Fiscal Cliffery: The Latest

Well, the Obama administration's opening salvo in Fiscal Cliff talks (insert my repeated objection to this bullshit premise here) was a pretty significant departure from the crap they were agreeing to a year ago. To put it bluntly: This is good stuff.
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.

...Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman, said: "Right now, the only thing preventing us from reaching a deal that averts the fiscal cliff and avoids a tax hike on 98 percent of Americans is the refusal of Congressional Republicans to ask the very wealthiest individuals to pay higher tax rates. The president has already signed into law over $1 trillion in spending cuts and we remain willing to do tough things to compromise, and it’s time for Republicans in Washington to join the chorus of other voices — from the business community to middle-class Americans across the country — who support a balanced approach that asks more from the wealthiest Americans."

That's a pretty strong play—in policy and rhetoric—from the Obama administration. (These ARE the Democrats we've been looking for!) David Dayen has more on the details of what he quite rightly calls the administration's "aggressive opening bid" here.

Two observations:

1. It appears that maybe Team Obama has at long last given up the fantasy of bipartisan compromise with the Republicans. Or at least the notion that bipartisan compromise can be reached by concession as a starting position. I hope this signals a change for the rest of the President's second term; it would be a huge relief.

2. It appears that maybe Team Obama is willing to embrace its legit electoral mandate. Elections matter.

So: How did the Garbage Obstructionist Party react to this bid? Ha ha guess! Go on! I bet you won't need more than ONE GUESS!

USA Today: GOP Calls White House Cliff Offer a Non-Starter.

The Weekly Standard: McConnell 'Burst Into Laughter' as Geithner Outlined Obama's Plan.

The Hill: Boehner Rejects Obama's Opening Bid.

Et cetera.

Republicans might do well to heed public polling which has found: "If the two sides fail to find common ground on reducing the deficit, 53% said congressional Republicans will be to blame while 29% said the responsibility falls on President Barack Obama."

If only voters were as stupid as Republicans think they are!

Anyway. This is good news for now, but Scott Lemieux wisely notes: "This first bid is encouraging, but until there's an actual deal skepticism and political pressure from the left are very much in order." It would not be a terrible idea to submit some encouraging and grateful words here to let the administration know that their progressive base wants them to stick with an aggressive approach and framing that puts the onus on the Republicans to compromise.

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