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April 19, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Fiscal cliff’ fight is an act by parties

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The current threat by politicians that the country quite possibly will go over the so-called fiscal cliff is nothing but ridiculous posturing by both parties in an attempt to make themselves look good for their constituents. It wasn’t but a few short weeks ago, right after the election, that both sides said they were confident that an agreement would be reached to avoid the drastic spending cuts from being implemented.

Both sides have known for more than a year exactly where each party stands on the issues. Did either side really think, when they sat down at the table last month, that the other side had miraculously changed their position and would agree to their demands? I highly doubt it.

This is just an act, being played out by both the Republicans and the Democrats to try and convince the voters who put them in office that they “won’t back down to the other side’s ridiculous demands.” Please. Let’s all just sit back and watch. My money says an agreement will be reached at the eleventh hour. Perhaps the Academy Awards should add a new category for politicians acting like they’re doing their jobs. Business as usual in Washington.

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  1. Sadly, the positions of the House Republicans that were elected during the 2010 mid-terms will not relent.

    Look for a compromise agreement after December 31, 2012. We will see an agreement before the first paychecks are cut in 2013.

  2. My issues with the plan President Obama is proposing is that it appears to have large increases in several taxes but lacks enough specific spending reductions to slow the growth of the deficits and debts. His plan basically implements tax hikes now, promises most spending cuts later and doesn't mention Social Security or Medicare.

    My issue with the House plan is that there are serious doubts about whether 800 billion dollars in additional revenue can be obtained through 'tax reform' and that it relies on 600 billion dollars in health care savings, which would require basically gutting the ACA, and that just isn't going to happen with President Obama in office and a Senate controlled by Democrats.

    There is a compromise to be had here but to reach it, both sides would need to move substantially in areas they shown no indication they will budge on.


  3. Michael wrote,

    "There is a compromise to be had here but to reach it, both sides would need to move substantially in areas they shown no indication they will budge on."

    The key word is "budge." There will be no agreement this year. The Tea Party House Republicans who were voted in during the 2010 mid-term election will not change positions. John Bohener, no matter what he does, will not get the votes for a compromise.

    All indicators point to the White House preparing to have a deal in place before the first paychecks are cut in 2013.

  4. The grand bargain is doable in 2013 not now. Why? The 6th year of a 2 term president [in this case 2014] is always a liability for the party in power in the White House. In 2014, 20 democrats are up for reelection in the Senate vice 13 Reps. These Dems know the president will be gone after 2016, but they won't IF they get reelected. These Dems will brake ranks with the President on bad policy and vote with the Republicans. The grand bargain gets the vote in the House and the Senate and the President has to go along. Or he can eat dirt.


  5. LongtimeVegan,

    Much of what you said is true, but until more Americans are willing to view the 'whole picture', instead of just the parts that fit 'their' narrative, we remain in deep trouble.

    Republicans should agree to a rate increase. How you get more money out of the wealthy is a minor issue and should not be allowed to block progress.

    It should also be noted though that the President campaigned on 800 billion in new revenue and won and is now demanding 1.6 trillion, and that a plan the gets revenue today and promises many cuts later sounds eerily similar to past agreements where taxes get approved but spending cuts never do.

    That's a 'balanced' view of what is really going on.


  6. Michael,

    I agree we have not experienced real spending cuts from the past Four administrations. Grover Norquist is not my favorite, but this is one of his sticking points. Where are the spending cuts, real spend cuts?

    When all does not look reasonable, or does not make sense, look at the larger picture. Follow the money, follow the actions, and the principles.

  7. This Congress [lameduck] and President will kick the can down the road perhaps even after a short fall over the fiscal cliff before getting saved by special ops. The newly elected Congress, which gets sworn in January, 2013, will make the grand bargain. House and Senate will approve and President will have to go along, whether he likes it or not.


  8. It's too early to panic. The Republicans and Democrats are establishing their initial bargaining positions. The Democrats are purposely vague on where spending cuts will come from and the Republicans are equally vague about where new revenue will come from. Compromise is likely, but not until the confetti is about to hit the floor in the early morning of January first.

