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Yeah, I wrote a diary yesterday and called it that, but I now know better and understand how using that term works against us attaining optimal results.

Calling it a "cliff" implies everything will go immediately to shit on Jan 1 and that is just not the case. Calling it a "cliff" only sets the stage for our side to make a bad deal. Calling it a cliff only benefits the GOP position. The best and most responsible thing Dems can do is let the tax cuts for the wealthy expire. Once that is done, there is time to work the rest out before any real damage comes into play.

Not much of a diary, I know, but it's become clear and urgent to me how important it is to fight the bullshit framing that pushes for rash and foolish decision making.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:08:10 AM PST

  •  Geez everybody fell off the "Cliff" in the 90's (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, Farkletoo, katiec, Neon Mama, a2nite, Chi, Sylv

    Which this is merely a reset of tax rates during the Clinton Era (you know when we had no unemployment and a surplus) and rolls back the Pentagon to more reasonable levels.

    I'm ready to "Dive" Off.  Bet I can still do a nice Swan Dive.

  •  This one for you: (7+ / 0-)
    Bill McBride at Calculated Risk has two must-read paragraphs on the so-called Fiscal Cliff:
    My baseline forecast assumes a compromise on the fiscal slope (more of a "slope" than a "cliff", and January 1st is not a drop dead date). My current guess is an agreement will be reached AFTER January 1st - so that the Bush tax cuts can expire and certain politicians can claim they didn't vote to raise taxes (silly, but that is politics).

    I expect the relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will be extended, the tax cuts for low to middle income families will be reenacted, and that most, but not all, of the defense spending cuts will be reversed (aka "sequestration"). However I think the payroll tax cut will probably not be extended, and tax rates on high income earners will increase a few percentage points to the Clinton era levels.

    This is a very sensible, and important antidote to some of the Cliff hysteria that's permeated the media.
    Read more:

    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:21:14 AM PST

    •  Thanks, Pluto. I mentioned yesterday that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, 2thanks

      Steve Kornacki explained how it's not a cliff and why calling it so puts us at a disadvantage. Chris Hayes echoed the same sentiments on Last Word last night.

      The President is supposed to speak to the issue at some point today, don't know at what time.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:27:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In some cases it really is a cliff (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sceptical observer, JTinDC, erush1345

    for example for scientific research that has already been subject to a decade of below inflation increases in budgeting.

    With this, essentially NO new grants would get funded for 1 (and up to 3) years.

    •  I understand there are crucial and urgent elements (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama, lurkyloo, 2thanks, Sylv, DemSign, Pluto

      to this, but if Ezra and others are correct, allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire automatically solves some issues and puts us at a better starting point to deal with other issues.

      Those tax cuts were grossly irresponsible in the first place and along with two wars are the primary casue of our fiscal problems. You don't cut taxes when you go to war, you raise them. We triple whammied ourselves and did it on purpose to get ourselves that much closer to being able to drown government in a bath tub. We can't undo the war spending, but we sure as hell can fix the tax cuts.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:46:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My concern is that hasn't the House already (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        voted to exempt the military from the "cliff"?    Methinks that will probably stick, making things THAT MUCH WORSE for everything else.

        And yes, I'd love to see all the Bush tax cuts expire.  But fat chance of that!!

        •  The House has already voted, multiple times… (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JTinDC, Pluto

          …to outlaw abortion and repeal Obamacare. Guess what? All those votes are meaningless without agreement with the Senate.

          Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

          by DemSign on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 07:28:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Those issues are somewhat different than (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            what we're discussing here - namely a strictly budgetary issue that is constitutionally primarily in the realm of the House.

            So yeah, what they do can definitely be ameliorated by the Senate, but still, the House has WAY  too much influence here.

            •  Ya know, the main, maybe only? problem in the (0+ / 0-)

              House is the Tea Party contingent and they are, unless I'm mistaken, only 25% of all House GOPers. It seems there has got to be a way, especially given the reality that a good percent of theie constituents want them to get somerhing done, to peal away the roughly 20 votes we need to get shit done. I know it'd be tough, but my thought is if Dems were prepared to fight like pitbulls and get down and dirty that we could pull it off. Some of these folks are going to lose in 2014 anyway if they don't act like sane legislators. Many red districts are not tea bagger territory.

              Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

              by JTinDC on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 09:23:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  The onomatopoeia of "fiscal cliff" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    makes it sound wise and essential, inherently true.  Fiscal and cliff are almost anagrams.   We need a new one.

    Not as "clever" as fiscal cliff, but it's a start: Repub Ramp.

  •  It sure sounds like something Frank Luntz (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, Deep Texan

    would conjure up to re-frame the debate in terms most favorable to the right.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:42:09 AM PST

  •  The fiscal hillock (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I tried, as well, to make this point in a diary yesterday.

    It occurs to me that Obama may not object to this rigged framing, as he has apparently said nothing to counter it.

    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

    by Minerva on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:49:23 AM PST

    •  He's going to speak on it later today. Guess we'll (0+ / 0-)

      see then. It's looking like Dems think the "cliff" framing can be used to force the GOP to accept expiration of the tax cuts. I think we'll find that that won't work. No way do they agree to tax increases on the wealthy. Only way to raise those taxes is to do ......nothing. Not. A. Thing.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:54:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Heard this on Netroots Radio yesterday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I had tried to tune in before but never found the live stream, just the podcast.

    Duh, once I figured it out I will tune in again.

    Anyway, it's not a cliff. The reframing takes a load off my mind.

  •  Agreed & that includes using their words for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:20:31 AM PST

  •  It's not a cliff. It's a wall. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, lurkyloo, Deep Texan

    1.  Either Republicans cave to Obama or

    2.  They get tax hikes and defense cuts they cannot live with - but Obama can.

    They rolled the dice that they would defeat Obama before the sequester mechanism could be made to work.  Sorry, Charlie.  Please proceed, Governor.

    Still enjoying my stimulus package.

    by Kevvboy on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:22:33 AM PST

  •  Bluff is perfect -- "temporary" was a lie (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, JTinDC

    from "day one".   Bu$hco had no intention of ever turning off the spigot to his fellow piggies.  

    That crew has dumb policies --- but they are excellent at playing a long game using tactics which let we frogs come to a boil slowly.

    Some of them refuse to learn the lesson of Articles of Confederation failure--- the one which led to the Constitution.  We really must have an effective central taxing authority.  We really do have to pay for the costs of warfare.

    And the common good really does extend beyond state borders.   Thus, bribing corporations to steal jobs from our fellow citizens in some other US state --- is not good economics.  It is a con game.  

    Economic royalty must not supplant King George et al.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:50:09 AM PST

    •  heard George P Bush might be running here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC, Neon Mama

      in Texas.  please no.

      -You want to change the system, run for office.

      by Deep Texan on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:13:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I beg Texans to squash him early. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As a double Bushed Floridian --- I can warn that they come ready to treat your state as a hostile takeover target to be vulture cleaned -- and left chained to so many bad laws & policies it will take longer to remove than it takes them to sneak in.

        All of Bu$hco just keep advancing their long game agenda as economic royalty who truly believe they have divine right to rule we peons.  W counts us as One Fodder Unit - OFU.  From forced birth to crooked Funeralgate crony burial --- valued only for what bloody cash they can squeeze from us.

        De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

        by Neon Mama on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 08:46:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  here's the tipoff (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with boner and mcconnell and all the talking heads all in arms and trying to scare everyone on this subject, you know there are big bucks at stake for the right wing and big business.

    I heard months ago that Jan 1 was nor a hard deadline and that there was time to negotiate a good deal for all of us.

    Paul Krugman speaks truth as does Patty Murray.

    Do not buy the hype. Do not go all debbie downer.

    In O We Trust.

    mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

    by wewantthetruth on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:52:44 AM PST

  •  when was the last time a Republicn sold the/truth? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, JTinDC

    consider these terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout famine, acceptance of nature

    by renzo capetti on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:58:20 AM PST

  •  Important lesson here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    can't demobilize the election efforts because now we have to continue to fight the narrative battles.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:05:47 AM PST

  •  middle class tax cuts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:10:56 AM PST

  •  It's amazing to me how many people here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, erush1345

    simply say, Democrats should not compromise one iota and should be just fine with January 1 rolling around with all its consequences.  

