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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) walks with House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) to a meeting with House Republicans on the
Enroute to some hostage taking.
Amidst another tiresome outbreak of hostilities between the Obama Roxers and Suxers, one fact remains—this week's fiscal cliff-averting deal isn't the final word on this round of budget negotiations. Thus, we can't possibly state with certainty that the deal was awesome and genius, or that it was a right-wing sell-out to corporatists.

If the deal was the final compromise, Democrats could cheer at the results. But it's not. We get to do it all over again in two months and Republicans plan on holding the nation's economy hostage by threatening default. Their gambit—either hack and slash at our safety net, or America gets it. It's economic terrorism, pure and simple.

There are two schools of thought—one is that Obama has leverage in that any default would be laid squarely at the GOP's feet. Ezra Klein is of this thought:

[The White House has] set up a definition of success that will sound reasonable to most people — a dollar in tax reform for a dollar in spending cuts — while the Republicans have a very unreasonable sounding definition, in which they get huge cuts to Medicare or they force the United States into default. So while it’s possible that the White House will crumble, rendering itself impotent in negotiations going forward, and while it’s possible that the we’ll breach the debt ceiling, both possibilities seem less likely than Republicans agreeing to a deal that pairs revenue-generating tax reform with spending cuts.
Then there is the camp that believes that the GOP doesn't care about destroying our economy if it means they get to take down Social Security and Medicare (and Obamacare) down in the process. And the president, being a reasonable person who likes to play the "adult in the room" will cave to that economic terrorism in order to avoid a greater catastrophe. Paul Krugman voices those concerns:
So why the bad taste in progressives’ mouths? It has less to do with where Obama ended up than with how he got there. He kept drawing lines in the sand, then erasing them and retreating to a new position. And his evident desire to have a deal before hitting the essentially innocuous fiscal cliff bodes very badly for the confrontation looming in a few weeks over the debt ceiling.

If Obama stands his ground in that confrontation, this deal won’t look bad in retrospect. If he doesn’t, yesterday will be seen as the day he began throwing away his presidency and the hopes of everyone who supported him.

Whatever argument we're going to have, it shouldn't be whether this deal is good or bad. It's over whether Obama will eventually cave or not, and that's not an argument based on outcome, but one based on opinions.

My own is that Obama traded away the tax issue, thus has little leverage in this next round given the GOP's demonstrated willingness to screw over the country to destroy Obama's presidency. Ezra thinks a new deal is possible with equal spending to revenue offsets. I think that's highly unlikely, particularly since this recent deal included mostly revenue increases. The GOP won't be in any mood to surrender more on that front, and many of their "yes" votes on this deal were explicit about their desire for payback with the debt ceiling debate.

So it all comes down to whether 1) we believe the GOP is willing to take the plunge and hit both the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling, thus crashing our economy, and 2) whether Obama will be willing to let the GOP take that plunge before making massive concessions to avoid an even bigger disaster.

I think "absolutely" on the first question, "no way in hell" on the second. But those are opinions based on existing precedents. Maybe the GOP will stare down its crazies and negotiate in good faith without threatening the execute its hostage. Maybe Obama has learned to negotiate from the position of strength that the election results have earned him, and has learned that you cannot negotiate with terrorists.

Lots of maybes, and that's where we're at. But to be clear, I don't doubt Obama's motivations. I don't believe he wants people to suffer. What I doubt is his resolve in the face of economic terrorism. Because remember—if he does the right thing and stand up to Republicans, we'll all feel better, and the long-term results will be far better, but the short-term pain could be brutal and hurt lots and lots of people.

Whether Republicans take the blame for that or not is immaterial to the fact that lots of people will suffer. Republicans don't give a shit about that. We do, and Republicans know that and will use that against us.

Because they're psychopaths.

Originally posted to kos on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (155+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, JekyllnHyde, Empty Vessel, boadicea, Librarianmom, Gooserock, Jerry056, citizenx, miracle11, SpecialKinFlag, OLinda, stevej, psilocynic, ColoTim, AntonBursch, LaurenMonica, SingerInTheChoir, Jbearlaw, Railfan, smash artist, LSmith, filby, puakev, 3goldens, HoundDog, PaDemTerry, TealTerror, eeff, Vote4Obamain2012, susakinovember, ChurchofBruce, bleeding blue, happymisanthropy, binkycat, leonard145b, Dont Just Stand There, yoduuuh do or do not, LABobsterofAnaheim, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, toys, Sylv, Texknight, jwinIL14, divineorder, chuckvw, randallt, Alumbrados, TomP, brook, DaveV, durrati, Livvy5, TheProf2222, fou, hester, VTCC73, Patate, leu2500, Sybil Liberty, BachFan, azrefugee, gulfgal98, Noor B, sebastianguy99, Quasimodal, GayHillbilly, Trendar, HappyinNM, lilsky, Midwest Meg, Jim R, Smoh, jennylind, chantedor, Agathena, amsterdam, Mary Mike, wu ming, blueoregon, sunny skies, Lawrence, GeorgeXVIII, RebeccaG, Fe Bongolan, roses, StonyB, elfling, Tailspinterry, DeadHead, RubDMC, peacevehicle, geordie, Laurence Lewis, MikePhoenix, DB55, badger, Andrew F Cockburn, poopdogcomedy, Wreck Smurfy, rapala, Ed in Montana, psyched, Timothy J, missLotus, bronte17, Haningchadus14, Shockwave, ericlewis0, implicate order, dewley notid, Mr MadAsHell, Bill in Portland Maine, NWTerriD, Grandma Susie, renzo capetti, followyourbliss, elwior, HCKAD, desert rain, Bruin1815, buckstop, scilicet, Matt Z, pollyusa, Meteor Blades, akmk, dotdash2u, orphanpower, Heart of the Rockies, cocinero, CwV, Eyesbright, twigg, shanikka, CrissieP, mahakali overdrive, alpaca farmer, blue denim, Odysseus, claude, Joy of Fishes, leftywright, enemy of the people, Mistral Wind, zed, Eric Nelson, Laconic Lib, Citizenpower, Jeff Y, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, blueoasis, indie17, WB Reeves, democracy inaction, Larin
  •  If... (37+ / 0-)

    the Democrats in Congress and President Obama can refrain from negotiating with themselves by proposing spending cuts and entitlement reforms, then the country will do okay. If, however, they offer up any spending cuts or entitlement reforms, which will be wildly unpopular, then we're sunk.

    •  The government has too little revenue. What (23+ / 0-)

      choice do the Dems have, since they don't have the guts to fight for a progressive and revenue generating tax policy, but to go along with huge cuts?

      Seriously, where are they going to get the money now that the Bush tax cuts have been chiseled in stone, except for some tweaks for the upper 1% or so?

      The dems could have helped the government climb out of the bath tub, but instead, the administration and the congressional dems just pushed it back in are helping the repubs hold it under water.

      So, I'm not sure what the question is other than how bad it will be.

      They went along with tax cuts for 98% of the tax paying population, so now the Piper has to get paid somehow. It's just a matter of how to administer this sequestration deal. And it ain't gonna come down hard on the MIC that you can be sure of.

      Our government has officially been baptized Conservative.

      Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

      by Pescadero Bill on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:16:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  RICO crooks. Confiscate assets. Rip (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, Bob Friend

        up IOUs held by frauds. Shut down bogus weapons. Close a few intel agencies. Revoke nonprof status of Morons and Cathlics and other transgressigents. Like that and so on.

        clime parches on. terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout-famine, acceptance of nature.

        by renzo capetti on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:47:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The choice is to live with a deficit (16+ / 0-)

        that costs us nearly nothing and has minimal economic effect right now, until the economy recovers. Do you literally not read Krugman et al, who have been saying this ad nauseum? We don't need to raise revenue right now. We don't need to cut necessary spending. We need to stimulate the economy back to health and sustainability, by MORE spending. That will fix most of the deficit and make it feasible to deal witht the rest through tax increases and spending cuts at the appropriate time. Which is not now.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:51:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The choice was to raise taxes in the wealthy... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Not just the uber wealthy.

          450,000!  Come on!!!!!!

        •  ok I really agree with Krugman, but you will not (0+ / 0-)

          find one politician on either side who would attempt to do this in this political climate.  

          The voters would blow a gasket if anyone tried to push massive stimulus spending in the middle of this made up crisis.

             The voters are still in their own world of thinking that the government can solve its problem by doing like they do with their own personal checkbook.  They think "personal checkbook balancing" is the way to go....cut and save and not spend anything.  As if the entire US government can run like a housewife and her pin money for the week.  However, most people believe this nonsense.

          •  I also agree that 450,000 was way,way too high (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bob Friend

            and that the 250,000 line should have never been crossed.  Still furious about that!

            •  Again, not the hill to die on (0+ / 0-)

              Sure it was too high. But we're dealing with crazies and something had to give. Would you have preferred that UI benefits not be extended?

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:33:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think it's a question of preferring (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Laconic Lib, blueoasis, Bob Friend

                or not preferring that UI benefits be extended.  Let's be clear here.  It's not a question of caring about the unemployed or not.  I think it's a question of preferring short-term pain for potential long-term gain, or short-term band-aid for much less likely long-term gain, including more pain for the unemployed, as well as the employed and underpaid and/or benefited.

                In other words, I see it as a question of strategy, not of heart.

                •  Now I'm confused (0+ / 0-)

                  You're saying that you'd have traded UI extension for $250k? That's nuts, both on policy and politics. We don't need that revenue right now. We DO need UI.

                  "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                  by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:46:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think if we had held firm they would have (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Laconic Lib, blueoasis, Bob Friend

                    accepted 250,000 very quickly.  They said they would never raise taxes at all without spending cuts and they did.  

                  •  What exactly is nuts? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Laconic Lib, blueoasis

                    If Democrats let the farce of the so-called fiscal cliff go and then, now that the new Congress is in, put forth a bill to preserve the tax cuts for those under $250,000, and could certainly include UI extension with that, it's all on the Republicans.  As we just saw, enough Republicans in the House cave under pressure, and with the new Congress we actually need a smaller number of them to do so.

                    Otherwise, to me it's death by small bites, and UI extension is probably gone in the long-term.

                    •  So we should have gone over the cliff (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      in the hopes of getting EVERYTHING? Yes, that's nuts.

                      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                      by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:59:03 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Spare me the hyperbole. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        When you're willing to do so, let me know and we can have an actual conversation, which we usually do.

                        •  It's not hyperbole (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          If you really believe we could have gotten everything, then you're the one not keeping up your end of the conversation. We're actually whining about $450k vs. $250k when we're facing the prospect of the GOP defaulting on the debt?

                          Obama decided to not go over the cliff. Maybe it was wise, maybe not, but it's done. We need to get over it and prepare for something vastly more important than a few lost billions in tax revenue that we don't really need now.

                          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                          by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:05:17 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Excuse me? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            You're the one who is introducing the "we could have gotten everything" line, in CAPITAL LETTERS even, not me.  You're the one who's talking about what's nuts, not me.  You're the one who's talking about "whining" and "need[ing] to get over it," not me.

                            If we have a strategy difference of opinion, fine.  I'm happy to have a substantive conversation about that.  And if you actually did that, you would find out that I agree with you that what's done is done, I agree with you that we don't need the revenue right now, and I agree with you that there's another big battle coming down the pike--all of which is exactly why strategy is so important.

