Reblogged from MadHound at Democratic Underground:
The sad thing is, we don’t need to do any sort of deal on the fiscal cliff.
What few people are saying is that the fiscal cliff is a contrived crisis: put in place by a Congress and White House that didn’t want to stand strong over the debt ceiling crisis, so instead decided to put off the fight for a later day.
What few people are saying is that the only thing that needs to be done – absolutely, positively needs to be done before the end of the year – is dealing with the Alternative Minimum Tax patch. Everything else, every single thing, could be dealt with in the new year with a new Congress.
What few people are saying is that going over the fiscal cliff could actually be a good thing, if handled correctly. Face the fact: we need more revenue in this country, not just from the rich but from all of us. Clinton’s tax rates didn’t kill us or the country back in the day; it won’t kill us now, and will make our debt situation all that much better.
Furthermore, going over the fiscal cliff will finally allow us to do something that hasn’t been done in a long time: actually cut military spending. No, it wouldn’t be as much as a lot of people want (me, personally, I want to start with cutting the military budget in half), but it would be a start.
The rest, the cuts in other spending, all of it, could be dealt with by the new Congress. The world won’t end, the country won’t go belly up, markets wouldn’t crumble.
In addition: by showing some fight now over this issue, by standing up to the ‘Pugs and showing them that they can’t play chicken again, the President and the Dems will call their bluff and thus make their future Congressional fights that much easier. Succumb once again to this tactic of governance by contrived crisis, and we’re going to get hammered again and again.
So let’s do it, let’s go over the fiscal cliff. It’s a hell of lot better than cutting Social Security benefits and slashing more and more of the social safety net, trying to please a group that simply won’t be happy until it is all done away with.
Spandan Chakrabarti at The People’s View also injected a little sanity into the “run in circles, scream and shout” that seems to surround this issue:
Does (Social Security) need to be dealt with right this minute, in the wake of the fiscal cliff negotiations? No. So why do it right now? Because the concession is laughably small on the President’s part, and in exchange for it he gets:
- Higher taxes on the rich: The President, as his counteroffer, has asked for tax rates to go up for at least those making more than $400,000, in response to Speaker Boehner’s offer of letting the rates go up on incomes over $1 million. The proposal would also cap the value of itemized deductions to 28%, basically preventing the rich from taking a greater percent of their incomes in deductions than middle class families. This, along with the President’s proposal to raise capital gains and dividend rates, as well as increasing the estate tax, should bring us pretty close to $1.2 trillion.
- No changes to Medicare benefits.
- Extended unemployment benefits and refundable tax credits for the poor and the middle class.
- Infrastructure investment.
- A two-year extension in the debt limit, avoiding another hostage crisis in a couple of months.
In other words: this minor adjustment to Social Security, which will prolong the trust fund’s life, is a small compromise to get Republicans to pretty much lay down and take it on almost every single one of the President’s, and progressives’, priorities. This is a deal the Republicans are being dared to oppose. They wanted the President to put “entitlements” on the table and, well, he did. Now the Republicans almost have to say “yes” if they don’t want to be blamed for causing another recession next year.
One more update from MadHound:
There are some folks who are spreading disinformation about going over the fiscal cliff: claiming that going over the fiscal cliff will hurt the poor, take away food stamps and Medicare and such, and that we would be sacrificing the poor if we don’t do a deal now.
That is simply a lie, a complete and utterly stinking pile of cow manure.
The only real issue that absolutely, positively has to be dealt with before the end of the year is the Alternative Minimum Tax patch. If that isn’t dealt with, then the middle and upper middle class will be feeling some pain, not the poor and downtrodden.
Once again we are seeing Third Way/DLC/neoliberal propaganda being spewed, trying to sacrifice all of our long-term good for some short-term, possible, maybe, gain for a few. They are trying to split liberals and the Democratic party, pitting the poor against the elderly. Don’t fall for this propaganda bullshit.
Our best bet for the poor, the elderly, all of us is at this point: to go right off that cliff. Don’t let anybody try to convince you otherwise.
And the last word comes from Mr. Blunt and Cranky:
On the Left and on the Right, warnings of “it’s a trap” and “the sky is falling” are getting so numerous and loud, it can be hard to think sometimes. Plus, just like Chicken Little, most of the shriekers are over-reacting and the noise is making it hard to focus on real problems.
Panic is understandable, but a lot of this seems deliberate, a ruse to fool the foolish and gull the gullible. From the NRA and their “partners” in government who claim Obama is about to enslave us all, to those on the Left who are calling Obama a sellout, this artificial state of impending doom is designed to cause us to react out of fear and panic, and act according to their scripts.
Let’s all take a deep breath here. Even if the evil Obaminator wanted to take your guns, he can’t. Even if the Boehnerific One wanted to steal your Social Security, he can’t. The world will not end tomorrow, and there is not a U.N. force hovering at the border, ready to swoop in and steal our hoarded canned goods and Twinkies. And no, Golden Eagles are not snatching toddlers.
Remember: con artists in and out of government like to yank our chains so as to get what they want. Don’t let them yank yours.
Admiral Akbar listened to Lando, calmed down, and everything was OK. Chicken Little calmed down eventually, but caused lots of trouble beforehand. But neither of them should have been listened to in the first place.