Not buying it

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/59124558@N06/8179109207/” title=”Scary_Count_Floyd_SCTV by dengre.bj, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8063/8179109207_7d4fb2d752.jpg” width=”352″ height=”500″ alt=”Scary_Count_Floyd_SCTV”></a>

Back in the day, Count Floyd was a reoccurring character on SCTV. He was a teevee horror movie host trying to make very safe and mild films sound “scary”. It was funny, nice and silly. All the beltway talk about the so called “fiscal cliff” sounds a lot like Count Floyd.

Yes, the CBO issued a report that if everything happened (tax increases, budget cuts, etc.) on January 1st as scheduled–AND nothing was done to change that–THEN bad things could happen in the short run, but good things in the long run.

The CBO and others are always issuing reports like this based on the status of the laws on the books. The trouble with these reports is that those laws and rules are always changing and making these reports obsolete. Do you remember the report before the Bush tax cuts were passed that we were paying the debt down too fast?

To believe the hype about the so called “fiscal cliff”, you have to believe that Congress will not make any adjustments to taxes if the Bush Tax Cuts expire. And you have to believe that Congress will keep all the budget cuts in place for the next decade. Believing either of those two things is silly–as is the “fiscal cliff” talking point.

There are real budget issues to sort out. And a plan must be made to retire the Reagan/Bush debt that Conservative magical thinking has inflicted on the Nation, but any embrace of wingnut framing like this “cliff” nonsense will not help.

I think the budget cuts and the long range debt solutions will be sorted out by the 113th Congress–especially because the Tea Party 112th Congress is incapable of doing anything.

The tax cuts are another matter. It is possible that Republicans might have a moment of clarity and decide that the Senate Bill keeping the tax cuts in place for the first $250,000 of income for ALL Americans is a good deal for them and the Nation, but this is the Tea Party Congress and they’re dumber than a bag of rusty broken hammers. So, expect them to force everybody to go over their “cliff” of talking points. The Bush tax cuts for all will expire and then in 2013 new Obama tax cuts for everybody making under $250,000 will be passed and signed into law.

President Obama will get more credit and the wingnuts will do even more damage to the GOP brand. They must really love their chickens.

Cheers

 

69 replies
  1. 1
    badpoetry says:

    Please, please, please let it work out the way you say. The best thing that could happen would be for everything in the “fiscal cliff” to become law for one day, and then to have Obama lead the charge in fixing the bad stuff.

  2. 2
    burnspbesq says:

    The Fiscal Cliff is every bit as dangerous as the Attack of the Bond Vigilantes.

    What Attack of the Bond Vigilantes, you say?

    Exactly.

  3. 3
    cmorenc says:

    @Dennis G:

    President Obama will get more credit and the wingnuts will do even more damage to the GOP brand. They must really love their chickens.

    Well, one would have thought the GOP wingnuts in Congress would have also done a huge amount of damage to their brand with their feckless irresponsibility during the 2011 national debt “default” crisis, but that didn’t seem to happen in the 2012 elections, in that it was not a pivotal issue in very many races, if any. Unfortunately, the GOP has been able to insulate a sufficient portion of their wingnut base in the House via redistricting.

  4. 4
    geg6 says:

    I agree completely. Last I read this morning, unemployment would go back up to 9% or so in the short term (if nothing at all was done), but that the damage would dissipate quickly by the end of 2013 or early 2014.

    I think the country can live through that. I really do. Maybe I’m an optimist (and anyone who knows me would be shocked to hear that), but I think it’s going to be even better than that. I think the middle class tax cuts will be reinstated sooner rather than later. And there are plenty of signals out there that the few sane GOPers left may be willing to jump ship and vote for them.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    It is possible that Republicans might have a moment of clarity and decide that the Senate Bill keeping the tax cuts in place for the first $250,000 of income for ALL Americans is a good deal for them and the Nation

    And monkeys could fly out of my butt while I’m buying a winning Powerball ticket…

    but this is the Tea Party Congress and they’re dumber than a bag of rusty broken hammer

    Oh wait, never mind.

    (And I think you dropped an S there.)

  6. 6
    Dennis G. says:

    @cmorenc: The redistricting advantage helped them in the 2012 cycle, but 2014 will be different. The GOP has many more than twenty at risk seats and no record to run on. We are coming for them.

