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Top Fiscal Cliff Negotiators Have Met Just Once

From the Politico:

Rough start for fiscal cliff talks

By JAKE SHERMAN, JOHN BRESNAHAN and CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN | November 20, 2012

The opening round of negotiations this week between White House and senior GOP congressional staffers left both sides pessimistic about their ability to reach a quick deal on averting the fiscal cliff, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Hill Democrats say Republicans aren’t serious about crafting a deal that President Barack Obama can accept. The GOP’s opening offer, the sources said, would freeze the Bush-era tax rates, change the inflation calculator for entitlement programs, keep the estate tax at 2012 levels and authorize a major overhaul of the Tax Code — although they did not provide a revenue target.

The behind-the-scenes clash in negotiations stands in contrast to the more conciliatory rhetoric both sides have used in public statements, casting doubt on the coming four weeks of talks before Christmas.

It’s so outrageous that the Republicans won’t cave immediately and completely. They are so partisan.

In addition to wanting to keep the Bush tax rates, Republicans also want to postpone the sequester, or tens of billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts for the Pentagon and domestic programs set to kick in on Jan. 2.

For their part, Republicans remain unconvinced that Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will make the kind of significant concessions on entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid that would make them agree to tax rate hikes.

Was it their saying they will never make any cuts that gave the Republicans this impression?

The rhetoric from senior lawmakers after the Friday meeting at the White House was upbeat, leaving Washington watchers thinking that a deal was possible…

But the absence of any significant concessions left Democrats disappointed, the sources said, because Republicans haven’t gone much beyond the failed “grand bargain” talks between Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in mid-2011, despite an election victory that gave far more leverage to the president and his party.

And what concessions have Obama or the Democrats offered? In fact, they are now demanding twice as much in taxes as they had tentatively agreed to in the aforementioned "grand bargain" of last August.

The top negotiators have met just once since the election…

Boy, they are really working hard to avoid the fiscal cliff.

By the way, what is the racial and gender make-up of these negotiators? Can we really allow old white men to decide such weighty issues?

The two sides remain far apart, at the moment, on taxes. Democrats say that they want to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class, but allow tax rates for the wealthiest Americans to increase from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, the same level in place during the Clinton administration.

The Republican position is to extend current tax rates for all earners — an unacceptable position for Obama and congressional Democrats. Boehner, though, has said he’s willing to increase governmental revenue and rewrite the tax code without an increase in marginal tax rates.

The critical question is how far Republicans come Democrats’ way on revenue, and how far Democrats are willing to move toward the GOP on entitlements…

It isn’t until the 14th paragraph of this article before we get any mention that the Democrats might actually do some compromising, too. Which is a detail almost never brought up by our one party news media.

We never hear any talk of spending cuts. Only tax increases.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, November 21st, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Top Fiscal Cliff Negotiators Have Met Just Once”

  1. Petronius

    “Democrats say they want … 39.6 percent, the same level in place during the Clinton administration.”

    How about reducing the size of government to “the same level in place during the Clinton administration”?

    The Republicans need to do a better job of rebutting this malarkey (there’s that word again!) about the Clinton rates.

    Is the U.S. dollar still at ”the same level” as it was “during the Clinton administration”?

    Twenty years ago a family earning $250,000 was wealthy. But that was long before trillions of dollars of deficits and Fed money creation. By the time Nerobama leaves office $250,000 won’t buy a gallon of gasoline.

    That’s the problem of bracket creep. As with the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was aimed at a handful of “millionaires and billionaires” but now captures tens of millions of taxpayers, the 39.6% bracket may catch all of us soon enough.

    Also note “the same level” does not include the new ObamaCare taxes, which will be added on top of the 39.6%. So then it’s not really the same level after all, is it?

    And after this rate goes up, how long do you think it will be before Nerobama and his Bolshevik robber gangs in Congress ask for another rate increase? Six months? One year? Or maybe they’ll wait until after the 2014 election.

    Once these higher rates have been enacted into law, it becomes very difficult to lower them. The tendency is always for spending and rates to go up, not down. Will we ever see another Republican president supported by Republican super-majorities in Congress who will lower taxes? Ever?

    Their definition of “compromise” is taking more money out of the pockets of people who produce and putting it into the pockets of people who do not produce but who vote.

    Memo to Nerobama: Just because you doubled the level of Federal spending doesn’t mean that I have to pay for it.

  2. Reality Bytes

    I wonder how many senators can you get in a clown car anyway.

  3. AcornsRNutz

    But as was inadvertently admitted by the dems with the whole “buffett rule” chirade, the uber-wealthy don’t pay income tax anyway. They are living on capital gains. The real people who will be hurt are the small businesses who actually report the income from their business as their own. I know several people who own small to medium sized contracting business, and they don’t have millions in investments, the “richest” among them might make above 250,000 (which is actually the threshold for combined incomes) but thats what they can keep after the bills get paid. That kind of income is franchise owners, regional trucking companies, medium scale commercial construction contractors, small tech firms, etc. The real wealth would go on untouched, these people would lose even more ability to hire, spend, expand, and create and that will trickle down to everyone. But they all know that, don’t they?


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