                            So, yes, you're being hyperbolic.  And I'm done with this thread.


                          •  So then why the hangup about a number (0+ / 0-)

                            we couldn't have gotten, didn't need and wasn't worth holding out for? Even uber-hyperbolic Obama hater Krugman thinks so.

                            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                            by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:47:17 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The stock market would have tanked (It didn't) if (0+ / 0-)

                            the GOP would have defaulted on the debt. That would have global impact as well. Europe would have thought we had gone nuts and that we were not to be trusted.
                            That would have been small beans compared to the $450k.

                            Why does the GOP want to make such bad deals? They won't gain anything worth having if they do. Spite is such a bitter pill.

                          •  Not would have, will (0+ / 0-)

                            The debt ceiling isn't for another couple of months. And I agree, the $450k is trivial compared to what's coming up. I don't know why some are still fixated on it. Compared to the deficit, it's not much lost revenue.

                            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                            by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:50:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Nothing should have been "traded" for the UI (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Laconic Lib, blueoasis

                    They should have been extended for nothing.  

                    The fact that people think we're in that situation where we need to trade permanent tax cuts for a one year UI extension goes to show how weakly Obama has played his hand.  

                    If that is what the Republicans want to do, hold things hostage that should be automatic, then you need to call their bluff and nip that in the bud, even if it means short term pain for some people.  

                    The fact is now they still think they can hold things hostage to get what they want.  And it seems they're right about it, too.  

                    For that same reason, expect the debt ceiling and sequester "deals" in the next two months to be absolutely atrocious.  

          •  Really? Not Sanders, Warren or Brown? (0+ / 0-)

            And while the public may buy into the "household budget" nonsense in theory, when you explain that translated into policy this means that their taxes go up, prices rise and the economy slumps, they're not so keen on deficit cutting.

            As always, NIMBY rules the day. We need to exploit this.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:32:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, I don't think they will right now. If they do (0+ / 0-)

              try to push a massive stimulus at this time, I think it would die a quick and painful media death in short order and the President would not advocate or back a plan like that....not now anyway.

               Could you imagine the headlines??:"Congress wants more money blah, blah, blah"

               I do agree it is the only true and real way that would help, besides the needed revenue that we should have fought for in the first place but we are dealing with a voter population that is not informed enough at the present.

              We can, however,  get a progressive meme going to push for this and to inform, educate and dismiss the "household balancing act" BS...and THEN push them to back such a plan.

              •  Not massive (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bailey2001, kj in missouri

                That's not going to happen soon. No political will for it, even though it's clearly needed. But incrementally, and stealthily, we can get something approaching it. The UI extension was stimulative, as is the wind energy incentive and other subsidies. Lots of ways to get stimulus without calling it such. So much so that many Repubs would be ok with it if sold as such since it means pork for their states and districts. So long as we can find ways to not call it stimulus, we have have lots more stimulus.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:02:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  2 choices (4+ / 0-)

        1 tax reform
        2 defense cuts

    •  How many times does PBO have to say he wants to (10+ / 0-)

      "reform" "entitlements" before we believe him ??

      Catfood Commission III, here we come.

    •  "If they offer up ... entitlement reforms" then (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, penguins4peace, blueoasis

      the Democratic party is over, done, defunct, dead.  

      •  So you think people would then (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        vote for Republicans, who would seek to abolish it rather than just fiddle with the inflation adjustment?

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:02:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think a lot of people will stop voting Dem. (3+ / 0-)

          They won't vote for either party.

          The "lesser of two evils" argument can lose meaning.  

        •  "Fiddle with inflation adjustment". They've been (10+ / 0-)

          doing this already for almost 30 years, since Reagan's first term.  The result is that SS payments to retirees is significantly lower now than it would be with honest inflation adjustments.

          Remember that SS doesn't add one penny to the deficit and is fully funded, as is, for the next 20 years.  The money is in govt bonds.  Politicians who say the can't afford to honor those bonds seem quite willing to honor (as our nation's credit rating demands) all other govt bonds.  Govt bonds are govt bonds.  Remember that only some income is taxed for SS and raising the income level subject to SS tax could strengthen SS better than cutting benefits.
          Remember, too, that getting people back to work, fixing the real economy and jobless situation, will do more good than cutting seniors already meager SS payments.

          An aside; if you here politicians saying the country is about to default on its obligations because of the deficit (see debt ceiling flim-flam)you should know that
          1.  The politician is lying. (They'll never wreck the US credit rating - which a default would do.)
          2.  A country cannot default in its own currency.
          3.  The US prints its own currency and is the world reserve currency.

        •  I will vote for no one if SS is put on the table (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          again.  It was a promise made and they better keep it.

      •  That comment is a tad hyperbolic. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heart of the Rockies

        Though for sure the Democrats do themselves no favors in doing the GOP's dirty work for them.

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:09:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agree 100% Magnifico. (9+ / 0-)

      The tougher the President and the Congressional Democrats play this next round, the greater their degree of success will be.

        They don't need to offer up any new cuts. They passed $1.2 Trillion in cuts back in 2011. They also agreed to the sequester, which is 100% cuts and no revenue.
         And those sequester cuts hit in March. They can merely modify the cuts to make them surgical cuts rather than willy-nilly.
        But they do not need to change the ratio of military cuts to cuts in domestic programs.
        Additionally, those cuts can be matched dollar for dollar with added revenues through changes to upper-income deductions and by curtailing corporate welfare.

         Now, the R's may not like that plan, but it will be on them to enumerate the changes they desire.
          Let them own any proposed cuts to "entitlements."

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:07:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What about Big Business & the debt ceiling? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know much about it, but I had thought that Big Business would help solve the debt ceiling issue?  They may not be Obama boosters, but do they really want the US to default?  (Apologies if this is covered elsewhere in this thread... )

  •  as a general rule I do not tip or rec Kos (61+ / 0-)

    Cause he's gonna get to the front page and he's already got infinite Mojo.  But I did both here.

    I think far too many people think they have a perfect crystal ball...that they KNOW what is gonna happen in two months.

    As for me, my crystal ball sucks...that is, my prognostications are can't even assume the reverse of my predictions cause sometimes I accidentally get it right.

    So, while I make predictions, that's not what I base my political action on.  I base my political action on what's right, and what's doable.

    So, I am fighting like a motherfucker to keep social security and Medicare out of whatever deal is coming...cause I DON'T KNOW if Obama is going to cave or not.

      What I do know is this...the republicans are gonna try.  So my fight is with them.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:59:15 AM PST

  •  Obama has not shown any willingness to tolerate (36+ / 0-)

    short-term pain, as you call it.

    That and the loss of the tax leverage makes me rather pessimistic at how round two will turn out.

    Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary

    by Paleo on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:00:28 PM PST

    •  Great matters tend to divide us up into our (12+ / 0-)

      native personality camps.  Those who are basically pessimistic people, who perhaps see that a lot of bad shit happens in the world and is likely to keep happening, will be pessimistic.  Those who are basically optimistic people, who perhaps see that a lot of good things happen in the world and are likely to keep happening, will be optimistic.  When presented with a conundrum of some kind, people revert to type.

      Myself, I remain relatively optimistic, because that is my base nature.  In my view, there is always reason to suppose The Right Thing will eventually come to pass.  I don't have any special rationale for that, as to why I'm right to be optimistic and you're wrong to be pessimistic.  It's just our two different ways of viewing the world.

      •  Nothing to do with personality (15+ / 0-)

        It's experience.

        Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary

        by Paleo on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:40:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  We all need to remember we really don't know! (8+ / 0-)

        This is a great analysis, and it occured to me this morning that glass half empty folks will celebrate retaining a third of a glass, and that glass half full folks will bemoan the third of a glass of water.  It's the same glass, but the difference is in how we spin it.  (I'm with Dilbert:  The glass is entirely full.  Half with water and half with air).

        however, looking forward, I think the piefights are really about what tactics will lead to the best outcome.  And there, we all should realize that this argument isn't about either facts or opinion, but about a guess hazarded about the future.  Since none of us have a crystal ball, none of us really know whether the approach we advocate will work.  Maybe e ought to be a little more humble about recognizing that the other guys has a point (for those who have been regular readers this will seem like an evolution for me.  It is.)

        In any event, it may take both camps to assure success.  So far as I know, no one except Steve Martin attempts to be both bad cop and good cop at the same time.

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:44:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  We pushed out the cliff 2 months (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, Eyesbright

        but a lot of other things about one year (like U.I.) It seems to me that if Obama can avoid offering SSI or Medicare cuts the republicans are rather trapped. It will be more clear with less surrounding budget items. Do you want bombs are medical care?

        Perhaps the rethuglicans really have the stones to put SSI and Medicare up on the chopping block with their own hands. So long as democrats aren't dumb enough to do it for them it is their call, do they want to blow their party up over their unpopular ideology? I think only the Tea Bagger faction would be willing. They along are not a majority.

        A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by notrouble on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:48:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That would sort of make sense if (8+ / 0-)

        everyone were operating in a void without any specific recent history to review and consider - like in January 2009 - but all of the players have established patterns of operation over the past four years and it is reasonable to expect that they are going to stick with their basic characters.

        Ironically, if one were to apply the terms "conservative" and "radical" accurately to the "teams" it would be correct to say that Obama is the "conservative" player - not willing to take big risks - more prone to playing it safe - and that the Republicans are extremely "radical" - to the point of being dangerous.  I think that we could all agree that we have seen that clash of cultures play out repeatedly since Obama took office.

        It is the malevolent drama queens vs. the geeky, well-meaning professor and I think that it is frustrating for everyone to watch play out.

        A friend on FB wanted to encourage everyone to celebrate the "bipartisan deal" and the talking "with" rather than "AT" that got us the deal on Tuesday night.  It was interesting given the fact that there was no real cooperation in that deal - just political expedience from both sides - and they didn't suddenly start talking "with" each other - that's just a romanticized view of what was in reality a fairly brutal death match that was played out to the last minute of practically the last hour.  

        My friend said he was trying to project goodwill which is a wonderful sentiment, but pretty much unrealistic.

        Then, when the two sides had the opportunity to do something honorable and good together - something upon which they all should have basically agreed - and that they all could have used to wipe some of the mud off of their faces from the ugly battle that preceded it - they shut down the vote for Sandy Relief.

        These are realities - feeling pessimistic or optimistic doesn't change a thing - we aren't looking at half full glasses here - we aren't trying to work out 50/50 chances - we are witnessing extremes from the Republicans that would have been inconceivable in other eras (although Gingrich did a pretty good job of schooling some of us in the 90s about how insane the GOP could be) - and we are witnessing people trying to field lobs from the extremists who sometimes seem to understand how intense the level of their opponents' operation is and at other times underestimates how low they could go.

        Anyway, we are living in a totally weird political era on a multitude of levels.  Basic assumptions about political ground rules that we all used to be able to rely on are not nearly as clear or predictable these days.  None of that is "pessimistic" - it is just true.  

        Nearly 70 days since Sandy devastated the Tri-State area and no vote in the House to fund recovery?  Really?  Yes.  That's a sign of the times we live in.  We thought the response to Katrina was bad - looking back now that was stellar - which means that the bar is being set ever lower.  I'll feel more optimistic once I see that bar start to rise again - once I see people pushing that bar insistently and doggedly upward...

