Archive for December, 2012

It doesn’t appear the President is very serious about avoiding the fiscal cliff. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met with Congressional leadership and offered little in the way of the spending cuts Republicans will demand in order to agree to raise taxes. And to see it from the President’s point of view, why should he have? The President apparently isn’t that concerned about avoiding the cliff. The spending cuts the cliff offers are largely on defense items that liberals aren’t particularly concerned about anyway. The entitlements he loves aren’t affected. And then he gets all of the Bush tax cuts eliminated, and as an added benefit, he’ll get to blame Republicans for it. Why Republicans would expect anything else mystifies me.

The President wants the entire fight to be about middle class tax cuts.  That’s why he decided after the election that, rather than have a comprehensive solution to the fiscal impasse, he would grandstand on piece of it that will be popular with his supporters, make him look like a tax cutter to those in the middle, and remove a large piece of what little leverage Republicans have in the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Speaker Boehner is frustrated, but will probably need to be the one who first provides something substantive to the President who prefers to ‘lead from behind’. If he wants cuts, he’ll need to say what they are. That’s obviously something best done in private. Republicans would be wise to take a hard look at the offer the President first raised back in 2011 – three dollars of spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases. If it was good enough for the President then, it should be good enough now. And if it isn’t, demand he explain why. If he doesn’t accept his own previous offer, then it is he who is sending the economy over the cliff. He spent the 2008 slamming Mitt Romney for running from his own health insurance initiative. It will be ironic if the President runs from his own taxing and spending proposal.



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