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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the fiscal cliff to members of the media in the White House Briefing Room December 19, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
President Obama said in his brief press conference Friday evening that he is "still ready and willing to get a comprehensive package done." He said that he is focusing on a fiscal cliff curb package that "can get done in the next ten days" either "all at once, or in several steps." That indicates that he is indeed considering a smaller package of proposals as reported earlier Friday by Politico.

The brief outline he gave in the press conference of an smaller package lines up with Politico's reporting. Saying that there is "absolutely no reason, none, not to protect these [middle-class] Americans from a tax hike," Obama made the case for a smaller bill that would extend those tax cuts (without naming a specific threshold), extend unemployment insurance, and temporarily put off the automatic cuts from the sequester. "Averting a middle class tax hike is not a Democratic or Republican responsibility," he said, but a "shared responsibility.... everybody's got to give a little bit in a sensible way."

Is there reason to believe that there might be sensible Republicans? Well, if there is the degree of disarray in the caucus that this article suggest, yes.

Even his allies admit that Boehner’s stunning failure to find the votes for his “plan B” tax legislation was a major blow to his credibility, provoking befuddlement and even outrage from fellow Republicans.

But there is also considerable anger in the GOP conference directed at the conservative lawmakers that forced Boehner’s shocking defeat.

That fractured reaction — coupled with the lack of a plausible challenger — mean Boehner is unlikely to face any significant challenge to his position as speaker in the near term.

“These are people that, they don’t have a leader amongst them, and they don’t want to be led,” said a GOP member and Boehner loyalist. “He had probably 200 people lined up for him, for his position. And those 200 are pretty dad gum loyal to the speaker and pretty angry at that group.”

If there really isn't any sense that Boehner's speakership is in danger over this, the embarrassment of last night's fiasco might, just might, be enough to give Boehner the support he would need to get behind such a plan. With Democrats supporting it, some two dozen Republicans would be needed.

It all depends on whether Boehner is ready or willing to wrest back control of his House from the lunatics he's allowed to seize it. The alternative might just be going over the cliff.

Here's the full transcript of President Obama's remarks.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Title sounds like a mysterious Christmas message (10+ / 0-)

    Sorry, I know it's a serious diary but I thought maybe the bigger package was just too big to fit under the tree.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:12:39 PM PST

  •  I'm guessing that Pelosi and/or Reid... (20+ / 0-)

    ...told him they don't have the votes for a deal that includes chained CPI.

  •  I sure hope so (20+ / 0-)

    It might indicate that all those emails and calls we've been doing complaining about including chained CPI actually had some policy effect.

  •  "Less is more." (6+ / 0-)

    -- Mies Van Der Rohe

    Yes, Mr. President, tell them to "take it or jump".

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:21:05 PM PST

    •  If they are wise, they bite (5+ / 0-)

      the cliff, with the exception of the immediate hardships. is still a stronger position for Democrats.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:29:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i'm ready for that too (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smiley7, Rube Goldberg, PeterHug

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:39:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So except for all the bad stuff (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        apimomfan2

        it's good.

        While Obama's proposal, except for all the good stuff, was bad.  

        Interesting.

        You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

        by tomjones on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:40:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obviously it's a calculation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claytonben, smiley7

          Bad stuff in going over the "cliff": no unemployment extension, no infrastructure spending unless you wrangle them out of GOP House somehow.

          Bad stuff in the Obama proposal: chained CPI, no reversion to pre-Bush tax rates for taxable income between $250K and $400K, possibly keep lower tax rates for capital gains and dividend income too.

          Which is worse? Saying going over the "cliff" is the better choice for Democrats, despite real drawbacks, does not inherently make one intellecutally dishonest.

          Characterizing them as inherently intellectually dishonest, though...

