Leaders on both sides of the dome, in both parties, are meeting with key Obama administration officials on Capitol Hill, quietly mulling different legislative strategies to avoid massive tax hikes on all Americans. At the same time, lawmakers are beginning to carve out positions for their parties for what will become a months-long rhetorical and legislative war leading up to a series of year-end deadlines.Same old story. Right now there's a bill sitting in the House, passed by the Senate, that would extend the tax cuts for people making under $250,000. If John Boehner and Dave Camp were actually trying to solve the problem, trying to, you know, be responsible representatives for the people who elected them, they would put that bill on the floor and they would whip their members to pass it.
In one day, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met with both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.). The meeting with Camp was directly focused on the year-end expiration of tax rates — widely known in Washington as the “fiscal cliff.” Boehner’s office said he and Geithner spoke about the European debt crisis, but it declined to answer whether tax rates were discussed. [...]
If the polls stay where they are today, and Republicans keep the House, Democrats hold the Senate and Obama wins the presidency, top aides in both parties insist that tax rates on the wealthy will go up. But those aides, who are involved in planning for the year-end battles, say the legislative gridlock could give both sides the incentive to strike a grand deficit and tax compromise.
But the reality is, they're more beholden to Grover Norquist than to the American people. All Republicans are—they proved it when the voted to block middle-class tax cuts, holding them hostage to the tax cuts for millionaires. They will continue to hold the tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans hostage.
They don't want to give up that bargaining chip for their primary goal: a "grand bargain" that slashes entitlements, weakening Social Security and Medicare and decimating Medicaid. You now, that stuff that many of the 47 percenters rely on to survive.