  9. Longtimevegan,

    Right now President Obama and the Democrats are publicly pushing a plan that raises taxes on the top 2 % or so, including some spending cuts now and 'promising' bigger but unspecified spending cuts later.

    Neither party really wants to cut much spending and since that is the case, the only 'real' alternative is the following, which I don't hear being proposed.

    As stated in the paper today in a commentary, there are only about 3 million super wealthy people in the country, but there are 28 million Americans who make between $ 100,000 and $ 300,000 dollars. Can you imagine how much extra tax revenue the government could get if taxes we raised on those 28 million people...and the super wealthy? It would be enough to do many good things.... reduce deficits, bring down debt, spend on infrastructure, etc.

    The problem with President Obama and both parties is they do not want to really reduce spending much and they are unwilling to impose higher taxes on enough Americans to pay for what the government spends.

    I'd just love to see some real honesty from one of our Presidents and members of Congress from both parties.


  10. I'm curious about the necessity of all this maneuvering. If the issue debt reduction the mechanism is already in place: a return to previous tax rates and programatic cuts to a wide variety of Departments across the board. If you need to pull teeth, then pull teeth and get it over with. The only thing that y'all seem to be arguing about is how well you can transfer the consequences to someone else.

  11. LastThrows,

    History clearly shows that each time one of these bonehead parties gain an advantage, they overplay it and overreach, for which they are eventaully slapped down as the opposite party ascends.

    Demographics are changing and that will require changes in the R party, which I suspect they will make.

    I have always worried about a long period in which either of these bonehead parties retains majority control of the government. I still do and probably always will. I think that fear is wise and I wish all Americans had it.


  12. Sam:

    Panetta is Sec of Def not CIA Director.

    Sec of State does much more travelling and smoozing with world leaders than Def. Panetta is not up for the toll it takes personally and physically. Takes a younger person with less family and home ties.


  13. Sorry for the above post, wrong thread.


  14. Does anyone besides me get the impression RefNV has a dog in the fight over tax rates for the top 2%?

    It should surprise no one that the top 10% of income tax payers are paying a higher percentage of the income tax than at the end of the Clinton Administration. They're the only ones that have seen an increase in income since the the end of the Clinton Administration. In fact, in 2010 93% of the increase in income for the whole country went to the top 1% of taxpayers. There's something wrong with this picture and it's not that the rich are getting richer, it's that everyone else is treading water or losing ground.

  15. Bob, the GOP has consistently shown that they are non-partisan. Their party leadership is open to Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Catholics, Russian Orthodox Catholics (they have different understandings of the same divine perfection), Calvinists, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Quakers, Later Day Saints, and all their associated schisms.

    Surely with diversity like this, it is very difficult to call them anything but non-partisan.

  16. Btaylor,

    I suspect that if President Obama and the Democrats enacted a 70 % tax on all income over 500,000, many people in Hollywood, in entertainment, in sports, etc would stop attending Obama fundraisers and contributing big money to the Democrat party.

    These people and others want to be very wealthy and like being very wealthy. They would not like having 70 % of everything they made over 500,000 taken by the government in taxes.

    You may not be 'greedy', but most people are 'greedy'.


  17. Bill Kristol: Go Ahead, Raise Taxes

    When even Bill Kristol, the severely conservative Weekly Standard editor, says Republicans should agree to raise taxes on the richest Americans, you have to wonder if the G.O.P. has thought through its post-election, hold-the-line strategy. "It won't kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires," Mr. Kristol said on Fox News on Sunday. "It really won't, I don't think."

    Mr. Kristol said he couldn't understand why Congressional Republicans were not taking the challenge President Obama made on Friday to extend the Bush tax cuts for incomes under $250,000. Or, bargain it up to $500,000 or a $1 million. "Really," he said. "The Republican Party is gonna fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic, and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile to Republicans."

