The Rationality Assumptions Fails with Revolutionaries

Over at TPM, Brian Beutler is again spinning happy talk about how the expiration of the Bush tax cuts will give Obama tremendous leverage after the election:

If the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, it’ll give President Obama about $4 trillion in revenue over the coming 10 years. That’s way, way more than he asked for, more than he presumably wants, more than the economy can easily bear, and so everyone will have a great deal of incentive to negotiate backwards from it.

Alternatively, House Democrats and Republicans could pass legislation Harry Reid maneuvered through the Senate a few weeks back that extends all the Bush tax cuts, except those benefiting only higher income people. Yes, that would require Republicans to fully cave and affirmatively vote for higher revenue. But by giving Obama the bare minimum he’s asking for, it would also likely limit the damage — to about $800 billion over 10 years. Thus far and no further.

Politically, that would be a very heavy lift for John Boehner — which helps explain why Harry Reid’s pushing so hard for it and why Boehner himself recently said he wouldn’t support it even if Obama wins.

But if you’re a conservative and your ultimate goal is to keep federal revenues as low as possible, it’d be the easiest and smartest move, even if it’d also be a symbolically distasteful gesture. And, moreover, since Senate Democrats already passed the bill, Mitch McConnell et al might not mind the idea of leaving this all up to the House.

Those are the two likeliest scenarios.

But the ultimate goal of the Republicans is not to keep federal revenue as low as possible. The ultimate goal is a revolutionary reshaping of American society that tries to reverse the New Deal.

Now, if that is your goal, it is easy to see the real likeliest scenario, which is that if Obama wins, the GOP pushes us over the “fiscal cliff” back into severe recession, resolutely blocks any efforts at stimulus for four years, and then run in 2016 on the “failure” of the Democrats to right the ship.

I think it is a fatal error to underestimate the lengths to which the GOP will go in order to achieve its revolutionary ambitions. This is not normal politics, and the logic of leverage and negotiations is as misplaced here as it has been in other dark periods of the past.

Happy Tuesday.

 

 

90 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    JGabriel says:

    Seems like the best option is to make sure the Democrats win the House and keep the Senate and the Presidency.

  3. 3
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Funny, I had just read that same article and chuckled morbidly upon closing it. It’s our side doing the typical victory lap before we snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

  4. 4
    David in NY says:

    I was sort of retiring from any further contributions, but, as much as I hate to, maybe giving the DCCC some bucks, assuming they have a better idea than I where they’ll be well spent in House races, is something I ought to do.

  5. 5
    Culture of Truth says:

    “well that put rather a gloom over the evening didn’t it”

  6. 6
    Chris Gerrib says:

    I hear your “The GOP will lead the suicide charge” but I’m not buying it. If Obama wins, the down-ticket effect will be to push a bunch of Tea Party types to the private sector. There will be enough politicians that want to keep the Washington job around for Obama to work with.

  7. 7

    @JGabriel:

    Seems like the best option is to make sure the Democrats win the House and keep the Senate and the Presidency.

    And with control of the White House and the Senate looking very probable at this point, this means it’s time to focus on the House.

    Resources that would help people like me decide whose campaigns to give to would be appreciated. Two variables are important, at least to me: (1) which districts are in close races, and which way they lean, and (2) some indication of whether our candidate is a liberal, a Blue Dog, or what.

  8. 8
    Roger Moore says:

    @JGabriel:
    This. The Republicans can’t fuck with us if they don’t have any power. Keep them out of power and we only have to worry about keeping the Blue Dogs in line.

  9. 9
    The Bobs says:

    The ultimate goal of Republicans is to enrich themselves and their friends while holding power. Everything they say or do is just bullshit to keep the rubes voting for them.

  10. 10
    RP says:

    Now, if that is your goal, it is easy to see the real likeliest scenario, which is that if Obama wins, the GOP pushes us over the “fiscal cliff” back into severe recession, resolutely blocks any efforts at stimulus for four years, and then run in 2016 on the “failure” of the Democrats to right the ship.

    How would they do that?

  11. 11
    Xenix says:

    The house has to generate a bill to start this process, and win or lose the lame duck house just won’t do that. No point in fearing what you can not stop. Sequester means we get out of the empire business and end the Bush tax cuts. A crappy situation but a net win.

