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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

 
Countdown to gridlock (I hope)

by digby

Looks like they're readying Plan B:

White House officials and Congressional leaders hoping to stave off — or at least postpone — a “fiscal cliff” threatening to send the country into economic disarray could, in typical Washington fashion, opt for a mixture of action and delay in the hopes that this time, another year will give them the time to find a longterm solution.

Negotiators say that an option that has been discussed, though only preliminarily, would be an agreement requiring an upfront “down payment” revenues and spending cuts, the creation of a process aimed at creating a long-term solution and a back-end “trigger” that would impose severe cuts to spending, particularly on entitlements while increasing taxes.

That's just one possible conclusion, people involved in the talks told BuzzFeed, to negotiations that got off to a slow start this week, with neither Democrats nor Republicans willing to show much of their hand in the opening days.

I suppose that's better than nothing, but this isn't good:

But with only a few weeks between now and the end of the year, congressional aides in both parties expressed cautious hope that a deal could ultimately come together to punt the bulk of the problem down the road for a year while immediately raising revenues and locking in dramatic reforms to entitlement spending.

"Reforms" is a euphemism for screwing average people, as you know. I haven't seen them described as "dramatic" before, but in this case it's a euphemism for "painful." I'm not sure what they mean by "locking in" but experience and logic holds that it means about as much as a pinky swear. Whatever.

I know that the administration doesn't want to delay the expiration of the high end tax cuts, but I honestly don't think it's the most important thing in the world if they do. This economy is weak and if we do go back into recession (or even slow growth) after these tax hikes are enacted, the moneyed elites will ensure that "taxing the job creators" gets the blame. It's not worth the price of "dramatic reforms" to entitlement programs and it won't create one job or help one foreclosed homeowner.

Kicking the can down the road isn't the worst thing that could happen.

Update:
Greg disagrees and makes some valid points. I think I'm just more cynical about the Democrats' willingness to go over the fiscal cliff. I'm far more worried that they'll agree to something horrible to avoid it. Therefore, I'm guessing can kicking is the better option.

But I'm fine with it if they just tell the Republicans to take a hike and offer up the new Obama tax cuts on January first. There's just something about the look in the leaderships' eyes when the subject comes up that makes me think they would rather eat carpet tacks than do that.


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