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:57:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'd rather they went off the cliff (8+ / 0-)

        Then everyone in the new Congress gets to vote on a bill to re-institute the tax cuts on the middle class. And in that bill, Democrats could put all kinds of good, progressive things and, at least , some Republicans would still feel compelled to vote for it. The new Congress will be more progressive, so we might get some things like:

        * Extend unemployment benefits

        * Add funding for infrastructure projects and clean energy

        * Get rid of the debt ceiling limit forever

        * Increase funding for food stamps

        * Eliminate the cap on Social Security taxes (so income over $110,000 is taxed too) and extend the tax to non-earned income

        * Institute a financial transactions tax

        * Cut wasteful military spending

        * Add a public option to Obamacare

  •  now would have been a great time to remind (8+ / 0-)

    people that yesterday's stunt is yet further evidence that the GOP is intent on holding the middle class tax cut hostage in order to extract cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

  •  Pass a middle class tax cut (11+ / 0-)

    For folks earning less than 250,000, no additions or cuts. Say happy holidays to Boehner, give him some tissue in case he cries and get the heck out of Washington.

    •  The Senate already did (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, PeterHug, roberb7

      Doubt it's going anywhere, though.

      You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

      by tomjones on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:41:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The GOP is intent on raising taxes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib

        Let them.

        New temporary tax cuts will come.

        Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?

        by freelunch on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:00:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is sitting on Boehner's desk (0+ / 0-)

        He can put it forward and release 40 Republicans to vote for it and it is all done.

        It is really Boehner's only way out to keep from taking 100% of the blame for this.

        Mitt Romney rides off into the sunset in his Audi.

        by captainlaser on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:03:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, it's still in the Senate. (0+ / 0-)

          Something called "Blue Slipped" as the revenue measure's are to originate in the House.

          "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

          by gritsngumbo on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:17:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Boenher can bring an identical bill (0+ / 0-)

            to the House floor, where it would get Democratic support, and whip up GOP votes for it. His problem is he'd have to break the Hastert-era rule about not bringing things to the floor unless a majority of the majority supports them. And that could mess up his reelection as Speaker. But, before or after January 3, he COULD do it.  

            He can also pass a bill in the House that extends all Bush tax rates, let the Senate pass that with amendments that raise rates on taxable income over a certain threshold (for me preferably $250K), and then reconcile the two bills in conference. He can, with large Democratic support and some Republicans, pass the conference bill.

            Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

            by fenway49 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:04:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for the added info. (0+ / 0-)

              So Boner is using the "Blue Slipping" as an excuse then.

              "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

              by gritsngumbo on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:37:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes and no (0+ / 0-)

                He has the internal GOP caucus rules to worry about. He wants (don't know why) to keep his job as Speaker and needs his lunatics to do it. But there are other ways. There's also a "discharge petition" Pelosi could file to release the bill.

                Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

                by fenway49 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:05:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, what happened to this? (0+ / 0-)

        Obama said that if the House would just pass this bill, he would sign it immediately.

        This should be Obama's negotiating position. Take it or leave it, Repugnikans.

    •  It's a tax cut for all taxpayers (9+ / 0-)

      Every taxpayer would enjoy the cut rate on the the first $250,000 (or less) earned.

    •  What about unemployment benefits? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RJDixon74135

      As you can see from a diary on the rec list, a lot of people will be immediately and seriously hurt if they are not extended.

  •  A smaller package as described in ur earlier post (0+ / 0-)

    would be like installing a flat landing in the first stretch of the fiscal slope stairway! ;)

  •  I wish someone could explain why Obama didn't (11+ / 0-)

    ask the Republicans for their suggestions on entitlement cuts.  Why did he have to be the first to suggest SS?

    I ask this sincerely.

    If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

    by livjack on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:43:33 PM PST

    •  McConnell, if I'm not mistaken, publicly (0+ / 0-)

      listed changes he would make.

    •  My understanding is that they asked for it (7+ / 0-)

      privately, and he offered it publicly. Which, if true, was foolish. He should have told them to ask for it publicly. He shouldn't even have offered it privately, as they would have leaked it and made him look weak.

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

      by kovie on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:53:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He did. Unfortunately in private (8+ / 0-)

      The chained CPI thing almost certainly came from B.

      But Obama didn't make B propose it in public, instead incorporated it into his own plan, thus sticking Dems with the stupid idea.