  12. 12
    Bruce S says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    Hell – I’ll send money to Blue Dogs if they can unseat a GOPTea wingnut.

  13. 13
    catclub says:

    In 2010 a lot of GOP state governments. _THOSE_ guys will want to be re-elected, and if the economy is lousy that kills their chances. All kinds of complications.

  14. 14
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Any attempt to apply rational motives and rational behavior to today’s GOP is epic fail.

    No? Have you read McMeagan lately?

  15. 15
    White Trash Liberal says:

    Brian is the most godawful writer at TPM. His villager of the damned “what this means to both sides” style is execrable.

    Josh Marshall hitched his star to Facebook and ditched his dignity in the dumpster.

  16. 16
    WaterGirl says:

    I’ll put in a plug for our local congressional race. It is one of the red-to-blue districts identified as having a good shot at turning a red district blue.

    David Gill IL-13 on the Issues

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! We have been stuck with Tim Johnson (R-Awful) for more years than I can count.

    Edit: David Gill is the progressive candidate. Strong on women’s issues, repeal of tax cuts for the rich, wants to strengthen medicare. He’s an ER doctor who would prefer single payer, but you do what’s possible.

  17. 17
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RP: Assuming they still have the House, they would do the same old shit without compromising at all at the end of the day.

    If they don’t have the House, they can’t.

  18. 18
    gene108 says:

    @Chris Gerrib:

    If Obama wins, the down-ticket effect will be to push a bunch of Tea Party types to the private sector.

    Thanks to the 2010 take over of state legislatures by Republicans, many formerly competitive to safe Democratic districts – the ones that elect Blue Dogs – will be flipped from D’s to R’s.

    I think three Congressional Democrats in North Carolina, for example, are basically toast and will these guys will be replaced with right-wingers just as goofy as the Tea Party types, with just a new rebranding to define them.

    My district in NJ was always a leans-R district, but a relatively Democratic town got moved to another district and a more heavily Republican town got added to the district. The race is still relatively close, but I don’t think there’s going to be enough for Democrats to retake it. It was held by a Republican incumbent for over 20 years, a strong Democratic candidate took it in a relatively close race in 2008 and lost his re-election bid in 2010.

    I don’t know how big Obama’s coattails are this year. I don’t see them flipping my Congressional seat.

    I don’t think this will be a significant wave election.

    Democrats may make some gains in the House, but retaking it will mean for a lot of things to go right on election night, i.e. turn out significantly favors Democrats, independents, who didn’t vote in 2010 come back to the Democratic fold in 2012, voter ID laws/voter purges don’t screw over enough Democratic votes to make a difference, etc. and I just can’t get myself to believe that it will happen; the let down would really suck.

  19. 19
    Enhanced Mooching Techniques says:

    What makes anyone think of the Republicans win it won’t mean another recession? The combination of government cuts and the Iran war will do that.

  20. 20
    danah gaz says:

    I think you underestimate the fact that either the American electorate has gotten hip to the sabotage game, or that the GOP candidates they produce as of late are so utterly terrible that they can’t win even if the economy is in the toilet (which will only get worse as they double down on radical movement conservatism over the several election cycles), or both.

  21. 21
    gene108 says:

    @catclub:

    But they did what damage they could and set up Congressional districts for another 10 years that heavily favor Republican House members.

    I just don’t feel optimistic about this election, other than Obama getting re-elected.

  22. 22
    Calouste says:

    @The Bobs:

    +1

  23. 23
    Spatula says:

    Here we go again: Pre-rationales and excuse making for why, mysteriously, the Republicans manage to run the show even from a minority position, while democrats just can’t get a darn tootin’ thing done even when they’re in the majority.

    But gol’ darn, that’s a hard one to figure out, and just kind of the way things mysteriously are…

    MORE AND BETTER DEMS!

    Here in Mass I’ll be voting for Elizabeth Warren just to indulge adolescent fantasies that doing so will make a difference, but have no doubt once she’s in D.C. she’ll be told to curb her enthusiasm lest things actually, you know, get done.

