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There's good news and bad news in a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. Bad news first. All the hyperventilating about the "fiscal cliff" in the media has people freaked out.

Infographic on WaPo/Pew Poll on people's attitudes toward

More than six in 10 believe a missed deadline would have an overall negative impact on the U.S. economy, and about the same number anticipate a blow to their personal finances, including 74 percent of those with incomes of at least $100,000. Without a deal, taxes will jump for nine in 10 Americans, with the steepest hikes for top income brackets.
The potential negative effects on the economy are significant. But they aren't immediate, even if Jan. 1 comes and goes without an agreement. There's ample time after that deadline for any crisis, including middle class tax hikes, to be averted. That said, here's the good news in the poll.
But Republicans in Congress may face more public pressure to make concessions. Should negotiations break down to avoid the $500 billion rash of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, 53 percent are inclined to blame Republicans in Congress while 29 percent single out Obama.
If nothing else, that strengthens President Obama's hand in not making a deal before year's end, particularly since the House GOP rank and file seem to be already rejecting the idea of a leadership compromise with Obama.

Putting responsibility on House Republicans for a lame-duck failure will make negotiations with the new Congress (which will be minus a few of its current tea partying nihilists) that much easier. They could be forced to the table without the cuts to entitlement sweeteners offered up in previous negotiations.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (107+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:27:14 AM PST

  •  What a relief! nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MidwestTreeHugger, TomP, elwior, dufffbeer

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:35:24 AM PST

  •  Shutting the government down raised Clinton's (27+ / 0-)

    approval rating considerably.

    People may love their own Congress critter, but they love to blame the entire Congress even more.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:39:26 AM PST

    •  What do you think of Obama getting together with (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      equinespecter, Bob Love

      Boehner and Reid?

      They should work on an agreement that they will allow two different votes in the House and in the Senate on two different bills. One Bill for the tax cut for those making less than $250,00.oo and one for the ones making over.
      Both houses approve the one for under and the Senate reject the one for over.
      Obama signs the one for under and the one for over never appears on his desk.
      Cliff avoided.


    "Do you believe the annual deficit will be reduced?"

    •  that is the key question, imo. (9+ / 0-)

      and it is ridiculous that the poll did not ask that question.

      americans tend to think deficit=bad, regardless of circumstances, which is stupid.  deficit seems to be a very general term for bad economic stuff.

      usually the media go along with that idea, but have now taken the position that this kind of austerity is bad, probably b/c both parties and economic elite think it is bad.  it is very irritating that media talked more about debt and deficit than unemployment in 2010 and 2011, but now are almost universally saying that closing the deficit would be bad for the economy.

      i think it is not a coincidence that the media rarely says that the fiscal cliff would massively reduce the deficit.  i would guess most americans think fiscal cliff would make deficit worse.

      •  the deficit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RJDixon74135, condorcet

        I am one who doesn't think the deficit, even at this level, is so bad. No one else in the world can sell government securities of the quality and quantity that we do, and so financing the government's needs is a formality as long as we don't threaten to default because of a ridiculous political problem. Ideally we should abolish the debt ceiling, but I know that doesn't play well with the general public.

        •  I agree. With rates as low as they are today, it's (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          condorcet, OldDragon

          not a bad time to borrow.

          If it can be said that raising taxes would harm the economy, and it has been said, then it should also be said that reducing spending right now could possibly harm the economy even more.

          I don't like a game where everything depends on trickle down economics working this time. How much revenue should Democrats agree to project based on growth alone? In my opinion, that's the critical question and I'd like to see it discussed in concrete terms. "Enough," "lots," and "plenty" are simply not acceptable answers to the questiion.

          Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

          by RJDixon74135 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:00:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  If this was 'Jeopardy' - "Fiscal Cliff" (6+ / 0-)

      What is on top of a mountain of bullshit, Alex?

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:54:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I would argue the effects are immediate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    as taxes would go up right away (sure, you could always make a deal retroactive, but the initial impact would still be felt by the economy).  Also, the confidence issue is huge, as if confidence starts to fall then the economy may tank even if we get a late deal (ie at some point it may be better to just accept the cliff as the law of the land and push forward towards a balanced budget rather than drawing out the uncertainty of a potential deal well into 2013).

