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Robert Reich writes There's Only One Way To Beat The Republican Fanatics, which suggests a more decisive and dramatic analysis than Reich delivers. Although, I agree with the basic gist of his argument - that it would be better to go over the cliff, than kick the can down the road extending select current policies until next year, as Reich believes the GOP would go along with - this short post seems more like a "holiday quickee" than an a comprehensive review and analysis of the many alternative proposals and strategies being advocated over the last few days. Despite this, it is still thought provoking and worth a quick read.

Reich reminds us that when playing chicken with a "crazy person" (Reich's word choice not mine, sorry), the more rational player will lose if convinced the other will commit themselves to instant death rather than given into a rational choice.

Obama could decide going over the cliff isn’t so bad after all – as long as he and congressional Democrats introduce legislation early in the 2013 that gives a tax cut to the middle class retroactively to January 1st (extending the Bush tax cut to the first $250,000 of income) and restores most spending — and Republicans feel compelled to go along.


But, wait, Oh no! Reich asks what if we go over the cliff hoping to pressure the GOP into voting for a middle class tax cut, and delaying sequestration, but the Republicans don't go along due to Boehner's hands being tied by the deranged-fanatic fringe of his Party? Or worse, Reich asks what if the "House Republicans continue to hold out against any tax increases on the rich while demanding major cuts in Medicare and Social Security?" Reich doesn't point out that we may not need the approval of the whole right wing, nor even, perhaps Boehner's blessing, with another variation being that of trying to break off 25 House GOP cross overs to vote for the tax cut, which will be the daily focus of media outrage, For future reference, let's call this strategy, "Dive and Fight" for a middle class cut.

Alternatively, our president could adopt a proposal now being explored by pockets of Republicans - an option we might call "Kick the Can" (down the road to a time when some in the GOP believe their negotiating posture might be stronger. i.e. debt ceiling, or in a hoped for Democratic variation,next year):

The path of least resistance is for Obama and the Democrats to offer to keep everything as is, through 2013 – extend all the Bush tax cuts and continue all current spending (lifting the debt limit along the way) – unless or until a “grand bargain” on the budget is agreed to before the end of the next year. ... This is likely to satisfy enough Republican fanatics to gain a majority in the House. And it would avoid the fiscal cliff, kicking the can down the road and giving everyone more time.
Reich thinks its okay that deficit hawks "won't like it," but notes that this gambit doesn't "change the game," and Boehner's hand's will still be tied by fanatics, and this option might leave Republicans in a stronger bargaining position. But, he fails to inform us this is why the "delay until the debt-ceiling" variation of this strategy seems to be one of the RedState favorites. The other variation preferred by some Democrats, and seemingly the one Reich is thinking about here is the "delay for a year, or subsequent agreement" variation.

Based on this "brief analysis" Reich decides he prefers going off the cliff and "forcing the Republican hand," aka Dive and Fight and predicts this approach can evolve into an optimistic lead up to the 2014 elections when we can Throw the Bums Out, which I essentially agree with.

That’s why I’d recommend going over the cliff and forcing the Republicans’ hand. It’s a risky strategy but it would at least expose the Republican tactic and put public pressure squarely on rank-and-file Republicans, where it belongs.

The fanatics in the GOP have to be held accountable or they’ll continue to hold the nation hostage to their extremism. Even if it takes until the 2014 midterms to loosen their hold, the cost is worth it.

I'm more often a fan of Robert Reich, than many other's here, but in this case Reich seems to be vastly oversimplifying the situation, even though I agree with the basic gist of his sentiment. Rather than feel sort of dumb that I've already spent four times as much time than Reich put into this "holiday quickee," just to call your attention to a 90 second read, let me mention a few other options for dealing with the fiscal cliff that Reich doesn't mention.

For example, perhaps the possibility we should be most concerned about, would be a hasty, last-minute, Limited Grand Bargain, where, in the next week or two, President Obama makes whatever concessions necessary to get an extension of unemployment benefits, the so-called "doctors fix," and a few other "essentials" with compromises on the real estate tax, AMT, moving the threshold to $400,000, agreeing to chained CPI, or goodness knows what.

Antoher interesting quick read is the The Come Together Starbucks strategy reviewed and panned by Kali Joy Gray in Starbucks to solve that whole fiscal cliff thing with a slogan.  

And, the Split the Difference stratetgy from Senator Kent Conrad that Joan McCarter dismissed this morning, in Kent Conrad ready to give away the farm on the fiscal cliff.

Also with reading from this morning  are Jed Lewison report of House GOP not returning to D.C..

While President Obama has a more difficult trade-off of balancing adversarial shaming of Republicans approach, with cultivating goodwill for possible budget agreement, keeping immigration reform, and other negotiations in mind, the rest of us may have a more straight forward agenda.