      That's the part of his negotiating style that just drives me crazy.    Make the other side actually propose stuff IN PUBLIC and then argue about what parts you can live with.

      Don't give away that you can live with ANYTHING but your first offer until THEY propose a counter.

      •  If it was done privately (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens

        Why did Senator Sanders know about it and call Boehner out on i on 12/5/12?  

        •  By privately I mean.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens

          We have seen three "public" plans.

          1.  Obama's original offer
          2.  Obama's second offer (with chained CPI)
          3.  Boehner's "Plan B"

          What we should have seen is

          1.  Obama's original offer
          2.  Boehner's counteroffer
          3.  Obama's second offer (possibly including elements of Boehner's offer to "show the math" on the tradeoffs)

          Even if the two "Obama Second Offer" scenarios are identical, the politics are much better in the second case, because we can see which ideas are Dem ideas and which are Republican ideas.     The second offer is then a compromise with republican ideas, rather than "Obama negotiates with himself and caves".

          The trouble with closed door negotiations is that if only one side ever produces a plan, 100% of the things in the plan are owned by the side that publishes it.  Even if there is stuff in there they didn't want, but only put in there to try to get an agreement.

    •  He wasn't the first. Boehner came suggested i (9+ / 0-)

      chained CPI first.  Here is the link that makes that very clear

      PoliticsUSA

      12/5/12

      John Boehner’s deficit reduction proposal includes cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid with new tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Boehner also called for a switch to the chained CPI, which would reduce annual cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients, and for disabled veterans
      His counteroffer included it but he wasn't the one who came to the table first with it
    •  The House Appropriations Subcommittees have (0+ / 0-)

      already written bills that incorporate spending cuts. They've been passed by the full Appropriations committee and either passed by the full House or placed on the Calendar for a vote. Most of them have already passed. They went to the Senate for their votes, but they either weren't voted on at all or not passed.

      The reports that come from the Budget Committee chaired by Paul Ryan don't actually count for all that much since spending (even spending that's "cut" from prvevious years) has to come from the Appropriations Committee.

      They still have to pass the Senate which will probably require conferences. It's a big, bureaucrtic mess.

      BTW, don't believe the crap you here about PBO not "passing a budget."  There's a specific due date for "The Presidential Budget Request," I think it's the first Monday in February each year. Of course, PBO has met the deadline every year and his budget is complete and meticulous. Here's PBO's budget for 2013.

      “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

      by RJDixon74135 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:58:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But said budget...DOES NOT FUND the Government (0+ / 0-)

        It lays out how monies are to be spent.

        The actual funding method is done by 13 appropriations bills, which the House must create and pass, and then the Senate votes on. Note -- these bills do not have to conform to the limits set in the President's budget.

        So the refusal to raise the debt ceiling is like buying a bunch of stuff on a credit card (the appropriation bill) and then refusing to pay the bill.

        All raising the debt ceiling means is allowing the Treasury Department to sell more Savings Bonds and T-Bills. Most of the debt represented by those bonds/bills is owned by citizens of the United States.

        •  Right Moonspinner, that's what my post says (0+ / 0-)
          The reports that come from the Budget Committee chaired by Paul Ryan don't actually count for all that much since spending (even spending that's "cut" from prvevious years) has to come from the Appropriations Committee.
          I included a link to PBO's 2013 Presidential Budget Request to show that he HAS done his part, and extremely well. In fact, PBO's Presidential Budget Request for 2013 was prepared in accordance with the Budget Control Act of 2011 which is a law, not a request or a report. That is, PBOs budget request included the 2013 tranche of cuts leading to a $917 billion of cuts to be achieved over 10 years. If the Appropriations Subcommittees had followed that law, this would all be done.

          “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

          by RJDixon74135 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:42:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Mr. President, Take Chained CPI off the table. (12+ / 0-)

    Social Security does NOT contribute to the national debt and should NOT be part of this discussion!

    •  And CPI for seniors is different (6+ / 0-)

      If we want to change the CPI, it needs to be focused on the costs that retired people face.

      Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?

      by freelunch on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:02:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed Free (4+ / 0-)

        I am not a senior, but I do receive Social Security Disability.  I don't drive and I can't afford to buy the latest in technology.  Food and utilities are my second and third highest monthly expenses, followed closely by medicine and health insurance. The only reason healthcare ranks so low is because I have Medicare with Part D.  I recently received my notice that my COLA for 2013 is $22 per month.  I'm sure that will be quickly eaten up by utility rate increases, food price increases, and increased copays for my meds.  

        In my current situation, I can't "trade down" to cheaper alternatives.  My only option will be to do without.  That is the reality that most, if not all politicians don't understand.  They don't even include food and energy prices in calculating CPI, because they are so "volatile."  When have we ever seen these prices go down significantly for any period of time!

        •  And that is exactly what the Chained CPI (0+ / 0-)

          is designed to take into account.  Remember, the regular COLA already includes substitution (such as chicken for steak) but not cutbacks such as only taking half your blood pressure medication and trying to "substitute" meditation for the rest (which could work for some people but is something that needs to be tried slowly and with your doctor's help).

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:56:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think that it's less about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kj in missouri, 3goldens

    "whether Boehner is ready or willing to wrest back control of his House from the lunatics he's allowed to seize it" than whether he CAN wrest back control of it. If he tried to pass a vote with majority Dem support, it could and probably would lose him the speakership. And where would we stand then?

    Perhaps it's time to look at another discharge petition?

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

    by kovie on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:51:44 PM PST

  •  How a deal can still get done... the math (3+ / 0-)

    According to press reports, Boehner's dilemma seems to be that he can't get 218 votes for the millionaires' tax hike, a hike that would only affect some 400,000 Americans. Nonetheless he can't get 218 votes for it.

    Essentially, the problem under the current system is that the most conservative 24 Republicans have a veto on any fiscal deal. The most conservative 5.5% of the House, has a veto on national policy. This is the tea party Congress elected in 2010. No wonder you can't get a reasonable deal under these circumstances.

    On the other hand, the "majority of the majority" rule instituted by former Speaker Dennis Hastert says that he can't bring to the floor any bill that doesn't have a majority in his caucus, and he doesn't want to go against that. But by my count, there are some 242 Republicans, which means a majority is 121 Republicans. There's a big gap between 218 and 121. So suppose Boehner goes back and negotiates a deal with Obama that can get more than 121 Republicans. Then Pelosi can get some 150 Democrats to vote for it. We can get past the 'fiscal cliff' then in a bipartisan manner.

    "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

    by randomfacts on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:53:55 PM PST

    •  Actually, Newt Gingrich also followed a "majority (0+ / 0-)

      of the majority" policy before Hastert. Gingrich was more sneaky about it, Hastert was more open, so Hastert gets "credit" for it.

      “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

      by RJDixon74135 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:26:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, Boehner needs to admit he needs Dem (2+ / 0-)

    votes to pass anything.

    I'm not sure he is willing do that at least, until his re-election as speaker, and thus after we go over the cliff.

    •  He doesn't have the guts to speak out against his (4+ / 0-)

      crazies.

      The rules he imposed on himself about not voting for things that would win without a GOP majority are the rules of a weakling and a fool.

      Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?

      by freelunch on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:03:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even more likely that it'll need Democratic votes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jj32, JBraden, Vote4Obamain2012

      After January 3rd when the Democrats gain 8 or so seats.

      "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

      by jfern on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:11:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. Remember that after January 3rd he (0+ / 0-)

        doesn't have to worry nearly as much about being thrown out as Speaker which means he can actually do something like that.  If he tried anything like that now then Cantor or Ryan would be Speaker on January 3rd.

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:57:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is against the Democratic Party interests (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      apimomfan2

      to do nothing but let Boehner swing like a wind chime.  He'll fail, or fail to remain speaker, then Cantor, the lune takes over, and really screws up the national party.  Therefore, the next elections will see more Dems in the house, because more Americans will be able to see the crackpots for what they are...suicidal maniacs (politically speaking)

      There is no hell on earth appropriate enough for those who would promote the killing of another person, in the name of a god.

      by HarryParatestis on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:12:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's gotta be a way (4+ / 0-)

    ..to exploit the fracture between the loony-toon Tea-bag caucus, and what remains of the quasi-sane Republican contingent of congress without giving up the farm.