  24. 24
    Chad says:

    Wouldn’t an entrenchment of this strategy expose Republicans to losing even more in 2014? We can’t count on Democrats running the House, Senate, and Executive in order to have a functioning country reasonable Republicans or their replacements have to emerge.

  25. 25
    RP says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: But the taxes still go up if the two sides can’t agree. Are you suggesting that the increase in taxes will cause us to go back into recession? And while the economy isn’t growing the way we’d like, it is growing, even without additional stimulus. So I don’t understand how they’d push us towards the fiscal cliff.

  26. 26
    gene108 says:

    @danah gaz:

    We don’t have national elections in the U.S. The Presidential is 50 simultaneous state elections and it’s the closest we get to a national election.

    The Constitution disproportionately favors small states, with regards to representation in the Congress.

    A lot of small states are super safe for Republicans, where the only chance of an incumbent losing, is if he/she does something stupid like Bill Bennett of Utah and doesn’t wage holy war against the Democrats all the time.

    Also too, more populous states in the South don’t have functioning Democratic parties and are now safe Republican states – South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana – had Democratic parties fall apart in the 1990’s and early 2000’s and now North Carolina’s Democratic Party has joined their neighbors.

    In a nutshell, Republicans aren’t going to pay a price for their actions.

  27. 27
    Quincy says:

    Why don’t these posts about post-election “leverage” ever mention the debt ceiling increase we’ll need in January? Unless we get a Dem house, the tea party monsters will just use that hostage over and over again. Any leverage Obama has will need to be spent avoiding default.

  28. 28
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Chad:

    …reasonable Republicans or their replacements have to emerge.

    Um, no. Have the Republicans yet shown an iota of reasonableness? They believe that if they just keep doubling down they will prevail.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RP: I was speaking in general terms.

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    @Chris Gerrib:

    And the remaining Republicans will only be further radicalized, especially since they’ll be from the reddest conservative safe states. Sure, hopefully there’ll be enough politicians around to make shit work. Just don’t count on them to be Republican.

  31. 31
    patrick says:

    Wouldn’t an entrenchment of this strategy expose Republicans to losing even more in 2014? We can’t count on Democrats running the House, Senate, and Executive in order to have a functioning country reasonable Republicans or their replacements have to emerge.

    yeah, I think this strategy would be penny wise and pound foolish….it would be WAY too easy for even a not too shrewd Democratic Party Machine to pin why everybody’s taxes went up on the do-nothing, stonewalling rethuglicans, and that their stonewalling blocked job creation measures and crapped on the economy. flipping the house in the mid-terms….

  32. 32
    raven says:

    @WaterGirl: He was there when I left!

  33. 33
    Chris says:

    But the ultimate goal of the Republicans is not to keep federal revenue as low as possible. The ultimate goal is a revolutionary reshaping of American society that tries to reverse the New Deal.

    Add “and the Progressive Era, and the civil rights movement” to this and you’ll be exactly spot on, but otherwise I agree.

  34. 34
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    if Obama wins, the GOP pushes us over the “fiscal cliff” back into severe recession, resolutely blocks any efforts at stimulus for four years, and then run in 2016 on the “failure” of the Democrats to right the ship.

    Agreed. These folks don’t want to fix America. They want to burn it down.

  35. 35
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Chad: It didn’t have that effect in 2010. What makes you think that it would in 2014?

  36. 36
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Something to keep in mind is that with each passing year the scope for the GOP to continue ratfucking the economy declines. Every time they cut back on govt spending (at either the state or the federal level) their leverage shrinks because the smaller the remaining budget the less there is remaining to cut the next time. They can’t keep going back to the negative stimulus well indefinitely, eventually the sort of slow but steady private sector economic growth we’ve seen the last 3+ years will simply overwhelm their efforts to shrink the public sector. We may already be near that tipping point because so many state budgets have already been cut back severely and if the GOP retains the House but fails to get the Senate we are looking at Congressional gridlock which favors the status quo.

  37. 37
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @patrick:

    …it would be WAY too easy for even a not too shrewd Democratic Party Machine to pin why everybody’s taxes went up…

    That would be possible if we had a neutral media. As it is, not so easy.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RP: With a GOP House, all they need to do is fuck up the budget to an extent that nothing passes.

  39. 39
    Watership says:

    Go over the cliff. Any bill then will be a tax cutting measure relative to the new baseline.