  7. 7
    different-church-lady says:

    They must really love their chickens.

    Feh.. to them the chicken is nothing but a cluck buddy.

  8. 8
    Comrade Jake says:

    It would seem to me that a reasonable thing to do (not with respect to the fiscal cliff, just in general) would be to allow Social Security taxes on income over $100k (or whatever the current threshold is). But Obama’s probably not going to do that, because it would represent going against his promise. The issue is almost never discussed so far as I can tell.

  9. 9
    Dennis G. says:

    @Yutsano: I found the little devil under the keyboard. Thanks.

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    NPR has become a full time ‘Fiscal Cliff’ propoganda organ since the election. It’s disgusting over there.

  11. 11
    JCT says:

    @Dennis G.: This. And they know it. Everything is teed-up and positioned to hang their bullshit around their necks this time.

    I am really looking forward to how Obama plays this — 2nd term should be take no prisoners with the guys who spent 4 years trying to destroy his Presidency with no thoughts towards actually governing.

  12. 12
    ploeg says:

    Granting that it would be nice if we didn’t have the Reagan/Bush debt, retiring the Reagan/Bush debt should not be a primary goal. We don’t need to retire the Reagan/Bush debt, just don’t rack up more, and we can grow the economy so that the Reagan/Bush debt isn’t a problem.

  13. 13
    Just One More Canuck says:

    Count Floyd was great as the host of Monster Chiller Horror Theatre – the best were 3D House of Stewardesses and (for the cat lovers here) 3D House of Cats

  14. 14
    BenA says:

    @Comrade Jake: The only other thing I’d really want to see would be to include capital gains and possibly dividend income as taxable in reguards to social security and even more importantly medicare. A lot of really wealthy people pay exactly the same amount of taxes towards social security as I do… and it’s bullshit.

  15. 15
    some guy says:

    9% unemployment is no big deal?

    happy happy fun time for millions, and some commenters are cool with that. got it.

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    The CBO and others are always issuing reports like this based on the status of the laws on the books. The trouble with these reports is that those laws and rules are always changing and making these reports obsolete”

    This sounds a lot like the wingnut criticism of the CBO reports saying that Obamacare would pay itself. I’m not signing on.

  17. 17
    sharl says:

    There can never be too many reference to Count Floyd. But don’t forget his sidekick, Dr. Tongue! And also, don’t forget to send off for your 3-D glasses! They only cost, um, $19.95, no, $29.95.

  18. 18
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Dennis G.:

    What’s the incentive for the GOP, especially in the House, to deal? They’re not interested in governing, and they need austerity — the bigger the better — to tip the economy back into recession so they don’t have to run against a recovery in 2014. All the incentives are in favor of more obstructionism.

    The 2014 Senate math for the Democrats is as bad, if not worse than it was in 2012. There will be 20 Democrats and 13 Republicans.

    The House is sufficiently well gerrymandered to stay red through the next Census.

    And there’s no reason for the Republicans not to anticipate the usual reversion to a more GOP-friendly mid-term electorate.

    On any tax bill worth passing, the necessary bi-partisan cover to kill it will be provided by the handful of grandstanding lefties, like DeFazio and Grayson, or people whose first allegiance is to their career, and angling for Pelosi’s job, like Hoyer. The new tax bill will — surprise! –turn out to be simultaneously not progressive enough, and too progressive.

    Second verse, same as the first. Some day this war’s gonna end — someday.

  19. 19
    ThresherK says:

    Finally, the spokes-pier that the FiscalCliffers deserve!

    @Just One More Canuck: You beat me to “Attack of the 3-D Stewardesses”.

    (Don’t know if that was an actual MCHT title, but that was the beauty of Count Floyd. Now, may I offer you some….brandy in 3-D?)

  20. 20
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Dennis G.:

    The redistricting advantage helped them in the 2012 cycle, but 2014 will be different

    How so? The Senate shows variations in which seats are up for election and thus which party is more exposed from one election cycle to the next (not that this helps us much in 2014 since we will be defending the class of 2008 which was a Dem wave year), but every House seat is on the ballot every 2 years. I don’t see how the GOP’s redistricting advantage from 2012 goes away until either the districts are re-drawn, or the demographics within their districts shift. The former won’t happen until the next Census in 2020. The latter will happen faster in the sense that it is a continuous process, but fast enough to swing 20 seats in 2 years?