    I don't know what it is - but it isn't happening now.

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:56:24 PM PST

  •  So why if my taxes are going up 2% (2+ / 0-)

    is that not a middle class tax increase? The end of the payroll tax cut, with no corresponding tax cut elsewhere, is the horrifying tax increase they are all supposed to be against for the 98% of us who are not rich (or the 100% of us if you're a Republican). Ironically, what is my hard fought raise next year, negotiated by my Union under a Union contract? 2%. So even if they manage to stop the tax rate increases I get no raise. Thanks, Congress and President.

    •  Income tax rate is going up, too. (0+ / 0-)

      We need to do it sometime, but not yet.

      The increase on the rich is sensible, because tax cuts for the rich do not create jobs, no matter what the ignoramuses in the GOP say.

      Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?

      by freelunch on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:04:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was a temporary cut (0+ / 0-)

      in payroll tax due to a desparate need for stimulus in late 2010, since he failed to push for enough in early 2009. Middle class taxes may go up relative to 2011 and 2012, but right to the level they were from 2001 to 2010.

      I agree we have a revenue problem and need to do more about raising rates on the wealthiest.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:09:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm on Social Security and getting a small (0+ / 0-)

      increase next year, but the cost of my Medicare Parts B and D are increasing an almost identical amount.

      “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

      by RJDixon74135 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:29:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Politicians with smaller packages.this is news? nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue muon

    There is no hell on earth appropriate enough for those who would promote the killing of another person, in the name of a god.

    by HarryParatestis on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:01:34 PM PST

    •  Republicans have shown they can't (0+ / 0-)

      relate to big packages.

      This comment is a natural product. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects.

      by blue muon on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:37:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2

    Obama is going to go from the cliff to the cave.

  •  Good update, and thanks to everyone trying (5+ / 0-)

    to keep track of what is going on. That's why I read this stuff.

    Here's my question (savvy econ people please weigh in):

    It seems after reading the lengthy thread on chained CPI, it was...
    - a way to reduce (by how much I wonder???) the increase in federal IOU (debt/deficit spending) brought on by reducing the FICA withholding, and using the General Fund as the bank. So reducing our FICA which is used to fund SS, was balanced by an increased general fund debt, which at some time had to be paid back.

    - The chained CPI would reduce the amount of payback required, therefore, reducing (by some unknown %) the amount owed to SS, reducing the debt, without raising revenue.

    Have I got this right?

    When would it start to kick in? I am assuming some step wise reduction, just like, how in the heck did we already get to 67 for full SS benefits if you are born after 1960, iirc.

    If it would be awhile, there would be time to fix, if not, retirees are screwed.

    The trade off, again please correct me, is the looming unemployment insurance (some term) cut off. Right?

    It was gratuitous, but it, the Chained CPI, does seem, if I have this right, tied to the deficit (which is what this is supposed to be about).

    Do I have any of this right?

    If I do, then does it make sense? No rox/sux please, I am trying to understand this piece of minutiae.

    Thanks so much.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:05:16 PM PST

    •  bookmarked (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Regina in a Sears Kit House

      so i can read also.    
      and i sincerely hope it is a flame-free series of answers.

      "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

      by kj in missouri on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:13:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mostly no (6+ / 0-)

      It is true that extending unemployment and getting some infrastructure spending would be the upside, and chained CPI the downside, of Obama's last offer compared to going over the fiscal slope.

      But there are several errors in your comment. First, chained CPI is in no way justified to make up for the payroll tax cut of 2011-12. The fact is, since the Reagan-O'Neill deal of 1983, payroll tax receipts have exceeded what was needed to pay benefits in virtually every year. The excess was put into Treasury bills; that is, lent to the general federal budget to help plug the deficit.

      In 2010, when Obama cut his bad deal on extending the Bush rates for all, he was desparate for some kind of stimulus. He got the payroll tax cut, which put some more cash in the hands of strapped working people. By spending that extra cash, they made up for some of the gap in consumer demand that we've had since the 2007-08 crash.

