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  •  Soledad O'Brien with Jason Chaffetz (40+ / 0-)

    This morning on CNN, Chaffetz showed up on the set with Soledad.  I switched it on just as she asked him to outline a compromise deal he could live with.  He basically trotted out the Republican position.  She asked him about increased taxes on the rich, Chaffetz deflected to "reform" with lower rates and a broader base (i.e. taxing the poor more).  She pressed and he trotted out ending deductions.  Which ones, she insisted?  He flew into a word salad, sweat beading on his brow.  He sounded exactly like Mitt Romney in a debate, with a moderator actually pressing for specifics.

    At one point Soledad expressed happiness Chaffetz was live on set with her, "so I can poke you when I'm going to interrupt for more details."  She poked him on the shoulder.  

    It's always nice to see actual journalism on the teevee.  You gotta wonder when Republicans will flee from her in fear, since she corners them as well as anybody on teevee.

    Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

    by Dallasdoc on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:54:34 AM PST

    •  Unfortunately, repeated humilation doesn't (7+ / 0-)

      work with Republicans.  As a congenital contrarian, I am rather skeptical of the current zeitgeist that Obama has all this political capital that the Repubs can't combat.  We've been here before.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:13:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not about political capital (16+ / 0-)

        It's a matter of who wants what.

        In 2010, Obama needed to still finish up a lot of legislation and a strategic arms treaty.  He wanted some kind of stimulus too.   So he bent on the tax cuts and got almost all of the rest before the end of December.

        In 2011, the real problem was the debt ceiling, but also the national conversation was 100% about austerity and so he was trying to accomplish a couple things beyond not having the country go into default

        1.  Be seen as a "serious" player in the deficit cutting game
        2.  Make the Rs break the "no tax" pledge.

        He failed at #2, mixed success at #1, but the attempt did allow him to pivot to a jobs message once the debt ceiling crap was over.   Also, quite frankly, he was done trying to legislate at that point.  He knew congress would no longer move an of his policy goals, which freed him up to stop being nice and conciliatory.

        In 2012 lame duck, the consequences of inaction are worse for the Rs than the Ds, especially if they get the blame for the inaction resulting in defense cuts and taxes raised for everybody.

        Obama seems to be setting the stage for the right frame on this, with his messaging.   But his hand is a lot stronger when, as we're starting to see, liberal groups, unions are pressuring him to not put things on the table.  The Senate has already taken SS off the table.  He can go in the negotiations "Sorry guys, I'd like to be all 2011-bipartisan and shit, but if Pelosi and Reed won't pass it, I guess we'll just have to go off thecliff".

        Meanwhile, remember, if the house Rs splinter on a deal Pelosi can accept, she only needs 25ish votes from the R caucus to pass something worthwile.   Such a splintering is more likely in 2013 than now, but it's not impossible now.

        •  Not sure what Obama & Dems "want" (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ichibon, sea note, phonegery, Eric Blair

          But I think that what Repubs really want is to slash entitlement programs, and the tax cuts were always a red herring they were going to "cave" on to get what they really wanted. Rich people rarely pay the full top rate with all the ways around them so it's more of a symbolic "loss" to them.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:32:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No one pays "the full top rate" (0+ / 0-)

            because it is the top MARGINAL rate; the highest margin.

            Everyone (almost) gets their exemption and standard deduction amount tax free, even you.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:23:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for the interesting comment (4+ / 0-)

          It is refreshing to read you thoughtful description how a different political landscape means different goals can be sought employing different political strategies.

        •  I agree with this, but did you forget the impact (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Womantrust, greblos, Eric Blair

          of OWS on the national conversation?  It may have eventually fizzled out, but was a huge factor in shifting the focus from austerity.

          •  I forgot to mention it in this post (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bythesea

            But no OWS is huge, it is a lot of how Obama got to run on a "raise taxes on the rich" platform in 2012, and is part of the ongoing pressure that can only strengthen his hand.

            What OWS is doing in the Hurricane Sandy aftermath can only help their goodwill and longer term influence.  OWS has a kind of soft power...it doesn't hold a candle to the weapon Teahadists have with the way they primary anyone who compromises even a little.  But soft power is still power, and it may prove more effective in the long run at getting policy done.

            •  But they are not getting credit (0+ / 0-)

              in the News.

              They need something to identify them like a outer vest* with an occupy symbol on it. That would at least show up in visuals.

              The media is just showing that as neighbor helping neighbors with out showing that it is a message.

              Like dayglo orange like highway safety workers wear — with black symbol of fist.

              I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

              by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:34:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  However even before they started (0+ / 0-)

            Obama and Geithner were fighting world wide against austerity — with little success in Europe.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:25:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  "Sorry guys, I'd like to be all 2011-bipartisan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jm214

          and shit, but toooooooooooo late, ____uckers!