        Hope springs eternal.

      •  Give me some examples that prove being an (7+ / 0-)

        optimist is anything more than being in denial of reality.

        Climate change? The environment in general? Our imperial global footprint? The hold and sway corporations and the wealthy have over our government?

        Just give me something to hang on to.

        Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

        by Pescadero Bill on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:22:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dr. Pangloss I presume. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
      •  Some of us are optimistic pessimists... (6+ / 0-)

        ...our experience indicates a lot of bad shit happens and keeps happening, but we hope for and work for a world in which less of it happens. Working for less bad and more good things to happen is the only way that less bad/more good WILL happen. The only guarantee that good stuff won't happen is to stop working for it.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:58:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some of us are more analytical (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kj in missouri, WB Reeves

        I'm neither a pessimist nor an optimist, but a pretty stone-cold realist.

        I veer toward the optimistic side BUT not when it gets in the way of my analysis. I try to watch, observe, note patterns, and not be wed to my own hypothesis (thus occasional accusations of being fickle in my interpretations; good -- one should be if they are ever going to learn anything).

        Analysis is, of course, partially subjective too. But tempering it as much as possible is deeply important.

        My best moments are the ones I interpret slowly, slowly, slowly... and let my thoughts develop about based on new information or perspectives.

        I advocate for an analytical point of view regardless of optimistic OR pessimistic tendencies.

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:44:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, if the pain were likely to lead to something (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, Meteor Blades, blueoasis

      I think he'd be fine with it.

      But frankly, the plan that adding taxes to lower incomes and having a few months of economic slowdown, maybe another recession, and then magic occurs isn't appealing.  Because if I'm relying on magic occurs, then I'd rather do it without the pain.

      The entire concept that pain in and of itself leads to a better future sounds like every austerian plan that's failed in Europe.  In fact, it sounds like the worst case scenario planned by the worse conservatives.

      One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

      by Inland on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:22:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We need to be careful (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      desert rain, indie17, Larin

      not to make "short-term pain" too abstract a concept.  As kos pointed out:

      ...the short-term pain could be brutal and hurt lots and lots of people.
      Many of us on this site (myself included) have been fortunate enough economically that we're not too worried personally about "short-term pain", "going over the cliff/curb", or whatever the euphemism-du-jour happens to be.  That's certainly not to say that anyone's invincible: just about any of us in the 99% can be humbled pretty quickly by a severe medical problem; it's called a "social safety net" for a reason.  But we don't necessarily live in fear of starving or going without medical care or being thrown out of our homes if, for example, unemployment insurance stops being funded for a month, or something.

      I'm not saying that we should never consider "short-term pain" a possible outcome, or that we should fold any time that the Republicans threaten to inflict it.  But if you're among those here fortunate enough not to have a day-to-day, life-or-death need (yet) on the social safety net services in danger of being cut, remember that the cliff/curb/ceiling/etc. would be non-trivial shocks in the lives of millions of people.

      In fact, I'd rather not phrase this as "Obama's tolerance / non-tolerance of pain", at all.  It's not his pain that we're urging him to tolerate.

  •  Right. We don't know and won't for months (19+ / 0-)

    It depends how we follow up on it. Not just POTUS. Not just our elected officials at all levels.

    US. All of us.

    We cannot assume we're doomed or that we're in great shape. We are where we are, and as Gen. Roosevelt responded when told his units landed miles off course in Normandy, "We'll start the war from right here."

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:01:23 PM PST

  •  Cave? There's a Little More Than Opinion; There's (14+ / 0-)

    also extrapolation.

    Reason to engage as much as possible to minimize it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:04:52 PM PST

    •  consider it an insurance policy. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Teiresias70, Odysseus, Larin

      I recall the story about the wise mullah who sprinkled rice around his garden.  Wheen asked why, he said it was to keep the tigers away.  When the questioner pointed out that there were no tigers within a thousand miles, the mullah said "effective, isn't it?"

      Whether a bad result is avoided because trust in Obama works, or because pressure from the left against trial balloons work, we will actually never be in a position to know which worked.

      As Deng Xiaoping once said, I don't care if a cat is black or white so long as it catches mice.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:47:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OT: Deng's dictum has produced a... (0+ / 0-)

        ...stunningly vibrant economy that has caught many mice AND a system in which the old authoritarians have maintained political power along with economic riches. Not quite the same (certainly more dynamic) as post-Soviet Russia, but with man similarities.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:07:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Precisely. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:05:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We will have the answer in March (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012, edwardssl, cocinero

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:05:20 PM PST

  •  Here's my opinion... (21+ / 0-)

    Obama still has leverage b/c of the military cuts tied to sequester, meanwhile, the Big Three are largely untouched by the current sequester deal.

    Also, as long as Obama does not provide specifics re:  spending cuts, and forces the GOP to offer up identifiable spending cut demands, spending cuts will never ever happen. So far the GOP has not suggested a single specific spending cut, I doubt the GOP ever will. Obama just needs to learn from the chained CPI suggestion fiasco and keep his mouth closed.

    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:05:26 PM PST

  •  i don't buy GOP insanity or nihilism (19+ / 0-)

    are they short sighted and optimistic to the point of delusion that the country is too big and powerful to truly break (like the planet), yes

    are they stubborn and petulant enough to cause what they see as short term harm if they can't get their way, yes

    but they aren't crazy or dead set on destruction.  come on.  they are rich and greedy and they can't spend worthless money.  that's the bottom line imo.

    Obama has a 57% approval rating and that this deal probably scored him either more approval or an extension on the approval he has.  he's taking up immigration next, which the gop want now, so, he's going to continue to maintain high approval.  

    so what is the GOP leverage against Obama?  going insane on him?  really?  do we really believe that?  i don't.  i think they are going to go along with him on immigration and tell him to go fuck himself on guns and then they are going to try to create some kind of stand off with the debt ceiling and Obama is going to tell them to go fuck themselves.  and why can't he?  who the fuck is on the side of the GOP right now?  who?  

    i admit to being outwardly overly optimistic most of the time, but i still worry like a mother fucker on the inside and i am just not that worried about this shit.  Obama compromises to get what he wants.  what the fuck does he want that the GOP can keep from him unless he compromises?  what?  

  •  A very fair assessment (13+ / 0-)

    and good critique.

    A quick not on the Rox/Sux thing - you, along with many 'neutrals' are misunderstanding the issue based on a very bad diary some time ago.

    There is an Obama Rox contingent who will not tolerate dissent - that part holds.

    There is no big 'Sux' contingent but rather a large (numerically dominant) group of us that think that being critical of your own elected officials is an essential part of Democracy and that in our case pressure from the left is never a bad thing - there is no downside. This group includes some front pagers.

  •  I disagree he traded the tax leverage away (0+ / 0-)

    Remember the payroll holiday expired and that affects A LOT of people.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:15:19 PM PST

  •  Is that what you told him in your secret meeting? (4+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:15:30 PM PST

  •  I generally agree with "we don't know yet" (7+ / 0-)

    We just finished the first quarter of the game, and there is still a lot left to be played.

    I do feel like we ended the first quarter ahead, in that we got $600b revenue for giving up nothing in return.

    If we end up cutting really crappy deals for the debt ceiling/sequestration, we could end up losing the game by the end of it. If we cut okay to good deals, we'll probably still come out on top when it's combined with what we got in the first round.

    What I can't stand is those here who are essentially ready to forfeit the rest of the game because they think that we're going to lose.  Instead of worrying, fight dammit!

  •  Psychopaths at war with each other. (3+ / 0-)

    There is no telling what they'll do.

    20 innocent children were slaughtered. The gun lobby and NRA bear responsibility and it is time to fight back!

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:18:17 PM PST

  •  Obama's performance in the face of incredible... (9+ / 0-)

    hostility from the Republicans and their willingness to do just about anything to defeat him (or to just make him look bad) has earned him the benefit of the doubt.

    If this were 2008, I would be holding my breath and crossing my fingers that everything works out and Obama can deal effectively with this maniacs.

    But its 2012 and after four years of combating this crew of crazies and to have won victory after victory in the face of their hostility, Obama has earned my trust and confidence.  

    I'm not worried about March or a possible default.  I think Obama knows exactly what he is doing and has the skill and talent to face the Republicans again successfully.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:18:39 PM PST

    •  I agree. Obama said he will not negotiate (0+ / 0-)

      on the debt ceiling. If the House Republicans refuse to pass a clean bill raising the debt ceiling, Obama will just say that the Constitution requires the government to pay its bills. There will be no default. The Republicans will look like fools, and the ridiculous debt ceiling will become a meaningless concept, as it should.

  •  We'll see how good a poker player he is (3+ / 0-)

    Two thoughts: short term pain for long term gain. Something Americans like to avoid. Then, hammer the Repubs as sociopaths! Again and again !

    The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

    by ozsea1 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:21:24 PM PST

  •  Pres. Obama needs to rethink (15+ / 0-)

    his stance on the 14th Amendment.

    He's said in the past he doesn't think it's a legit solution, but he can always come back and say he's "evolved" on the issue.  Repubs will likely try to impeach and it'll likely end any chances of Obama passing big items on his agenda in the next couple years, although I doubt those items are going to pass anyway given Teapublican control of the House.  This scenario would be better than the economy going into the toilet or cutting safety net benefits.

    Besides, Repubs impeaching the President because he tried to keep us from an economic crash doesn't seem like a winning political hand.  If anything it has the potential to seriously backfire on them at the polls in 2014.

    “Th’ noise ye hear is not th’ first gun iv a revolution. It’s on’y th’ people iv the United States batin’ a carpet.” - Mr. Dooley

    by puakev on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:24:12 PM PST

  •  I thought.. (5+ / 0-)

    ..the teabaggers were going to stick to their far right purity & allow us to go over the fiscal cliff.

    But Obama somehow moved them to the left of their own beliefs; enough signed on to Obama's plan, which must have caused them to die a little inside. (It certain was a major abandonment of their entrenched ideology).

    What is not being mentioned is how Obama has forced the Tea Party to the left.

    I never thought I would see that happen.

    So I am not about to predict the upcoming scenario.

    I'm worse at what I do best/ And for this gift I feel blessed. - Kurt Cobain

    by wyvern on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:24:19 PM PST

    •  Obama didn't move the teabaggers (8+ / 0-)

      They voted against the bill.  Boehner allowed a vote, that's all that happened.

      The symbol for the Republican party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

      by Deadicated Marxist on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:46:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And it's not Obama's job to move the teabaggers. (4+ / 0-)

        It's Boehner's job. And Boehner just got re-elected with several of the teabaggers voting for him. So now we know that Boehner can cave. Which means that, with all their bravado, teabaggers aren't very tough. Obama has said that he's not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling, because he wants to stop that nonsense. And Chuck Schumer told Rachel last night that if they start talking about stalling a vote on it, Obama can terminate the conversation. So what leverage do the Repukes have? Do they want to be the ones who destroy the safety net programs, and then face their voters in 2014? They can talk big about cutting "entitlements" now, but do they have the cojones to really do it? I agree with kos. I don't know the answer to that question.