    •  it's not a cliff tho (15+ / 0-)

      cliff means you fall all the way to the bottom in an instant, you die, you can't get back.

      that's not what this is.

      starting Jan 1 there will be impacts. severity will grow over time.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:44:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The withholding may go up, but the taxes (12+ / 0-)

      won't be paid until April, 2014. So there's plenty of time to fix it. Call your congresscritters (202) 224-1213, and let them know how you want them to vote. Don't leave the President hanging out there alone. Our calls we signal to him that we have his back.

      •  The economic impacts are instant though (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HappyinNM, Shirl In Idaho

        that increased withholding/expiring unemployment benefits/etc will immediately impact the economy.  Now, an argument can be made that going over the cliff and staying over it is dollar bullish, which should lead to lower oil prices and an offset through lower gas prices, but that would be predicated on us abandoning the deal talks.

        •  But not instantly catastrophic. (7+ / 0-)

          There would be an economic impact, but the nasty numbers from the CBO are predicated on the sequester remaining in effect for the entire year.

          Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
          Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
          Code Monkey like you!

          Formerly known as Jyrinx.

          by Code Monkey on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:21:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But they will start in December (0+ / 0-)

            as soon as it's clear there won't be a deal.  The layoffs and the slowdown in growth will start then.  (Imagine what the Christmas season will be like for retailers once it gets out that a middle class family of four with household (two incomes) totaling $75,000 could owe the IRS an additional $4000 or so this coming April because of the AMT:

            According to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, more than half of all married couples will owe an additional tax of around $4,000 unless Congress acts. And more than a third of families with children will fall subject to the AMT, with parents of three or more children facing an extra tax of $4,700.

            Among married couples with at least two children and adjusted gross income between $75,000 and $100,000, the center estimates that 84 percent will face a significantly higher tax bill this year because of the AMT.  

            I don't know about you, but I'd put a married couple with two kids, each making $40 - $45,000 a year in the middle class, especially if they live in an urban area. And they will definitely feel that extra $4000 -- on top of the increase in withholding and the increase in payroll taxes.  
      •  Not entirely correct. (4+ / 0-)

        The AMT would kick in right away, for taxes filed in 2013.  It would cost a family of four about $4000 right away, in 2013.    See here.  That can't be fixed before April 15, according to the IRS.  

        Unlike most tax increases in the fiscal cliff, including the expiration of the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts, the AMT bill would come due almost immediately. And tax experts say it would be extremely disruptive to try to fix the AMT after the 2012 tax year closes Dec. 31.

        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.

        “That would be a disaster, an unmitigated disaster for the taxpayers of the United States. It’s just not possible to do that,” said Nina Olson, national taxpayer advocate at the IRS. Olson noted that many people count on their ­refunds, which average around $3,000, to cover immediate needs. For example, she said, many utilities do not do shut-offs for nonpayment in January and February, because they know people will use their tax refunds to get caught up on their heating bills.

        And the layoffs aren't just going to be fixed immediately.  

        And if the country slides into recession, and unemployment spikes to 9%, that doesn't turn around on a dime, either.

        Once you get past January 1, and everything kicks in, it's not all that easy to reverse, even if you could get the Republicans to cave in within a few weeks (and even if they agreed to the $800 billion in revenue as Boehner apparently did in 2011 --  which is the amount, over 10 years, of expiration of Bush Tax Cuts on incomes over $250,000 -- there's no way they'd do that without very signficiant spending cuts of the kind the White House offered in 2011.)

        •  It would affect SOME families of four (4+ / 0-)

          Reading that article, it says a family of four earning over 75,000.  Median household income in America is roughly 50k - so the AMT patch not being fixed wouldn't affect the bottom half of the country at all.  

          But you can rest assured we'll get plenty of spin about these poor hard working families who just need tax relief, and to pay for it, we're going to cut Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food stamps - you know, things that help the poor.  

