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It’s nothing but a power play by Obama

by Mojambo ( 13 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Debt, Democratic Party, Economy, Elections 2012, Politics, Republican Party, Socialism, Special Report, taxation at December 7th, 2012 - 8:10 am

Obama does reminds me about the  way the Soviet Union used to negotiate – “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours will be mine”.

by Charles Krauthammer

Let’s understand President Obama’s strategy in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. It has nothing to do with economics or real fiscal reform. This is entirely about politics. It’s Phase 2 of the 2012 campaign. The election returned to him to office. The fiscal cliff negotiations are designed to break the Republican opposition and grant him political supremacy, something he thinks he earned with his landslide 2.8-point victory margin on Election Day.

This is why he sent Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to the Republicans to convey not a negotiating offer but a demand for unconditional surrender. House Speaker John Boehner had made a peace offering of $800 billion in new revenues. Geithner pocketed Boehner’s $800 billion, doubled it to $1.6 trillion, offered risible cuts that in 2013 would actually be exceeded by new stimulus spending, and then demanded that Congress turn over to the president all power over the debt ceiling.

Boehner was stunned. Mitch McConnell laughed out loud. Alas, Boehner gave again, coming back a week later with spending-cut suggestions — as demanded by Geithner — only to have them dismissed with a wave of the hand.

What’s going on here? Having taken Boehner’s sword, and then his shirt, Obama sent Geithner to demand Boehner’s trousers. Perhaps this is what Obama means by a balanced approach.

He pretends that Boehner’s offer to raise revenues by eliminating deductions rather than by raising rates is fiscally impossible. But on July 22, 2011, Obama had said that “$1.2 trillion in additional revenues … could be accomplished without hiking tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process.” Which is exactly what the Republicans are offering today.

As for the alleged curative effect on debt of Obama’s tax-rate demand — the full rate hike on the “rich” would have reduced the 2012 deficit from $1.10 trillion to $1.02 trillion.


Such nonsense abounds because Obama’s objective in these negotiations is not economic but political: not to solve the debt crisis but to fracture the Republican majority in the House. Get Boehner to cave, pass the tax hike with Democratic votes provided by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and let the Republican civil war begin.

It doesn’t even matter whether Boehner gets deposed as speaker. Either way, the Republican House would be neutered, giving Obama a free hand to dominate Washington and fashion the entitlement state of his liking.

This is partisan zero-sum politics, nothing more. Obama has never shown interest in genuine debt reduction. He does nothing for two years, then spends the next two ignoring his own debt-reduction commission. In less than four years, he has increased U.S. public debt by a staggering 83 percent. As a percentage of GDP, the real marker of national solvency, it has spiked from 45 percent to 70 percent.

Obama has never once publicly suggested a structural cut in entitlements. On the contrary, he created an entirely new entitlement — Obamacare — that, according to the CBO, will increase spending by $1.7 trillion.

What’s he thinking? Doesn’t Obama see looming ahead the real economic cliff — a European-like collapse under the burden of unsustainable debt? Perhaps, but he wants to complete his avowedly transformational social-democratic agenda first, and let his successors — likely Republican — act as tax collectors on the middle class and takers of subsidies from the mouths of babes.

[……] If Obama remains intransigent, let him be the one to take us over the cliff. And then let the new House, which is sworn in weeks before the president, immediately introduce and pass a full across-the-board restoration of the Bush tax cuts.

Obama will counter with the usual all-but-the-rich tax cut — as the markets gyrate and the economy begins to wobble under his feet.

Result? We’re back to square one, but with a more level playing field. The risk to Obama will be rising and the debt ceiling will be looming.

Most important of all, however, Republicans will still be in possession of their unity, their self-respect — and their trousers.

Read the rest – It’s nothing but a power play



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13 Responses to “It’s nothing but a power play by Obama”
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  1. 1 | December 7, 2012 8:30 am


    Do it, 0. Take us off the cliff yourself.

  2. eaglesoars
    2 | December 7, 2012 8:54 am

    And Boehner/Cantor are playing right into his hands

  3. buzzsawmonkey
    3 | December 7, 2012 9:37 am

    Here’s how the negotiations work…

  4. 4 | December 7, 2012 10:08 am

    @ eaglesoars:

    Boehner has the spine of a jellyfish. It was his stupidity that set up the “Fiscal Cliff” in the first place. This is a win-win for Obama. If the Republicans cave, all that Krauthammer says will come to pass. If they don’t, Obama gets a recession he can demagogue and blame on the Republicans. Obama can’t lose and we can’t win. This is a result of Boehner’s stupidity or collusion. Like I’ve said before, I don’t think the Republican “leasdership” is actually trying to win.

  5. buzzsawmonkey
    5 | December 7, 2012 10:16 am

    Iron Fist wrote:

    Like I’ve said before, I don’t think the Republican “leasdership” is actually trying to win.

    Have you read about the consent decree that the Republicans signed some time back, which prevents them from investigating voter fraud?

    Utterly mindboggling.