      •  I am not even... (0+ / 0-)

        ..going to attempt arguing this with a dedicated Marxist.

        Democrats can see how the ultra right wing House was forced to move left on this.

        A dedicated Marxist?  Not so much.

        I'm worse at what I do best/ And for this gift I feel blessed. - Kurt Cobain

        by wyvern on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:10:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is it about my username or my comment? (0+ / 0-)

          You seem to take issue with marxists.  Por que?

          I still say Obama didn't move the teabaggers.  You're crazy if you think they listened to him.

          The symbol for the Republican party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

          by Deadicated Marxist on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:58:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Disagree. Just don't buy the "linkage" idea. (3+ / 0-)

    I disagree with the notion that we won't know whether this was a good or bad deal until months from now, because I believe this deal should be evaluated on its' own merits.  Personally, on those merits, I'm not particularly happy with it or displeased with it.  

    But the notion that the merits of this deal are contingent on something that may or may not happen in 60 - 90 days just doesn't make sense to me.  You can argue that the Administration traded away the tax issue -- but you can also argue that the President finally managed to keep one of his campaign promises from his first campaign.  

    There's just too much uncertainty with regard to the debt ceiling and the sequester.  I think the President is going to have more leverage than people are thinking -- the Defense budget is set to take 9% cuts across the board, and as long as he's willing to push that issue, he's got a huge amount of leverage.  

    Lots of rural (i.e. Republican) districts rely heavily on military spending, and have communities built up around military bases which will be directly affected.  Start shutting down bases in South Carolina, Utah, etc., and just listen for the screams from the Tea Party crowd.  Their constituents are not going to be happy, and will be demanding their Reps do something, anything.    The governing philosophy in a lot of these areas is "Gimme Gimme Gimme, now go away;" but they don't want the "Go Away" part until after they've got their "Gimme."  Threaten to take that away, and you've got real, measurable leverage.  Oh sure, they'll blame Obama, call him anti-American, anti-armed forces, etc., but they do that already, anyway.

    No, the biggest thing about this deal is that it demonstrates that, between them, the President and Harry Reid can force Boehner to abandon the Hastert Rule.  

    And that has the real potential to change a lot of the process in ways that conventional wisdom, on both sides, currently believes to be impossible.  And that could make this a transformational deal (though I certainly wouldn't count on it), by setting a precedent for how things might start getting done in the 113th Congress.  Even if it does, though, I still don't see that it changes the merits of this deal.  

    We are the first to look up and know, with absolute certainty, that the sword we ourselves have forged, is real.

    by Jbearlaw on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:30:41 PM PST

  •  The fundamental flaw = faulty premise (22+ / 0-)

    Obama seems to have totally bought into the right-wing narrative that the deficits (and the cumulative debt) are The Problem, and that whatever other policies are in play, all must kow-tow to the idol of Reducing the Deficit.

    I don't see anyone in Congress or the Administration willing to question that premise, instead of just arguing about which cuts and which revenue to Fix the Debt. (Krugman tries, daily, but gets nowhere.)

    We need to remember -- and keep reminding everyone else -- that Fix the Debt is a concocted "solution" being pressed hard by a small group of oligarchs, likely as a form of Shock Doctrine designed to destroy social programs, public education, etc. etc.. It isn't a self-evident and universally accepted truth, although it's rapidly becoming one just because no one challenges it.

    We need Occupy the Debt.

  •  This like starting a movie in the middle (21+ / 0-)

    Unless you rewind and watch it from the beginning it won't make much sense.

    This is a phony crisis. The chance of even slightly progressive governance got blown up three years ago, largely due to the utter transigence - the willingness, perhaps even the purposefulness - of Village dems, including the president.

    All we are arguing about now is which bits of wreckage we will be allowed to keep... if any... and what price the poor and working class will have to "sacrifice" for them.

    When you view the history of this situation from it's beginnings, a trend line emerges. It's not a happy one. When in this process, the tough talk, the lines in the sand, the drawn-out secret negotiations by dark of night, have we ever been happily surprised at the outcome?

    I suppose, at this point, we might as well hope for a first time... And start to reflect on our options going forward...

    Perpetual crisis means never having to say you're sorry.

    by chuckvw on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:35:19 PM PST

  •  The point you miss is that Obama (17+ / 0-)

    has essentially approved catfood commission recs in the past.  Why anyone thinks he would change is beyond me.

    Expectation: deal will be catfood commission recs and then some, without the cuts they rec'd for the military.  A very bad deal, but one Obama has already been highly complicit in.

    "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

    by Publius2008 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:36:26 PM PST

  •  key thing for me is messaging (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, TomP, slinkerwink, kj in missouri

    Whatever happens, Dems have to take every chance to point out loud and clear what destructive freaks the Repubs are.

    If bad times now lead to a D House in 2014 it won't be a total negative overall.

    If bad times now don't lead to a D House in 2014, cuz Dems didn't frame the action right, that's a big negative.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:36:57 PM PST

    •  I don't see how bad times right now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      would get Dems the House in '14. Look, the average American wants POTUS to "do something." They don't know how but they want it NOW.  If the country starts spiraling out of control because of the debt ceiling being blown, "the people" are going to look to POTUS to make things right.

      Frame what?  When people are hurting, they're just not likely to listen to anything other than whatever will make things right. Telling people "it's the House GOP's fault" as the govt. shuts down isn't going to get us much in the way of more House seats.

  •  Austerity is a bad deal... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, jrooth, Aquarius40, Lawrence

    But, all the various deals being floated and  the doing nothing option were all austerity and hence bad deals.

    But, that is completely different from Obama Rox or Sux.  Was a better deal even possible given the people and positions involved?  Probably not.

    So, I will go with one of the better of the bad deals available.  

    Coming up is another clash of the bad deals.  As we continue to debate levels of austerity in the face of a weak economy and crushing under-employment.

    •  Tip for "one of the better of the bad deals." n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:27:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Missing the point. (0+ / 0-)

      The GOP will keep extracting pain and suffering for abnormal people unless the president and dems stand up to them.  The debt ceiling is not the time to do it because it would destroy the world economy.  The fiscal cliff was the place to stand and fighting it was going to happen, and the Dems didn't do it.

      •  Disagree slightly on the debt ceiling (0+ / 0-)

        The debt ceiling is only not the time to do it if the President decides not to exercise the powers Congress has given him to pay the bills of the United States without issuing debt.  It may take a debt ceiling crisis to show that a sovereign government has no need to issue interest bearing IOUs called bonds to pay its bills, but can instead issue non-interest bearing IOUs called currency to pay its bills.

        Then, maybe our government can return to the rules of functional finance.

            There government shall maintain a reasonable level of demand at all times. If there is too little spending and, thus, excessive unemployment, the government shall reduce taxes or increase its own spending. If there is too much spending, the government shall prevent inflation by reducing its own expenditures or by increasing taxes.
            By borrowing money when it wishes to raise the rate of interest and by lending money or repaying debt when it wishes to lower the rate of interest, the government shall maintain that rate of interest that induces the optimum amount of investment.
            If either of the first two rules conflicts with principles of 'sound finance' or of balancing the budget, or of limiting the national debt, so much the worse for these principles. The government press shall print any money that may be needed to carry out rules 1 and 2.

  •  Popular Will Is The Best Leverage (6+ / 0-)

    Cutting popular middle class programs while threatening to destroy the economy are not exactly winning positions.  

  •  I don't understand how taking the tax issue off (6+ / 0-)

    the table hurts Obama.  I just don't get it.  Obama never wanted taxes to go up on the middle class - he was almost as uncomfortable with that proposition as the Republicans are with tax increases to the top 1%.  

    Given that he got what he wanted on this deal, in the next deal it would seem to me he is asking for less.  And therefore has to give up less.  

    Politicians are politicians - they all want to be re-elected.  The president has the 1 trump card House and Senate Republicans (Dems as well) do not - he doesn't have to run again.  He needs a deal less than they do.  Yeah, they might not give a damn about the country, but they do give a damn about being re-elected.  The Senate proved that.  What those House Republicans need is to be able to say to their teabagging constituents "we did all we could - blame Obama, Boehner, McConnel Pelosi, etc.."  That is what there kabuki is about.  

    Not glued to my position and am writing to get opposing arguments (now that the meta wars have calmed).  I just don't know how getting most of what you want in a previous negotiation sets you up to get less in the next negotiation.  Unless, of course you WANT less.  

    If the Republicans were going to steer the country into a crisis, why is the debt ceiling a better time than the fiscal cliff?  Republicans showed their hands, and they were holding 2's and 3's.  At least that is the way I see it for now.  

    •  It's the dividend, cap gains, and estate taxes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burlydee, Medium Head Boy, jeopardydd

      To me, the $450K income limit isn't the problem. Adjusting for inflation, that's pretty much early Clinton era income tax. The under-$250K cuts were going to happen no matter what.  So raising the $250K cutoff to $450K for the top marginal bracket seems to me an acceptable price for UI and the 5-year extension credits.

      The big loss in leverage is the absolutely huge giveaway on dividends, cap gains, and estate taxes. I haven't seen an exact figure anywhere (if someone has it, please point me to it!), but I wouldn't be surprised if the total cost of these three things which only really benefit the rich is on the order of a cool trillion.

  •  kos, I don't necessarily (8+ / 0-)

    agree with your analysis of what is going to happen, but, Tipped and Recc'd for this, especially:

    But to be clear, I don't doubt Obama's motivations. I don't believe he wants people to suffer.
  •  If it's economic terrorism ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    then that opens up all kinds of options - from extraordinary rendition to drone strikes.

    And ironically, the terrorists themselves gave the president the authority to deal with them in those ways.

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:44:06 PM PST

  •  Are we to be passive or proactive? (11+ / 0-)

    What is the purpose of coming to Daily Kos and reading the diaries and front page? I'm not a gambling person - I don't want to put my SS and Medicare benefits all in on lucky #7 and stand by and have #5 come up and then say "oh geez my crystal ball wasn't working" there is nothing we will be able to do after the deal is made, after medicare age is raised or chained cpi is added. Now is the time to crystallize our position. I come to DKos to read others opinions and to see if anyone is organizing ways to let our voices be heard - I often call my POTUS and Congressmen to let them know what issues are important to me - it would be beneficial if a significant number of members here would do the same, and would be even greater if Kos or front pagers would organize such an event.

    I'm way past the rox/sux debate - it does nothing to save my SS benefits and is a huge distraction when there is activism to organize. So what will it be - passively standing on the sidelines waiting for 60 days or proactively letting our voices be heard? News Community Action

  •  The dumbest thing Kos ever wrote: (5+ / 0-)
    Maybe Obama has learned to negotiate from the position of strength that the election results have earned him, and has learned that you cannot negotiate with terrorists.
    Not using precedent, which you even mentioned, to make a determination on that is not just silly - it's weird. Why in fuck's fuckness would anyone even begin to give this even a "maybe"? It doesn't make sense.

    Second dumbest thing:

    Maybe the GOP will stare down its crazies and negotiate in good faith without threatening the execute its hostage.

    P.S. I kid, Kos. Those aren't the dumbest things you ever wrote.



  •  A well-reasoned analysis. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:56:29 PM PST

    •  I will be happy if the outcome (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Medium Head Boy

      is just the usual half-good, half-bad, mediocre, could have been worse, but not good.  :-)

      The outcome may be really bad.  Another recession or slashing social security and medicare against the wishes of the people.  

