Senate leaders work to avoid New Year's "fiscal cliff"

Comments (29)
boonteetan wrote:

Procrastination is the name of the game, the lawmakers are well aware of that.
If year 2013 is one of perpetual fiscal crisis for US, world economy will be in
deeper disarray. Better not.
Just do something now, something positive, no matter how, please. (btt1943, vzc1943)………..

Dec 28, 2012 9:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:

bonteetan: Unfortunately, the politicians we’re depending on are going to get their pay, and a whole lot more, regardless of what decision they make regarding the fiscal cliff. So their these “negotiations” are focused solely on what is best for their careers. What is best for the American people doesn’t even come into play. If it did, taxes would go up on the top 2% to Clinton-era rates, and Americans expected when they reelected Obama, and that would be that. Unfortunately, something has gone terribly wrong in this country and we’re a long way off from fixing the problem. There are people on the right who want to change America into something its never been, something that will look more like a 3rd world country than a leading developed nation. China just recently christened a high-speed rail train. China has learned for us, the way we used to be. Now conservatives will do whatever it takes to prevent us from ever having a similar accomplishment. It does not fit into their new plans for America.

Dec 28, 2012 10:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
SanPa wrote:

I remember when Y2K was going to be the end of civilization as we knew it …. unless, congress pushed through measures to hire foreign workers. Congress is now working feverishly to strip a $600 billion budget measure to around $150 billion.

Dec 28, 2012 10:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse

Just the mere fact that this article is accompanied by a picture of McConnell’s smirking face is enough to preclude any signs of hope herein from being taken seriously.

Dec 28, 2012 11:03pm EST  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:

It’s the sign of the Gypsy Queen..McConnell looks like he just ate a batch of “magic” mushrooms. To grasp exactly how dysfunctional this government is…the “Fiscal Cliff” is upon us because Congress couldn’t get together and agree on a measly $1.2T in cuts over 10 years in the face of $1T annual deficits. The short story is that these guys need to get themselves re-elected. The bond market is a bubble and gold is headed for the cellar. My money says that there will be a deal and the market will love it. Load up on mutual funds early boys..we’re going on a ride.

Dec 28, 2012 11:29pm EST  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:

I’m confident that we’ll survive this latest episode of ineptitude, but not at all convinced our Republic will remain a good place to live in the coming years. I was recently talking to my sister about how I’m going to have to quit caring about my country just to retain my sanity. What I see happening just doesn’t make sense to me. Our country is being driven by radical extremists, with the help of wealthy plutocrats on one end, and ignorant lemmings on the other.

I know people who have always voted Republican who don’t like what their party is doing, but rationalize to themselves their continued support, but they never can give a rational explanation as to why. One friend recently complained that the Republican’s problem is that they’ve “gone too far” on the abortion issue. That’s it. Having a PhD in chemistry, he regrets their antipathy toward science, but, oh well. And he hates our President. He asked me if I planned to vote for “the ni__er.” And this guy teaches college. It’s so illogical. They completely ignore what has worked for this country in the past. They completely ignore what has worked for other countries. They can’t be made to understand, for example, that a thriving country requires taxes, and if we cut taxes too low, we’ll start to look like a 3rd world nation. They don’t seem to care.

Consider their position on guns. They actually believe our country would be better off if everyone carried guns. That’s the thinking of a fool, yet it’s the position that is determining America’s gun laws. What used to be the most progressive country in the world is now following policies that only a real moron would believe is a good policy. The gun violence gets worse and worse, and their answer is more guns. It’s particularly frustrating because that idiot’s thinking is brought to you by the gun industry. So a policy that is detrimental to our society is being dictated to us by the gun industry in order to increase their profits. So we see the plutocrats role and the role of the lemmings, who embrace the gun industry’s sales pitch like it’s a religion. We’re showing the world that democracy and capitalism don’t work, the opposite of the example we used to set for the world. There’s no place or time in history that the right can point to that demonstrates their belief that the more guns people have the less gun violence will take place. That have NOTHING to back that up with. NOTHING. Yet it’s increasingly becoming the law of the land, all for the sake of a few people’s profits.

Our healthcare system is a similar story. It just amazes me that the rightwingers have actually allowed themselves to believe that we have the best healthcare system in the world and it shouldn’t be changed. The fact that it’s the most inefficient system in the world carries zero weight with them. The fact that it covers a smaller percentage of our population than any other developed country’s healthcare system doesn’t matter. The fact that we’re the only country that has millions of citizens having to file for bankruptcy in order to pay for their healthcare bills doesn’t affect their thinking. It costs more per person than any other healthcare system by far. It’s grossly illogical. They’ve by taught by the plutocrats who have become filthy rich scalping Americans for healthcare that any change to our system amounts to socialism and that would be worse than selling your soul to Satan. We’re being ruled by robber barrons and fools. I don’t know how this can be fixed without a serious and violent clash of cultures.