          •  Really? Two incomes totaling $75,000? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            You think it's no big deal for them to pay an extra $4000 in income taxes this April PLUS have withholding go up and payroll deductions go up starting January 1?  Do you really want to be the party that tells these kinds of people that they are now part of the "rich" so they shouldn't complain about the extra tax money?

            The reason that "the bottom half" won't be affected by the AMT is because most in the bottom half don't pay federal income taxes.  But many of them do get the Earned Income Tax Credit, and that goes down as well.  

            I think that a married couple with two kids, each earning say $40,000 IS middle class.  If the Democratic Party wants to tell every two income household with total income over $75,0000 that they are "rich" and should have no problem paying thousands in additional income taxes, well, you've lost a huge chunk of the country.  

            And the AMT is going to hit the vast majority of working couples who each earn $40,000 - $50,000 this spring:  

            According to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, more than half of all married couples will owe an additional tax of around $4,000 unless Congress acts. And more than a third of families with children will fall subject to the AMT, with parents of three or more children facing an extra tax of $4,700.

            Among married couples with at least two children and adjusted gross income between $75,000 and $100,000, the center estimates that 84 percent will face a significantly higher tax bill this year because of the AMT.

            These are working families trying to raise children, save for college, and put away a little for their own retirement.  No, they are not poor.  But I don't think the Democratic Party wants to tell a married couple each making $40,000 a year that they are rich enough so that an extra $4000 in four months -- plus significantly reduced take-home pay starting January 1 -- is no big deal.  
            •  You are spreading fud at this point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Do some research.  

              I have no idea where that 4000 number came from, after extensive looking.  My guess is that's the average cost of the AMT not being patched divided by the number of married joint filers in that bracket.  It's not in the Tax Policy Center study, that I can find.  You tell me if you can find it

              The Tax Policy Center, who's relied upon for that study, certainly does not make that claim.  They point out that there are a lot of factors in how much it would affect you - are you in a high tax or low tax state, how many deductions and exemptions(including for children) you take, etc.  By their estimates half of joint filers in the 75-100k range would not be affected by the lack of a patch at all.

              In other words, couples who make from 75k to six figures ARE NOT going to each face a 4000 hike in taxes.  About half of the couples who make six figures may face a raise in their effective tax rate, which depends in large part upon where they live and how many kids they have.  A fraction of folks in the top 20% of household income can manage a change in their discretionary income.  I refuse to let this false crisis act as cover for cutting programs for the poor and retired.

              •  That was harsher than I meant (0+ / 0-)

                To be - I don't believe you're deliberately spreading misinformation, and I'd like to apologize for that.

                I just don't like seeing these memes spread and take a life of their own.  

              •  You are looking at the wrong TPC study (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                The one involving the fiscal cliff, that prompted the news reports last month, is here.

                From the study:

                Upper middle-income households would be particularly affected by the expiration of the
                AMT patch.
                Finally,  the AMT “patch” that protects tens of millions of taxpayers from additional taxes expired at the end of 2011. Unless Congress extends the patch retroactively,
                many taxpayers will owe AMT on their 2012 tax returns (the tax returns that people will file in early 2013).                                                
                Temporary Increase in AMT Exemption. The AMT operates parallel to the regular tax and sets a
                floor on total tax liability. Taxpayers whose income exceeds the AMT exemption must calculate
                both regular tax and AMT liabilities and pay the larger amount. 6  EGTRRA temporarily increased
                the AMT exemption to preclude the alternative levy’s reducing the impact of other tax cuts in the
                legislation. Since then, Congress has repeatedly “patched” the AMT by setting higher exemptions but only for a year or two at a time. The most recent patch, enacted in 2010, covered  tax years 2010 and 2011 and raised the 2011 exemption from $45,000 to $74,450 for couples and  from $33,750 to $48,450 for others. If Congress does not enact another patch and extend it
                retroactively to the current year, the AMT will hit tens of millions more taxpayers, boosting their
                2012 tax liability substantially.
                And there are charts showing the additional liabilities for various kinds of taxes at different levels.
                •  Thanks for the link (0+ / 0-)

                  Apologies again for being rude.  