Doesn't it seem as if we should be jumping up and down blaming Republicans for a host of unfortunate consequences of their failure to act, and compromise with the goal of bringing 25 House GOP crossovers to vote for a simplified Harry Reid Senate Bill for a tax cut, for those earning less than $250,000, and including the Medicare "doctors fix," and perhaps adjustments to the AMT, and estate taxes, as well as extensions of unemployment insurance?

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Comment Preferences

  •  How Crazee Is the GOP Exactly? (13+ / 0-)

    That seems to be the question. Are they willing to seriously damage the world economy to defend their childishly simplistic views on fiscal policy? No one seems to know -- and this is the risk -- that they might in fact do it.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:23:03 PM PST

    •  More (10+ / 0-)

      This comment was my response to this Reich quote from the article:

      Obama could decide going over the cliff isn’t so bad after all – as long as he and congressional Democrats introduce legislation early in the 2013 that gives a tax cut to the middle class retroactively to January 1st (extending the Bush tax cut to the first $250,000 of income) and restores most spending — and Republicans feel compelled to go along.
      What exactly will compel them to go along?

      I wonder.

      Regardless, I think Reich is correct about going over the cliff. If you look at this from a strategic perspective, there is probably not any other good response.

      If the Dems capitulate, the demands from the GOP will just be that much crazier next time.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:27:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Crazy & evil or just plain evil? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, chantedor
      •  oh, so very clearly (8+ / 0-)

        all of the above.  The GOP has been the party of Satan for my entire adult life...and I'm not that young anymore.

        Think I've exaggerated?  Whose Bible says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven?

        I didn't write that one.

        To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

        by Youffraita on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:43:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Heh. "Party of Satan." They did change their logo (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite, Youffraita, chantedor

          back in 2000 or so to have the five-pointed star, as on the US flag, pointing downward. Making the "goat-head" symbol which their voters have long seen as a declaration of Satanic sympathies.

          The best thing about being a Republican loyalist is that you NEVER experience cognitive dissonance.

          The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

          by Jim P on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:59:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Let 'em do it, bink. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Let 'em.  And then drive home the point at every opportunity: The crazy Tea Bag GOP did this to you.

      Keep driving it home: Your problems were all caused by the Crazy TeaHadists of the GOP.

      We know this meme will work.  It will even work with likely GOP voters as long as they turn off Fox.

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:41:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If my dad is any indication of the GOPers (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, radarlady, CherryTheTart

      they are batshit crazy.  Absolutely he would gladly damage the rest of the world to defend his bizarre FOX painted image of the world - because nothing matters other than the USA being "the way it used to be."  Period.  

      My father is not a dumb man, but he takes his marching orders from FOX because it reinforces his fear of everything not white and Fuck Yeah, America!

      I wasn't raised that way - but every single member of my immediate family is not only a FOX fanatic but a birther - and that is just the TIP of the GOP iceberg in this house.

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 07:53:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you know you're a bad negotiator... (8+ / 0-)

    ...under pressure whatever the reason, then you have to tie yourself to the mast, as Ulysses did, so you don't negotiate under pressure.  I think that's the situation Democrats are in.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:24:09 PM PST

  •  I always ask WWARD? (8+ / 0-)

    What would a Republican do? A Republican would SCREAM and holler and yell and interrupt your regular programming to bitch that the other side was comitting sabotage against the economy.

    A Republican would NOT be compromising. Part of the economic turmoil of the so-called cliff is the UNCERTAINTY. Just accept the consequences of the cliff and you create that certainty.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:35:16 PM PST

    •  Because the Republican's Billionaires Would be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      threatening him not to compromise.

      Democrats don't have billionaires, not fighting billionaires anyway.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:34:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed, the GOP is being irresponsible (5+ / 0-)

    allowing the rabid wing of their party to stall the country's progress for the sake of politics. It's going to cost them in the end.

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:35:32 PM PST

  •  the House gets a little less crazy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, slinkerwink, Jim P, Creosote

    after the first,   putting more pressure on the House not quite batshit contingent to do something that secures their seats in 2014.  Since House members are never not campaigning, they know this could be a make or break time for the Republican Party conservatives who fall short of batshit crazy.

    •  crazy (6+ / 0-)

      We sometimes forget that crazy people don't become sane when it is appropriate.  Nobody seems to think there will Dem turncoats also.  The debt ceiling is the bigger problem, btw.

      Apres Bush, le deluge.

      by melvynny on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:53:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, while I was writing this, Timothy Geithner (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jfromga, pistolSO

        announced we will the debt-limit  in five days, which I just posted a link to.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:58:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  we get more Dems (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, Jim P, Creosote

        watering down the issue of turncoats,  they get people who replaced teabaggers by and large though not entirely.