Dec 29, 2012 12:25am EST  --  Report as abuse
thinker72 wrote:

I don’t think the fiscal cliff will be a big deal, republicans will agree to tax cuts once the new year rolls in, however the bigger problem is just around the corner with new debt ceiling arrangements coming into play. This is where the fun and games will really start. The hardline teapartier will try and force a default, this i believe will be their main campaign goal against Obama and they will justify this saying its a core tenet of their beliefs, fiscal austerity. Really its just a way of clubbing Obama, it will of course screw everyone too. Thank god i live in Australia, best of luck.

Dec 29, 2012 1:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
Abulafiah wrote:

@thinker72

I agree – the debt-ceiling will be a much bigger drama. Republicans will see to that, as all they have is political theatre.

Hopefully, this time, Obama will have the balls to raise it unilaterally via and Executive Order and have the argument afterwards.

The whole idea of having a US-style debt-ceiling is stupid and, with people like Republicans in government, very damaging. There are very good reasons why normal countries make it automatic. How Republicans can agree to spending and then refuse to fund the spending they agree to is beyond me – talk about being childish.

As for the fiscal cliff, Obama should go right over it and then play the hero by fixing the problem afterwards. He has already given in too much to Republicans, and it is about time he grew a set of balls and realised that you can’t reason with them.

Dec 29, 2012 5:29am EST  --  Report as abuse
RyeSkeptic wrote:

Prediction #1 – no deal by 12/31/12, certainly not one enacted in law
Prediction #2 – going over the cliff will be good for our gov’t.

We “need” to go over the cliff to force meaningful spending reductions – forget Obama’s noise about reducing future interest payments and reductions in projected growth. Real cuts to real programs are needed and no one is going to make them until things start to look bad. Spending has to be reduced to 19% of GDP. Raising taxes (which I can accept and expect) will not solve the problem.

Dec 29, 2012 8:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
AZreb wrote:

There will be a “deal” and BOTH sides will claim victory and the losers will be us, the tax payers. They will use a band-aid approach on the arterial bleeding and then kick the can down the road for months or another year.

We will breathe a sigh of relief – but then take a good look at the “deal” and realize we should have used that breath to scream!

Dec 29, 2012 9:44am EST  --  Report as abuse
americanguy wrote:

I wish they would ship Mitch back to Disney World to be with the other animatronic puppets. I mean, just look at the guy, his face is plastic.

Dec 29, 2012 10:06am EST  --  Report as abuse
JL4 wrote:

I’m past believing I might have something to say on the topic of our Congress. I used to think that people who said our Congress was “treasonous” were being silly and overly dramatic.

Now I’m not so sure they were wrong.

Dec 29, 2012 11:28am EST  --  Report as abuse
Verpoly wrote:

America sinks not because of Chinese invasion, but becuase of internal fight, until our opponents budge.

Dec 29, 2012 11:28am EST  --  Report as abuse
JL4 wrote:

@RyeSkeptic – I don’t think anyone has argued that reduced spending is a bad idea. On the contrary, the Democrats have acknowledged that over and over again. It’s “taxes” that is the sticking point, plain and simple. It’s obvious to anyone who thinks that a reduction in spending with raising taxes is the sound path to take.

Why do Republicans insist that Democrats refuse spending cuts, when they’ve been offered WITH tax increases. Republicans want only spending cuts with no tax increase. This is one of the reasons why I think the average Republican is deliberately delusional.

Dec 29, 2012 12:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Bunker555 wrote:

Mitch should try some prunes since suppositories haven’t worked yet.

Dec 29, 2012 1:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@flashrooster

What does high speed rail in China have anything to do with it. Do you have any idea what their population density is? Do you realize that rail is not cost effective now? Do you know that if high speed rail was profitable in America it would have already been made? That is the problem with the left. Lets spend billions and make something that no one needs, and no one will use. We have an endless supply of money coming off the Democrat money presses…

Dec 29, 2012 1:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

You Democrats know that if Obama had sent spending cuts to the Republicans along with the tax cuts for the wealthy they would have passed it right? Or do you just mindlessly believe everything the media tells you? The Tea Party is demanding the spending cuts first, then they will raise taxes. Obama is demanding tax hikes on the top 2%, and another $50 billion of spending. The Republicans told him to go pound sand.

Dec 29, 2012 1:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ChangeWhat wrote:

F U Washington!
F U Senate!
F U Representatives!
F U Boner!
F U Obama!
F U Senators!
F U Congress!
F U Capitol Hill!
F U Republicans!
F U Democrats!
F U Communists!
F U 1%!
F U and all the evil you do and turmoil you create in this once great country! You should all rot in hell!

