Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I suggested to Michael Bryan that Drinking Liberally might want to think about hosting a New Year's Eve "Cliff Diving" Party should Congress prove unable to pull its head out of its ass and come to an agreement on sequestration and taxes before then.
An Aculpulco themed party with Mexican buffet, Mexican beer and tequila drinks to celebrate Aculpulco's famous cliff divers might be fun.
Greg Sargent writes at the Plum Line today Why Dems shouldn’t blink in battle over tax hikes on rich:
If the “fiscal cliff” [austerity crisis] talks grind on towards the January 1st deadline with no clear resolution, here’s what you can expect. Republicans will call for all the Bush tax cuts, including those on the rich, to be extended temporarily. CNBC commentators and others will warn that Dems opposing a temporary extension are irresponsibly risking fiscal cliff armageddon and threatening to tank the recovery. Spooked moderate Dems may be tempted to agree.
Don’t do it. In reality, a temporary fiscal cliff solution — including a temporary extension of the high end tax cuts — is one of the worst things we can do for the economy.
That’s what Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in an interview with me today. Zandi has privately counseled Senate Dems that a temporary postponement of a resolution will put the recovery at risk.
“Temporarily extending the tax cuts would be a mistake,” Zandi told me. “Business people and investors will not engage and hire more aggressively until policy makers provide a narrative with regard to how we’re going to address our problems. If we simply extend everything and kick the can, it will exacerbate all the uncertainty and we’ll be stuck going nowhere.”
Zandi said that a temporary fix would actually be more likely to rattle the markets. “If we kick the can, at some point we’re going to downgrade,” he said, in a reference to our credit rating. “You’re going to create more instability almost by definition in the financial markets.”
Some commentators and officials on the left have argued that if necessary, Dems should let the nation go over the fiscal cliff and let all the tax cuts expire — and then come back and threaten to pass their own middle class tax cut, giving them more leverage in the quest for a deal early in 2013. Interestingly, despite dire GOP warnings about what these outcomes would do to the recovery, Zandi seems to see letting the tax cuts for the rich expire — and even a temporary falling off the cliff — as less of a threat to the economy than a temporary exension of the tax cuts.
“My view is that going over the cliff temporarily is fine, if that results in a good deal,” he said. As for raising taxes on those over $250,000, Zandi said that as long as it is done in the context of a broader agreement, it is “the least painful thing you can do to the economy.”
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Dems should remember that when it comes to the politics of the fiscal cliff — and even more important, what’s right for the economy — the leverage is on their side.
Sargent's colleague at the Washington Post, former George W. Bush lackey and talentless hack Marc Thiessen, now at the American Enterprise institute, agrees for other reasons. Let’s go over the ‘cliff’:
Here’s an idea for how to start the New Year in a bipartisan fashion: Let’s go over the fiscal cliff!
Today, the only ones in Washington who advocate fiscal cliff-diving are liberal Democrats. It’s time for conservatives to join them. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire will strengthen the GOP’s hand in tax negotiations next year, and it may be the only way Republicans can force President Obama and Senate Democrats to agree to fundamental tax reform.
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Letting these tax policies expire would level the playing field for Republicans in tax negotiations next year. Instead of being in a “box,” Republican leaders would have leverage again — something the Democrats want and would have to make concessions to get.
Going over the fiscal cliff would help the GOP in another way: It would save Republicans from having to break their pledge not to raise taxes. [Because fealty to Grover Norquist is more important than what is in the best interests of the country.] If GOP leaders hold the line on taxes this fall, and the Bush tax cuts expire despite their best efforts, it would not harm their reputation as the party of low taxes. But if Republicans vote proactively to raise taxes as part of a “grand bargain,” the GOP brand would be irreparably damaged. Raising taxes and losing a fight to stop automatic tax increases are two different things.
[Apparently Thiessen doesn't realize the GOP brand is already irreparably damaged. Take a look at the exit poll data. It is the party of old, white wealthy men.]
Moreover, if the Bush tax cuts expire, the baseline for future negotiations would be reset. A bipartisan agreement would be within reach that reforms and simplifies the tax code, with a top rate lower than the Clinton rate but higher than the Bush one. Instead of Republicans being under pressure to raise taxes, Obama and the Democrats would be under pressure to reduce the top rate from the Clinton level as part of an eventual deal.
For the GOP, this would be far preferable to the current scenario.
Thiessen always suffers from delusions -- he is a hack, after all. The American people know that if there is no deal by New Year's Day, it was because Tea-Publicans refused to budge on raising taxes on the top two percent of income earners, their "base," and are being spiteful and vindictive towards the 98 percent of Americans who will temporarily be inconvenienced by the gamesmanship suggested by Thiessen until a deal is struck early next year.
The vast majority of Americans support raising taxes on the top two percent, including Republicans, and voters just reelected President Obama with a mandate to do so. Americans are going to turn their anger against Tea-Publicans who are fucking them out of ill will and spite and holding their "Obama middle class tax cuts" hostage to extortionary demands from the top two percent of plutocrats who believe that they should be our lords and masters. In this game of brinksmanship, the Tea-Publicans will blink first. They have nothing to gain by holding out.
Thiessen can't hide his bitterness and disdain for middle class taxpayers whom he obviously views as the greedy "takers" who "want stuff" from the federal government -- you know, the "47 percent" who don't pay income taxes -- the GOP class war talking point de jure:
What if we go off the fiscal cliff and Democrats still won’t negotiate? Then Republicans should make clear that they are willing to live with the higher, Clinton-era rates. It will be hard for the Democrats to paint such a scenario as an economic disaster, because letting the Bush tax cuts expire simply restores the status quo during the Clinton administration. During the campaign, President Obama repeatedly told us how he wants to “go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton — back when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and plenty of millionaires to boot.” Well if the Clinton tax rates were so great, let’s go back to all of the Clinton rates and relive the booming ’90s.
At least going back to the Clinton rates would put more people on the tax rolls, and give more Americans a stake in constraining government spending. It would also force all Americans — including the middle class — to pay for growing government services, instead of borrowing the money from China and passing the costs on to the next generation.
Americans had a choice this November, and they voted for bigger government. Rather shielding voters from the consequences of their decisions, let them pay for it.
Americans did have a choice this November, and they voted for higher taxes on the top two percent of income earners. Elections have consequences. The Tea-Publicans should give Americans what they voted for in November. This is how a democracy works.