    Start from scratch. Go over the cliff. No Simpson Bowlesish bullshit in the lame duck.

  40. 40
    gene108 says:

    @Spatula:

    But gol’ darn, that’s a hard one to figure out, and just kind of the way things mysteriously are…

    Democrats get liberal stuff done or at least tries to.

    The Left refuses to acknowledge it, because it isn’t exactly the way the Left wants it done.

    Republicans piss all over themselves in public and make a mess, but the Right calls it liquid gold and declares victory.

  41. 41
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    It didn’t have that effect in 2010. What makes you think that it would in 2014?

    __
    The 2010 midterms were driven by GOP demogoguery regarding Medicare. Time will tell what sort of rhetorical trap the GOP tries to spring on the Dems and whether the Dems fall into it or not, but with the PPACA passed into law (and thus with health care reform no longer a huge item on the Democratic legislative agenda, at least at the federal level) I don’t expect the 2014 midterms to simply be a rehash of 2010. Most likely some other issue(s), such as immigration reform, will be the focus instead.

  42. 42
    General Stuck says:

    I agree this is not usual politics. The GOP is a mm below the surface a swirling mass of contraindication that the 27 percenters have marginal control over right now. I have always thought that there is a fail safe point to where the nutters go past at their own risk of triggering a tidal wave of votes and not voting — against them.

    I don’t think anyone can predict what is going to happen past this election, because near half the GOP is crazy, but not insane. They were just forced to the back of the clown bus, whilst the tea party crazies took the wheel after 2008. Battleground state polling is swinging wildly toward democrats each new day. And the senate is, or already has, slipped from GOP grasp.

    The bright light fishbowl that is the stretch run of a POTUS election, offers little safe harbor and tends to throw off the coverings of bullshit for any party or candidate trying to slither underneath the wire for a win. It’s truth or consequences time, like no other in American politics. With very little truth on the R side.

    And tomorrow night, a great orator and smart cookie of a president, is going with a smile, to light the GOP bonfire of vanity for a better view of that train wreck. With any luck.

    edit – the old guard GOP out there is going to come off the bench when they lose, and all hell will break loose on planet wingnut.

  43. 43
    Quincy says:

    @patrick: I don’t see it. Democratic voter groups don’t always turn out for mid-term elections, anyone who is still voting Republican will blame Obama no matter how obvious the stonewalling, the Democrats will have more vulnerable senate seats than the Republicans in 2014, and if redistricting proves insurmountable this cycle, it isn’t going to be much better in two years. Our best (only?) hope for functioning government in the near future is a clean sweep this November. I think it’s pretty likely the President gets stuck with a Republican senate and congress for his final two years.

  44. 44
    danimal says:

    GOP obstruction is a tactic they are using to defeat Obama. The GOP won’t become angels or Democrats if Obama wins, but they will have flexibility to change tactics. I expect they will, at least on occasion. Even Republican officeholders want to rename Post Offices and send graft to their districts, and the past two years have stymied these efforts. GOPers in purple districts and states will want accomplishments as well.

    The GOP representatives ACT crazy, and a fair number of them are typecast, but there are realpolitik reasons for the tactics they are using. In a post-election world, their incentives and their leverage change, especially on tax and budget issues. They’ll deal, because they have to.

  45. 45
    Chris says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Agreed. These folks don’t want to fix America. They want to burn it down.

    “Some men just want to watch the world burn…”

    I remember back in 2009 when the teabaggers were going nuts and I told one of my liberal friends “they used to have Lex Luthor running the party. Now it’s the Joker.”

  46. 46
    Greg says:

    @Watership:

    Go over the cliff. Any bill then will be a tax cutting measure relative to the new baseline.

    This. Blame the do-nothingness on the Repub House one more time, let the Bush tax cuts expire, then propose tax cuts for the poor and middle class from the new baseline. I’m sure the House will try, but it’s going to be very very hard for them to vote against tax cuts.

  47. 47
    danimal says:

    @Watership: Yep, over the fiscal cliff is the best thing for Obama, the Dems in Congress, the GOP and the whole frickin’ country.