Happy New Years!!! :-)

Dec 29, 2012 2:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
sylvan wrote:

House GOPers have had the least productive legislative year in US history, and have not contributed one idea towards a solution. They are completely and totally worthless anarchists. Every issue to these repugnant, adolescent, bullying white boys is a game to prevent the routine functioning of our country. We ought to string drunken Boehner up by his teeny weeny balls, if we can find them, and send the rest of the rats of the GOP caucus scurrying out of our house, the pathetic, worthless, brainless sacks of trash.

Dec 29, 2012 2:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
totherepublic wrote:

Art_In_Seattle
Don’t tell me, you voted for Inslee, right. WA is going to tank as well now. The only hope you have is to sell enough pot. And of course the gay marriage tourist trade. Good luck.

Dec 29, 2012 3:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Tat wrote:

In my opinion the left in the US must end the rights agenda that lower tax’s are needed to stimulate the economy. After President Obama raises thax’s on the wealthy and if the economy improves the left will then have the high ground on taxe’s and say “look we have proved raising tax’s on the wealthy is good for the economy” I beleive the left must end the rights agenda on lowering tax’s. What better opportunity for the left than now after winning the election

Dec 29, 2012 4:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Gigimoderate wrote:

@TheNewWorld
China is investing in their Infrastructure….(science and technology). It’s called looking forward and planning for your future…what a idea! I know this must be hard for you to understand….

Dec 29, 2012 4:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@Gigmoderate

They have money. We don’t. We are $16 trillion in debt with a budget that adds over a trillion to that debt each year. What you are planning for our future is bankruptcy and the collapse of the dollar. What an idea! I know this must be hard for you to understand…

Dec 29, 2012 5:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@Tat

Why just raise taxes on the wealthy? Why is raising taxes on the wealthy good for the economy, but raising it for the poor and middle class is bad? Tax cuts don’t work right? I understand it is unpopular to raise taxes on the people who just elected you, but it is not logical to say it will be disasterous to raise taxes on 98% of the country, but we will be fine to raise it for 2% of the country. Class warfare is just as bad as racism, and sexism. They are pitting Americans against Americans.

For the record I am for tax rates to go back to Clinton levels for everyone. The deficit and the debt is the biggest threats to the US. If we do not get it under control we are in for a huge crash and a government induced Great Depression.

Dec 29, 2012 5:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@JL4

“I don’t think anyone has argued that reduced spending is a bad idea. On the contrary, the Democrats have acknowledged that over and over again. It’s “taxes” that is the sticking point, plain and simple. It’s obvious to anyone who thinks that a reduction in spending with raising taxes is the sound path to take.

Why do Republicans insist that Democrats refuse spending cuts, when they’ve been offered WITH tax increases. Republicans want only spending cuts with no tax increase. This is one of the reasons why I think the average Republican is deliberately delusional.”

Until we sill a bill voted on in the Senate or the House, technically no one has been offered anything but lip service. Republicans know the Democrats game. Tax now, cut spending never. In fact the only thing to have the left the Senate recently was $60 billion of new pork spending for New York and New Jersey masqueraded as a Hurricane relief bill. They are also working up away to continue $5 billion subsidies for Big Agriculture. Spending cuts bills. None in sight.

Dec 29, 2012 5:23pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Fenril784 wrote:

Bottom line is Congress is out of touch with America, it is all about them.

The current salary (2011-2012) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year. (Will increase to $174,900 on March 27, 2013)

Nice they get a $ 900 raise for one year while we get higher taxes and no raises.

Dec 29, 2012 5:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Abulafiah wrote:

TheNewWorld wrote:

“What you are planning for our future is bankruptcy and the collapse of the dollar. What an idea! ”

What a baseless chicken little argument! How typically Republican to ignore real-life facts such as the USA having a higher debt level in the past and guess what? The sky didn’t fall…

TheNewWorld wrote:

“Why is raising taxes on the wealthy good for the economy, but raising it for the poor and middle class is bad?”

Right there you show us all how little the right-wing understand of the issue.

Tax cuts are a reasonably good idea if they increase consumer demand and spending, and a waste of money if they don’t. Tax cuts for the middle-class will probably increase spending because social demographics show that the middle-class spend most of their income. Tax cuts for the wealthy do not increase spending because they already have more than enough to spend, and social demographics show that they do not spend most of their income. Spending tax revenue to give give wealthy people tax cuts is a waste of money because it has no returns.

In simple terms, the middle-class are more likely to spend their tax-cut which helps the economy; the wealthy are more likely to put it in the bank and save it which does not help the economy.

In more general terms, tax-cuts for anybody are an inefficient way to stimulate the economy, and you Republicans are just following a silly ideology to rant on about them endlessly. Government spending is far more efficient because it guarantees that the money will be spent, and that it will be spent in the USA.

TheNewWorld wrote:

”Spending cuts bills. None in sight.”