        •  Wow, greblos, you get it! I have (0+ / 0-)

          been in despair that no one seems to see that Obama did well in the lame duck 2010 session and the pivot in 2011 that had Obama taking advantage of his getting a Congress focused on deficit reduction.

          He just didn't realize how full on crazy they were.

          Problem: Moody's just said fix before 2013, not just defer or we will downgrade.  2nd: When does Boehner get reelected  — or not?

          Thought for the day. If Rs split in vote for speaker, could Dems unite and vote in Pelosi?

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:19:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think Moody's matters (0+ / 0-)

            The downgrade anyway after the debt ceiling, primarily due to R obstruction, was a nonevent -  interest rates are still insanely low for US govt debt.

            If I was Obama, I'd just ignore their posturing.  Our creditors will decide on their own whether the USA is a safe bet.  I don't think the rating agencies have as big an impact there as they may think.  

            Regarding the speaker, the constitution doesn't have anything to say beyond the House chooses it.  It could even be somebody not IN the house.  In practice I think that a successful attempt to nominate a minority party member to the Speaker would result in a constitutional crisis (instant court challenges etc).

            Here's what happens to individual reps who buck their party, per wikipedia:

            "It is expected that members of the House vote for their party's candidate. If they do not do so, they usually vote for someone else in their party or vote "present". Those who vote for the other party's candidate often face serious consequences, up to and including the loss of seniority. The last major instance where a representative voted for the other party's candidate was in 2000, when Democrat Jim Traficant of Ohio voted for Republican Dennis Hastert. In response, the Democrats stripped him of his seniority and he lost all of his committee posts."

      •  Must confess I worry the same thing... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery, Womantrust

        Too many past instances of giving away the store to start the negotiations.

        Please get a spine this time guys.....you have the whip hand....USE IT!

        Grand Bargains are great, but only if the end result is really something GRAND!!!

        Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

        by dweb8231 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:55:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So, are they admitting Obama and the Dems (3+ / 0-)

      have some POLITICAL CAPITAL on tax cuts for the rich?

      And cutting deductions for home mortgage, et al (Schedule A Itemized Deductions basically) will barely put a dent in rich people's taxes.  Another WHOPPER of a CONSERVATIVE lie.

      I've done enough taxes in my lifetime (accounting geek here) that they know their audience has NO CLUE what the real world impact of just removing those deductions from the wealthy (Already in place, btw, through the AMT or Alternative Minimum Tax).

      Yes, Romney knew the people he was talking to were clueless.

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:13:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In an Op-Ed piece this morning in the NYT (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery, michaeloberg

        by Robert Rubin (An Op-Ed with which I don't agree) he did one thing that I like.  He thoroughly tore up the arguments that tax reform (eliminating mortgage, charitable, etc. deductions) would work.  Doesn't raise anywhere near enough money and they wouldn't last anyway as pressure groups would move quickly to get them reinstated.

        Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

        by ratcityreprobate on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:38:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. The AMT (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ratcityreprobate, Eric Blair

        (Alternative Minimum Tax) may  kick in on your middle class level income, too.  By the time you add the tax on 85% of your Social Security benefit,  you get to pay  more than a fair amount of taxes. It's a dent,  not a killer dent, but a dent in  retirement income based on Social Security and savings.

        Time is a long river.

        by phonegery on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:58:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Grover Norquist was on CNN this morning, too, (4+ / 0-)

      repeating his mantra when asked whether he'd be okay with lawmakers breaking their pledge a little: nobody pledged anything to me, the pledge was to the constituents. IOW, no, he wouldn't be okay with it. He continues to deny that the majority of voters agree with Obama on raising taxes on the rich as they returned a Republican majority to congress.

      Something else to watch out for: the primary "loophole" I hear being targeted for closure is the home mortgage interest deduction. I believe that, once again, this will hit the middle income earners harder than anyone. I'd like to see some advocacy for ending the carried interest deduction that privileges hedge fund managers!

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:25:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Deductions, shmeductions (9+ / 0-)

        the whole tax reform balloon is a total clusterfuck. A lame duck Congress is going to work all of that out in the next month? Will there be a graduated home mortgage interest deduction up to a cap, or just a cap? And that's just for starters, because from there we move onto charitable deductions.  

        Tax reform policy such as this shouldn't be decided while flying by the seat of one's pants. It would be so much simpler to do one thing, and one thing only: pass a bill extending the Bush tax cuts only for those making less than $250,000. Hell, the Senate has already passed the bill.

