Democrats want to extend tax cuts for the first $250,000 in income.
Republicans think rich people need more tax cuts, too.
The obvious bipartisan compromise? Give tax cuts to rich people, too.
And that's all you need to know about the prospects for compromise with Republicans.
Paul Ryan declared on behalf of House Republicans that they'd reject tax cut extensions for the 98% of the country Democrats are looking to help.
Now Mitch McConnell has been let out of his cage in the DeMint compound to announce that Senate Republicans also won't so much as allow a straight-up vote on anything but what they want.
Republicans won't agree to allow a split in votes to extend expiring tax cuts, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.
McConnell suggested that any vote to extend the tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year were an all-or-nothing proposition, and that Republicans wouldn't agree to a separate vote on the extension of tax cuts for the highest income bracket.
What can Republicans do to "not allow" the Congress to not even take a vote? Well, they can filibuster, of course. And with time running short on this Congress, that's a powerful threat. Nor do they have to limit their filibusters to the tax question. They can filibuster anything they want to, including any proposed unemployment benefits extension. (Nice touch, eh? Put the screws to the unemployed in exchange for a tax cut on ivory backscratchers. And just in time for Scrooge season, too!)
There are other tricks at the Republicans' disposal, of course, such as the always-troubling motion to recommit -- which by the way never used to be troubling in the old days, when getting stuff done actually meant something. But the point remains the same: even thinking about bipartisan compromise with Republicans is little more than a sick joke at this point.
And keep in mind that you never know with this band of wackos who you're negotiating with. Mitch McConnell might well cut you a deal (and a poor one, at that), only to have Boss DeMint tug the choke chain on him and leave you holding the bag. You'll pass tax cuts for the rich, and then he'll put a razor to your throat and demand that you kill the UI extensions to boot.
Jed asked the only question that matters earlier:
What do Democrats want to do? Do they want to cave to Republicans? Or do they want to stick to their principles and do call the GOP's bluff? The choice is theirs. Fight or flight? What will it be?