Which programs would be cut? The letter doesn’t say, and Republicans don’t seem to care, as long as they blindly achieve their goal of cutting a big chunk out of government. The offer was a transparent attempt to appear responsive to Mr. Obama’s detailed proposal from last week, without doing any actual math or hard work.Goldie Taylor at MNSBC:
If Mr. Boehner had used a calculator, for example, he would have discovered it is impossible to produce $800 billion in revenue from eliminating deductions without severely curtailing the deduction for charitable donations, which is vital to the nonprofit sector. Doing so without limiting the charitable deduction would inevitably raise taxes on the middle class, as nonpartisan analysts have concluded, and would have a much greater effect on the upper middle class than on the very rich.
The only way to produce the necessary revenue is to combine some limits on deductions with an end to the Bush tax cuts on the rich, and Mr. Obama, fortunately, has been adamant he will not consider any plan that does not do so. The Boehner letter, by contrast, actually advocates lowering rates, suggesting that Republicans are still clinging to the notion, rejected by voters, that was put forward by Mitt Romney.
We learned last week that Romney 's pollster was relying on bad math based on bad assumptions, and I think here again you have the republican party doing the same thing. what are we talking about? Closing loopholes to try to fix the gap. We already had that conversation in the context of the election, and a number of economists said that that wouldn't work, which is part of the reason that the president is insisting on this conversation about the rates set for the top 2%. What do we hear about? the job creators. time and again. Governor Romney was not able to convince a majority of americans that by protecting the job creators and trickle down economics, we were going to solve our problem. 53% of americans thought he favored the rich and wasn't going to help the middle class for the poor. I think it's a deeper problem. Most of the rhetoric sounds a lot like the Romney plan.Indeed, the AP lede calls the Republican counteroffer what it is -- a rehash of the same, uncredible policies offered during the election:
Republicans are proposing a "fiscal cliff" plan that revives ideas from failed budget talks with President Barack Obama last year, calling for raising the eligibility age for Medicare, lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits and bringing in $800 billion in higher tax revenue.Since Republicans know their plan wasn't a serious one, Jonathan Karl at ABC News reports that Republicans are prepping this gameplan:
Republicans are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely. It’s quite simple: House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more: no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon:
Two senior Republican elected officials tell me this doomsday plan is becoming the most likely scenario. A top GOP House leadership aide confirms the plan is under consideration, but says Speaker Boehner has made no decision on whether to pursue it.
Under one variation of this Doomsday Plan, House Republicans would allow a vote on extending only the middle class tax cuts and Republicans, to express disapproval at the failure to extend all tax cuts, would vote “present” on the bill, allowing it to pass entirely on Democratic votes.
Essentially, Republicans are proposing a way to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy by likely increasing taxes on the middle class, even if just a little.Meanwhile, also at Salon, David Woolner argues that Obama needs to channel FDR. Woolner says that the best way forward for the country is to fixate less on debt/deficit and more on much-needed stimulus:
Roughly three-quarters of a century ago, when faced with a similar set of circumstances—including a conservative right that was fond of labeling his policies socialist—Franklin Roosevelt did not shy away from addressing the conditions that led to the collapse of the world’s economy. He well understood—as did the millions of Americans who lived in or on the threshold of poverty—that “the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.” He also understood that “the Federal debt, whether it be twenty-five billions or forty billions, can only be paid if the Nation obtains a vastly increased citizen income…The higher the national income goes the faster will we be able to reduce the total of Federal and state and local debts. Viewed from every angle, today’s purchasing power—the citizens’ income of today—is not at this time sufficient to drive the economic system of America at higher speed.”Woolner is absolutely correct that we need a more robust discussion on income inequality and corresponding policies to help remedy the wage crisis. In the meantime, though, you know the president is doing something right when you have conservatives whining that he's "going to far." Michael Gerson:
Either of these heavy-handed strategies — the budget overreach or the attack on the filibuster — could backfire. Taken together, they might light Obama’s inaugural festivities in a glow of burning bridges.And Marc Thiessen:
Congressional Republicans need to buck up — Obama and the Democrats are overplaying their hand.Eugene Robinson gets the win for calling out this concern trolling for what it is:
How dare he? President Obama, I mean: How dare he do what he promised during the campaign? How dare he insist on a “balanced approach” to fiscal policy that includes a teensy-weensy tax increase for the rich? Oh, the humanity.