Wed Dec 19, 2012, 03:04 PM
Bill USA (4,293 posts)
President Obama Offers a Deal - (while the Repugnants maneuver for more)
No sooner did President Obama offer Speaker John Boehner a more-than-generous budget deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff than Mr. Boehner invoked what he called “Plan B.” After arguing, absurdly, that the president’s plan was unbalanced, Mr. Boehner offered an even cushier alternative for high-income taxpayers that would raise the threshold for higher tax rates to $1 million and preserve expiring tax cuts for the heirs of multimillion-dollar estates.
In addition, Plan B would delay any discussion of the fiscal cliff’s across-the-board spending cuts until next year, at which time Republicans would use the looming expiration of the debt-ceiling as a cudgel to maximize spending cuts to Medicare while minimizing cuts to defense. That would be déjà vu all over again.
Mr. Boehner’s plan may be merely an opportunity for Republicans to show they went kicking and screaming into the deal that Mr. Obama has put forward. Or it may be a genuine attempt to scuttle the deal. Either way, their intransigence is astonishing because the deal that Mr. Obama has put on the table should make it easy for them to say yes.
The president has met Republicans halfway on tax increases — mainly by agreeing that higher income tax rates will apply only to taxpayers making more than $400,000, versus the $250,000 threshold he campaigned on, and by agreeing to keep the rate on dividend income at 20 percent, versus 39.6 percent as called for under current law. He also met them more than halfway on spending cuts, mainly by increasing his spending cut total to $930 billion over 10 years, from $600 billion originally, versus $1.2 trillion in cuts demanded by Republicans.
NOte: for the highest income groups like the top 1%, more of their income is in the form of capital gains and dividends than salary.
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