    If that happens, the CBO estimates that the country will go into recession. If that happens, a family of four with a household income of $75,000 (say a married couple making $40,000 each with two kids) will owe an additional $4000 or so in federal income tax, plus 2% more in payroll taxes.

    The big deal for the middle class is the AMT, which will hit families with household income starting around $75,000 or so.  And that probably can't be quickly fixed in January:

    Officials with the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department declined to comment on the impact of adjusting the AMT after December. But congressional tax aides said the IRS has advised Congress that trying to fix the AMT after the filing season begins in January would lead to processing delays of more than two months for nearly half of all returns — significantly postponing the delivery of refunds.
    If we get to the end of December, and no deal is reached, these things will go into effect January 1 (the economic slowdown will start as soon in December as it becomes apparent that no deal will happen).  You can't just "fix it" in mid-January or so and then it will be like nothing happened.  First, if they can't reach a deal before the end of this year, what makes it so clear that a quick deal will be reached in January?  Second, once the slide into severe slowdown starts, a single bill passed, say, at the end of January won't magically fix it.  The economy doesn't work like that.  Third, a deal in late January (even if you are sure of getting a retroactive tax deal) or so means that the money will be coming out of the pockets of middle class Americans for a while (payroll withholding takes a while to adjust) and they won't get it back until the file their tax returns in spring 2014.  

    Look, if people here think that it's ok for those things to happen, and that it's better for all of that to happen than to compromise with Republicans, that's fine, I suppose.  But at least go into it with your eyes open.  What you are saying is that it's worth it to see a severe economic slowdown to an already weak economic growth rate, and to take a significant amount of money out of the pockets of middle class taxpayers for a year so that Democrats don't have to compromise at all.  (And, that assumes that they will get a deal in January without compromising at all, which won't happen -- taxes on the rich raises only about $70 billion year, so that alone can't be the basis of any real deal.) Don't pretend that "we can just fix it in January so it's no big deal."  

    •  Short term pain for long term gain. (0+ / 0-)

      CBO projects that we eventually get down to 5.5% unemployment. That sounds pretty good to me.

      BTW, the Dems HAVE compromised. Now it's the GOP's turn. We've been standing in the middle for a long time. We should not have to step over to the right. That's not what the American people voted for.

      Richard Mourdock of IN clearly expressed that his idea of compromise was Dems doing what Repubs wanted. Regardless of his "rape pregnacy is god's will" lunacy, he was on track to lose based on his no compromise mentality. Red state Hoosiers wanted better than that. And I cannot imagine IN conservatives are alone in wanting better than that.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:31:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no problem with that argument. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto, VClib

        What you are saying is, "I know that we may well go into recession for a significant part of 2013, and we may well go up to unemployment of 9%, and that a family of 4 making $75,000 will be hit for $4000 in the AMT this spring when they file their returns, but I'm willing to risk those consequences so that we don't have to deal with Medicare and Medicaid this year (we will have to eventually, as the CBO says that those programs are unsustainable in the long term) and so that we can get an extra $70 billion a year from households over $250,000."  That's going into this with your eyes open.  That's saying, "I fully understand the down side, but the down side is worth it for the up side I want to accomplish."  

        Saying, "December 31 is no real deadline for anything, we'll just pass something in January and nothing bad will happen" (as some people say here) is delusional.  First, the bad stuff will start happening in the end of December as soon as it's clear a deal won't be reached, and all kick in January 1, and even if you could get a quick fix past the Republican House in January, that likely won't stop the bad things; and second, there's no indication that, if you can't reach a deal by December 31, you'll be able to quickly reach a deal in January that can get through both the Republican House and the Democratic Senate.  

  •  well MSNBC... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, JTinDC

    is who attached the vivid "Thelma & Louise " imagery to the notion.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:12:37 AM PST

  •  Presdient to speak to the issue at 1 pm ET. (0+ / 0-)

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:33:59 AM PST

  •  For this reason (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And a hundred others, I think the Dem establishment should retain the services of a few English Professors.  

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