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Cliff Dancing

December 6, 2012

…It’s like line dancing, except the people on the end die if you step too far…

Example, let’s all agree that we’re prepared to jump:

In an interview on CNBC, Geithner was asked, “When it comes to raising taxes on the wealthy, those making more than $250,000, if Republicans do not agree to that, is the administration prepared to go over the fiscal cliff?” ”Oh, absolutely,” Geithner said, maintaining that the administration continues to seek a “balanced” agreement.

Well, that’s fine.  Both sides are taking an entrenched stand… Republicans say no to new taxes (though they’ll eliminate deductions to try to make up the revenue).  Democrats are saying no to no to new taxes (if you get my drift).  So essentially the sides are deciding to be intractable on a single specific issue, and it really doesn’t matter, since taxes are going up on everyone anyway.  The payroll tax deduction is expiring at the end of the year anyway, and the increase in tax rates overall will just be more salt-flavored icing on the cake.

Of course, let’s also agree that drama is bad, especially if it takes the form of dialog.

As Ed thoroughly outlined this morning, one of the fiscal-cliff contingency plans Republicans have reportedly been considering as an option would be to agree to Obama’s tax hikes in order to avert going over the cliff, and instead hold out for substantial entitlement reform next year using the debt ceiling as leverage.

But that is an entirely childish, irresponsible, unacceptable plan — sanctimoniously says the guy who has already received six debt-ceiling raises and is currently running the country at a trillion-plus deficit every single year.

Note the rock-solid stance of suck on both sides here.  They’re both feeling wonderfully content that they can hose the credit rating of the country in a variety of ways while scoring cheap points.  The loser here is not any political side, but more likely the taxpayer who first has to listen to this dreck and then has to pay for it.

So… whatever.  The unintended consequence of this is that the American people are going to feel even further distanced from reality as the media enters the spin war and tries to help us pick either side… while we’re sick of both of them.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2012 4:52 pm

    The debt ceiling was never in history held hostage for partisan purposes until 2 years ago, when Republican brinksmanship led to our first credit downgrade. Before then, there had been regular kabuki shows with both sides claiming to their constituents they would lift/not lift the ceiling, but in reality making bi-partisan deals behind closed doors. 2 years ago, we found out the Kabuki show was real, with members of the republican caucus going both on the record and behind closed doors saying that refusing to raise the ceiling is a good thing.

    And next year, they will cause the mother of all government shutdowns. It’s really bad when I start missing Gingrich.

    We have met the enemy…..

    • December 7, 2012 5:09 pm

      …and they’re putting us farther in debt.

      I can see reasons why you’d need to raise the debt ceiling, but I’m really unhappy that we can’t have a dialog on how to grow the government slower for a change.

      • December 7, 2012 5:15 pm

        I thought the House held the purse strings of government. If republicans want to lower debt, they should pass the appropriate budget. Not default on money already spent. If they pass a reasonable budget and Obama vetos it, then he will take the heat.

        That said, I am also distressed by the growing hyper-partisanship of the last couple of decades.

      • December 7, 2012 7:43 pm

        Actually, the House passed a budget during the last debt ceiling go-round, and the Senate never voted on it. The House passed two other budgets that the Senate either never voted or declined. The House also twice put the budget direclty proposed by the Obama administration. They and the Senate both voted on those, with no votes supporting.

        It’s not that they haven’t tried, but I’d also agree that there were probably “problems” with the budgets they tried to foist.

    • December 7, 2012 6:38 pm

      Keita – I totally agree with you – AND with Senator Obama when he said the debt and raising the debt limit were serious threats to the security of our nation.
      Oh. Wait. that was so 2007….NOW you’re saying it’s a good thing that the debt limit’s high. Because we can trust Obama to do what he said Bush shouldn’t do, now that he’s president. Yup. I get it

      • December 9, 2012 1:08 pm

        That was part of the Kabuki show I mentioned earlier, with both sides posturing for the cameras, but never seriously considering crippling the country by defaulting.

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