        Please, oh please, wingnuts, do run someone really, really conservative in 2016 -- and pen for us the opening chapter of "The Way of the Whigs"

        by Yankee Patriot on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:43:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Numerous observers have noted that politically... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ratcityreprobate, phonegery

          it is far easier, in relative terms, to get to agreements on rates than it would be if you got into the weeds of trying to decide on which deductions to cut...since every one of those would fire up an army of lobbyists claiming we'd all die if that deduction got cut.

          Home owners and real-estate agents and appliance manufacturers and building supplies for mortgage deductions...

          Churches and charitable organizations for charitable deductions....

          etc. etc. etc.

          Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

          by dweb8231 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:58:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's another problem (3+ / 0-)

            with the deduction cap. Romney was proposing it with a 20% tax cut. Without that a deduction cap would hurt more than keeping the Bush Tax cuts for self employed people---IOW the smallest of small businesses.

            In my case, as a self employed family, we can deduct our insurance costs which are almost equal to our mortgage costs, and if we couldn't we wouldn't be able to afford our insurance, not to mention our house payments.

            And so yes, unless that cap is so high it only applies to the wealthy, a deduction cap is witchy territory.

            "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

            by StellaRay on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:32:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We need to insist on defining (0+ / 0-)

              "Small Business."

              The Repubs, I read one place meant those with fewer than 100 owners. I've also heard those with fewer than 10 owners. I have also heard those with receipts of less than $10 million or $5 million a year.

              The "small business" label seems to have a lot of room for hedge fund and investment brokers. The last preference bill, the one about not investing on insider knowledge for legislators had an exclusion for relatives. I call it the Mrs Eric Cantor Protection Act. It could be called the Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan Enrichment Act.

              Apparently the "Small Business" label will be fashioned to cover the Koch Brothers' Empire.

              I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

              by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:50:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Good catch. This is exactly what the Pres (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener

          is calling for. Looks like the gopers are getting squeezed (I hope).

        •  The Bush tax cuts don't affect those (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          phonegery

          That level of tax reform is not on the lame ducks' schedule. They are faced with doing (A) something or (B) nothing before the Bush tax cuts sunset into oblivion. So the lame ducks will be looking at the much more simple issue of extending some of the cuts or none of them.

        •  Don't misjudge working on with (0+ / 0-)

          speaking out about.

          A lot of work has been done over the years. Now is the time we should ALL be talking to and writing our Congress Critters especially any that are Republicans.

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:10:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  only hits the middle class (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery

        You lose deductions on a second (or third, or fourth..) anyway when you fall under AMT.  

        It will only hit them on money they borrowed to purchase a primary home.  Interest rates are now down to less than 4%.  How much is it going to cost if you have even a million dollar jumbo loan?

        Peanuts compared to their wealth from capital gains and dividends.

        You and I on the other hand.......

      •  Norquist is a Poopie Head (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ratcityreprobate, phonegery

        To use a technical economics term.

        Besides, changes in deductions and clever ideas like that will put us in the same place they always do:  

        The rich, like Romney, will hire accountants and develop tax avoidance schemes to get around them.

    •  Got to end preferential 15% rate for dividends (6+ / 0-)

      That would be a 20% increase (from 15% to 35%) on divident income for the very rich, which insubstantial.  These people get millions in income from dividends.  Increase cap gains to 1/2 of the ordinary income rate.  

      The cap on deductions is a good idea if it includes everything that reduces your taxes below the ordinary income rate on AGI less the personal exemption and is coupled with an increase in the rate on investment income.

      But beware of measures to "broaden the base" or increase the zero bracket anount.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:26:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whatever the rate - all income is taxed the same (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mconvente, condorcet

        earned income, investments, gambling, gifts...

        No more setting up your kids with tax free or tax-deferred income for life.

      •  in other words you are saying (0+ / 0-)

        no deductions at all for anyone.

        You would be broadening the base big time. Absolutely breathtaking. Unless you don't really mean what you say.

        And a 20% increase of the 15% rate would be to 18% not 35%.

        Increasing the 0 bracket amount would REDUCE middle income taxes but would be hardly noticeable the higher up in incomes you go.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:41:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You can "broaden the base" without (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, LilithGardener, Womantrust

      going after the poor, treating cap gains/dividends as ordinary income (something Reagan did) also gets you there.  I think R's may be willing to deal on investment tax rates and we need to call them on it.

      •  no, Reagan just raised cap gain a bit. (0+ / 0-)

        To 28% iirc.  Not same as ordinary income.

        The cap gain/dividend taxes would be the LAST thing the Rs want to lose. The Bush tax cuts cut them; that's why they are fighting HARD to keep the Bush tax cuts.

        Mitt and Ryan overplayed their hands by trying to cut them further. What really pissed me off is that NO ONE in the media  asked what he meant to do about cap gains and dividends. I really do wish he had discussed that at that little fund raiser we got an unedited peek at.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:25:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the Soledad O'Brien/Jason Chaffez clip (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc

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