  21. 21
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ThresherK: Tip O’Neil’s 3-D House of Representatives, anyone?

  22. 22
    different-church-lady says:

    @some guy:

    9% unemployment is no big deal?

    Please try to keep up with the group.

  23. 23
    Dennis G. says:

    @Baud: No, it doesn’t. The CBO report on the AHCA was based on the law as passed. No changes to that law were coming (unless the wingnuts won–and they didn’t).

    Here we have tax cuts expiring and a billion dollars of auto cuts that were never expected to happen. The idea that Congress and the President (of any Party) would let either happen without adjustments is a fantasy. Your objection is a red herring.

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    One thing to do is keep reminding people of the unmentionable, or at least the forbidden contextualization: it’s cutting spending too much that is most threatening to the economy and which makes business and financial analysts nervous, as opposed to what we’re continually told that the economy is threatened by not cutting spending [enough].

    No shit.

    In the midst of the national propaganda campaign that the debt and deficit and the outtacontrol fedrul spendin’ is what’s hurting the economy, we face a manmade ‘crisis’ in which the same debt and deficit scolds quietly declare their nervousness that losing too much of that spendin’ too fast is dangerous.

  25. 25
    Johnny Coelacanth says:

    FuxNews is hyping the “cliff” as a big deal. I was (involuntarily) watching a couple of days ago and, while the talking head blathered about the looming “crisis,” an infographic showed the names of a bunch of American companies falling off a cliff. It was the stupidest thing I saw before the election.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @Dennis G.:

    No changes to that law were coming

    Sorry, no. The wingnut attack was based on the theory that the law would be expanded over time, so projections about its costs couldn’t be relied upon. It’s the same claim.

    I don’t believe the CBO should get into the business of speculating what the law might be, nor should they get out of the business of calculating the impact of the law as is.

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    When President Obama is in the room with the House Rethuglicans, there is one adult in the room.

    President Obama.

    Boner and Cantor (and all the teatard scum) need to be spanked, sent to bed without their supper, and THEN be treated to bedtime stories by Al Gore, about climate change, who invented the Intertubes, and what Vietnam was like back during the unpleasantness.

  28. 28
    Dennis G. says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Do you remember the advantage that the GOP had in 2006? Will it be easy? No, but if Democrats recruit decent candidates, campaign and vote we will win. There are more of us and a lot of the GOP seats are not as safe as they think they are.

    As for the Senate, do you really think the Tea Party and the other wingnuts are going to keep out of the Primaries? Do you really think the GOP will nominate sane candidates?

    Perhaps, but I doubt it.

    If we GOTV, we win. In 2010 we didn’t. In 2006, 2008 and 2012 we did. In 2014 we will again.

  29. 29
    Joel says:

    Sequestration will have real consequences for those of us who receive government funding, however. The NIH, as estimated by the AAAS, will take a 7% cut after roughly 4 years of stagnation. That means a lot of grants will not get funded. Fortunately (for me) both the wife and me are funded through the next few years, but that´s a serious consequence.

  30. 30
    Johnny Coelacanth says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: “Boner and Cantor (and all the teatard scum) need to be spanked…” oh, they’d like that too much.

  31. 31
    El Cid says:

    @Joel: Yes, but the whole process doesn’t happen at once, so even if it begins, and then some fix is passed, that can be retroactively addressed. It’s just if no other law altering the previous one that it happens that way.

  32. 32
    NotMax says:

    It does need to be tagged on EVERY message from a Dem about this that the sequestration crisis* is currently the law of the land because the Republican House insisted on and huddled to promote and support that bill.

    That the Republicans insisted on a long-term program of not cutting Uncle Sam’s fat, but amputating his legs.

    *I know, I know. But ‘crisis’ is prime cut soundbite material, dilemma is Grade Z meat by-product.

  33. 33
    Dennis G. says:

    @Baud: The CBO should keep doing what it does. And when Congress and the President change the laws then the CBO baseline changes.

    The likelihood that the baseline will change with regards to all elements of the so called “fiscal Cliff” is very, very high.

    The likelihood that the baseline of the AHCA would change due to GOP action was and is very, very low.

    To treat these two CBO reports as being the same is a stretch as the baseline for one will change while the other will not.