                  From your link, Table 6 shows the change in average tax liability by quintile.  For the top 20% quintile, which starts at 88k for married filing jointly, the average AMT change is only 1,265.  So I am still inclined to believe the 3700 number is based on misreporting from the Tax Policy Center.

            •  It's telling about our stagnant incomes (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              that a two-earner family making $75,000 is in fact doing much better than the median family.  And for two earners, $75K total wages is far, far from a lavish lifestyle.

        •  That missed $800 Billion deal still bothers me.. (0+ / 0-)

          I am afraid the President will try to reach too far again and miss the chance for some deal.

      •  It also signals the republicans the President got (0+ / 0-)

        political capital in this election and guess what we are it. He needs to be able to spend us liberally supporting him and hammering the republicans. If we can't do this for him now, there will be no new new deal and the Republicans will have functionally won. Jeez I hate sounding like Ann Coulter, UGH!

        The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

        by cherie clark on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:11:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You can pretty well bet if there is the slightest (0+ / 0-)

      chance of going off the cliff (more like slowly sliding off the couch) the bill necessary to fix everything has already been written and the votes agreed to. The worst part of it is my understanding is emergency unemployment benefits would stop and it would take a few weeks or more to get them started again. I would hate to see that happen.

      The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

      by cherie clark on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:05:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They sure are/will be! (0+ / 0-)

      Saying stuff like this is incredibly irresponsible . . .

      There's ample time after that deadline for any crisis, including middle class tax hikes, to be averted.
      The scientific community - e.g., those funded by NSF and NIH grants in particular will be hard hit, and hit immediately if you're hoping for a new grant . . .  (as many junior investigators desparately are!)
  •  McTurtle: The only poll that matters is the one in (10+ / 0-)

    November....Oops!....Did I say that?

  •  I think it depends how this all plays out (5+ / 0-)

    And I think that the Woodward leaked memo will probably put pressure on both sides to go where they were for the deal they supposedly agreed to in 2011 -- $800 billion in revenue in exchange for cuts to entitlements.  

    If the Republicans were smart, what they would do is make clear that they are ready to compromise on revenue and go back to that $800 billion.  Then the pressure would be on the President to go back to his position as well.  I think that if this played out as "Republicans are compromising on revenue, but the President is backing away from his commitment to cut spending" (a commitment to the "grand bargain" that he reaffirmed last month when he was running for Presient) then the blame could shift to the President, I think.

    That's how the Republicans could play this to their advantage, if they were smart and could overcome ideological rigidity.  Whether they will do that remains to be seen.  

    •  we know they won't deal (9+ / 0-)

      which was the point of this kabuki theater all along imo.

      to show they really aren't serious.  that they are willing to play chicken with the "fiscal cliff" (there own messaging used against them) over tax cuts for the rich!!!

      it's beautiful.

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

      by Deep Texan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:57:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that if the Republicans refuse to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        compromise on revenue, they will take the blame. Absolutely.  That's what this poll tells us.  And that makes sense to me.  

        But if they make public that they are willing to compromise on revenue (even partially, such as raising taxes on incomes over $500,000 or $1 million), then the onus shifts to the President to compromise as well, I think.  

        Unlike most of the people at this site who want the Republicans to cave in while the President stands firm on no spending cuts (except maybe in defense), most of the people in this country expect both sides to compromise. And that's what the President pledged to do if elected -- to get the "grand bargain" that didn't happen in 2011.  So if he takes a "no compromise on my side" approach, the blame could shift to him.  

        That's why I said I think it's too early in the process to decide who would get the blame.  A lot of it depends on what positions the parties take.  

        •  and he will (0+ / 0-)

          but they won't

          it's kabuki theater and we finally have somebody who can play.

          i know it upsets all kinds of progressives but it's how the game has to be played.

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

          by Deep Texan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:20:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Positions have already been taken. Boehner said (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan

          NO to tax rate increases, period, even though the public has polled in favor of them.

          Obama said veto if no tax rate increases on $250k+

          We're now playing chicken, and the R's are in the weaker position.

