What I see is a great argument for filibuster reform. And one can also feel good about the demise of the stupid Hastert Rule (which isn't really a rule.) Boehner and Ryan voted yes, Cantor voted no. That's Paul Ryan (yes) running against Marco Rubio (no) in 2016.
And here's a hint to help your blood pressure today:
1. Ignore anyone who claims "it's both sides". It's the Republican side.
2. Since Keynesians are right, ignore frothing about the debt and deficit. A better economy fixes a good chunk the problem, and necessary recovery measures are part of the problem. Moving past those making the other pieces easier to address when we need to (and that is not now in a recession/fragile recovery). Yes, the deficit is a problem, but fixing it too fast makes the problem worse by slowing the economy (aka "austerity"). It's not that complicated.
This link takes you to key features of the actual deal from Wonk Wire.
It’s not the grand bargain that Wall Street and corporate CEOs wanted to see – and spent millions advocating for. But it is still fairly broad in scope. And it reflects significant concessions by both sides, but particularly for McConnell.
Marginal income tax rates will snap up to 39.6 percent on income above $400,000 for individuals and above $450,000 for families.
Those thresholds were higher than the $250,000 level Obama campaigned for in last year’s reelection campaign. And the legislation would make the higher tax rates for wealthier families permanent, which McConnell sold as a win for his party because it could avert future fights over expiring tax rates.
Not according to Harry Reid.
In the deal that the Senate agreed to, with only eight senators voting against, the Democrats won big in two respects. They forced the Republicans to raise taxes on the rich, and they took all spending cuts including in Social Security off the table—for now. If Tea Party Republicans vote against the deal and it passes the House with the voters of nearly all Democrats and a few dozen renegade Republicans, it could cost John Boehner his Speakership.True, although going over the cliff would have hurt the economy and the working poor tremendously.
But automatic cuts of $120 billion this year and $1.2 trillion over a decade—the dreaded sequester—were postponed only for two months. So the budget debate ends for the moment, only to start again next week.
The trouble is, Congress and the president are waging the wrong debate. The debate they are having is about how to cut deficits and debts. The right debate is how to get a strong recovery going.
Fiscal cliff reveals how dysfunctional Republican nihilism makes US politicsThat's the problem... negotiating with nihilists always ends badly no matter what you do.
How ironic: 150 years after emancipation, a party that abolished slavery is dedicated to saving wealthy Americans from taxes
And that's another problem: "entitlement reform" is code for doing away with the New Deal and shredding the social safety net. How do you negotiate with people who don't see Medicare and Medicaid (and the New Deal) as legitimate programs?
Could the administration have gotten more revenue by holding out for a better deal? Probably. But could the administration have gotten a lot more revenue? That’s less clear. Administration allies point out that congressional Democrats frequently floated ideas, like extending all tax cuts for incomes below $1 million, that would have generated far less revenue. Meanwhile, the administration managed to get a deal that, despite the revenue, includes no spending cuts whatsoever—on discretionary programs or Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security—even though Republicans had been demanding them.Agree or disagree, this is a really thoughtful article about what is/was possible vs. what we needed.
Here's how one Democratic insider put it to me:If you'd asked me, the Wednesday after Election Day, if I'd be happy with an [income tax] threshold at $450 billion, basically a split-the-difference on the estate tax—they got exemption, we got rates—unemployment insurance for a year, and a doc fix—which is the republicans main weapon to attack Obamacare—I'd tell you that's a pretty fair deal. And I basically feel the same way today.Most likely, we won’t be able to evaluate this deal—again, assuming it really happens—for a few more weeks, when we see how Obama handles himself in the debate over the debt ceiling. And, yes, that debate is coming soon.
Here's another from David Atkins:
This is the same Republican House that voted down John Boehner's already extremist "Plan B" because they deemed it to be too liberal. That vote was undertaken not as a negotiating position, but as a statement of real principle. As for the current deal, conservative media figures are mostly furious over it. The only reason it may pass is that many GOP members will vote for the Senate deal today instead of yesterday so that they can go home and triumphantly brag to their constituents about cutting taxes on the heroic job creators making $250K to $450K per year.Jonathan Chait:
Similarly misguided are arguments that the President should simply take the case to the American public to scare the Republicans. The vast majority of the Republican Party is incapable of being scared by public opinion.
So what we have is two more showdowns in which the parties disagree not just on the outcome but even on the parameters of an outcome. Obama thinks the debt ceiling needs to be raised, full stop, without becoming a bargaining chip in a fight that threatens the stability of the global economy. Republicans want to use that chip. Then there’s the sequester, which Obama thinks should be replaced with spending cuts and tax revenue, and Republicans think should be replaced with spending cuts and more spending cuts.Read the last line of the two posts above: "The vast majority of the Republican Party is incapable of being scared by public opinion." and "I suspect he will wish he had ripped off the Band-Aid all at once, holding firm on tax cuts and daring House Republicans to defy public opinion." Both can't be right.
If Obama makes it through both these events without either accepting draconian social policy or triggering an economic meltdown, then today’s compromise will be seen as a clever first step. That’s not what I expect. I expect instead that his willingness to bargain away his strongest leverage, and the central theme of his reelection, will make the next rounds harder, and embolden Republicans further. I suspect he will wish he had ripped off the Band-Aid all at once, holding firm on tax cuts and daring House Republicans to defy public opinion.
And on the principle of the thing, you could say that Democrats held their ground on the essentials — no cuts in benefits — while Republicans have just voted for a tax increase for the first time in decades.NY Times on weighing the scales of disaster:
So why the bad taste in progressives’ mouths? It has less to do with where Obama ended up than with how he got there. He kept drawing lines in the sand, then erasing them and retreating to a new position. And his evident desire to have a deal before hitting the essentially innocuous fiscal cliff bodes very badly for the confrontation looming in a few weeks over the debt ceiling.
If Obama stands his ground in that confrontation, this deal won’t look bad in retrospect. If he doesn’t, yesterday will be seen as the day he began throwing away his presidency and the hopes of everyone who supported him.
And then Hurricane Sandy gave way to Sandy Hook Elementary, where the death was all too real and the mourning was for 6- and 7-year-olds and beloved educators, not for a treasured beach house and good times with good friends.SFGate:
It’s not that disaster is a game of perverse one-upmanship where the greater catastrophe cancels out one not quite as awful. But, still, after that, it was hard for Ms. Pyper not to see Ortley’s disaster through the lens of the disaster in Newtown, Conn.
“It put a whole different spin on life in general and on what we’re going through,” said Ms. Pyper, a former fourth-grade teacher in the Newark schools. “Of course, this is terrible, but we can take a deep breath and say this will get done. Those people are not going to see their kids again. To see what they’re going through, it humbles you.”
A gun owner's views on Sandy Hook
To the politicians: You remind me of puppies pushing against each other to get to the food bowl. I find your stumping vitriolic, offering no clear action beyond grandstanding. Your sole purpose seems to be to jam through ill-conceived and poorly written bills to impose your ideology.
May I suggest you consider a thought from former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara? He said, "Belief and seeing are both often wrong." In other words, don't allow your beliefs to become all you see. May I suggest that you lead with a level head and calm words? The country needs you. Stop finger-pointing; there has been enough of that between the two parties; relax, think and solve.
To the NRA: Do you understand the opportunity that lies before you? Are you afraid that if you give an inch, the government will take a mile? You are on the downhill side of public opinion.
I once had great respect for the NRA. I grew up with the NRA when your word on gun safety was sacrosanct. With your single-minded approach to gun controls, however, you have betrayed your own history.