The Boehner/Kristol strategy on the fiscal cliff

Greg Richards
John Boehner seemed to be wimping out after the election when he said "this is Obama's moment.  We are looking to him for leadership."  But as we contemplate the fiscal cliff negotiations there may well be a barb in that position.

Bill Kristol has said that the Republicans should cave on higher taxes for those making over $1 million a year - i.e., the "millionaires and billionaires" Obama talked about during the election.  After all, they can afford it as Warren Buffett keeps telling us and by all appearances most of them vote Dem anyway.  The Repubs hold the line for the $250,000 - 1 millionaires because they include a lot of small businesses and a lot of employment 

Obama was really using misdirection on the Republicans during the election because taxing millionaires and billionaires doesn't actually raise that much money - only about $80 billion - while the deficit is $1.2 trillion more or less.  Obama knew the Republicans would rise to the bait because of their no new taxes strategy, but he was able to avoid the real problem which is spending being structurally out of control as it has never been before in our history.  This is the welfare state come home to roost because the baby boomers are now demanding the benefits promised but never funded.

One can see the Boehner/Kristol package as going like this..."OK Mr. President, we cave on the millionaires and the billionaires you ran against in the election, but only on them, not on the $250,000 - 1 millionaires because there are a lot of small businesses in there.  So, we give on that.  We await your leadership on spending cuts."

Basically, we are spending $1 trillion more than we can afford.  The Repubs cave on taxes for $80 billion.  Now the president is on the hook for $920 billion in spending cuts. 

Could be worse.


John Boehner seemed to be wimping out after the election when he said "this is Obama's moment.  We are looking to him for leadership."  But as we contemplate the fiscal cliff negotiations there may well be a barb in that position.

Bill Kristol has said that the Republicans should cave on higher taxes for those making over $1 million a year - i.e., the "millionaires and billionaires" Obama talked about during the election.  After all, they can afford it as Warren Buffett keeps telling us and by all appearances most of them vote Dem anyway.  The Repubs hold the line for the $250,000 - 1 millionaires because they include a lot of small businesses and a lot of employment 

Obama was really using misdirection on the Republicans during the election because taxing millionaires and billionaires doesn't actually raise that much money - only about $80 billion - while the deficit is $1.2 trillion more or less.  Obama knew the Republicans would rise to the bait because of their no new taxes strategy, but he was able to avoid the real problem which is spending being structurally out of control as it has never been before in our history.  This is the welfare state come home to roost because the baby boomers are now demanding the benefits promised but never funded.

One can see the Boehner/Kristol package as going like this..."OK Mr. President, we cave on the millionaires and the billionaires you ran against in the election, but only on them, not on the $250,000 - 1 millionaires because there are a lot of small businesses in there.  So, we give on that.  We await your leadership on spending cuts."

Basically, we are spending $1 trillion more than we can afford.  The Repubs cave on taxes for $80 billion.  Now the president is on the hook for $920 billion in spending cuts. 

Could be worse.