If you understood basic economics you would be glad about that. Spending cuts are guaranteed to cause another recession. The way you Republicans go on about them, one could easily believe that another recession is precisely what Republicans want. Look at Europe, and the see how spending cuts have killed growth and prevented recovery. Spending cuts don’t work. They never have and they never will.

The correct way to reduce debts, deficits, unemployment, and everything else is *economic growth*. I know this must be hard for you to understand….

Economies, contrary to Republican ideology, do not magically repair themselves. They need to be pushed into growth, and the most efficient way is through stimulus spending. This is what Obama would like to do, but as you say “The Republicans told him to go pound sand.” Presumably, they did that because the last thing they want is for the US economy to grow. They would rather throw the US into another recession than admit that they are wrong…

Having said all that:

Obamas first offer of spending cuts: “$400 billion in savings from federal health entitlement programs.” -> http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/11/republicans-unhappy-with-latest-fiscal-cliff-talks.html

Obamas second offer of spending cuts: “Obama offered to change the formula used to calculate Social Security benefits in a way that would cut outlays to seniors slightly while saving the program $225 billion over a decade.” -> http://www.salon.com/2012/12/18/liberals_reject_obamas_social_security_offer/

Dec 30, 2012 4:46am EST  --  Report as abuse
Abulafiah wrote:

TheNewWorld wrote:

“What you are planning for our future is bankruptcy and the collapse of the dollar. What an idea! ”

What a baseless chicken little argument! How typically Republican to ignore real-life facts such as the USA having a higher debt level in the past and guess what? The sky didn’t fall…

TheNewWorld wrote:

“Why is raising taxes on the wealthy good for the economy, but raising it for the poor and middle class is bad?”

Right there you show us all how little the right-wing understand of the issue.

Tax cuts are a reasonably good idea if they increase consumer demand and spending, and a waste of money if they don’t. Tax cuts for the middle-class will probably increase spending because social demographics show that the middle-class spend most of their income. Tax cuts for the wealthy do not increase spending because they already have more than enough to spend, and social demographics show that they do not spend most of their income. Spending tax revenue to give give wealthy people tax cuts is a waste of money because it has no returns.

In simple terms, the middle-class are more likely to spend their tax-cut which helps the economy; the wealthy are more likely to put it in the bank and save it which does not help the economy.

In more general terms, tax-cuts for anybody are an inefficient way to stimulate the economy, and you Republicans are just following a silly ideology to rant on about them endlessly. Government spending is far more efficient because it guarantees that the money will be spent, and that it will be spent in the USA.

TheNewWorld wrote:

”Spending cuts bills. None in sight.”

If you understood basic economics you would be glad about that. Spending cuts are guaranteed to cause another recession. The way you Republicans go on about them, one could easily believe that another recession is precisely what Republicans want. Look at Europe, and the see how spending cuts have killed growth and prevented recovery. Spending cuts don’t work. They never have and they never will.

The correct way to reduce debts, deficits, unemployment, and everything else is *economic growth*. I know this must be hard for you to understand….

Economies, contrary to Republican ideology, do not magically repair themselves. They need to be pushed into growth, and the most efficient way is through stimulus spending. This is what Obama would like to do, but as you say “The Republicans told him to go pound sand.” Presumably, they did that because the last thing they want is for the US economy to grow. They would rather throw the US into another recession than admit that they are wrong…

Having said all that:

Obamas first offer of spending cuts: “$400 billion in savings from federal health entitlement programs.”

Obamas second offer of spending cuts: “Obama offered to change the formula used to calculate Social Security benefits in a way that would cut outlays to seniors slightly while saving the program $225 billion over a decade.”

I would like to post links to the above statements, but Reuters are being selective over what they publish – this is the third attempt in 40 minutes, and I am hoping that the it is the use of links that they don’t like today…

Dec 30, 2012 4:52am EST  --  Report as abuse
JL4 wrote:

Republicans would indeed be pleased with spending cuts and tax cuts, and no, that hasn’t been offered – and won’t be because it’s national economic suicide.

Spending cuts and tax increases has been offered, but that doesn’t line up with the “wet behind the ears” Tea Party freshmen Republican House members’ agenda, which is to live up to the Norquist Pledge of “no tax increase under any circumstance”. In other words, to get re-elected. If they have their way, and they won’t, the spending cuts would be where the U.S. gains dollars and it isn’t enough.

The seasoned House and Senate members are beginning to realize a couple of things: 1) That they stand a better chance of re-election if they compromise and 2) the Tea Party fringe insanity is just that – insanity, and temporary at that. They are bailing on the pledge and the Tea Party. One by one.

But they ALL deserve to be thrown out of office. Why in the hell it’s okay for them to wait until the 11th hour to hammer this out defies all logic.

Dec 30, 2012 2:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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