    Which is why the defense industry and the Chamber of Commerce will put unbelievable pressure on all congresscritters to come to a deal before the end of the year. Should get interesting.

  48. 48
    askew says:

    Brian Beutler’s contributions at TPM are always eyeroll worthy. And I refuse to start infighting and bitching about possible tax compromises in Dec when we have an election to worry about now.

    OT – Does anyone have a good guess as to Drudge’s leaked videotape that is supposed to come out today before the debate?

  49. 49
    lamh35 says:

    the other day, I posted a link to a Latino poll that had Obama at 73% support with Latino voters. Well here’s CNN/ORC poll and yep, they have Obama at 70% support with Latino LIKELY voters!

    Bet this explains why all the reports of Romney saying he would NOT deport those who took advantage of Obama’s “Dream Act” declaration.

    “CNN Poll: Obama at 70% among Latino voters”
    http://politicalticker.blogs.c.....no-voters/

  50. 50
    Someguy says:

    Paying taxes is a patriotic duty. Why is anybody even making this an issue a few weeks before the election? It’s counterproductive.

  51. 51
    General Stuck says:

    Following the deal on the Bush tax cuts. It seems to me there is no possible compromise that will see the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy extended again. This resolute thread runs through Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Whatever else happens, that is not going to.

  52. 52
    hueyplong says:

    Recent history tells us that the GOP can stay crazy longer than the Democrats can stare without blinking.

    A decent percentage of Democrats blink just reading that.

  53. 53
    danimal says:

    @askew:

    Does anyone have a good guess as to Drudge’s leaked videotape

    THE WHITEY TAPE, of course!

    I’ll be disappointed with anything else.

  54. 54
    Spatula says:

    @hueyplong:

    Recent history tells us that the GOP can stay crazy longer than the Democrats can stare without blinking

    This. Kudos.

  55. 55
    chris9059 says:

    @JGabriel:
    Except this would allow the President and the deficit hysteria Democrats in Congress to pass some awful Bowles Simpson type “Grand Bargain” which purports to “share the pain” by cutting the SS benefits of 80 year old widows living on $1000 a month while passing some trivial tax increase on billionaires.

    Unfortunately the only thing protecting the vulnerable from Obama’s worst instincts is the sheer batshit craziness of the Republicans who will queer any “Grand Compromise” by their refusal to consent to even the most trivial tax increase on the rentier class.

  56. 56
    jayackroyd says:

    Not just the Republicans. The Third Way Dems who rule us have the same commitment.

    And yes, the Great Society’s liberal architects vastly overreached and overpromised, destroying the public’s confidence in active government and threatening the solid achievements of the New Deal and the Progressive Era.

    This more modest narrative used to convince conservatives, and still does convince centrist liberals like me who cringe at the name McGovern. And Ronald Reagan plays a big role in it. Reagan did in fact restore (then overinflate) America’s self-confidence, and he did bequeath to Republicans a clear ideological alternative to Progressivism. But he also transformed American liberalism. As an author named Barack Obama once wrote, Reagan “put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.” By delegitimizing Great Society liberalism and emphasizing growth, he forced the Democratic Party back toward the center, making the more moderate presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama possible. Reagan won the war of ideas, as everyone knows.

  57. 57
    👽 Martin says:

    @danimal: Yeah, I agree. Time to blow shit up a little bit.

  58. 58
    Cargo says:

    The stated goal of the Republican party was to ensure Obama was a one term president. Looks like that’s not going to happen. Their next goal will be that Obama is to have no legacy. The stonewalling and obstruction has no downside and infinite upside. The media will play along and say “both sides do it, the public hates ‘washington’ or ‘politicians’ or ‘the do nothing congress’, looks like government doesn’t work” which is what they want to advance philosophically anyways. There is no possible benefit to any Republican voting yes for anything at all. We’re about to get a congress full of ron pauls.

    the stonewalling will continue and double down. Bookmark it, libs!

  59. 59
    askew says:

    @danimal:

    Ah, the Whitey tape. I forgot about that nonsense. I was betting on more Reverend Wright soundbites myself, since Romney appears to be trying to win the 2008 election.

  60. 60
    General Stuck says:

    Recent history tells us that the GOP can stay crazy longer than the Democrats can stare without blinking.