      •  what coffeetalk is saying, they DID deal (0+ / 0-)

        and the President blew them off.. he missed a pretty good opportunity on that one.

        I don't know if Boehner will be that willing to compromise again, however.

    •  If the Republicans were smart enough to do that... (7+ / 0-)

      Obama never would have set them up with is poison-pill offer last July.

      And now we are once again seeing the fruits of that strategy.  Nobody is willing to give the Republican Congress the benefit of the doubt when it comes to budget negotiations.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:00:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Change the phrasing, please! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      immigradvocate, jkosnett
      And I think that the Woodward leaked memo will probably put pressure on both sides to go where they were for the deal they supposedly agreed to in 2011 -- $800 billion in revenue in exchange for cuts to entitlements[?]  
      "$800 billion in revenue in exchange for cuts to [earned benefits]."
      Don't help the Republicans by mischaracterizing SS and Medicare, unless you are actually referring to, say, SNAP or TANF or heating assistance.

      Turn the message around!

      "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

      by paz3 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:43:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am 72 (4+ / 0-)

      And took early retirement 10 years ago.Knowing what I know now, there is no way I could have lasted 10+ more years at my job.  Changing the SS retirement age is cruel and for many folks it just can't be done.  Come on folks, take it from someone who has been there and knows how these things go.  You want your mom or dad or granny dragging their old painful bodies around the job until they die?  Trust me, you don't.  Or yourself either.  JMO

      *the blogger formerly known as shirlstars

      by Shirl In Idaho on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:52:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  of course they are (6+ / 0-)

    Obama set them up.  even went to them with a sweet deal as is now being reported.

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

    by Deep Texan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:51:38 AM PST

  •  The fruits of July 2011. (7+ / 0-)

    Well played, Mr. President.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:58:19 AM PST

  •  It's like an M.C. Escher drawing (10+ / 0-)

    I have talked with people submerged in the Fox hyperbole. They are at once convinced that debt is out of control while believing the "fiscal cliff" is an immediate path towards austerity and deep recession. It just reminds me why they have become political invalids: everything is just one day away from disaster, and there are no counterfactuals or shades of gray to pin reality somewhere in between. They want to fight the deficit while insisting that the remedies shouldn't be done, because it will cause a recession. Meanwhile, the deficit has been dropping while the economy has been growing.

    My take: it's not a "cliff" and the President has a huge advantage to wait until after the new year. As the top marginal rate lifts back up (and of course, so would all other Bush tax cuts, and the spending cuts begin), Obama gets his victory, but then forces the GOP into defense mode and force them into a more likely scenario to approve a clean bill with middle class tax cuts (say, a return to current levels.) Fiscal cliff becomes yet another paper tiger. The kabuki theater will carry on until after the 113th Congress is sworn in, then I suspect things move a bit more quickly. Then we can get on with the inevitable debt ceiling kabuki.

    The GOP could just very easily, very simply go forth with extending middle class tax cuts now to seem like they are not shooting the hostages. Then they remove Obama's trump card. But, they are willing to shoot the hostages. They are mindbogglingly stupid.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

    by rovertheoctopus on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:03:41 PM PST

    •  I don't think you understand how hard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      on middle class families this will be.

      Not only do tax rates go up, but credits for dependent children get cut in half.  Child care credits go away.  Do you have any idea how much a family making $50k will have to pay extra in withholding each month so they don't have a big tax debt at the end of the year?

      And don't forget the temporary withholding holiday expires as well.. an extra 2% will start coming out of the checks of the people who can least afford it - in addition to the higher withholding I mentioned above.

      •  It's Congress that doesn't understand (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Or, more accurately, it's that they're totally insouciant about it. I already get the impacts of the tax cuts expiration. I am a middle-income earner and I fully anticipate my federal tax witholdings to go up next year. At least for a short period.

