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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, December 03, 2012


We're waiting John Boehner.

It's long past time for Boehner and his GOP colleagues to put forward a substantive proposal to resolve the fiscal cliff. Rhetoric and hot air, which Republicans have offered in abundance, won't do the trick.

Boehner hit to Sunday yak shows to declare he was "flabbergasted" by the Democratic proposal, which includes:
... $1.6 trillion in new revenue from upper-income taxpayers; $600 billion in reduced spending for Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies and other programs; $1 trillion in other spending cuts that he and Congress committed to last year for the coming decade; and $800 billion from projected war spending reflecting the winding down of combat operations overseas. Obama’s plan also contains $200 billion in new spending on unemployment benefits, public works, and aid for home­owners.
In contrast, the Republican proposal calls for, um, er, uh, stable tax rates for "job creators."

Perhaps Boehner and his colleagues have been in deep denial over the voters' choice of Obama over Mitt Romney a month ago. That's apparent for the GOP's failure to get serious about offering their own concrete proposal.

And Boehner's shock may also be caused by Obama's resolve this time around.
Disciplined and unyielding, he argues for raising taxes on the wealthy while offering nothing new to rein in spending and overhaul entitlement programs beyond what was on the table last year. Until Republicans offer their own new plan, Mr. Obama will not alter his. In effect, he is trying to leverage what he claims as an election mandate to force Republicans to take ownership of the difficult choices ahead.
It has always taken two to negotiate. Earlier in the term now ending, Obama offered a position, then blinked in the face of GOP intransigence in a fruitless effort to foster bipartisanship.

He was rewarded by having the GOP use the $716 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts to providers used as a bludgeon against him in the campaign, even after Paul Ryan baked the very same cuts into his own draconian House budget.

Obama holds all the cards now and he knows it. If January rolls around without an agreement, the Bush tax cuts expire for all Americans. Obama will then swiftly file legislation to restore them for all but those earning more than $250,000 annually.

Are Republicans going to vote against that tax cut?

In the end, Boehner, Ryan and crew will be forced to put their cards on the table. Until then, we wait.

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Anonymous The Baron said...

The Democrats need to push the message out that Social Security and Medicare are not entitlement programs. Everyone who has ever worked a day in their life has contributed to these programs. The average worker contributes more to these programs than they do to federal taxes. There are easy fixes to Social Security and Medicare, however, the Republicans have been trying to get rid of them since their inception. Spending does need to come down, but Republicans and Democrats do not want to kill their pet projects. However, the real problem is that wages, calculated in current dollars, are at the lowest level since the before the Great Depression and the share of growth since 1980 has been mostly to the upper 10% and very little to the botton 90%. If we want to fix our debt problem, then we need to fix the inequalities in the system. Afterwards, we can talk about reforms to Social Security, Medicare and other programs. Some fascinating graphs from Business Insider showing that while the rich do pay most of the taxes, it is due to their overall huge gains income. http://www.businessinsider.com/who-pays-taxes-2012-8?op=1

December 03, 2012 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the reasons wages are so low is the influx of illegal immigrants. For example if you want your roof done try to find an English speaking crew in Charlotte NC (my son just had his done, so I know). Up here my brother-in-law had masonry work(stone patio) put in 1 out of 6 workers could speak english. These drive down the ability for legitimate businesses to charge more because they have a hard time competing against illegal, all cash (because they both got cash discounts) workers.

December 03, 2012 7:54 AM  

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