    Depends on the timeline of “recent history”. The last few years have seen dems blink little. Obama and They will play some rope a dope, and hand out just enough rope to let the repubs hang themselves, but that is about it as for them getting anything near what they want.

  61. 61
    jayackroyd says:

    @JGabriel: errrr, we tried that….

  62. 62
    KCinDC says:

    @lamh35, how long until Romney “clarifies” the comment about not deporting people in response to tea party outrage?

  63. 63
    danimal says:

    @askew: Whatever Drudge dredges up, it’ll be GOOD NEWS FOR JOHN MCCAIN!

  64. 64
    NR says:

    You guys still think the Bush tax cuts are going to expire?

    Any rational person would, at the very least, have that in the category of “I’ll believe it when I see it” by now.

  65. 65
    jayackroyd says:

    From that same article:

    Whenever conservatives talk to me about Barack Obama, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. But what exactly? The anger, the suspicion, the freestyle fantasizing have no perceptible object in the space-time continuum that centrist Democrats like me inhabit. What are we missing? Seen from our perspective, the country elected a moderate and cautious straight shooter committed to getting things right and giving the United States its self-­respect back after the Bush-Cheney years. Unlike the crybabies at MSNBC and Harper’s Magazine, we never bought into the campaign’s hollow “hope and change” rhetoric, so aren’t crushed that, well, life got in the way. At most we hoped for a sensible health care program to end the scandal of America’s uninsured, and were relieved that Obama proposed no other grand schemes of Nixonian scale. We liked him for his political liberalism and instinctual conservatism. And we still like him.

  66. 66
    El Cid says:

    Wouldn’t as low as possible be “zero”? So, shouldn’t their ultimate goal be to have the United States government receive zero revenues?

  67. 67
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    jayackroyd:

    errrr, we tried that….

    Heh. Let’s try it again. I think we’ll get better results this time, now that Pres. Obama and Sen. Reid have more experience with the obstructionist GOP. For instance, I fully expect Reid to do away with some of the filibuster options Republicans use to block legislation from coming to the floor.

    .

  68. 68
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @NR:

    You guys still think the Bush tax cuts are going to expire?
    Any rational person would, at the very least, have that in the category of “I’ll believe it when I see it” by now.

    It depends on what must-have Democratic legislation the Republicans can hold hostage. There will almost certainly be another debt ceiling vote, among other things.

  69. 69
    Jon says:

    They aren’t revolutionaries. They don’t want the undo The New Deal. They just want to be in power. (See, Bush, George W.)

  70. 70
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    You guys still think the Bush tax cuts are going to expire?

    @NR: Actually, yes. ALL of them, because the Very Serious People won’t allow for any compromise unless the poors get a good buttfucking out of the whole deal.

  71. 71
    KCinDC says:

    @JGabriel, as long as the Republicans hold the House, which is still extremely likely, they don’t need the filibuster to block things.

  72. 72
    max says:

    But the ultimate goal of the Republicans is not to keep federal revenue as low as possible. The ultimate goal is a revolutionary reshaping of American society that tries to reverse the New Deal.

    Same thing, Bernard. Same thing. See Calhoun. These wish a weak federal government (and the definition of a weak government is one that can’t collect taxes) that cannot threaten the ‘liberties’ of white slaveholders to own black people.

    Obviously, we’ve got the 13th Amendment that sort of restricts that slavery thing but they’ve already got workarounds for that, and ‘sides if they can’t own slaves, well, they can enserf people. Nothin’ else to it.

    The usual lot are doing the same old same old from way back because the Guardians of the Lost Cause have kept their gray flame alive, all this time, and goddammit, they’re sincere about it.

    if Obama wins, the GOP pushes us over the “fiscal cliff” back into severe recession, resolutely blocks any efforts at stimulus for four years, and then run in 2016 on the “failure” of the Democrats to right the ship.

    Depends entirely on the election results. Boehner may be willing to deal, but he might well be facing a revolt post-election depending on how many Nut Baggers survive. (Cantor does want his job, as does Ryan, presumably.)