  18. El_Lobo says "Both RefNV and rusty (along with several other right-wing posters) would have you believe that the Bush tax cuts for the rich created jobs, but we all know that simply didn't happen."

    Really? Because the FRED database (Federal Reserve Economic Data) says that 7.490 million jobs were created during that time period (Jun 2001 to Jan 2008). BLS-CES says 5.949 million, BLS-CPS says 9.534 million. All of these are opposed to a 1.5 million job loss during the previous period.

    So no matter which spin on "jobs" you want to take, everyone but you agrees that there was a reversal of the loss of jobs and a huge increase in jobs after the tax cuts were passed. There was a huge surge in job creation for the next 7 years after they went into effect.

    So please honor us with actual statistics to support your claim that "...the Bush tax cuts for the rich created jobs, but we all know that simply didn't happen."

  19. Future: Why are you still on the cartoon kick? " Popeye's friend Wimpy said "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today".

    The reality is that today IS "Tuesday" and Wimpy is being told to pay up. The "debt ceiling" has nothing to do with future spending. It only "allows" the treasure to raise the cash necessary to pay the bills for past expenditures. The only Constitutional reference to the question is in the 14th amendment: " The public debt of the United States, authorized by law, . . . SHALL NOT be questioned." (Emphasis added...)

    I take it that this is just another Constitutional requirement that you and the CONservatives disagree with and want to eliminate.

  20. El_Lobo says "Despite the claim on this board that George Bush's tax cuts for the rich created jobs," and "Everything I said is merely common knowledge."

    How odd then that you can't provide any actual data to back your "common knowledge" despite specific data being provided showing that you are incorrect. I provided the data directly form the White House that says that Bush's tax cuts DID create jobs. What have you provided?

    Also, you blast Bush for doubling the national debt despite that not being true. 5.8 billion to 10.4 billion is not "doubled", it's a 79% increase over an 8 year period. A 36% increase in his first term and a 32% increase in his second term (5.8 to 7.9 and then 7.9 to 10.4) As a comparison, Obama's increase from 10.4 billion to 16.3 billion is a 57% increase in only 4 years. So Obama has increased the notional debt at a rate 1.8 times as fast as Bush did.

    Seems that most of your "common knowledge" is just blatantly false. Feel free to provide actual data to back your claims if you feel they have merit however.

  21. El_Lobo - I'm not giving anyone a "free pass" on anything. Just pointing out that the claims you are making are blatantly and demonstrably false.

    You claimed that the Bush Tax Cuts created no jobs - proven false.

    You claimed that Bush doubled the national debt - proven false.

    You claimed that Bush "borrowed money like a drunken sailor on leave" - True, but Obama is doing so 1.8 times faster than Bush did.

    I'm pretty much just pointing out that half the information you're providing is outright incorrect....and the other half is correct, but Obama has even worse numbers in those areas.

    So the answer to "the next thing you can expect to hear" from me is probably again going to be me providing actual supporting data to disprove another bogus claim you make as "common knowledge"

  22. Sorry El_Lobo, but if the historical information you've posted about has been so inaccurate (and I note that you have chosen not to acknowledge any of the areas that you've now been proven wrong on) then why would anyone give any credence to your predictions of the future?

  23. Wendor (Charles Gladu)

    As reported by PoliFact:

    "$2 trillion in deficits under Bush and $5.3 trillion under Obama."

    In addition, a $4.9 trillion increase in gross public debt in Bush's two terms vs. $5.4 trillion so far in Obama's single term.

    Plus, before Bush left office, the deficit for fiscal year 2009 was projected to be $1.2 trillion, according to the CBO.

    On record, the 2009 deficit is Obama's even though much of it was already anticipated before the Democrat's inauguration. (By the end of the 2009 fiscal year, the deficit rose to $1.4 trillion in part due to Obama's economic stimulus plan).

    In conclusion, much of the deficit and the spending during Obama's first 3 1/2 years are attributed the Bush administration.

  24. Longtimevegan, you can "attribute" it however you want. You just have to realize that your "attribution" has no more basis in fact than had you attributed it to the tooth fairy.