Fiscal cliff

An Optimistic Take On the “Cliff” Deal

Featured image Here are some glass-half-full observations on last night’s McConnell-Biden fiscal deal from an inveterate optimist. Raising taxes on those who are already paying roughly double their fair share, while leaving everyone else’s taxes the same, is lousy public policy. But from the Republicans’ point of view, it may be good politics. For the last four years, the Obama administration has run up unprecedented deficits, adding more than $4 trillion to »

House Republicans don’t like the dog food, but probably will eat it

Featured image House Republicans are none too pleased with the “fiscal cliff” legislation that passed the Senate. That’s not surprising. According to the congressional budget office, it adds $4 trillion to the deficit over a decade. There was talk all day that House Republicans might amend the Senate bill by adding spending cuts. But the Senate has made clear that it will not take up an amended bill, meaning that sending it »

Here’s the deal

Featured image Politico has posted the full text of the fiscal cliff legislation. I hope you have more luck working with it than I did. The political logic of the cliff — the fact that, absent compromise tax rates were set to increase on all taxpayers — always meant that a compromise on taxes would favor Obama and the Democrats. The compromise reached is consistent with that logic. The $450,000 per household »

Deal? What Deal?

Featured image The agreement on taxes and spending that was announced last night must have been reduced to legislation, since the Senate has voted on it. Have you read it? I haven’t; nor have I yet seen the text published anywhere. John Boehner says he will delay a House vote for a few days so that members and the public can study the bill and figure out what it says. That is »

We’ll go over the cliff without feeling a thing

Featured image Whatever the Senate does or does not do today, it appears that the House will not vote on any cliff-related legislation tonight. There just isn’t enough time. Technically, therefore, we will go over the full fiscal cliff. Congressional action may come tomorrow or on Wednesday. After that, any action will be in the hands of a new, very slightly more Democratic Congress. December 31 was always a phony deadline. So »

Tax portion of fiscal cliff deal reportedly has been finalized

Featured image Robert Costa reports that, according to senior Republican Senate aides, the tax side of the fiscal-cliff deal has been finalized. The basic framework is as follows: — Current tax rates would be permanently extended for singles making $400,000 or below, and permanently extended for couples making $450,000 or below; — For singles, capital gains and dividends of $400,000 or below would be permanently taxed at 15 percent; capital gains and »

Obama demonstrates the virtue of the sequestration

Featured image President Obama has just completed his highly partisan remarks on fiscal cliff negotiations to a highly partisan crowd at the White House. If Obama actually wants a deal, he should hope that no Republican legislators were watching. And one can now better understand why Speaker Boehner became so frustrated after dealing on a sustained basis with this arrogant man. Stripping away Obama’s self-serving cheap shots at Congress — which some »

Is a fiscal cliff deal at hand?

Featured image Once “fiscal cliff” negotiations were in the hands of Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden (who replaced Harry Reid last night, apparently at McConnell’s request), the prospects of a deal improved considerably. Deals are what McConnell and Biden do. The problem is that McConnell and Biden may not be in a position to make good on any deal. John Boehner, who has been in the wings for some time, and Harry »

Deal or no deal?

Featured image There are somewhat conflicting rumors about the status of “fiscal cliff” talks between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. Byron York reported that a deal is close, one in which tax rates would rise only for those making $400,000 (or conceivably $500,000) a year and in which there would be a few other cliff-related fixes. But Politico says that there are no signs yet of a breakthrough. It’s not clear that »

Republicans Set to Cave?

Featured image Byron York passes on what he is hearing from Senate Republicans on the fiscal negotiations in DC. What he is hearing isn’t good: The word among some Senate Republicans is that a fiscal cliff deal is likely to be struck by Sunday, or Monday at the latest. … Those Senate Republicans hope the final deal will make permanent current tax levels — Bush tax cut levels — for everyone who »

Obama uses summit to turn up heat on republicans

Featured image At the White House on Friday, President Obama apparently told the “summoned” that he wants Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to reach a deal on the income threshold for tax hikes along, I assume, with a few other partial “cliff” fixes. If they don’t reach a deal, Obama will have Reid call for a Senate vote on Obama’s plan to increase taxes on everyone earning $250,000 or more, plus an »

Spendaholics Anonymous Meets In D.C.

Featured image If there is one thing we know for sure about the federal government, it is that it spends way too much money–around $3.54 trillion in FY 2012, with a $1.1 trillion deficit. You would think that the man who presides over this mess, Barack Obama, would have the decency to be embarrassed. He has, after all, run up more than $4 trillion in debt in a mere four years. But »

Soak the Rich?

Featured image The “fiscal cliff” drama is playing out in Washington, with Barack Obama fixated, apparently, on raising taxes on “the rich”–i.e., hard-working families, most of them with multiple income-earners. So the IRS’s recent release of tax data for 2010 is timely. The American Enterprise Institute has the numbers: According to new IRS data, the 1.35 million taxpayers that represent the highest-earning one percent of the Americans who filed federal income tax »

Is Obama over-playing his “fiscal cliff” hand?

Featured image The “fiscal cliff” consists of two elements — tax increases and spending cuts. The tax side is essentially a win-win for President Obama. Either he extracts a large amount of money for the government through across-the-board tax hikes he can blame on Republicans or he extracts a smaller amount of money from well-off Americans, thereby satisfying his emotional desire to stick it to Republicans and the well-off. The spending cuts, »

Ezra Klein: pseudo-wonk

Featured image Ezra Klein is a self-styled “wonk blogger” for the Washington Post. His work does, indeed, have a wonkish quality. But if you strip that veneer away, he’s just another liberal columnist who writes intellectually dishonest pieces intended to show that Republicans are intellectually dishonest. In other words, E.J. Dionne with a calculator or Dana Milbank with a smaller smirk. Consider the recent column in which Klein argues that conservatives aren’t »


Featured image President Obama has summoned congressional leaders to a Friday summit at the White House to talk about a deal that would avert some of the “fiscal cliff” measures that are scheduled to kick in on January 1. Everyone seems to agree that there isn’t enough time to avert all of these measures. Nor are all of them necessarily to be despised. Democrats believe that cliff-imposed tax increases for high earners »

A big hand for the little lady

Featured image Maria Bartiromo cuffed Senator Ben Cardin (D., MD) about the ears when he turned up on her show to peddle the party line on the fiscal cliff negotiations. Having unsuccessfully explored alternatives to raising tax rates with him, she commented: “That’s all you want to do. That’s it. It’s your way or the highway. Raise the rates on the rich. No other way. Your way or the highway. That’s it. »