  34. 34
    Davis X. Machina says:

    …do you really think the Tea Party and the other wingnuts are going to keep out of the Primaries?

    The Tea Party is on its back foot.

    Up are Sessions, Chamblee, Risch, Roberts, McConnell, Collins, Cochran, Johanns, Inhofe, Graham, Alexander, Cornyn, Enzi.

    Spot the RINO’s. Collins has no challengers. I would expect 10 of the 13 GOP re-elects to be in the same boat. 13 of 13 getting a pass is even money.

  35. 35
    ShadeTail says:

    @Baud:
    While Dennis G has already replied to you, I’d just like to highlight one little detail. Wingnut criticisms of the CBO report about the ACA were based on *their* (the wingnuts) own projections of how the law would expand. And to belabor the obvious, their projections on that matter were never trustworthy. So yes, Dennis G is quite correct that you’re pushing a false analogy.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    I say rename fiscal cliff “money bluff.”

    Because that’s what it is.

  37. 37
    geg6 says:

    @some guy:

    You do understand that this only happens if nothing at all happens both on December 31 and all through next year, right? Do you really believe that no one in Congress is going to step in if the stoopid Teabaggers in the House insist on no deal on anything at all ever?

    We have to break the back of this idiotic idea of a “fiscal cliff.” The only way to do that is to show that it will cause minimal damage and that the Dems are willing to step up and mitigate any damage that does occur.

  38. 38
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @some guy: 9% happens by the end of the year if Congress does nothing. Right now, while things are relatively OK, we need to take this time to fix some of the problems caused by Bush and the Republicans.

  39. 39
    Cargo says:

    Scenario: the Bush tax cuts expire, the House votes against any tax cuts Obama proposes because they “don’t go far enough”, runs in 2014 on “Obama raised your taxes!!!!!!111!!!1!!! TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY” etc etc. Done and done.

  40. 40
    some guy says:

    @different-church-lady:

    please attempt reading comprehension. my reply was to a member in good standing of the BJ Center Righjt Fight Club that he had no problem with 9% unemployment.

    lord save us from idiots.

  41. 41
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Dennis G.:

    and 2012 we did

    This is where I don’t understand your logic. How are Dems going to GOTV better in 2014 than we just did in 2012, a Presidential election?

  42. 42
    Baud says:

    @ShadeTail:

    I don’t want to belabor this side point. I’ll just reiterate that the CBO is acting properly in assessing the economic impact of current law and going no further. In case it wasn’t clear, I agree that the current law will change. After it changes, the CBO can issue a new report.

  43. 43
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @ThresherK: Catherine O’Hara kept cracking up in that one

  44. 44
    Cargo says:

    If you don’t think the Republicans will vote against tax cuts, you haven’t been paying attention.

  45. 45
    canuckistani says:

    Not just “3-D House of Stewardesses”.. “Doctor Tongue’s 3-D House of Stewardesses”!
    Awoooooooooo! *cough *cough

  46. 46
    Culture of Truth says:

    The chickens must love them back; they’re always coming home to roost.

  47. 47
    mdblanche says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    The Tea Party is on its back foot.

    Has the Tea Party been informed of this yet?

  48. 48

    Any word on the potential for filibuster reform?

    Because, IMO, Reid’s call on that determines how this (and many other) issues will be dealt with.

  49. 49
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    The right wing sure loves them their crises. When there aren’t enough crises ongoing they make new ones. “No Drama” Obama challenges their crisis-making abilities, but unfortunately they’re more than up to it.

  50. 50
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @mdblanche: In ten years, half of them will be dead. In five years, a quarter.

    File them next to “Know-Nothings” in your US History notes.

  51. 51
    mdblanche says:

    @Davis X. Machina: How uncharacteristically optimistic of you.

  52. 52
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    In ten years, half of them will be dead. In five years, a quarter.

    You might need to add a couple of years to those estimates to factor in the effects of the global bacon shortage.

  53. 53
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    In ten years, half of them will be dead. In five years, a quarter.

    You might need to add a couple of years to those estimates to factor in the effects of the global bacon shortage.

  54. 54
    gene108 says:

    @cmorenc:

    Unfortunately, the GOP has been able to insulate a sufficient portion of their wingnut base in the House via redistricting.

    I don’t know how much redistricting has to do with the debt ceiling fiasco. I think those sort of issues are too complicated to effectively convey on a 30 second T.V. add.