      It's true that (deficit) funds from the general budget were shifted to offset the lost revenue from the payroll tax cut. But at no point did anyone say, hey, we're cutting payroll taxes so we'll have to cut Social Security benefits to compensate for it, rather than tax the 1% to pay for it. That would have prompted outrage and that is NOT what they did.

      Frankly, higher-than-necessary payroll taxes from 1983 to 2010 helped mask the revenue shortfall from Reagan's (and W's) tax cuts for the wealthy. The least the general fund can do is cover two years' worth of payroll tax cuts without cutting Soc. Sec. benefits.  The trust fund, for nearly 30 years, was "bank" to the General Fund.

      Also, chained CPI is in no way tied to the deficit. Other than the (deficit) spending to offset the payroll tax cut, Social Security as a program has contributed nothing to the deficit. Social Security is a free-standing program funded by the payroll tax, which in most years has been more than sufficient, and by interest legitimately due on the money Social Security lent to the general budget.

      The idea that benefit cuts, forever and ever, are justified because we had a brief payroll tax cut after nearly 30 years of the payroll tax being too high, is erroneous. I don't ascribe any bad motives to you, I know you're trying to grasp the details, but it's also dangerous. It promotes the fallacy that Social Security drives the deficit.

      It does not. Even Ronald Reagan agreed emphatically Social Security does not drive the General Fund deficit.
      We have long had a Social Security surplus and a general budget deficit, because we want the federal government to do certain things but the GOP has been unwilling to tax the rich more to pay for it. Because they could have cut the payroll tax without adding deficit spending two years ago if they had raised an equal amount by increased taxes on the wealthiest.

      The only reason chained CPI has been raised in a "deficit" deal is because Boehner & Co. want to extract something for their ideological agenda in exchange for, I suppose, signing off on unemployment extension and the infrastructure money.

      On balance I oppose the Obama proposal because it says, hey, let's cut benefits for old people on fixed incomes and the disabled in this sneaky wonky way, instead of restoring pre-Bush tax rates (already historically low) on taxable income (after all deductions) of $250K to $400K.

      But I mainly oppose it because it promotes the lie that Social Security bears any responsbility at all for federal deficits. Not so. That sets a nefarious precedent and I have not been encouraged by Obama's repeated offers over the years to "reform" Social Security. Any reform to deal with real shortfalls that will come in 25 years can be handled closer to that time by adjustments in the payroll tax.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:35:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd also add (5+ / 0-)

        that with the economy still weak we really need more stimulus, not more deficit reduction. This actually is a perfect time for deficit spending. We have weak consumer demand and incredibly low borrowing rates.

        That's the funny part of the "fiscal cliff" hysteria. Most of the mainstream media seems to be eliding the part where the problem, if we do nothing, is too much deficit reduction too soon. Not too little.

        Long term we have a deficit/debt problem. Short term we have a weak demand, not enough jobs problem. Solving the jobs problem would help solve the deficit problem. More people working in decent-paying jobs means more taxpayers, fewer folks stuck on unemployment and food stamps, which do cost the government. Win-win.

        The current focus on closing the deficit centers on equal parts spending cuts and revenue increases. The truth is, except for defense, we've already cut spending to the bone. Obama even brags that federal discretionary spending is as low a share of GDP since Eisenhower (like that's a good thing). We have less a "deficit" problem than a revenue problem. As in people who used to pay a marginal tax rate over 70% now paying 35%, and 15% on capital gains and dividends.

        Obama's big mistake, from which all of this flows, is not pushing for sufficient stimulus when he took office. People said it couldn't pass, but he was new and had all the momentum. Propose a sufficient stimulus, even if the number is huge ($1.8 trillion or so). If the GOP filibusters, the markets will flip out and they would have caved.

        Failing to do it kept unemployment high with real human costs. It also made Dems who claimed it worked (though it did, as far as it went) look out of touch. It (and demagoguery on Obamacare/Medicare) gave us this Tea Party House and gerrymandered House districts. People say the Dem base was unmotivated in 2010 and independents turned on Obama. Think that would have happened if he inherited a crisis and got unemployment down to 6.5% in two years?

        Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

        by fenway49 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:05:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  fenway, we are in agreement on all ideological (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, kj in missouri

          issues and the substantive fiscal ones as well.

          I understand that SS is self funded and rather than driving deficits it actually has been used as a bank of sorts without most of the nation knowing there are IOUs to the SS fund.

          What I wanted to be sure of is that some in the bubble wonk didn't make up some language when the FICA cut was put in place (small stimulus) to use the General Fund to refund the difference in what would have been collected. That is what I am beginning to understand is the argument. I think.

          And added to that is the concept that if payments are reduced, then the amount needed to be repaid would be less.

          I get that this is over the backs of old and disabled people. I am in both categories and care a lot. It is wrong.

          I just want to understand the argument that is being made.

          Thank you so much.

          Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

          by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 08:20:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The chained cpi will (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kj in missouri, fenway49

            increase taxes and so increase revenue into the general fund.
            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

            by tardis10 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:27:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  No (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kj in missouri

            I could have made a shorter reply. Sorry! But no. With all the Bush tax cuts up, there would have been hell to pay for a deal that said, "You want stimulus? Fine. Cut the payroll tax AND cut social security benefits to offset the cut. In exchange, GOP demands you leave the tax rates on top earners unchanged."

            That was not the deal. The dollar amount of the FICA cut and the chained CPI, which goes on indefintely, don't match up. The "argument" being made is just the simple but false one I wasted your time disproving (though hopefully someone else will benefit): we have a huge deficit, so we need cuts somewhere. The realpolitik is that it's a cost of getting Boehner to a deal, which he maybe can't do anyway. But there's no justification even offered that maps on to anything as neatly as you were suggesting.

            Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

            by fenway49 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:30:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  This did happen (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kj in missouri
            What I wanted to be sure of is that some in the bubble wonk didn't make up some language when the FICA cut was put in place (small stimulus) to use the General Fund to refund the difference in what would have been collected. That is what I am beginning to understand is the argument. I think.
            The General Fund did refund what would have been collected. That part's true. And that was deficit spending by the General Fund. But nobody's arguing, even now, that S.S. drives deficits because of that.

            The clear answer is, you could have left FICA intact in 2010 and cut income tax on the first X of income. Same result for the General Fund (some more deficit spending).

            If you're a conspiracy theorist you might say they did cut a private deal to reduce benefits to offset the FICA cut, but delayed implemenation of chained CPI. I don't really think that happened. But, anyway, no such deal was made public for a reason: it's unacceptable. Even Congressional Dems in 2010 would  have blocked that. So we can't let them do it through the back door now.  

            Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

            by fenway49 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:37:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you. /nt (2+ / 0-)

        "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

        by kj in missouri on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:50:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The worst possible thing that could happen.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7

    for the Republicans anyway, is for sequestration to go into effect... they seem to keep forgetting that.  I know it will hurt some folks, and cost me money as well, but the GOP needs to either get serious in bargaining or the President should just let them fail and the so called "cliff" to bite them in the ass.... Watching the bush tax cuts evaporate  along with the new higher rates on dividends and capital gains taking effect would be worth it.

    Yes, it seems the truth does have a Liberal bias, So does reality it seems. And the Republicans will never change that, because they believe money makes reality.

    by Nebraskablue on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:05:22 PM PST

  •  200 isn't so close (0+ / 0-)

    Since that will likely be about 190 when the next Congress is sworn in.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:08:34 PM PST

  •  way too vague, PBO. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2

    name the threshold.
    speak to the chain.
    where are we with a future debt ceiling hostage-taking?

    in the meantime, there's the NRA to defang.