      The economic terrorism of the Republcians is profoundly anti-democratic.  Giving in to it would mean the end of the Obama presidency and the relevance of 55 Democratic senators.  

      I think Obama has to say no, but as Kos says, it will cause much pain.   At this point, though, it's becoming akin to a consitutional crisis, with the R economci terrorism kin to a policy coup.  

      Obama needs to rally Americans against this.  He has the Innauguration and SOTU to do so.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:01:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  and people are biased when looking to the future (0+ / 0-)
    She had a sneaking suspicion that she would change, but she couldn't quite imagine how, so she stood with her assertion of continuity. Maybe something like this goes on with all of us.
  •  I don't know Kos. Bush and the republicans (6+ / 0-)

    purposely cut taxes in an effort to starve the government under the guise of improving the economy. So, what just happened when 97% of the people get to keep their cuts? The sanctioning of the starving of our government.

    Seems to me this deal was a conservative victory. And as for spending cuts, what choice does the president have now? Especially if he's going to continue acting like a deficit hawk.

    We've been suckered into austerity. And the thing is, it probably won't be felt by +50% of the population so it will go mostly unseen thanks to the continued lower taxes. It's not like poor and lower income people are benefiting much from these tax cuts, but will suffer most from program cuts.

    This deal was a crime against progressivism.

    Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

    by Pescadero Bill on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:58:10 PM PST

  •  Thank you for explaining your position and for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PaDemTerry, WB Reeves

    including the last bit about not doubting the President's motivations. I am on pins and needles with this President constantly expecting the other shoe to drop. He has disappointed us many times. Yet not once have I thought it was due to some nefarious plot to offer the American people up as homage to his Corporate Overlords. When the President caved the worst the fairest reading was that he did not want the fragile economy to worsen immediately and especially didn't want the unemployed to suffer like they would with no deal. Short sighted...yes. Naive..yes. Inexperienced...yes. Listening to the wrong people...yes. An evil corporatist who has the singular goal of destroying the New Deal as we know it...not so much.

    Our conversations here would be so much more informative if we didnt treat our theories as to intentions as fact. There's enough to debate without mind-reading.

    "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

    by stellaluna on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:58:26 PM PST

    •  Problem is (0+ / 0-)

      That at some point, you either have to believe that the president is dumb/gullible/naive, or that he has different go Al's than the rest of us.

      Ad btw, he's extremely smart and savvy enough to become the first black president.

      •  But that doesn't mean he is the smartest and most (0+ / 0-)

        informed person on every single topic.  I think his love of bipartisanship is naive but not malevolent.  I alo think we are being taught how important it is when we watch every single issue come to a grinding halt because of partisan politics. The President is probably correct that our country needs much more bipartisanship. The naivite comes in not recognizing how irrational his opponents have become.   Even if his goals are different from ours, it's silly to pretend we know what they are. We may want social spending increased. He may want a more manageable economy. It's foolish to believe that just because he doesn't seem to be with us his motivations are against us.

        "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

        by stellaluna on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:19:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you seriously think (0+ / 0-)

          that all of us know more about republican bargaining tactics than the brilliant and politically-brilliant president does?

          no way.

          he just has different goals than we do.

          •  I just don't think we know what his goals are. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WB Reeves

            And no I don't think we all know more about negotiating than he. So I don't know why, when he does something differently than we would do, we assume we know he has a different goal from the one he says he has.  And why we assume we know what that goal is.

            "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

            by stellaluna on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:05:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Basicaly (0+ / 0-)

              There is zero chance that he doesn't understand that the republicans won't fairly bargain.

              Yet he continues to try to bargain with them, giving them stuff each time.

              Ergo, he's ok with the outcomes.

              •  The trouble with this line of reasoning (0+ / 0-)

                is that it's pure reductionism. The logic works only so long as you exclude every other factor social, economic, political and institutional.

                A chief consideration excluded is the reality that the President isn't an elected sovereign  and the Government itself is structured to enforce compromise rather than all or nothing confrontation. The Executive, regardless of party or personal preference, is institutionally obligated represent the collective interest. That requires the President to be conciliatory towards the opposition. It's part of the job description.

                It's worth remembering that this system was designed by men who thought it was possible to banish parties (faction) from the political process. It's this reality that lies behind the snark of international observers who say that our system is designed to "not work."

                That's said, I think the continued wrangling over who President Obama is and what his goals are is not only a gigantic waste of time but destructive. I've asked repeatedly what it is supposed to accomplish in terms of forwarding a progressive agenda and I've yet to receive a coherent answer.

                Perhaps you have one?  

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:24:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  I kinda get the feeling, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I hope I'm right, that threats to trash the economy have gone out of style seeing as how the socialist has been re-elected and Wall Street and the Chamber have to resign themselves to living with facts and not Fox Spews generated fictions.

    Of course there are many still in the Rethug Party dedicated to the destruction of the American Economy thus damaging the president, but I think their handlers in the private sector want to make money more than they want to dethrone a lame duck Obama.

    Just my opinion you understand but I think the tea-partiers are now on a shorter leash....

    But we won't have it all our way either - we threw that chance away in 2010.

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:00:52 PM PST

  •  This is a totally fair argument. (4+ / 0-)

    Thanks for taking down the temperature.

  •  whether it was a good or bad deal depends on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sybil Liberty, HappyinNM

    what your expectations were...

    those that wanted NO compromise whatsoever with the other side, be they dems or repubs, will think this was a horrendous deal...  

    those that realized the 250,000 line the Pres drew during the campaign was always going to be higher but hoped for no changes to SS and Medi will think this was a masterful deal

    Teapublicans always think anything Dems get is a BAD deal for America

    the average Jane and Joe are still trying to figure it all out so they dont think anything other then they are probably very happy to not have to hear the words 'fiscal cliff' 100 times an hour anymore :)

    "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

    by KnotIookin on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:08:08 PM PST

    •  given the fact that so many Dem "leaders" (0+ / 0-)

      were all over the sunday talks for the past year expressing their preference for $500,000 or even a million (Schakowsky, Shumer, Israel come to mind) i really can't imagine anyone expected the cap to actually come in at $250,000.

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:21:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who really knows but my guess (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sybil Liberty

    Obama uses Repub fear of sequestration in some sort of trade off on closing loopholes and debt ceiling - OR - continues to indicate he won't discuss debt ceiling and if push comes to shove - exercises Executive authority after making every effort to appear reasonable on this debt ceiling BS.

    We shall see.

  •  May I suggest a criteria that most of us might be (3+ / 0-)

    able to agree on?

    Our evaluation of President Obama's strategy, skills, nobility, brilliance or incompetence will boil down to where the level of government spending as a percentage of GDP ends up as the aggregated consequence of the remaining debt-ceiling negotiations, which may go on for several years, but we will be able to make an initial determination in a few months.

    We need to see, and perhaps even develop a better documented, independence consensus scorecard but I can outline the logic and approximate numbers from memory largely based on numbers from Jeffrey Sach's recent articles.

    He says that current spending is now 23% of GDP and the lock in of 85% of the Bush Tax cuts pegs government revenue at 18% of GDP which, if it stands without an additional minimum of 3% additional tax revenue, will require the unravelling of the New Deal, Great Society, Obamacare and nearly all other progressive Democratic programs.

    Is "best case scenario" he was hoping for prior to the McConnell-Biden deal was that by "more" aggressively winding down the Iraq and Afghanistan expenditures, without backfeeling pork (as we've partially already done with today NDAA) we may be able to sustain Democratic social program with taxes at 21% of GDP.  

    The tragedy Sachs sees in the McConnell-Biden deal is not the relatively trivial $800 billion of revenues coming from the $250,000 traded down to $600 for a one year extension of unemployment ($30 billion) and other worthwhile but small programs, as most, even here, still seem to think.  But rather that the original "plan" or expectation by many of us is was that the trade for $250,000 tax breaks would occur simultaneously with trading for up to $2 trillion in alternative more progressive substitute tax revenue from corporation, closing loopholes, deduction caps etc.

    Thus moving total taxation up to at least 20% of GDP where we would still need to fight over an additional 1% to sustain Democratic social programs.

    Obama's initial declarations that as a "first step" he wanted a minimum $1.6 trillion of direct revenue was consistent with this goal, especially since he was also demanding that congress give up the yearly debt-ceiling cap.

    Because that has been the "hidden" give in the current regime that Boehner now says is over.

    Until now, the missing 1% to 2% or more has been made up for in $1.2 trillion deficits, now apparently greater.  By converting the gap to debt, which Krugman has pointed out many times is almost free now, we've been able to "slide forward" without adopting the catastrophic "starve the beast" consequences that were the original intent of the Bush tax cuts.  

    Let be really clear here, when progressives supported Obama's $250,000 tax cuts it was not an endorsement of the Bush tax cuts "starve the beast" plan, and a repudiation of the successful Clinton model and levels of taxation that could sustain our Democratic social programs but rather an intent to make taxes more progressive by substituting other taxation on corporations and individuals.

    But in what does appear to be a gargantuan negotiating blunder Biden gave up this lever equal to 2% of the GDP in taxation permanent not a two year extension which would be have acceptable.

    So how do we now get a total combined net effect of 3% of GDP of taxes and our sustain deficit finances of government spending?

    If President Obama achieves this with his adamant declarations that he will not negotiated over debt ceilings and he wants at least one dollar of revenue enhancement for every dollar of cuts (he acutally will need more I think but let's not loose the big picture for quibbles) he will win a great victory and be considered brilliant and all those doubting him now will owe him credit, if not apologies.

    However, if he fails to move taxation and "sustained" long-term debt expansion to maintain government spending at levels of 21% to 23% of GPD and instead implements the 18% starve the beast plan to dismantle New Deal, Great Society, (and now Obamacare) Democratic spending programs we will go down in history as the most reviled, despised, and incompetent president in this century, at the minimum.

    Can we all agree on this?  Please concentrated on the vital subjunctive conditional phrase "If" President Obama fails to regain a sufficient about of additional taxation, and/or "permission," grudging compliance, whatever you want to call it, continue deficit financing from John Boehner and the Republicans such that actual government spending is reduced from 23% to 18% and therefore nearly all Democratic social programs are eliminated, it will be an indisputable disaster for Democrats, all Americans, and President Obama will be blamed.

    Those who are outraged by the "loss of leverage" "gang" need to understand that many in this group believe by unnecessarily giving up 2% of Bush tax cuts, or their "more progressive substitutes" while Boehner and the House GOP control the budget initiation and debt ceiling, this is already an "accomplished fate." Sachs said with regard to taxation President Obama has disempowered himself, so is now a "lame duck" before he even takes his second term.

    From that point of view, (which I have not adopted yet,) we now have no leverage but to rely on the "kindness of GOP strangers" which is naive, at best.

    But, the hidden silver lining is that I am beginning to suspect that most of the GOP does not actually relish, or want to totally eliminate all of our social programs as they realize this would be a disaster for them politically, causing them to lose all control of government and perhaps destroy the Republican Party.

    This may be an example of "be careful what you wish for, you might just get it."  They do seem to have this power now, but I expect they will hold back from exercising it, as in the longer-term the American people would punish them for it.