        It is not that the craziest become sane, but they are being replaced.   That changes the balance.   It changes the power of the rump teabagger caucus.    Eventually business recognizes that it needs stability more than a tax cut.   They are the puppet masters and they will pull strings.  So,yes, the debt ceiling is a big problem, but it is also a big stick and not necessarily one the Republicans can wield effectively.

  •  "Grand Bargain" hopes seem kind of silly. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Jim P

    Boehner can't control his caucus, half of whom are psychopaths anyway.

    It ain't gonna happen.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:02:05 PM PST

  •  wouldn't Obama's agreement to extend all (0+ / 0-)

    Bush tax cuts for another year be a betrayal of the coalition that fought so hard to reelect him?

    Caving again would not go down well with the base Democrats and could severely diminish any base enthusiasm to campaign for any Democrats for House or Senate in 2014 (or donate to any of them in 2013 or 2014).

    That options appears to carry grave risks for Obama and any Congressional Democrats who support it.

    •  Who in the coalition wanted Bush's tax cuts (0+ / 0-)

      extended? For less than $250,000, yes. Above, no.

      Not sure what base you are talking about. We wanted Rich-Relief cut down. The other tax breaks can be reintroduced as a new Bill next month, and see if the Republicans stymie it.

      If they do, they won't be around in 2014 to do that. And a lot more than just the economy can be achieved.

      The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

      by Jim P on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 04:04:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now it looks like we are going to have... (4+ / 0-)

    the fiscal cliff and debt limit happening all at the same time. If TPM is correct, the debt limit will be reached on Dec 31st.

    I don't really know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It's certainly going to add some focus to republican hostage taking. We could be headed off the cliff and defaulting on our debt if the republicans don't start compromising a little.

    I am not optimistic about the outcome.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    by reflectionsv37 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:18:01 PM PST

  •  Repubs Won't Pass Bills That Need Democrats (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, nchristine

    will they? Don't they have their own agreement never to depend on a Democrat?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:35:19 PM PST

  •  Dive and Fight! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Do it!

    Make the Republicans come out with great vocal force in support of their cuts to Medicare and Social Security.  They'll piss off everybody over 50 - the people who vote more than most folks.

    Fight for the tax cut for $250,000 and under.  Again, make the Republicans look like the deranged pack of wolves that they are.

    Let them hang themselves with their own words.

    Celtic Merlin

    Struggle with dignity against injustice. IS there anything more honorable that a person can do?

    by Celtic Merlin on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:58:12 PM PST

  •  I predict that this won't end well. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Let's Do it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I agree we should just go over the cliff. Maybe it is time that we not only push for repeal of the Bush Tax Cuts but also the Reagan and perhaps the Kennedy Tax Cuts.

    For to long President Obama has followed the leadership principles of Dr. Carl Rogers. He was a psychologist who created the "Client Centered" or "Person Centered Approach". Here the therapist was a "Facilitator".

    What is not known is that the Rogerian Approach has been carried over to organizations as a management philosophy. It can work if all engage in "good faith" but the Tea Party has not.

    I have to believe that Barrack Obama knows of Carl Rogers's "Person Centered Approach" to organizational management from his own work as a community organizer.

    What Obama does not realize though is that  Dr. Carl Rogers; "Person Centered Approach" only works when you are (in the 60's terminology of it's creation) ....

    Being Real and Authentic
    Barrack Obama fails to realize we live in an era were:
    "corporations are person" and thus a "person centered approach does not work! Further this nation does not need a "Rogerian Facilator style leadership but a President who is a "Pontifex Maixmus" and defines the issues loud and clear.
    I have always regretted that Barrack Obama did not use his great oratorical skills until only recently to be the nation's "Pontifex Maximus". If you doubt me then how did we get to the state where the deficit is the issue rather than income equality and good jobs?

    What works is using the language the GOP knows best and that is force.!

    Let go over the fiscal cliff and take the Gop with us

  •  Thinking the unthinkable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is there a possibility we haven't considered?

    Is it possible the billionaires driving the Tea Party have an end game that includes the destruction of the United States as we know it? That a fundamental change in our government and economy is their goal?

    Niall Ferguson speaks to the differences between North and South America in his PBS production, The West and the Rest.

    Can it be that our billionaire class want to establish a culture much like found in South American countries where wealthy families own and run the country and everyone else is either a peon or live to serve the wealthy?

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 05:40:13 PM PST

  •  Dr Reich (0+ / 0-)

    is usually the smartest guy in the room.  I would always defer to his thinking rather than rely on the good thinking of those Republicans who believe they can scare this country into a bargain.  Their "bargain" NEVER is to our benefit.

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