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Democrats: Go over ‘fiscal cliff’

Published: 11/14/12 @ 12:00

Associated Press


Some Democrats are pushing an unorthodox idea for coping with the “fiscal cliff”: Let the government go over, temporarily at least, to give their party more bargaining leverage for changes later on.

The idea has plenty of skeptics, and the White House regards it frostily. But it illustrates the wide range of early negotiating positions being staked out by Republicans and Democrats as lawmakers gathered Tuesday for their first postelection talks on how to avoid the looming package of steep tax hikes and program cuts.

Just as brazen, in the eyes of many Democrats, is the GOP leaders’ continued insistence on protecting tax cuts for the rich. President Barack Obama just won re-election, campaigning on a vow to end those breaks.

Democrats and Republicans appear heading toward another round of brinkmanship that will test who blinks first on questions of major importance. It’s a dance that has infuriated many Americans, shaken financial markets and drawn ridicule from foreign commentators.

In late 2010, after big GOP midterm election wins, Obama backed off his pledge to raise taxes on the rich. In the summer of 2011, House Republicans pushed Congress within a hair of refusing to raise the debt ceiling, leading to the first downgrade of the government’s credit rating. And last December, it was the Republicans’ turn to blink, yielding to Obama’s demand to extend a payroll tax break.

The “fiscal cliff” deadline comes in seven weeks. One provision: Unless Congress acts, all Bush-era tax cuts would expire, raising 2013 tax bills for most Americans. Obama wants to end those tax cuts only for households making more than $250,000 a year. Republicans insist on no tax rate increases anywhere.

If the “fiscal cliff” takes effect, congressional Republicans would feel pressure to give ground in several areas to achieve their top goal: restoring tax cuts for as many people as possible. That’s why Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and other Democrats have said their party’s leaders should seriously consider letting the Jan. 1 deadline pass and then negotiate with Republicans under sharply different circumstances. Some or most of any new agreements could be made retroactive to Jan. 1, they say.

If Republicans refuse to let tax cuts expire for the wealthy, Murray told ABC’s “This Week,” “we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire and we’ll start over next year. And whatever we do will be a tax cut for whatever package we put together. That may be the way to get past this.”


Posted by ytownsteelman (anonymous) on November 14, 2012 at 6:42 a.m.

"Taxing the rich" as the president proposes would only cut the deficit by 3.5%. So what is his plan for the other 96.5%? Why is he being so stubborn and obstinate on a policy that raises so little money?

Posted by Bill1776 (anonymous) on November 14, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.

I don’t mind letting the rich Democrats paying more they are about 75% of the richest people in the country.
Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison Democrats together are worth 126 billion dollars
John Kerry with his rich wife over one billion dollar. They are richer than Romney and his wife.
Out of ten richest in the House of Representatives and the Senate only three are Republicans.

I don’t mind letting John Kerry and his rich wife (D) over a billion dollars, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) $112.13 million, $112.13 million, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)$80.45 million, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) .$72.37 million, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D, New Jersey) $55.07 Million Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) $42.94 million pay more, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) $12.53 million, Sen. Harry Reid $6 million and Obama 11.8 million pay more.