    But, let's not kid ourselves, this is going to be painful and will require us to totally resale the value of Democratic social programs on a case-by-case basis, and we will lose some of those battles so things are likely to get much worse before better.

    We can not longer look the other way, in cases of todays NDAA where Congress put in billions of extra defense spending in obsolete programs that neither the military nor Obama wants.  With a capped tax revenues at 18%, and a hard  or (even just harder) cap debt- those dollars will ultimately  come dollar for dollar out of Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, nutrition programs, education etc.

    If President Obama is serious about saving these programs and proving that every dollar of government revenue is precious not waste as Rand Paul says every day, he should veto this budget and demand that the obvious waste is removed.

    We will also need a blue ribbon committee to take between 20% out of defense spending as as first step.

    Please not the difference between our current 23% of GDP of spending and 18% of GDP as our tax revenue base is 5% of GDP.  GDP folks not budget.

    I don't have a calculator handy but what is 5% divided by 23%? Around 22%?  This is a hell of a way down.  If we do not break the tacit cooperation to ignore the near doubling of defense spending since 9/11 social programs will need to be reduced by 44%!

    Again, these numbers are approximations off the top of my head, so this specific argument can be vastly improved.  But, anything less would be simple minded and overly simplistic.  

    President Obama, Vice President Biden need to hit the ground running and explain this or something better, PDQ as this may be the most important political battle of our lifetimes.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:13:56 PM PST

    •  Well put. Unfortunately, considering Obama (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, lostinamerica, HCKAD

      has many times in the past made clear his belief that safety net programs (social security exclusively?) will have to be adjusted, I'm going to go out on a limb and bet he's of the mind that government spending shouldn't be more than 20% or so of GDP. A true conservative objective.

      Adjust revenue/program slashing as needed.

      Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

      by Pescadero Bill on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:46:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unfortunately, Norquist won BIG already: (7+ / 0-)

    PERMANENT Bush tax cuts after the temporary Bush cuts expired.

    Starving the beast* proceeds; even after the economy recovers it will be much harder to fund urgently needed public services.  

    The middle class could comfortably afford the Clinton tax rates when they were in effect, in a period of prosperity.

    Even a knockout victory for team blue in the next showdown over the debt ceiling and sequestration won't change the long term effect of locking in almost all of the Bush slashes.  

    Permanent concessions for temporary palliatives is a formula for strategic defeat.

    *"Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast" --Hamilton.

    There's no such thing as a free market!

    by Albanius on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:15:15 PM PST

  •  "Because they're psychopaths" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    I think that this is the aspect of the Republicans that is the most worrisome. They clearly have no interest in serving the greater good.

    In my youth, I've also thought that a career in public service was a noble calling and you did this because you wanted to create a better future for your neighbors, your community, and your country.

    But alas, for many, they are driven by the hatred of government and for all others who do not share their values.

    It takes time to practice generosity, but being generous is the best use of our time. - Thich Nhat Hanh.

    by Frank In WA on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:22:33 PM PST

  •  There is really only one thing we can do: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kj in missouri

    keep our eyes peeled, and be quick to make our opinions known to our elected representatives, if we think they will be willing to listen.  Write to the President, your Senators and your congresscritter (if s/he isn't a Teapublican, that is).

    Predictions will ntot help us in that sense.  But contemplating and discussing best case/worst case will.  What we most need right now is to discuss -- civilly -- all potentialities.  Nothing is carved in stone.  

    And remember, trial balloons are often sent up to gauge public sentiment.  We just need to ensure that the truly loathsome ones are vigorously and immediately demolished.  

    "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

    by Noor B on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:28:23 PM PST

  •  Obama's remaining card: Pentagon Sequester. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This may affect the Senate more than the House, but that and the likelihood that the GOP will suffer the worst from a shutdown are about all he's got to play with.

    Personally, I'd go for hardball and the $1T Coins.

    But there's no budget, either.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:35:17 PM PST

  •  What if they're not psychopaths? (0+ / 0-)

    What if there are actually some smart people who sincerely believe that what we need to do is cut the size of government to help the economy grow? And they also believe that transferring wealth from the most successful and productive members of society to the least productive will eventually destroy the economy. And that debt is generally a bad thing.

    Call me crazy, but I believe that there are people who sincerely hold these beliefs and who oppose the Democratic program because they think it is bad for the country.

    Not that I share those beliefs. But I'm not sure how helpful it is to characterize the people who hold them as psychopaths. Maybe you could just say they live in a different moral universe than you and I do.  

    •  Sincere belief in empirically baseless fantasy in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quasimodal, Medium Head Boy

      spite of all the evidence may not be sociopathic (or psychopathic, or whatever), but the end result is the same (and it's indicative of an incredibly stupid, rigid mind besides).

    •  Well, hope springs eternal (0+ / 0-)

      And there are undoubtedly rank and file Republicans who still believe in "voodoo economics."

      But if you were paying attention for the last 4 years, when the Republican mantra was oppose Obama at any cost, psychopath is actually a nice name for them.  Sociopath would be more appropriate.

  •  You forgot the third possibility: (7+ / 0-)

    That Obama fully intends to make those cuts, that he tied his own hands on purpose and that will use the GOP's apparent willingness to crash the economy as an excuse. He is, after all, by his own admission, a 1980s Republican on economics.

  •  disagree on repubs and defaulting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kj in missouri

    there's only ~80 true teabagging crazies from what i understand who would default.

    the ones that increased taxes on the rich (heh heh heh) are the ones that won't allow default for their corporate puppetmasters.

    Stop Prohibition, Start Harm Reduction

    by gnostradamus on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:48:26 PM PST

  •  Maybe this is the outcome the president wanted Kos (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun, HCKAD, jeopardydd
    Maybe Obama has learned to negotiate from the position of strength that the election results have earned him, and has learned that you cannot negotiate with terrorists.
    After 4 years I no longer believe that this is about Obama's negotiating skills but more about his own strain of conservatism. We never see a real effort in any of these these negotiations to prevent another round of hostage taking. Its never in the fine print.

    It makes it easier politically for the president and some high ranking Democrats to push through deep cuts to SS and Medicare (in one way or another) if it looks like this is only what the GOP wants and that their hands are tied.

    Its clear IMO that while the president  doesn't want to go as far as republicans with cuts to social programs, he is to some degree on the same wavelength as they are. The catfood commission is a good example.

    I believe its safe to say many of us here don't agree with this course of action, especially not in these very difficult times.

  •  Obama doesn't want OBAMA to suffer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that's the first thing I've learned with his Presidency. Yes, he doesn't want others to suffer, but his ease of suffering comes first rather than a fight that truly helps needless suffering because of GOP demands.

  •  The $250K to $400K (0+ / 0-)

    is a real tell for me.

    Unneeded, and after an election the President won handily while campaigning on tax increases for people above the $250K makes the whole point of an election sort of hard to interpret.

    It really doesn't bode well for the future.

    Remember to kick it over.

    by sprogga on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:56:59 PM PST

    •  Elections matter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, pollyusa

      The Republicans won the election for control of the House of Representatives. So they get to partially assert power on legislation. I don't understand how people don't get this. Yes, Obama won his election, but so did 218+ Republican Congressmen. ~ @MatthewBorgard

      by zegota on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:07:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Uneeded? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, FiredUpInCA

      So you thought Obama was going to get his opening proposal fully?

    •  Dividends/Cap Gains/Estate Taxes are real tell (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Medium Head Boy, jeopardydd

      I mentioned this above, but it's hard for me to be outraged about the marginal income tax rate outcome.

      And with the various phaseouts in the deal, actual income tax paid by those with AGIs of $250K+ plus will be going up as well -- so there are technically tax increases for that level of income as promised. Inflation-wise, $400K in 2013 is pretty much $250K in 1993 anyway:

      No, my biggest complaint is the surrender on the taxes where the truly rich really make their cash. I don't know exactly how much those dividend/cap gains/estate tax cuts costs, but I imagine it's very substantial.

      And even that wouldn't have been so bad if it was just a year or two extension. But to put those new rates in place without a sunset provision, while putting sunsets on everything good about the deal is where the true waste of negotiating power was.

      •  I don't think its about (0+ / 0-)

        whether its a good or bad outcome. Its whether it was possible to get something quite a bit better with every justification.

        He would have way more credibility on the no debt limit hostage front if he hadn't done this.

        Remember to kick it over.

        by sprogga on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:56:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I still don't get (0+ / 0-)

    why Obama is in a worse negotiating position.
    The Republicans can't use taxes as an excuse for not raising the debt ceiling anymore. So what they have left are cuts. I don't think cutting SS and medicare or default the country, will be a winning strategy in the court of public opinion.

  •  Your view (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    My own is that Obama traded away the tax issue, thus has little leverage in this next round
    Then why the hell were progressives pushing for Republicans to pass a standalone middle-class tax cut bill a month or so ago? Seriously, the turn around made my head spin. I'm pretty sure DailyKOS did one of their friggin' petitions for that very thing -- at the very least, they had multiple cheerleading front page stories about it.

    What's the difference? Why is it progressive one day and a selling of leverage the next? ~ @MatthewBorgard

    by zegota on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:06:54 PM PST

    •  Standalone tax bill was for marginal income tax (0+ / 0-)

      I'm repeating myself, but I'm pretty sure the standalone bill wouldn't have provided for the dividend/cap gains/estate tax cuts that are far more disturbing to me.

      •  I guess (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They wouldn't have done anything for UI, etc., either. But that's beside the point -- it's not what most people are arguing. Most of the commenters here are saying that passing the middle-class tax cuts gives away leverage. I just don't understand how we went from advocating a standalone tax bill to lamenting one. ~ @MatthewBorgard

        by zegota on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:58:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I would like to believe Ezra, but sadly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, lostinamerica

    I think I'm going to have to agree with Krugman.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:11:10 PM PST

  •  Revenue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glynis, FiredUpInCA

    Obama doesn't have the Bush tax cuts but has "revenue" Boehner offered in the negotiation opening 800 billion in revenue other than the Bush tax cuts. Lets see those revenues if they want cuts.

    THe deal was good, not great but good. And I still have to read how the ceiling issue could have been stopped unless some grand bargain shit was included, so I rather get this deal than any of the other proposals floated by far

  •  but the great pumpkin will come next year! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just you wait and see!

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

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:12:54 PM PST

    •  OK, that made me laugh. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, HCKAD, Lady Libertine

      I'm finding it extremely difficult to keep faith that this President will not sell the elderly (I'm on both SS and Medicare) down the pike once the debt ceiling and politicians, who love austerity for the middle class and poor more than anything else in the world except for their OWN well-being and power and personal wealth, start flinging their outrageous ideas about.  But I'm willing to go with Kos (or at least try to) because right now we don't know what's going to happen.  I have bad feelings based on past-performance of this President and the psychopaths in the House . . . I feel like all we can do is watch and listen and if the signs I fear are there, I'm ready to go ballistic on any politician who tries to use the above programs as sacrifices in the name of deficit-reduction.  My husband's State of WI pension is being cut 13% as of May 1 this year---that's a loss of around $350 a MONTH for us.  He's going to be back to where his pension was in 2001.  When the politicians take 13% cuts to THEIR salaries and give up their own Lexus benefits and perks, then they can talk to me about sacrifice--maybe.  It'll have to be a cold day in Hell on a Thursday in October with a Harvest moon, however, for that to happen.

