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Monday, December 24, 2012

Fiscal Cliff 2012, Part 3


Continuing from the Fiscal Cliff series, it is looking more certain that Congress and the President will not reach an agreement by December 31.  Last Friday Dec 21, John Boehner tried to pass a bill in the House that would let the Bush tax rates expire at the one million dollar income, much higher than the $250,000 income Obama sought.  It didn't even pass among the House Republicans, and had no chance of passing though the Democrats or Obama.  This left Boehner greatly frustrated, weakened, and humiliated, and indicated the House GOP will do nothing more to pass a bill; it's up to the Senate Democrats and the President to pass a bill.

So far President Obama has been acting like a true and mature leader.  There is no way the deficit can be reduced without taxing the rich, and Obama held his ground.  Obama called Boehner's bluff and the truth came out, the Republicans never had anything to offer; they were just bluffing behind an empty hand.

With less that one week remaining before the December 31 deadline (Congress and the President won't resume until after Christmas), it looks most unlikely a resolution will be made.  That's fine, because all we are doing is reverting to the Clinton era tax rates that produced the strongest economic growth and turned a record deficit into a record surplus.  We'll need all Americans to pay down the debt for the next few years, then the Democrats can seek middle class tax cuts.

Boehner and the GOP did a very bad job with their bluff.  They should have taken President Obama's offer to work together and work toward some compromise, although the fundamental requirement that the rich will pay higher tax rates remain.  There will never be another chance to reduce taxes for the rich, as public opinion strongly supports the Democrats' call to raise taxes on the rich.  Instead, Boehner tried to foolishly bluff and ended up with nothing for the rich, and his failure will certainly hurt the GOP for many years to come.

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