    At any rate, it doesn’t matter that much. There’s a new Congress on the 3rd of January and if the deadline isn’t met, the new Congress can do what they want. There’s also many a slip between bureaucrat and rule implementation deadlines. We won’t plunge into recession until the executive branch implements the sequester changes.

    max
    [‘Some people are hankering for a Grand Bargain, and other people worry too much about things that can’t be changed at the moment, otherwise no one would be caring about this.’]

  73. 73
    max says:

    But the ultimate goal of the Republicans is not to keep federal revenue as low as possible. The ultimate goal is a revolutionary reshaping of American society that tries to reverse the New Deal.

    Same thing, Bernard. Same thing. See Calhoun. These wish a weak federal government (and the definition of a weak government is one that can’t collect taxes) that cannot threaten the ‘liberties’ of white slaveholders to own black people.

    Obviously, we’ve got the 13th Amendment that sort of restricts that slavery thing but they’ve already got workarounds for that, and ‘sides if they can’t own slaves, well, they can enserf people. Nothin’ else to it.

    The usual lot are doing the same old same old from way back because the Guardians of the Lost Cause have kept their gray flame alive, all this time, and goddammit, they’re sincere about it.

    if Obama wins, the GOP pushes us over the “fiscal cliff” back into severe recession, resolutely blocks any efforts at stimulus for four years, and then run in 2016 on the “failure” of the Democrats to right the ship.

    Depends entirely on the election results. Boehner may be willing to deal, but he might well be facing a revolt post-election depending on how many Nut Baggers survive. (Cantor does want his job, as does Ryan, presumably.)

    At any rate, it doesn’t matter that much. There’s a new Congress on the 3rd of January and if the deadline isn’t met, the new Congress can do what they want. There’s also many a slip between bureaucrat and rule implementation deadlines. We won’t plunge into recession until the executive branch implements the sequester changes.

    max
    [‘Some people are hankering for a Grand Bargain, and other people worry too much about things that can’t be changed at the moment, otherwise no one would be caring about this.’]

  74. 74
    KCinDC says:

    @JGabriel, as long as the Republicans hold the House, which is still extremely likely, they don’t need the filibuster to block things.

  75. 75
    KCinDC says:

    @JGabriel, as long as the Republicans hold the House, which is still extremely likely, they don’t need the filibuster to block things.

  76. 76
    some guy says:

    why would the Senate Dems wait until January to cave when they can cave in mid-November?

    see today’s Times.

  77. 77
    some guy says:

    why would the Senate Dems wait until January to cave when they can cave in mid-November?

    see today’s Times.

  78. 78
    👽 Martin says:

    Mittens gives a detail! $17,000 cap in deductions. That’s not a bad start as a concept along one narrow line, but it’s about a bazillion miles from what anyone might call a plan.

    And if that’s all I have to go on, my taxes would go up a LOT. $17,000 barely covers my mortgage interest deduction, let alone dependents and everything else.

    Now, I like a plan along these lines. I’d put the deduction much higher – I’d index it to the poverty level at a minimum. At 100% of poverty, an individual would have a standard deduction of $11,000 and a family of 4 would have a deduction of $23,000. I’d probably look at 125% or 150% of poverty level, though. And that would automatically adjust as the poverty line moves. So, that one detail, in concept isn’t bad.

    But what about all of the things that aren’t attached to deductions? Like unearned vs earned income being taxed differently? Or how tax credits factor in? Or other shelters like a $100M IRA or Cayman Island accounts? I don’t think the problem with the tax code is that middle class earners are screwing over the government – I think the problem is that millionaires are and a $17K cap on deductions doesn’t go very far in addressing that problem.

  79. 79
    Yutsano says:

    @Greg: The House will just pass a bill with all the tax cuts and dare the Senate to blink first. Which odds are they will.

  80. 80
    feebog says:

    I look for nothing coming out of this lame duck congress. It will be up to a new congress to sort it all out in January. And Obama does have the better hand here. Not only are people going to be screaming for congress to do something, but the defense sequester is going to have the Military Industrial Complex throwing a blood clot as well. There is going to be some kind of bargin, the question is whether Obama and the Dems can play a superior hand into a winning hand.

  81. 81
    Not Sure says:

    If Democrats would get over their fear of being labeled “blamers,” they could ensure that the GOPers get full blame for our having gone over the fiscal cliff, and they’d have hell to pay in 2014.

