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I've seen a few comments lately reminding folks that unemployment benefits will expire and this will harm as many as 2 million people and the economy overall.  These comments suggest negotiating with the Republicans for an extension of those benefits.  My general response to those comments is yes, we do need to extend those benefits, but what will you give up to the Republicans for an extension?  Extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy?  How about an increase in the Medicare age?  It's going to cost and cost dearly to make any deal with the House Republicans.  

Because of this, I've generally favored going down the bunny slope in January.  No deal may be the best deal overall, and Rs will be under tremendous pressure in January to pass a middle class tax cut and make a deal.  

Today, Jamie Boulle for The Plum Line (WaPo) makes an excellent point regarding an extension of the unemployment benefits: going over the "cliff" may be the only way to get them extended.

First, why this is so important.  In addition to the human cost for those two million people, this will harm the nascent economic recovery for all people:

Earlier this month, the Economic Policy Institute found that the economy would save 400,000 jobs if unemployment benefits were extended through 2013.
Jamie Boulle for The Plum Line (WaPo)  

But how to we get them extended without harming the economy in a different way by adopting Republican attempts to destroy Medicare or Medicaid?  Go down the bunny slope!  Let the tradmed freak out and the pundits squeal.  Let the Wall Streeters get scared.  Let defense contractors freak out.    

If we do go over the cliff, Republicans will end up with even less leverage than they have now. Right now, any leverage Republicans have is contingent on the fact that there’s a time limit — if the administration wants a deal before the end of the year, that gives Republicans a bit of a boost in the negotiations. If Obama is willing to over the cliff, and tax rates go up, Republicans lose their leverage. Republicans will suddenly be in need of something — a new compromise tax rate for the rich that is slightly lower than the Clinton-era rates that will have automatically kicked in — that only Obama can agree to.

Going over the cliff would strengthen the administration’s hand. Obama could then negotiate a far better deal for the economy — one that includes an extension of unemployment benefits. All we need now is for the administration or Senate Democrats to start talking about them.

Jamie Boulle for The Plum Line (WaPo)  

Going down the bunny slope may be the only way.
 

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    I'm glad Barack Obama is our President.

    by TomP on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 09:22:11 AM PST

  •  clinton - gingrich (5+ / 0-)

    government shutdown.

    rinse. repeat.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 09:30:57 AM PST

    •  Yes. I think President Obama needs (5+ / 0-)

      to do this now or Boehner will extort him every step of the way.  I think the President also understands this.  Boehner is already threatening default.  

      I'm glad Barack Obama is our President.

      by TomP on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 09:38:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  boehner has given ample proof (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        714day, TomP, Eric Nelson

        that he will extort- or take hostages- whenever he can. and to mix metaphors, this election proved that the president holds all the cards.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 09:40:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I hope Obama does a good job explaining this stuff (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP, Eric Nelson, netop

        to the public. Our feckless mainstream media certainly isn't going cover the story fairly or intelligently, so I think it's up to President Obama. I mean, if we do end up sliding down the bunny slope/jumping off the fiscal cliff/imposing Greece-style austerity, President Obama or the remnants of his campaign needs to be on air 24/7 saying "This is happening because the GOP wants to pull the rug out from underneath unemployed people, doesn't want you to have Medicare or Social Security, and doesn't want to raise another dime in Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian/Donald Trump/Michael Moore's taxes. Just look at these clips of Republicans saying this stuff..."

        If our side does a good job of explaining why we're in the mess that we're in, I think blame will be assigned properly.

        "In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction." -Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

        by rigcath on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 10:32:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We don't negotiate with terrorists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Eric Nelson

    Isn't that our rule?

    So, here' what the GOP agrees to:

    1) End of the Bush tax cuts about $250k
    2) UE benefit extensions
    3) The debt ceiling is raised by $10T so it can't be used as a weapon

    And we agree to reduce the defense spending cuts by 50%.

    Ought to be easy.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 09:51:01 AM PST

  •  Exactly the best move, remember this.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    ..from minority leader Mitch McConnell:
    McConnell Admits To Taking Debt Ceiling ‘Hostage’: It’s ‘Worth Ransoming
    Think Progress

    In a stunning bit of candor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) admitted in the Washington Post today that his party had taken the debt ceiling “hostage,” and that some of his colleagues were willing to “shoot[]” it:
    “I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting,” he said. “Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.”

    The Post added that McConnell “said he could imagine doing this again.” Indeed, he has promised he will do so.
    Hearing McConnell this morning, he has the same kind of bluff. McConnell is stressing that the President needs to act , when in truth it's McConnell who does. The president has the leverage.  
    Right now, any leverage Republicans have is contingent on the fact that there’s a time limit — if the administration wants a deal before the end of the year, that gives Republicans a bit of a boost in the negotiations.

    Bunny slope, the best description I've heard so far

    Thx TomP

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