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recent poll on options for addressing the fiscal cliff including medicare age eligibility and raising taxes on rich
NY Times:
Republicans and even some Democrats have expressed frustration that Mr. Obama has avoided a serious public discussion on spending with barely a month until deep automatic budget cuts and tax increases are scheduled to take effect. While the president’s aides said it was important to engage the public on taxes, others say he has not prepared the country for the sacrifice that would come with lower spending.

“The problem is real,” said Erskine B. Bowles, who was co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s deficit reduction commission. “The solutions are painful, and there’s not going to be an easy way out of this.”

After meeting with White House officials this week, Mr. Bowles said he believed “they were serious about reducing spending” but added that “we need to talk more about the spending side of the equation.”

You know it's the Simpson-Bowles Commission and not Bowles-Simpson because of the acronym, right?

Jonathan Cohn:

These folks have a point. The rising cost of Medicare and Medicaid is the single biggest reason that, in the future, federal revenue won’t keep up with federal spending. The gap isn’t going to close unless health care spending comes down. And if it doesn’t close, future generations will be stuck with higher taxes, cuts to other federal programs, and/or potentially crippling deficits.

But it’s a mistake to think that health care spending has to be cut right now. Strange as it sounds, the best strategy for reducing the deficit might be to delay making those reductions—at least until we know whether we need to make them at all.

EJ Dionne:
Here’s the first lesson from the early skirmishing over ways to avoid the fiscal cliff: Democrats and liberals have to stop elevating Grover Norquist, the anti-government crusader who wields his no-tax pledge as a nuclear weapon, into the role of a political Superman.

Pretending that Norquist is more powerful than he is allows Republicans to win acclaim they haven’t earned yet. Without making a single substantive concession, they get loads of praise just for saying they are willing to ignore those old pledges to Grover. You can give him props as a public relations genius. Like Ke$ha or Beyonce, he is widely known in Washington by only one name. But kudos for an openness to compromise should be reserved for Republicans who put forward concrete proposals to raise taxes.

Our own Joan McCarter covers what's really happening with Norquist.

Republican pollster Glen Bolger:

While the debate rages over whether the GOP should view this as a message problem, a messenger problem, or a math problem, I wanted to take this blog post to underscore the challenge facing us from a math perspective – i.e. why it is important that we work hard to improve with Hispanics. As a party, we outright won swing voter groups, but lost the election. That’s staggering.

This post also takes a look at the implications for polling going forward – a topic that we’ve touched on several times already on TQIA, but one that bears further analysis.

In an effort to help you follow Republican thinking on taxes, OK Rep. Tom Cole on Nov 9:
In a column released Friday, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, advocates against raising tax rates on any bracket, but says tax reform could bring in more revenue.
Tom Cole on Nov 27:
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) on Tuesday pressed his fellow Republicans to go along with President Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans for the time being in order to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
Predictions, anyone? Bill King writing in the Houston Chronicle.
I talked to an old Capitol Hill hand this week who predicted the following: There will be no deal before Jan. 2, and all of the spending cuts and tax increases will, at least technically, go into effect. However, within a matter of days, or perhaps even hours, a preapproved package will be adopted by both sides that rolls back some of the spending cuts and many of the tax increases, but leaves the new higher rates on the wealthy intact. When this "package" is brought to the floor of the House, tax rates will have already gone up, and so a vote to approve the package will technically be a vote to reduce tax rates. Thus, a Republican who has signed Norquist's pledge can honestly say he or she never voted to increase taxes.

Of course, it is all complete sophistry. But hey, if it gets us past the fiscal cliff/slope, so be it.

Speaking of sophistry, more fact checking bullshit from Glenn Kessler.
The Democratic claim that Obama’s health-care cuts top Simpson-Bowles

When The Fact Checker first started writing about the federal budget more than two decades ago, in fact, the budget window never extended more than five years. Then, for better or worse, 10-year budgets became the norm during the Clinton administration. Still, one could argue that permanent changes in health-care programs are different than discretionary spending, and thus a long-term outlook is informative.

“While that may well be true — and looks sensible, and uses the same approach to extrapolating  figures that we used in our analysis of [Simpson-Bowles] — we nevertheless cannot be sure that the administration figures surpass [Simpson-Bowles] after 2023,” Kogan said. “It merely seems extremely likely.”

 But in any case, this is not the argument van Hollen made on the television shows. He did not say “long-term” but instead referred the the “president’s budget” — which is only for 10years.

Kessler: It's true, but not the way I want to interpret it, so it's false and rates two Pinocchios. This kind of fact checking is complete bullshit, because it's subjective interpretation of "impressions" created. Kessler could have written the column as it is and omitted the ratings.

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