Obama fiscal cliff plan DOA with GOP on the Hill
Well, that didn't take long. Mitch McConnell told Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard that he "burst out laughing" when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined the president's wickedly clever plan to avert the fiscal cliff.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.
The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, met strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced the goal of finding $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other social programs to be worked out next year, with no guarantees.
He did propose some upfront cuts in programs like farm price supports, but did not specify an amount or any details. And senior Republican aides familiar with the offer said those initial spending cuts might be outweighed by spending increases, including at least $50 billion in infrastructure spending, mortgage relief, an extension of unemployment insurance and a deferral of automatic cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare.
"The Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts," Mr. Boehner said after the meeting. "No substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks."
Even wavering Republicans will vote for Satan before voting for an astonishing $1.6 trillion in tax increases. And I would laugh too if the Treasury Secretary advocated spending $50 billion in borrowed money on "stimulus" spending, (the third or fourth?) home mortgage refinancing scheme, and taking the statutory authority away from Congress to slow this freight train down that is spending us into oblvion.
And there is absolutely no guarantee that any spending cuts at all will be realized. None. Zero. Zilch.
But this gambit by Obama was not meant to outline the parameters of negotiations. It was initiated to begin the political process of blaming the GOP if talks fail. It is not serious governance. It is a reflection of the fact that the president has no clue how to govern, only how to run for office. This is a ploy one might find during a campaign, not an attempt to reach out seriously to the other side. Hence, there are so many poison pills in this proposal -- pills the president knew the GOP would never, ever accept - that one can safely assume the president is perfectly willing to go over the fiscal cliff, confident that the American people, as instructed by his allies in the media, will blame Republicans for the disaster.
Unfortunately, the GOP is well and truly trapped. Part of this is their own fault. By hinting at a willingness to break their pledge not to raise taxes, they have given an opening to the president who has now driven a $1.6 trillion dollar Mack truck through. Speaker Boehner has been quietly hinting that he might accept tax increases totaling $1 trillion or slightly less. Obama has substantially upped the ante to where the Republicans are now forced to either accept far more in tax increases than they were originally willing to go for, or blow up the deal entirely, thus handing the president a political - and pyrric - victory.
How bad is it for Republicans?
Senate Democratic leaders left their meeting with Mr. Geithner ecstatic. If the Republicans want additional spending cuts in that down payment, the onus is on them to put them on the table, said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.
In other words, it doesn't matter what the GOP proposes to cut, the president will get on his high horse and smite them down as he bravely takes the side of the "middle class." It's why Boehner said, "Listen, this is not a game. Jobs are on the line. The American economy is on the line. And this is a moment for adult leadership."
Sorry John. What you're going to get from Obama and the Dems is children's theater, not adult leadership.