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

      by 3goldens on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:34:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i'm with him, too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, HCKAD

        he's skeptical, so am i. but i won't presume that any rumors or any white house statements are the final word, until there is a done deal. it has worked both ways. but krugman is right, and obama doesn't have much of a track record for standing on traditional democratic economic principles, so i'm skeptical. i'm also increasingly skeptical that obama shares traditional democratic economic principles.

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

        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:41:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Totally agree about White House (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laurence Lewis, PorridgeGun

          statements----people have been played far too many times by the obfuscation of that crew.  And your last sentence I thoroughly agree with.  He has hidden his real economic beliefs very smoothly while letting his econ advisors take the heat.  I despise that.  

          "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

          by 3goldens on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:00:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  C'mon. You know this stuff. You keep up with it. (0+ / 0-)

          Obama barely passed the stimulus package in 2009, with the Dems and just three Repukes in the Senate. In order for her to vote for it, Susan Collins amended the original bill and took a lot of the spending out, and replaced it with tax cuts (40%). I agree with Krugman that we ought to be adding stimulus, but how can it be passed? Obama knows, and has said, that we need further stimulus. Hell, he couldn't even get some of those stupid Repuke governors to take the first stimulus money. If you want to be skeptical about something, be skeptical that the Repukes will wake up and get serious about growing this economy.

          •  they won't (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            will he?

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

            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:02:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

              •  i (0+ / 0-)

                hope you're right.

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

                by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:19:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  i hope you take your sad (0+ / 0-)

                  and find something constructive to do with it.

                  "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                  by kj in missouri on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:09:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  i hope (0+ / 0-)

                    you care more about the future of this country than blog pettiness.

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

                    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:13:40 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  since i didn't comment about blog pettiness, (0+ / 0-)

                      but about this exchange:

                      If you want to be skeptical about something, be skeptical that the Repukes will wake up and get serious about growing this economy.
                      they won't will he?
                      your comment doesn't begin to apply.

                      Laurence, it's sad to read a front page writer on a (the?) major Democratic blog questioning the Democratic President's seriousness about growing the economy.  after all the blog chaos, that i took pains to avoid, and only began reading again, hoping we liberals were on the mend to working to find effective ways to make our specific concerns and solutions and lines in the sand heard in DC.

                      i was curt above and i am sorry about that.  i used a 'you statement' which is something i at least attempt not to do, and failed by doing it.  

                       let me know when, as a front pager, you're going to propose something constructive to do the next couple of months, or i'll just make a point not to read you, as i do a few others.   thanks.

                      "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                      by kj in missouri on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:30:59 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  if he's serious about growing the economy (0+ / 0-)

                        he can stop playing austerity games. what we can do constructively is to keep shooting down trial balloons, and make clear that we will not accept any more excuses about the big bad mean republicans. if he has to go off the cliff, he has to. and if he does, we need to have his back as we ride it out until the republicans fold- which they would. we know what the republicans stand for. it's time for the democrats to prove by doing what they stand for. krugman is right- if he gives in again, obama's presidency will have been wasted.

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

                        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:02:21 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  we agree. (0+ / 0-)

                          (sorry it took so long to reply, i crashed.)

                          and i'd like to add that we attempt to present a unified front, a positive force to protecting the people of the US, as we work together, for the next two months.

                          there will surely still be disagreement, as there should be, but hopefully we can keep our negative characterizations of PBO down to a dull roar.

                          you'll find me a harsh critic if the terms of PBO's "I won't negotiate" stand changes, and i'll express that disapproval here, in action diaries that are offering ways to make our voices heard.

                          "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                          by kj in missouri on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:21:18 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  and i will emphasize (0+ / 0-)

                            that it's time to prove by doing. no more excuses. either the gop will to brinksmanship is broken once and for all or the democrats are enablers. or worse.

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

                            by Laurence Lewis on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:42:41 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  again, we agree. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Laurence Lewis

                            i've said for a long time now that once PBO was re-elected i would push for FDR-type policies, whether he was willing to 'go there' or not. progressives (liberals) simply had to have a  eight years in the White House to begin to make a dent in the public's mindset, and god knows, even the most cynical of us didn't expect the Tea Party Uprising (at least i didn't, and i KNOW these people, so i should have!)  the Tea Party is hanging themselves and i want to help that along.

                            and i agree 100% re: the enabling.  i might even wonder if old John Boehner doesn't agree with you, too.   'heh'   ;-)

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:59:59 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i have a post for sunday (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kj in missouri

                            it hits hard on the failures of the past, but leaves open the possibility of getting it right this time. finally. because we can't afford not to.

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

                            by Laurence Lewis on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:18:48 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i look forward to reading it, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Laurence Lewis

                            and personally,that gives me a deadline to decide what specifics i'm going to push.   there's been some pretty good ideas put out here this week.

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:42:59 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  one of the keys (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kj in missouri

                            is that when the rumors and leaks start coming, we have to be careful not to panic or presume, but we also have to be very sharp in bursting all lousy trial balloons.

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

                            by Laurence Lewis on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:39:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i hope we were heard re: (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Laurence Lewis

                            the chained CPI.  

                            don't know if it is presumptuous to think we were... but i think we were.  

                            i've never had any problems calling rep's or senator's offices who aren't mine, either because i've lived in their state or i pull out the 'i'mma concerned citizen of the us-of-a' in the hopes of just being counted as a phone call pro or con.  and there's the home state offices and DC offices.

                            happy to provide any pithy, short phrases at the time when/if needed.

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 01:10:29 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

  •  I say, acts show R have no resolve for cuts. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM, Iberian

    We've had three showdowns so far, and the cuts that Rs have demanded haven't touched anything that has any political backing, much less SSI or medicare.

    How did we manage to get to a sequester that didn't touch either SSI or Medicare, but had huge cuts to defense?   Because Republicans agreed to it.

    Romney ran on cuts to medicare.  Ten years from now.  In the meantime, he wanted seven hundred BILLION more in spending on medicare.  All without a peep from a single republican.  How is this any different from the previous years, where republicans put up with spending as long as it wasn't paid for with rich people's taxes?

    Were they lying in wait for a Romney presidency when they would slash all they wanted?   Maybe, but that's different than going against a president.

    I think the R demands regarding deficits are a bunch of hype, that it was a bunch of hype that radical conservatives though would be applied to SSI and Medicare only.

    I think that in the end, the center of gravity will remain talking a big game about deficits but by and large living with them, rather than have their constituents take a hit.

    In negotiation, the democrats will speak with one voice and will be able to nimbly fracture the republicans, just as it did last week.  

    One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

    by Inland on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:18:46 PM PST

    •  Which is what puzzles me (0+ / 0-)

      Repubs still insist they'd never vote to raise taxes even though they not only just did (and spare me, Grover, with your "it's technically a tax cut" nonsense), but did so much more drastically when they voted for the sequester, which was a huge delayed tax increase. They are so unbelievably full of shit and I don't understand why Obama & Dems don't nail them to the wall on this alone.

      Hey Mitch, John, Eric, wanna cut Social Security and Medicare? Fine, so long as we get to raise estate taxes to 50% on estates over $2M, create a special top tax rate of 45% over $1M, raise capital gains taxes to 30%, create a new short-term CG tax on top of the existing one for transactions over $1M, and cut defense spending by 30%. Not interested? Then fuck you, you're such bullshit artists. No pain, no gain. Talk is cheap, assholes. See ya.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:58:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My payroll taxes went up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So I'm inclined to say no, it's not a good deal.

  •  Markos, thanks for this. I think you summed up (0+ / 0-)

    everything perfectly.  When I read the deal I liked quite a few things about it like the capital gains tax and the tax credits involved with the package.  I personally don't have a problem with my payroll tax going up because honestly I think everyone should be paying into Social Security but I also understand people's anger about it here.  Now I'm not thrilled about the cap being set at $450k but I do like the unanimous confirmations of nominees.  My attitude is, "ok, what's next?"  I'm not going to celebrate this as a huge victory but I'm not going to vent and rage like Armando, joannelon, priceman or any one else from the Amateur Left group but I am to keep fighting.  I knew the whole debt ceiling fight and the fight to preserve the safety net.  Now I am not going to yell, "THE DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO SELL US OUT AND KILL THE NEW DEAL!!!!  AHHHHH!!!!" because I think there are a lot of them who know that's political suicide.  Even Max Baucus knows that.  A realist is neither overly optimistic or depressingly skeptical.  A realist looks at the problem and acknowledges what can and can't be done.  If anything, I'd like this year and 2014 to be about strengthening the safety net.  Hence why I've written a lot about Senator Mark Begich's (D. AK) plan to strengthen Social Security:

    Wouldn't that be great if every Democrat adopted Begich's plan?  It sure would win them over a lot of old folks votes.  In fact, and I am not just saying this because I like being on the rec list (which I do) but I wish I saw more of my diaries about actual Senators  or congressmen or activists proposing really good plans and calling this community into action to make them a reality instead of seeing the Rec list filled with "Obama caved" or "11th Dimensional Chess" themed diaries.  Take a day to vent but the next day, clear your head and fight on.

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:05:33 PM PST

  •  I think the Demcrats (0+ / 0-)

    determined the parameters of the tax rate debate 2 years ago, when Chuck Schumer offered to make the increase threshold $1million. They split the difference themselves. So I don't know what it means that they traded it away to the other Party. I guess some of these Democrats have wealthy constituents too.

    I think tax "reform" a la deduction restrictions, stock transaction fee, and big corp. subsidies are on still on the table.

    So far the president seems to have only traded time to the Republicans in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. What substantial, quantitative has been sacrificed?

    So it's conceivable that Obama's continual refusal to barter on the debt ceiling for material concessions is not inconsistant.

    Seemingly those most tuned in on this site, have acquiesced to the Republican demand that the debt ceiling is leverage able. So for now I'm holding out.

  •  I think they're ultimately bluffing (0+ / 0-)

    Even if, right now, they're telling themselves that they're not, when it's all just cheap talk, like trashing your boss to your friends over beers and swearing that tomorrow morning you're going to walk into his office and finally tell him off. Which, of course, you don't, because you know better and in any case lack the spine. When it comes to it, I don't believe that they'll do it even if they'd like to, because they lack the spine and deep down know better. Not out of a sense of fiscal responsibility, but out of political self-preservation.

    These teabaggers are mostly puppets of special interests. Special economic interests, like big energy, finance, defense companies, etc., who'd all suffer if the US defaulted on its debt. They and their corporate masters clearly want to kill the New Deal, but not at the cost of blowing up the economy. Which is why I think it's a bluff testing Obama's resolve and judgement. Sure, the crazies among them don't care if we blow up the economy and are willing if not eager to do it, but they don't call the shots. Their corporate masters do.

    Pete Peterson and the Koch brothers aren't that stupid and crazy.

    The real question is whether Obama believes this and is willing to bet on it. That's what scares me. I'd like to believe that he does and is, and my gut tells me yes, but I just don't know. Not that I have any control over that so it doesn't really matter what I or any of us think. What we do have control over is making a huge stink over any entitlement cuts he's willing to make to avoid calling their bluff. We need to push him to call their bluff and avoid making any unnecessary concessions on entitlements.

