speaker of the House, or the next general election and get down to business, it’s time to implement term limits so they’ll pay attention to why they’re there and get something done.

  • Gregg Smith

    Okay, now what?

  • Fredlinskip

      Once again, it seems Obama & Dems, give up way too much to McConnell and the “country be damned- no compromise” members of the House.
      With political capital of recent election and the fact that “going over cliff” actually improves their bargaining position, Dems should be walking away with much better deal.
       Playing role of the “adults in the room” doesn’t justify compromising away America’s fiscal future or the recent voice of the electorate. 

  • Mike_Card

    Gregg, you’re getting into an area that I think bothers most of us; maybe not most, but at least observers who care enough to discuss issues.

    You ask, “Who IS Obama?”  I think that meta question applies to Bush II, equally.  To my ear, Clinton and Bush I were unable to be opaque–even if they tried.  As far as I’m concerned, the template for political success was cast with the professional actor, Reagan.

    I think I agree, in that I despair of being able to strip away the makeup mask on ANY candidate for big office.  I don’t know who Obama is, or Romney, or, or…All I–or anyone outside their inner circles–know is what the image brokers are selling.  If we’re lucky, the crowd-sourcing model (others would say “the market”) provides the better choice.

    Just among us girls, I’m a bit beyond your years, and I’m god almighty tired, too.

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