Tuesday Open Thread [12.4.12]

Filed in National by on December 4, 2012

A new Pew Research/Washington Post poll finds that if no Fiscal Slope deal is reached, 53% say congressional Republicans are to blame while just 27% think Obama is at fault.

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post believes yesterday’s “offer” from Speaker Boehner and the Republicans shows that the Republicans have lost and Boehner knows it.

“In 2011, not long after an election in which Democrats were utterly routed, Erskine Bowles testified before the debt supercommittee… It was mostly an exercise in taking the Republican position and the Democratic position and dividing by two… That’s the plan Boehner offered the White House on Monday… it’s a far more centrist proposal than anything Boehner has offered in public before now.”

“It is not surprising that Boehner wishes he could go back in time and accept the president’s offer from 2011, or fight for the compromise Bowles outlined before the super committee. Those are, from his vantage point today, quite good deals. But elections have consequences, and the consequence of this election is that those offers are no longer on the table.”

But is there a deal in sight?

First Read: “While the two proposals seem far apart — and they are — look at them when you split the difference between the two. You get $1.2 trillion in revenue and about $450 to $500 billion in savings to Medicare and Medicaid. And then say you throw in some stimulus for the Democrats (unemployment insurance, transportation spending), as well as the cost-of-living adjustments on Social Security for Republicans. That sounds like a pretty serious deal that both sides could live with, though it would look more like a “win” for the White House. Of course, Republicans would have to relent (in some form or fashion) on rates going up, while Democrats would have to acquiesce (one way or another) on the Social Security.”

David Brooks: “Republicans have to realize that they are going to cave on tax rates. The only question is what they get in return. What they should demand is this: That the year 2013 will be spent putting together a pro-growth tax and entitlement reform package that will put this country on a sound financial footing through 2040.”

Both Chuck Todd and David Brooks say that the Republicans will have to cave and surrender on the tax rates going up. There is universal agreement from every serious person about that fact. But only one Republican, Congressman Tom Cole, has dared to recognize that fact, and he was treated like a traitor. Indeed, Boehner is already getting a conservative backlash against the “counteroffer” he made to President Obama, as if it was wrong to even make any counter offer to the President. Boehner has to be the weakest and most ineffectual Speaker in the history of the United States.

Senator John Kerry had a good comeback for John McCain.

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  1. puck says:

    Do we even know what the Obama proposal is? All I can find is summaries providing total dollars, but nothing about rates on specific taxes.

  2. Delaware Dem says:

    Well, the offer is different than just simply allowing the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% expire. If the tax cuts did just expire, that means the top 2 rates under Bush (33% for income over 175k but under 330k and 35% for income over 330k) would return to the Clinton top 2 rates (which were 36% for income over 132k but under 288k and 39.6% for income above 288k).

    President Obama did not campaign on the Clinton rates, per se. Instead, he wants to modify it so that income over 250k is taxed at the top Clinton rate of 39.6% while income below 250k is taxed at the Bush rates.

    That’s the proposal on taxes

  3. cassandra_m says:

    The Senate GOP won’t support basic human rights for disabled people. The vote on the treaty was 61-28 — and all 28 no votes were GOP ones. Even though Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole showed up on the Senate floor to lobby for it.

  4. Jason330 says:

    Craven idiots. They are worried that they will be primaried by lunatics screaming about Agenda 21.

  5. Delaware Dem says:

    I pray and hope that all 28 Republican Senators are stricken with a disability.

  6. Jason330 says:

    Prediction: Boehner will not win re-election as Speaker. His support within the GOP is collapsing because his counter offer to the President’s proposal is seen as giving up on not raising tax rates, and he is being blamed for removing conservatives from key financial committees. All Obama has to do is publicly praise Boehner’s willingness to be reasonable at some point and he is gone.

    It will be interesting to see if he tries to salvage some kind of legacy over the next few weeks.

  7. puck says:

    OK, I found what I was looking for in the Obama proposal, buried in an NYT article:

    “Tax rates would go up for higher-income earners, as in the Senate bill, but Mr. Obama wants their dividends to be taxed as ordinary income, something the Senate did not approve. ”

    Well OK then. That makes the deal better than full expiration. Now I’m impressed.

  8. Jason330 says:


  9. Delaware Dem says:

    It’s actually 38. The more the merrier.

  10. Delaware Dem says:

    World ending. Mayan Apocalypse imminent. Puck impressed with something Obama proposed.


  11. puck says:

    Which makes full expiration the SECOND best deal. There is still plenty of time for Obama to go for something worse by splitting the difference anywhere between his offer and the GOP offer.

    And since Republicans aren’t going to go for Obama’s current deal, expiration is probably still the best realistic choice.

  12. puck says:

    worst… date… ever:

    Carper tells WDEL’s “Delaware News at Noon” after a double-date involving himself, soon-to-be ex-Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and two airline stewardesses at a New Year’s Eve party at the US Embassy in Cairo in the early 80’s, he asked Frank if he’d had a good time.

  13. Jason330 says:


  14. puck says:

    kavips has a great point about Bush getting credit for middle class tax cuts. Those are the cuts Clinton promised and never delivered. Unfortunately the Bush tax cuts for the rich were too deep and took us well past some tipping point where rather than providing a supply side stimulus, they accelerated income inequality while shrinking the middle class. You all know my observation this was due to the deep investment tax cuts, rather than the cuts to the top marginal rate.

    Yesterday Obama suggested the top marginal rate could be trimmed a little next year. That is a useful area to compromise, as long as capital gains are 23% next year, and dividends are treated as regular income (both of which are current law; let’s not screw it up!).

    But by rights Obama should get credit for decoupling the cuts (if in fact that actually happens).