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:10:06 PM PST

  •  The fiscal cliff is a good thing. It will bring (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    into more balance, taxes from the rich, and defense cuts.  OK, there will be some suffering of the middle class on down, but I think there will be less pain now, then any deal that I'm seeing being presented. (at least when it comes to the long run)

    There is no hell on earth appropriate enough for those who would promote the killing of another person, in the name of a god.

    by HarryParatestis on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:15:25 PM PST

  •  The one time I'll agree smaller is better. (0+ / 0-)

    "It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that a man can always solve his problems" - Kurt Vonnegut

    by jazzence on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:26:49 PM PST

  •  honest question... (0+ / 0-)

    What dies Obama mean when he says framework for deficit reduction should be included in the bill?  Also, are we sure the SS cut won't be added in conference?  Thanks.

    The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.---FDR

    by masslib on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:37:08 PM PST

  •  Thank you Joan for covering this nonsensical.... (0+ / 0-)

    kabucki fuckimuffin???Now go have a drink and have a laugh, Brainbleach wont do!

    America, We blow stuff up!!

    by IndyinDelaware on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:38:10 PM PST

  •  On July 25, 2012, the Senate showed where we (0+ / 0-)

    are going.

    Story here

    Mitt Romney rides off into the sunset in his Audi.

    by captainlaser on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:01:44 PM PST

  •  This is a package I can support. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    librarisingnsf

    We don't need a grand bargain.  Just raise the top tax bracket and let job growth and Obamacare take care of the rest.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:09:40 PM PST

  •  "Everybody's got to give a little bit" (0+ / 0-)

    Translation: Progressives Democrats and Conservative Democrats

    Teahadist Republicans... Uhh???

  •  National news (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun

    One certainly gets a different view of the Republican fail and adjournment of Congress.  I just watched NBC news and there was certainly no mention of the Speaker being in trouble. There was a little description of Obama's latest minimalist position and how everybody concerned was now flying off for the holidays.  Ho hum.

    The NRA presser and the response was covered with an eye toward giving all sides a chance to speak.  They even found a woman in Newtown who thought police in all the schools was a good idea.  No mention of the success of gun laws in Canada or Australia.  Just all points of view given equal time. Even found a firefighter who said we need guns in every home.

    I think I'm going to be sick!

  •  And that is all we need (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10

    Screw this crap about entitlement cuts.  We need jobs not deficit reduction.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:20:55 PM PST

  •  Are We Back to the $250 K Threshold? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10

    Although it is true that President Obama did not expressly mention extending the tax cuts for the first $250,000 of income, he did say this:

    "And even though Democrats and Republicans are arguing about whether those rates should go up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us -- every single one of us -- agrees that tax rates shouldn’t go up for the other 98 percent of Americans, which includes 97 percent of small businesses."
    And 98% has been associated with the $250,000 threshold from the beginning, not the $400,000 in the last offer.
     

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:12:01 PM PST

  •  speaking of resolving the fiscal cliff.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...whatever happened to Nancy Pelosi's promise to force a vote on extending tax cuts for the middle class (i.e. $250,000 and below) with a discharge petition?

    In addition...if she can force a vote on that with a discharge petition...how about also forcing a vote with a discharge petition on the spending cuts the President has agreed to?

  •  Will we try to get 17 GOP votes? (0+ / 0-)

    With 17 GOP defections in the House, we could pass a Democratic package. Anybody working on that?

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 08:27:53 PM PST

  •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

    this quote says it all

    “These are people that, they don’t have a leader amongst them, and they don’t want to be led,” said a GOP member and Boehner loyalist. “He had probably 200 people lined up for him, for his position. And those 200 are pretty dad gum loyal to the speaker and pretty angry at that group.”

    They have no party, just a bunch of clueless angry assholes.
    The funny thing is they could pull it out of their ass by telling their constituants they were wrong with their anything Dem is the devil approach, and they made a mistake with politics vs policy and "we have to work together sometimes". Then bury their teaparty and move along. Their folks love to forgive themselves so they will go along and stay on Team GOP.

    But they will never ever admit a mistake. Ever. They are going to wreck themselves because they would rather do that than agree with us about anything important. Proving once again to the world in HD, they are incapable of leading. If you cannot admit a mistake, you cannot fix it.

    Who is John Galt? An ASSHOLE, thats who

    by Max Runk on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:28:03 AM PST

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