The Washington Post
Why are Republicans playing the Democrats’ game that the “fiscal cliff” is all about taxation?
House Speaker John Boehner already made the preemptive concession of agreeing to raise revenue. But the insistence on doing so by eliminating deductions without raising marginal rates is now the subject of fierce Republican infighting.
Where is the other part of President Obama’s vaunted “balanced approach”? Where are the spending cuts, both discretionary and entitlement: Medicare, Medicaid and now Obamacare (the health-care trio) and Social Security?…
…on Wednesday, the president threw down the gauntlet by demanding tax hikes now — with spending cuts to come next year. Meaning, until after Republicans have fallen on their swords, given up the tax issue and forfeited their political leverage…
…Why are the Republicans playing along? Because it is assumed that Obama has the upper hand. Unless Republicans acquiesce and get the best deal they can right now, tax rates will rise across the board on Jan. 1, and the GOP will be left without any bargaining chips.
But what about Obama? If we all cliff-dive, he gets to preside over yet another recession. It will wreck his second term. Sure, Republicans will get blamed. But Obama is never running again. He cares about his legacy. You think he wants a second term with a double-dip recession, 9 percent unemployment and a totally gridlocked Congress? Republicans have to stop playing as if they have no cards.
Obama is claiming an electoral mandate to raise taxes on the top 2 percent. Perhaps, but remember those incessant campaign ads promising a return to the economic nirvana of the Clinton years? Well, George W. Bush cut rates across the board, not just for the top 2 percent. Going back to the Clinton rates means middle-class tax hikes that yield four times the revenue that you get from just the rich.
So give Obama the full Clinton. Let him live with that. And with what also lies on the other side of the cliff: 28 million Americans newly subject to the ruinous alternative minimum tax.
Republicans must stop acting like supplicants. If Obama so loves those Clinton rates, Republicans should say: Then go over the cliff and have them all…
Read the entire article at The Washington Post.
Related: Make the Democrats own the Obama economy, by Ann Coulter
And from a presentation by Texas Senator John Cornyn:
For a larger view, click here.
Update 2: What Obama wants: Obama’s opening “fiscal cliff” bid seeks debt limit hike, stimulus
The Obama administration’s opening bid on Thursday in negotiations to avert a year-end fiscal crunch included a demand for new stimulus spending and authority to unilaterally raise the U.S. borrowing ceiling, a Republican congressional aide said.
The proposal, made by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to congressional Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, was seen as offering little the Republicans could agree to and was greeted with laughter, the aide said.
“We can’t move any closer to them because they’re not even on our planet,” the aide said. “It was not a serious proposal.”…
Update 3: Obama’s Fiscal Cliff Proposal: $1.6 Trillion In Tax Hikes, $50 Billion In Stimulus Spending, Obama Can Raise Debt Limit Without Congressional Approval – Update: McConnell “Burst Into Laughter” When Geithner Told Him Offer…