  6. buzzsawmonkey
    6 | December 7, 2012 10:17 am

    Iron Fist wrote:

    Boehner has the spine of a jellyfish. It was his stupidity that set up the “Fiscal Cliff” in the first place.

    And at a time when the Democrats were running scared, too—with the Tea Party congressional win on one side and an uncertain election coming up on the other.

    Boehner was at the fulcrum, and he blew it.

  7. eaglesoars
    7 | December 7, 2012 10:20 am

    Iron Fist wrote:

    Boehner has the spine of a jellyfish

    He thinks if he doesn’t get ‘a deal’ they’ll lose the mid-terms. Hence the purge.

    But now it’s civil war.

  8. 8 | December 7, 2012 10:36 am

    @ eaglesoars:

    Boehner doesn’t seem to understand that without the base, they don’;t have a majority. Or he doesn’t care. As I’ve said before, I am convinced that the Republican “leadership” is just as happy to be the minority party. They don’t act like they want to win.

  9. buzzsawmonkey
    9 | December 7, 2012 10:39 am

    Iron Fist wrote:

    As I’ve said before, I am convinced that the Republican “leadership” is just as happy to be the minority party. They don’t act like they want to win.

    Did you see my quote the other day from Orwell’s essay on Kipling, referring to “a permanent and pensioned opposition?”

  10. 10 | December 7, 2012 10:54 am

    @ buzzsawmonkey:

    Yes, I did. I think that sums it up nicely. I think that is exactly what the Republican “leadership” has become. Add into that that they like their tony parties in Georgetown, and if they became an opposition party in truth, the invites to those would dry up. It is more than just money to these people. They are all, Democrat and Republican alike, unimaginably wealthy. It is about status to them.

  11. buzzsawmonkey
    11 | December 7, 2012 11:00 am

    Iron Fist wrote:

    It is about status to them.

    WH Auden had it pegged, long ago. Read the whole thing, but particularly the last 18 lines or so:

    The Managers
    —WH Auden, 1948

    In the bad old days it was not so bad:
    The top of the ladder
    Was an amusing place to sit; success
    Meant quite a lot—leisure
    And huge meals, more palaces filled with more
    Objects, books, girls, horses
    Than one would ever get round to, and to be
    Carried uphill while seeing
    Others walk. To rule was a pleasure when
    One wrote a death-sentence
    On the back fo the Ace of Spades and played on
    With a new deck. Honors
    Are not so physical or jolly now,
    For the species of Powers
    We are used to are not like that. Could one of them
    Be said to resemble
    The Tragic Hero, the Platonic Saint,
    Or would any painter
    Portray one arising triumphant from a lake
    On a dolphin, naked,
    Protected by an umbrella of cherubs? Can
    They so much as manage
    To behave like genuine Caesars when alone
    Or drinking with cronies,
    To let their hair down and be frank about
    The world? It is doubtful.
    The last word on how we may live or die
    Rests today with such quiet
    Men, working too hard in rooms that are too big,
    Reducing to figures
    What is the matter, what is to be done.
    A neat little luncheon
    Of sandwiches is brought to each on a tray,
    Nourishment they are able
    To take with one hand without looking up
    From papers a couple
    Of secretaries are needed to file,
    From problems no smiling
    Can dismiss. The typewriters never stop
    But whirr like grasshoppers
    In the silent siesta heat as, frivolous
    Across their discussions,
    From woods unaltered by our wars and our vows
    There drift the scents of flowers
    And the songs of birds who will never vote
    Or bother to notice
    Those distinguishing marks a lover sees
    By instinct and policemen
    Can be trained to observe. Far into the night
    Their windows burn brightly
    And, behind their backs bent over some report,
    On every quarter,
    For ever like a god or a disease
    There on earth the reason
    In all its aspects why they are tired, the weak,
    The inattentive, seeking
    Someone to blame. If, to recuperate
    They go a-playing, their greatness
    Encounters the bow of the chef or the glance
    Of the ballet-dancer
    Who cannot be ruined by any master’s fall.
    To rule must be a calling,
    It seems, like surgery or sculpture; the fun
    Neither love nor money
    But taking necessary risks, the test
    Of one’s own skill, the question,
    If difficult, their own reward. But then
    Perhaps one should mention
    Also what must be a comfort as they guess
    In times like the present
    When guesses can prove so fatally wrong,
    The fact of belonging
    To the very select indeed, to those
    For whom, just supposing
    They do, there will be places on the last
    Plane out of disaster.
    No; no one is really sorry for their
    Heavy gait and careworn
    Look, nor would they thank you if you said you were.

  12. texasam7
    12 | December 7, 2012 11:01 am

    @ buzzsawmonkey:
    He’s well named.

  13. 13 | December 7, 2012 7:52 pm

    buzzsawmonkey wrote:

    Iron Fist wrote:
    Like I’ve said before, I don’t think the Republican “leasdership” is actually trying to win.
    Have you read about the consent decree that the Republicans signed some time back, which prevents them from investigating voter fraud?
    Utterly mindboggling.

    That’s why I strongly recommend disbanding the RNC and starting all over again – WITH DIFFERENT PERSONNEL!

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