  82. 82
    Not Sure says:

    If Democrats would get over their fear of being labeled “blamers,” they could ensure that the GOPers get full blame for our having gone over the fiscal cliff, and they’d have hell to pay in 2014.

  83. 83
    Not Sure says:

    If Democrats would get over their fear of being labeled “blamers,” they could ensure that the GOPers get full blame for our having gone over the fiscal cliff, and they’d have hell to pay in 2014.

  84. 84
    TenguPhule says:

    This is not normal politics, and the logic of leverage and negotiations is as misplaced here as it has been in other dark periods of the past.

    But it would be rude and uncivilized to call for the Republicans to be executed as traitors.

  85. 85
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @max:

    Depends entirely on the election results. Boehner may be willing to deal, but he might well be facing a revolt post-election depending on how many Nut Baggers survive. (Cantor does want his job, as does Ryan, presumably.)

    __
    I’ve been wondering lately whether anybody on the GOP side really wants Boehner’s job all that badly or if they are content to have him as their front-man. It seems like Cantor has a pretty sweet gig right now running things from behind the scenes and whenever he feels like it yanking the rug out from under Boehner’s feet and making him look like an idiot.

  86. 86
    TenguPhule says:

    Wouldn’t as low as possible be “zero”? So, shouldn’t their ultimate goal be to have the United States government receive zero revenues?

    No, the goal is negative revenue, because obviously guns and bombs must be bought and rich GOP twats need their government tit to suck on. Do not ask Republicans for realistic goals or math.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    If the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, it’ll give President Obama about $4 trillion in revenue over the coming 10 years

    This stuff is beyond stupid, but typical of the narrow Village understanding of tax policy.

    The Bush tax cuts are the tip of the iceberg. A host of provisions, some going back to the Clinton era, are set to expire at the end of the year. The bulk of these provisions help the middle class and lower income Americans. The president will get to propose, and the Congress will have a chance to write, the most comprehensive tax legislation in years. It will be much harder to cobble together temporary budget resolutions and play obstructionist games. But I’m sure the GOP will do their best to keep the obstructionist status quo going.

    BTW, letting the Bush tax cuts expire is essential to helping pay for health care reform. It would be a fiscal disaster to kick this can down the road again.

    If Romney wins, bottom line is that lower income people will suffer. No matter who wins, the GOP will try to tighten the rules which allow tax credits to illegal immigrants who work and file tax returns. This will be very nasty, and will be a big test of Obama, if he wins, to see if he can blunt Republican cruelty.

    Also, btw, investors are being told to think about selling their stocks with gains before the end of the year to lock in capital gains at the lowest rates, if Obama wins. The idea is to buy the shares back in 2013. Then, the idea is to sell off stocks with losses in subsequent years.

  88. 88
    TenguPhule says:

    The idea is to buy the shares back in 2013. Then, the idea is to sell off stocks with losses in subsequent years.

    And whoever proposed that is a moron. IRS rule on selling shares means you can’t buy back the same kind of shares within 6 months or so, otherwise its treated as an invalid transaction for tax purposes.

  89. 89
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: Late getting back to the thread, but that’s so sad. I know it has seemed like forever, but that makes it officially forever.

  90. 90
    paulj says:

    $4 Trillion over 10 years “more than the economy can easily bear”

    Give me a f’kng break. We have 12 million unemployed and another 12 million under-employed.

    How much will it cost to employ them?

    (12E6)*($3E4/year) = $360 Billion/year * 10 years = $3.6 Trillion ($30,000/year is conservative)

    Add another (12E6)*($1.5E4/year) * 10 years = $1.8 Trillion; then: (Get old engineers out of McDonalds and doing something useful).

    Total spending gap = $5.4 Trillion. Minimum. To account for the unemployed.

    “More than the economy can easily bear” plus “everyone will have a great deal of incentive to negotiate backwards from it”.

    Add to that $0.5 Trillion/year in funds lost the to trade deficit ($5 Trillion over 10 years) plus $19.5 Trillion to account for growth (2%/year) *($16 Trillion compounded over 10 years).

    We need honking big deficits (about $3 Trillion/year over 10 years).

    Give me a f’ckng break.

    We are governed by idiots, voted into office by idiots.

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