Republican "math" and the fiscal clif...

Republican "math" and the fiscal cliff counteroffer

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Bob Schmahl

Saint Paul, MN

#1 Dec 4, 2012
The New York Times takes apart the Republican counteroffer to President Obama's fiscal cliff plan:

Which programs would be cut? The letter doesnít say, and Republicans donít seem to care, as long as they blindly achieve their goal of cutting a big chunk out of government. The offer was a transparent attempt to appear responsive to Mr. Obamaís detailed proposal from last week, without doing any actual math or hard work.

If Mr. Boehner had used a calculator, for example, he would have discovered it is impossible to produce $800 billion in revenue from eliminating deductions without severely curtailing the deduction for charitable donations, which is vital to the nonprofit sector. Doing so without limiting the charitable deduction would inevitably raise taxes on the middle class, as nonpartisan analysts have concluded, and would have a much greater effect on the upper middle class than on the very rich.

The only way to produce the necessary revenue is to combine some limits on deductions with an end to the Bush tax cuts on the rich, and Mr. Obama, fortunately, has been adamant he will not consider any plan that does not do so. The Boehner letter, by contrast, actually advocates lowering rates, suggesting that Republicans are still clinging to the notion, rejected by voters, that was put forward by Mitt Romney.

Goldie Taylor at MNSBC:

We learned last week that Romney 's pollster was relying on bad math based on bad assumptions, and I think here again you have the republican party doing the same thing. what are we talking about? Closing loopholes to try to fix the gap. We already had that conversation in the context of the election, and a number of economists said that that wouldn't work, which is part of the reason that the president is insisting on this conversation about the rates set for the top 2%. What do we hear about? the job creators. time and again. Governor Romney was not able to convince a majority of americans that by protecting the job creators and trickle down economics, we were going to solve our problem. 53% of americans thought he favored the rich and wasn't going to help the middle class for the poor. I think it's a deeper problem. Most of the rhetoric sounds a lot like the Romney plan.

Indeed, the AP lede calls the Republican counteroffer what it is -- a rehash of the same, uncredible policies offered during the election:

Republicans are proposing a "fiscal cliff" plan that revives ideas from failed budget talks with President Barack Obama last year, calling for raising the eligibility age for Medicare, lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits and bringing in $800 billion in higher tax revenue.

Since Republicans know their plan wasn't a serious one, Jonathan Karl at ABC News reports that Republicans are prepping this gameplan:

Republicans are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely. Itís quite simple: House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more: no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.

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