We’re getting closer to the fiscal cliff (from the New York Times):
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.
The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, met strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced the goal of finding $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other social programs to be worked out next year, with no guarantees.
He did propose some upfront cuts in programs like farm price supports, but did not specify an amount or any details. And senior Republican aides familiar with the offer said those initial spending cuts might be outweighed by spending increases, including at least $50 billion in infrastructure spending, mortgage relief, an extension of unemployment insurance and a deferral of automatic cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare.
“The Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts,” Mr. Boehner said after the meeting. “No substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks.”
Now, let’s ignore the fact that this Times article seems to say things are perilous because Obama won’t bend over and let the Republicans screw him again. (Of course the proposal is “loaded with Democratic priorities.” It’s an offer from Democrats, genius.)
Just a reminder (since the Republicans and the Times reporter seem to have forgotten this point): Obama won the election. He knows from experience that when a Republican says compromise, it means “You do everything I say.” He’s not going to fall for that again.
This is Obama’s offer. The GOP has to make a counteroffer. Unless the GOP is serious about making progress, which means coming up with a plan (instead of its usual teeth-gnashing and garment-rending tirades), any failure is going to be the direct result of the Republican Party.
Now, we already know the GOP had no problems with going off the cliff when it comes to politics. They lost the presidential election big time because they insulted, berated and offended every constituency that wasn’t current or aspirational old rich white men. They not only thought that was a winning strategy, but they also were well prepared for their inevitable victory, according to the FT:
Right up until he convincingly lost the election, Mr Romney thought he was going to win. Or at the very least, his team believed it would be razor close: On the night of November 6, there were four Romney jets waiting on the tarmac at Boston airport to fly lawyers to the scene of contested swing states.
They were completely oblivious to the fact that they were in trouble. They’re still oblivious to the fact that they are in trouble. But if they go over the cliff this time, they better realize they may never climb up again.