        But again, Congress is solely responsible for changing course. The Senate has already passed a stand-alone bill that would extend those cuts to households making less than $250,000 and keeping those credits you mention:

        So, if the GOP-led House is refusing to take it up without sleazily splicing it to a top marginal tax rate cut, it's their own doing, and it's their tonedeaf attempt to project the image that they are politically powerful. So what should Obama do, then? Just have his tail between his legs and support extend tax cuts all across the board, kicking the can down the road indefinitely? Alienating a politically popular move to raise the top marginal rate? Even when most Americans are prepared to exert blame on the GOP? It would be a devastating move against Obama and progressives, and he would have no credibility in the future to fend off the recalcitrant GOP. Second term: effectively over before starting. Or, he could put them in their place now, and see it through that future "negotiations" leave the GOP in a weakened state. The multiplier political effects of making one choice or another, good or bad, are profound from here on forth.

        Keep this in focus, because Congress is the government body ultimately responsible for crafting the legislation we desire. It's the House's move.

        "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

        by rovertheoctopus on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:36:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I want the President to not offer the Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shirl In Idaho

    any soft landing or concessions.  If he shows them spine, I believe they will come rushing to his side.  They have to live with him for four more years, now, and they won't have any comfort if they continue blocking everything.  However, I don't expect that to happen; the President is too interested in working cooperatively to be a bully back to the Republicans who would rather stick knives in him (figuratively, not literally) as they would compromise with him.  I don't believe he's learned the lesson we wanted him to learn.

  •  We'll soon see (6+ / 0-)

    ..what the second Obama term will look like.

    I'm still for the hopey-changey thing, myself.

    Maybe one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:08:02 PM PST

  •  I have an alternate take on leverage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    which I believe will diminish in a new Congress. Mainly because I think we've got Democratic unity now but will finding it fraying in the Senate come next year.

    Especially Landrieu. And I think she brings quite a few people with her should nothing get struck before the end of the year.

    I think the president has the right strategy to strike now to minimize the overall damage.

  •  Good, then. Let's Not Make a Deal. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    (h/t Paul Krugman)

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:22:33 PM PST

  •  I'm ready for the Infographic fad to be over (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKinTN, Eric K, MPociask, Eyesbright, jds1978

    What a fugly mess.

  •  if 58% have a general understanding then they (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, MPociask, mightymouse

    shouldn't be freaking out.

    "It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that a man can always solve his problems" - Kurt Vonnegut

    by jazzence on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:24:59 PM PST

  •  Progress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    In last year’s budget negotiations, Obama considered two major changes to entitlement programs, tentatively agreeing to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 and to slow Social Security spending. While he may not be closed to the ideas in the upcoming negotiations, he is not opening the talks with such concessions.

    “The president views the issue of deficits and debt not in a vacuum. He does not believe that reducing deficits and debt are values unto themselves,” Carney said. “He believes that they are part of an approach that is driven by his number one priority, which is economic growth and job creation.”

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:38:16 PM PST

  •  The Republicans lost the popular vote (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plu, Shirl In Idaho, Womantrust

    More people voted for Democrats for Congress. Pelosi should be speaker. The will of the people is most definitely not behind these lunatic Republicans.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:40:31 PM PST

  •  What blame? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shirl In Idaho, MPociask, jds1978

    I for one hope the talks fail and the Bush tax cuts expire.

  •  That WaPo graphic is horrible (5+ / 0-)

    Do they just have teenage interns doing their graphics now?

  •  Yeah but (0+ / 0-)

    When you unskew the poll you find out that America is a bunch of white people who want a anarcho-capitalist utopia. Big lamestream media strikes again...wait, too late?

  •  Why wouldn't they blame Republicans? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shirl In Idaho, jds1978

    Boehner said the fiscal cliff was representaive of the Republicans getting 98% of what they wanted by holding the debt ceiling hostage. They own it, and maybe it's time the President remembered that. This is their problem to solve to his satisfaction, not the other way around.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:52:51 PM PST

  •  GOP are narcissistic nihilists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shirl In Idaho, Deep Texan

    That's why it doesn't matter to them who gets the blame for their )@)@head obstructionism.

