Friday, November 30, 2012

Fiscal Cliff – Republican Leadership?

Igor Bobic brings us the latest from Speaker Boehner:
Asked on Friday what kind of specific entitlement cuts he seeks in a deal with the White House over the so-called fiscal cliff, House Speaker John Boehner pointed reporters to previous GOP budgets, declining to name further demands in a potential counteroffer … Boehner also added that talks with President Obama had come to a significant stand-still. “There’s a stalemate," Boehner said. "Let’s not kid ourselves.”
Earlier this month, Greg Mankiw did his best to defend what the Republicans have been saying about fiscal policy:
According to the Tax Policy Center, if we cap itemized deductions at $50,000 and keep tax rates as they are today, we would raise $749 billion in tax revenue over ten years … This may be the germ of a possible deal between President Obama and Speaker Boehner: The speaker agrees to this tax hike if the president agrees to some fundamental reform of the entitlements
Notice that he had to project the extra revenues over an entire decade to get to a significant number. Truth be told – there are only a handful of Republican Senators and Congressmen willing to buck the Norquist pledge in the least. And none of them are willing to accept higher tax rates, which mean revenue enhancements would be modest at best. While Greg Mankiw tossed out “raising the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare”, Speaker Boehner is too chicken to do even that. It is time for the Speaker to “lead, follow, or get out of the way” (a line that Mitt Romney misattributed to Thomas Paine). Then again - Max is offering some real insights if anyone of our political “leaders” wish to listen.

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