    Sure, he'll have to give them something. That's how negotiation works. But not benefit cuts. Rather, negotiating over drug prices (DARE the GOP to protect uber-wealthy drug makers at the expense of seniors and the poor), ending Medicare Advantage (which would hurt my parents but is a waste of money), provider and medical suppplier cuts, etc. We're likely to have to eat chained CPI, or something similarly bad but not fatal. But not the big stuff.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:46:43 PM PST

    •  Good, then he can make it public in advance (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Medium Head Boy, kj in missouri

      That's not an unreasonable request.  Any deal he cuts with the other side needs to be made public, online, full details, before anyone even thinks of voting for it.

      Remember when Tea Party crazies complained that members of Congress were voting on bills they hadn't even read?  Remember when they demanded all bills, amendments, etc. be published online at least 24 hours before any scheduled legislative action?

      Yeah, we need that now.  That will certainly put a damper on the Kabuki and behind the scenes deal cutting.

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:03:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or regular order legislation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Medium Head Boy, kj in missouri

        Enough of these back room deals, which piss everyone off and just kick the can down the road. And any cuts the GOP wants IT has to propose first. I hope Obama realizes this and doesn't make preemptive concessions yet again.

        Obama has some good cards if he's willing to play them. The GOP just has fear, bluster, bluff and bullshit.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:11:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and we have no cards to play at all (0+ / 0-)

          if we don't know what's on the table until the game is over.

          Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

          by Betty Pinson on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:15:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Tea Partiers demanded advance public access (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Medium Head Boy, kj in missouri

    to any and all legislation being voted on during the Affordable Care Act negotiations.

    Recall, Pelosi and Reid were both required to publish online, at least 24 hours in advance, full documentation of any health care reform bill being considered, whether in committee or for a floor vote.

    Why aren't we making the same demand?  Any agreement being negotiated and considered for committee or floor vote needs to be posted, in full, on a public web site at least 24 hours before the vote is scheduled.

    That would solve a lot of this bs.

    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

    by Betty Pinson on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:58:58 PM PST

  •  Obama promised that there will be no negotation (0+ / 0-)

    So either it was a good deal, or Obama is a liar.

    When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

    by Wayward Son on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:46:34 PM PST

  •  If Obama Stands Firm on SS Cuts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Medium Head Boy

    And it was always his intention to do so, then the deal was NOT badly negotiated.  It would mean he surrendered no leverage.

    I believe he will stand firm, as the cuts are actually ALREADY part of negotiations.  The sequestration IS the cuts.  Obama will point to them and say "Those are the cuts.  You don't like them?  Whatchya got?  And oh, where's my dollar for dollar revenue while we're at it?"

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: []

    by Beetwasher on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:52:51 PM PST

  •  Are you kidding? It's a great deal. (0+ / 0-)

    Remember when there was going to be a "balanced approach"? 1-1 sending cuts and tax increases. This deal is nothing but tax increases.

  •  If Kos is right about the long term/short term (0+ / 0-)

    side of this, then Pres. Obama should be willing to let the GOP shut down for a little in order to show them he means business. He doesn't have to worry about re-election and should be more interested in long term solutions, which seems to be what he is more interested in anyway, at least compared to other politicians.

  •  This is where you lost me: (0+ / 0-)
    Amidst another tiresome outbreak of hostilities between the Obama Roxers and Suxers
    Hard to interested in your blog beyond that.
  •  Could this be good for filibuster reform? (0+ / 0-)

    I have to believe that a non-negotiating stance would be greatly assisted by the Senate being able to pass a clean debt-ceiling increase without GOP obstruction. Of course this specific item could be included in a filibuster compromise that keeps GOP obstruction intact on everything else. Or it could help get a requirement for a talking filibuster so every Republican can be seen on film arguing for bringing down our economy.

  •  This reminds me of when Zhou Enlai was asked... (0+ / 0-)

    ...whether he thought the French Revolution was a good thing, and he replied that it was too soon to tell.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:09:22 PM PST

  •  Social security shd be in lockbox (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Taylor

    They want benefits cut.  As of now Social security is still a surplus.  Govt does not want to pay what they owe to social security.  So this means the working class pays part of the deficits via their payroll taxes.  And they want that to go on forever. The GOP is basically just wanting working people to pay more taxes to fund the deficit and high income members get to have a tax cut.   To fund social security extend the income subject to payroll taxes to all incomes and not just the first 100k. And put the social security in a lockbox. Not to be use to cover deficits.

    wall Street Casino is the root of the problem. Don't call them banks.

    by timber on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:15:28 PM PST

  •  I don't believe he wants people to suffer. (0+ / 0-)

    After he has repeatedly insisted that entitlements must be offered as part of a shared sacrifice with the rich?

    Who does Kos think is stupid, the President or the rest of us?

    "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." Barack Obama

    by quagmiremonkey on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:18:09 PM PST

  •  I just have one word for Paul Krugman.... Gingrich (0+ / 0-)

    Remember that Congress? How well did that go for the GOP? And how many of them still remember that problems that made for the GOP Brand?

    It's a lose/lose for the GOP in 2013.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:21:55 PM PST

  •  Fewer cuts would be needed if all Bush tax-cuts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    would’ve been allowed to expire in 2010 like they were supposed to. I would like to have seen republicans in 2010 trying to run on cutting unemployment benefits.
    ‘democrats’ being chickenshits in 2010 only made the numbers worse, thereby making it harder to negotiate a better deal on the debt-ceiling this time.  

  •  there is another option (0+ / 0-)

    what if Obama decides to ignore the debt limit and tell the country he is doing it for the good of the world and  dares the GOP House to impeach him. If the House impeaches him, the Senate controlled by Dems will never convict him. this will fore  GOP back to the table.

  •  In the end, if the President (0+ / 0-)

    gives more than he should, this will be why:

    Whether Republicans take the blame for that or not is immaterial to the fact that lots of people will suffer. Republicans don't give a shit about that. We do, and Republicans know that and will use that against us.
    It's a tough call either way.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:28:01 PM PST

  •  No they're FUCKING psychopaths (0+ / 0-)

    "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

    by caseynm on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:29:09 PM PST

  •  Of course we know... (0+ / 0-) was a terrible deal. How do we know?

    Most of our taxes went up by 2% yesterday. Anyone making over $80 or 90 thousand a year will hardly notice. For the rest of us, the loss of income is a setback. There was no revenue increase on the rich, just a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts. The Republicans won.

    Obama screwed his voters over again, as he has over and over again in the past. As he will again in a few weeks, and likely, over and over again over the next four years. He's a stupid man; a terrible president. We know that now without doubt.

  •  All I know is as each day passes (0+ / 0-)

    The Goofy Odd People need to go on to those Fema camps for rehabilitation until they can stop being a danger to others.  Just lock em up..I have no sympathy for these people and the time for negotiations are over.   (snark?  Not sure)

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:38:11 PM PST

  •  Nice job, Kos! I agree... basically (0+ / 0-)

    I am so glad to see this on the FP. Yes, it's subjective interpretation and yes, it's not resolved yet; it's literally all tea leaf reading (that's why I keep saying said shit sandwich is more like a warm PB&J... not of much consequence, necessary, and we'll have dinner later in the evening). What happened was, as Bernie Sanders points out today, needed and good to staunch the immediate bleeding that was about to happen BUT we're not there yet. We can't judge what hasn't even happened yet. And we DO need to TRY to make damned sure, however possible, that the next deal is no worse than the one just passed. I'm not going to say "better." I will only say "not worse." I do understand why Progressives tended to pass the legislation in both the Senate and the House just now: needed right now (I hate to sound like freaking Steny Hoyer, but as he said, "Right now, not next month." At least I think it was Hoyer who said this).

    I've heard that the military defense budget is the biggest bargaining chip and don't know if that's true or not, but I hope so.

    I just deeply appreciate this diary for acknowledging how everyone talking about this is just interpreting future probability based on their own subjective lens and sets of assumptions: keeps the conversation in perspective, and also, quite interesting.

    Thanks for your take here. And I think I agree with your "yes" on the first and "no way in Hell" on the second, but I'll need to think a lot more about it.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:38:57 PM PST

  •  If it's not a clearly good deal, it's a bad deal. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

    "I don't believe he wants people to suffer." -M. Moulitsas

    What are your reasons for believing this?  Could you please provide them?

    Unemployed people are suffering.
    Poor people are suffering.
    People losing their homes are suffering.
    People will suffer if the Medicare age is raised.
    People will suffer if there are cuts to Social Security benefits.

    A person who doesn't want people to suffer doesn't allow it.

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:34:34 PM PST

  •  Obama has demonstrated clearly that not only (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is he not willing to go to the mat, but that he is a paper tiger, which is even worse than being weak.  He held all the cards in the cliff negotiations and despite talking tough gave up his positions faster than you can say "Not this time."  He will remain the Repubs squeak toy and will be the first Dem President to enable the dismemberment of entitlements.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:38:10 PM PST

  •  Obama is able to destroy what GOP cannot (1+ / 0-)
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    Starting with FISA, taxes, gitmo, torture, sweeping financial fraud under rug, social security on table, public option off table, etc.

    Seems like all Obama has done is push thru changes that the GOP wanted but could not pass due to Democratic opposition.

    Sometimes I wonder if we would be better off if McCain had won.

    Good god. Other than stupidity or a huge pile of dirty money, how did we get here?

    Oh wait. There is a huge pile of dirty money all over both parties. That explains it. It sucks, but yeah we are the schmucks.

  •  Obama has to show that he has the stomach for (0+ / 0-)

    A fight.  He gave in a little too quickly when he realized he could get most of what he wanted on the fiscal cliff issue.  In doing so, he has no deterrent against a debt payment default strategy other than showing the resolve to not give an inch, force the GOP to follow through on their threat and then beat them in the court of public opinion.  Obama has to be willing to allow for some short term pain in order to achieve long term victories.  It is important for Obama to defeat tea party extremism and this confrontation is the place to have that fight.

    My concern is that Obama is going to try to use GOP intransigence to force Democrats to accept a grand bargain.  However, once that door is opened to the GOP they will bring the government to a halt to get what they want.  The GOP does not like losing to a black man and Obama has punked them at the ballot box and on major legislative issues.  They will go all in on the debt default strategy much as Gingrich did with shutting down the government and impeachment.

    Rather than play a game of 11 dimension chess which only serves to confirm that the GOP is stupid and extreme and that Obama does not relish confrontation,  why not draw clear lines and simply refuse to budge an inch until the GOP cries uncle?  That's the test for Obama.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:18:14 PM PST

  •  bad bad bad deal (1+ / 0-)
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    that's all

  •  Okay, this is just venting (0+ / 0-)

    but for family members who vote Republican in lockstep year after year and DEPEND on the social safety net, I just lose hope.  Let them get social security cut or get their disability questioned or cut.  They may not like beans and rice and may miss their casino visits, but I doubt it will be a wake up call for them. They will just blame Obama and the Dems.  I am just so tired of listening to them whine and complain about whatever Faux news pushes that day and whatever misinformation they buy into from whatever they get that info from.  Thanks for letting me vent.  I know it's not logical, but cut me some slack.

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