    Sorry, I've just come off a day of reading Benghazi-Petraeus conspiracy theories from my rightward leaning friends and it's clear that their heads have been permanently addled by all the mush they've absorbed from their brain-controlling satellites, fluoridated water, and subliminal sharia law messages embedded on cereal boxes.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:55:43 PM PST

  •  You are sadly mistaken if you think that the (0+ / 0-)

    general public will blame continued gridlock on one party.  They won't.  They hate Congress, as a whole - because it does nothing but posture and pontificate.  Anyone who sees smooth sailing in a second term is a pipe dreamer.  

    Putting a gun to the heads of crazy people never works.   Time for change. Some real change.  

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:58:18 PM PST

    •  Notably, Congressional Democrats were not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a choice in that poll.  

      Who do you blame for gridlock in Congress.  Republicans, or Elvis Presley?
      I was hopeful that the parties would be willing to deal, now that the election is over, but I can see now that the hard liners on both sides of the aisle still think they can have their way.   Very sad.  

      Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

      by SpamNunn on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:01:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Fiscal Cliff is 98% of what Boehner wanted (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, jds1978, rovertheoctopus


  •  Could be (0+ / 0-)
    They could be forced to the table without the cuts to entitlement sweeteners offered up in previous negotiations.
    But won't.  This is President "No Public Option" Obama, remember?

    He'll show up announcing free cuts to medicare and social security just to get them at the table, and then be shocked (shocked!) when they demand more or they'll stamp their feet -- and even then, will still call him a tax-and-spend liberal commie socialist hippie "Affirmative action president."

    I sound bitter, and am -- I just wish that once in his life, President Obama would go say, buy a used car.  Maybe then he'd figure out how to negotiate with people trying to screw you and an active incentive to do so.

  •  i'm not freaking out at all. and i make over 100k. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, cazcee

    of course, i'm also a cpa, with a specialty in tax law, and reasonably cognizent of the politics surrounding it. i doubt i'm unique in this regard. how is it that these polls seem to target the mentally/emotionally halt & lame?

    unless obama and the dems suffer from terminal stupidity (always a possibility), they pretty much have the republicans by the short hairs (go ask your father, if you don't know what that means. :)). they literally have to do nothing, and the vast majority of people won't actually be affected for some time. in the interim, the dems propose a budget that extends the bush tax rates for all but the highest earners, and drop-kicks lots of corporate tax welfare. force the republicans into the public position of supporting either more tax breaks for the 1%, or higher taxes for the middle-class and poor. no doubt, that will go over very well with their tea party contingent. the hand extended across the aisle should be wielding a baseball bat.

    of course, that's just me, and i'm basically a prick by nature.

  •  Latest FOX animation of the Fiscal Cliff crisis; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's time for us to eviscerate schadenfreude!!

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:05:32 PM PST

  •  Important (and timely) diary, thanks Joan! nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Democrats have the upper-hand on this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ksou, Deep Texan

    ...there is already a Senate bill that would extend the tax cuts for everyone, but the top 2%. If Republicans gum up the works, it will be them holding out for the 2% while making everyone else suffer. It will only tarnish their brand further.

    I predict that this will be resolved with some vulnerable GOP congressmen crossing over, while some tea party types hold firm to appease their constituents. In fact I would bet that Boner will cut a secret deal with the dems, all the while appearing to stand firm with the nut-bag wing of the party.

    This can, and will be resolved.

  •  Good hopefully (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    The Republican party will lose their house majority in 2014 , then we can move forward instead of being impeded by congressmen who only seek to stand in the way of progres

    Already banned from Red State after a week , the GOP don't tolerate no disagreement .

    by Ksou on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:16:32 PM PST

    •  They way for Dems to (0+ / 0-)

      win the House Majority in 2014 is CERTANLY NOT through the support of cutting Social Security and Medicare.

      Some "tweaks" may be possible but Democrats voting for major, highly-visible and understandable changes such as raising eligibility age is political malpractice.

      The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

      by cazcee on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:43:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As I've been saying repeatedly... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    allow Bush tax cuts to expire, immediately introduce legislation for a tax cut for 98% of Americans (essentially up to $250k).  

    Then go directly to the people and ask them to make sure their Congressional representatives in the House and Senate vote for the tax cut.

