Fiscal cliff

Half a “cliff” may be better than none

Featured image Over the weekend, I suggested that we should go over “half of the fiscal cliff.” In that scenario, the deadline for avoiding the cliff would pass, Congress would subsequently grant retroactive tax relief for the vast majority of Americans, and the mandatory spending cuts would remain (though hopefully with relief for the Defense Department). The “half of the cliff” scenario is far from ideal. It would mean that some tax »

Obama threatens to do what Obama does best

Featured image Like Steve, I was struck by President Obama’s threat during “cliff” negotiations to use his inaugural address to blame Republicans for any breakdown in the talks. How Lincolnesque would that be? A speech for the ages. On reflection, though, we shouldn’t be shocked if Obama attacks the Republicans in his inaugural address and/or his State of the Union speech (which he also threatened to use for this purpose), regardless of »

Maybe Obama Really Is FDR’s Ghost

Featured image A day later I’m still picking myself up off the floor over Obama’s comment to Speaker Boehner, related in the Wall Street Journal story Scott linked here yesterday, that “You get nothing; I get that [$800 billion tax increase] for free.” More startling than this—after all, we know Obama is a bad or insincere negotiator—is his threat to attack Republicans in his inaugural address and state of the union speech »

Maybe we should go over half of the “fiscal cliff”

Featured image I don’t think it’s possible to go over only half of a cliff, any more than one can kill half of a dog. But the “fiscal cliff” isn’t really a cliff; it’s a metaphor. The metaphor refers to two very different phenomena. The first is a tax hike for everyone who pays federal incomes taxes. The second half is a rather large cut in federal spending. I don’t know of »

Too much of nothing

Featured image The Wall Street Journal’s reconstruction of Obama’s fiscal-cliff negotiations is accessible online, but is behind the Journal’s subscription paywall. Quotable quote: Mr. Obama repeatedly lost patience with the speaker as negotiations faltered. In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn’t reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were »

Might Plan B make a comeback?

Featured image As we approach the “fiscal cliff,” I see three possible scenarios. One is a punt that pushes the “cliff” back. The second is that we go over the cliff. In that scenario, everyone who pays taxes will have to pay more and, as things stand now, most taxpayers will blame Republicans. Also, in that scenario, the Democratic Senate will promptly pass legislation lower taxes for everyone who makes less than »

The World Didn’t End, But It Got Colder For Republicans

Featured image I held off on posting today just in case the world might end, but since it looks like we will all be here tomorrow, here are some thoughts on the House’s failure to pass Speaker Boehner’s Plan B last night, and why I think that failure was a setback, if not a disaster, for the GOP. Let’s start with a dose of reality. Over the next few years, taxes are »

What now?

Featured image If Congress legislates to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” it will do so through a coalition of Republicans and Democrats. Cliff-avoiding legislation could, in theory, still spring from a deal between President Obama and Speaker Boehner. Or it could spring from the Senate. But in either scenario, the Democrats must want to avoid going over the “cliff,” even though the plunge would probably work to their political advantage. And Speaker Boehner »

Apocalypse Now

Featured image So it’s December 21, and from all appearances the Mayan calendar thing is all wrong.  (Like you were really worried about that.)  But maybe we got the Mayan calendar all wrong: the date suggested was not the actual apocalypse, but the fiscal apocalypse indicated by the failure of “Plan B” in the House yesterday, making it all but certain that we’ll go over the “fiscal cliff” on January 1.  There’s »

The economic uptick that may have saved Obama

Featured image The Commerce Department has upwardly revised third-quarter real GDP to 3.1 percent. Previously, third-quarter growth was reported as 2.7 percent. With this revision, the third quarter of 2012 becomes the strongest quarter of the year and the third strongest since the economy began picking up in the summer of 2009. As James Pethokoukis suggests, the increasing strength of the economy during this summer likely played a significant role in President »

Plan B fails; Republicans move closer to political cliff

Featured image Speaker Boehner has pulled his “Plan B” for averting the year-end “fiscal cliff” because, in the words of the Washington Post, “he fail[ed] to persuade conservative Republicans to extend tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans and let tax rates rise for millionaires.” I quote the Post’s characterization because this is how the vote will be portrayed throughout the mainstream media and how it will be perceived by most »

Can Boehner Turn the Tables?

Featured image I received a lot of disagreement for my post over the weekend defending Speaker Boehner, and I understand the frustration.  But I maintain my ground that taking out our frustrations on him is not simply unfair but probably imprudent, too, for reasons that may just now be coming into focus.  I can see that I may need to book space in brother Mirengoff’s bunker where he had to flee after »

With a deal in sight, Boehner looks for leverage

Featured image President Obama has made a counteroffer to Speaker Boehner that puts the two men within shouting distance of a deal that Boehner could present to his caucus. But much shouting — or at least much negotiating — remains before such a deal could be finalized. With that in mind, Boehner appears to be seeking whatever incremental leverage might be had. On the dealmaking side, Obama now says he will settle »

Republicans can’t waive their “forcing mechanisms” without having forced something

Featured image Speaker Boehner has offered to postpone for a year any new fight over the federal debt limit. The Washington Post says that this concession is “breathing new life into the stalled talks over the year-end ‘fiscal cliff’.” And, in fact, Obama met with Boehner for more talks this morning. However, what the Post means by “new life,” I fear, is that, as a result of Boehner’s concession, the White House »

Washington Post confirms Obama’s unwillingness to “be drawn to the level” of serious negotiations

Featured image Buried deep in the latest Washington Post report about fiscal cliff talks (or the lack thereof) is this item which helps explain, albeit misleadingly, the “impasse.” Two senior White House officials said that David Plouffe, Obama’s top political adviser, crafted a plan to keep the president from getting sucked into a long, public negotiation like the one that unfolded over the debt ceiling. They said that Obama’s lowest moments in »

Stand By Your Man

Featured image Over at the American Spectator, Peter Ferrara makes the case for dumping John Boehner as Speaker of the House, and replacing him with . . . well, I’ll get to that part of Peter’s argument in a moment.  Peter is one of the unsung workhorses and heroes of conservatism in Washington, battling every day to shore up the cause of lower taxes and spending restraint on Capitol Hill.  So in »

Cliff City, Part Two

Featured image George Will’s column, which Scott discusses below, stops short of arguing that we should go over the “fiscal cliff” in order to fix the tax code. Ending the tax credit that subsidizes wind power, for example, “is not quite a sufficient reason to go over the ‘fiscal cliff,’” Will writes, “but would be a consolation for doing so.” Will urges that arguments about “the propoer scope and actual competence of »