    Round One to the president.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:21:29 PM PST

  •  I Have To Hand It To The Post (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rovertheoctopus, ferg, Roadbed Guy, vcmvo2

    That is one of the ugliest and busiest graphics I have ever seen attempting to present information. For a moment, I thought it was a copy of Picasso's "Guernica".

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:24:20 PM PST

  •  What gets me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is that we should be taking that 10% off the top of the Pentagon anyways, but that's the LEAST likely bit to pass.  Yes, it would have a jobs effect, but rechannel that money into something likely to actually grow the economy and promote the general welfare long term like industrial policy to help renewables, rebuild infrastructure, and support advanced manufacturing.

    We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

    by nightsweat on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:24:48 PM PST

  •  The "Republican to blame" meme (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    needs to be stoked up between now and then however. Push'm back against the ropes and don't let them off. Make sure everyone knows it is Republican intransigence that is to blame for not getting the job done in Washington.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:28:08 PM PST

  •  I'm more worried about the talks succeeding (0+ / 0-)

    than failing.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:30:29 PM PST

  •  Obstruction backfiring! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    They thought people of USA wouldn't notice their hypocritical politics. Whoops!

  •  Well duh. (0+ / 0-)

    Congress is the one that passes a budget, controls taxes, and in the old saw, "has the purse strings."

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:52:38 PM PST

  •  More like the Fiscal Crack (0+ / 0-)

    ... in the sidewalk.

    Our "Representative," Andy Harris, the only republican from Md., says the "US will wind up like Greece."

    Now Andy isn''t stupid like the Steve Kings of the world. He knows he's lying.

    If Maryland outspends tax revenues long enough, it gets to be like Greece. Because the US Govt issues the money; Maryland just collects taxes.

    The US Govt can issue money if it likes. Greece cannot.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:56:26 PM PST

  •  It is not a fiscal cliff... (0+ / 0-)

    to anyone but Republicans.

    For the rest of us it's a fiscal Bluff, in more ways than one.

    The GOP went "All In" and bet the farm that they would win this election.  We all know how that went...

    Now the best they can hope for is just to save a little face.

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:10:34 PM PST

  •  I'm more worried about spending cuts (0+ / 0-)

    Let the tax cuts expire.  But what about the automatic spending cuts?  My job is funded by government research grants (NIH in my case) -- what will happen there?  And of course there are plenty of people worse off than me who are even more dependent on govt assistance.

  •  I agree the media is blowing this term (0+ / 0-)

    sky high. Its the zing word of the past month really. LIke life as we know it will end if something isn't done before Jan. 1st.

  •  It is not a cliff at all (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, if all of the automatic tax increases and program cuts went into effect, and then Congress did nothing all year, this would have a major negative impact on the economy. But if everyone's tax rate goes up January 1, and by January 7 Congress passes and the president signs a bill to give the tax cut back for the first $250K in income, retroactive to January 1, there would be no fiscal impact at all, and that way, all the people who signed their soul away to Grover Norquist and promised never ever ever to vote for a tax increase would get to keep their pledge: the tax increase was automatic and then they got to vote for a cut.

  •  Wait - where did this 'clif' come from (0+ / 0-)

    I thought that it was agreed upon that if there was no reconciliation this is what would happen. So how did it all of a sudden become a "clif"??

    Either you're wit' us or a Guinness -- Brilliant!

    by Unforgiven on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:02:42 PM PST

  •  Hell yea. GOPers have shown us a clear pattern of (0+ / 0-)

    behavior that illustrates backstabbing, selfishness, divisive, mean, dirty, low-down, shameful, psychopathic tendencies.

    We were all here when they all vowed to Make Obama and the Obama Administration FAIL AT ANY COST.

    Our Top Political Priority is to Deny President Obama A Second Term. Not fix the budge, not fix healthcare or rebuild infrastructure or fix unemployment.


    And this is just two flapping heads, repeating the meme that has helped lead up to this moment. Yes, we all know who to fault.

    Victory at any cost:

    Even if it costs us--the people, as long as the GOP "Wins" even if nothing productive comes from that pyrrhic victory.

    And here we are.

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