    If Republican obstruction to economic recovery efforts could be summarized succinctly, you’d not have had at the 2010 take over of the House and state governments.

  55. 55
    Interrobang says:

    I love it when Americans make SCTV references. Muahahah!

  56. 56
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @mdblanche: Oh, and the Anti-Masonic party was for two cycles a major political party, at least in the northeast.

    The Tea Party has, in one form or another, always been with us. It does its damage, and leaves. It never lasts.

  57. 57
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @gene108:

    If Republican obstruction to economic recovery efforts could be summarized succinctly, you’d not have had at the 2010 take over of the House and state governments.

    There has to be some way to break the “if you’re explaining, you’re losing” paradigm. The “fiscal cliff” exists because the Republicans insisted on it as a condition for raising the debt ceiling. The “fiscal cliff”, as El Cid points out above, is about deficit reduction, which we are constantly told is the most importantest issue facing the nation.

    But for some reason, it’s bad now? Because now the Republicans are Keynesians who don’t want stimulative government spending cut, even though governments can’t create jobs? Even by Republican standards, this issue is gobbledegook.

    There’s got to be some way to explain this so voters understand it. It hurts my heart that there probably is not.

  58. 58
    Gus says:

    @Interrobang: Probably my all time favorite show. Loved the movies that Count Floyd was supposed to get but didn’t “The Plasma Sucking Monkey’s from Mississisauga.”

  59. 59

    @Just One More Canuck:

    Count Floyd was great as the host of Monster Chiller Horror Theatre – the best were 3D House of Stewardesses and (for the cat lovers here) 3D House of Cats

    My favorite was Doctor Tongue’s Evil House of Pancakes.

  60. 60
    Bill Murray says:

    @Dennis G.: The current CBO under Elmendorf is only slightly less partisan than Boehner, especially with respect to health care policy — http://www.bancaditalia.it/stu.....heiner.pdf, so relying on anything since 2010 is problemnatic

  61. 61
    LanceThruster says:

    @Lurking Canadian:

    There’s got to be some way to explain this so voters understand it.

    Lying liars gotta lie their lies?

    I use the “180 Rule” as a decoder ring of sorts. The truth is usually inverse of whatever their (stated) priority is, and they most often accuse the other side of shenanigans they themselves are guilty of as a way of misdirection.

    I supposed the shorter version is spending money we don’t yet have is the worst thing ever (unless it goes into the pockets of defense contractors), and taking money out of the pockets of the poor, beleaguered wealthy movers and shakers is the worst thing ever because trickle down cannot fail, it can only be failed (by those freeloading lucky duckies always trying to put the squeeze on the 1% so they can keep getting free stuff from the gubmint).

  62. 62
    LanceThruster says:

    One of my favorite SCTV episodes was where their satellite was hacked by the USSR. The CCCP1 episode had a bit with the “new Russian mini-cam,” a massive electronic device the size of a small car that had to be dragged around by three technicians.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Spot the RINO’s.

    I never would have pegged Richard Lugar as a RINO, but the Tea Party decided he was. I’m not sure we can figure out ourselves who among that group will be dubbed “RINOs” in need of replacement by Real True Americans like Richard Mourdock.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Brachiator says:

    @Dennis G.:

    To believe the hype about the so called “fiscal cliff”, you have to believe that Congress will not make any adjustments to taxes if the Bush Tax Cuts expire. And you have to believe that Congress will keep all the budget cuts in place for the next decade. Believing either of those two things is silly—as is the “fiscal cliff” talking point.

    Do you have any idea of what tax provisions have already expired, and what are set to expire at the end of December?

    Republicans demonstrated before that they were willing to grind the economy to a halt over raising the debt ceiling, doing this more to spite Obama than to pursue their own policy preferences.

    Laws don’t just change all the time. Congress critters have to write the freaking laws and get the changes passed and approved.

    There are budget groups quietly meeting and agreeing to some necessary compromises, but there is no way to know whether Boehner and the Tea Party fools will try to hold out for tax cuts for the rich.

    Bottom line, though, is that if some major agreements are not reached, taxes go up for 3 million middle class Americans for 2012 and for everyone for 2013 if nothing substantive happens.

    It pisses me off that Obama may have already ceded ground to the GOP. Instead of presenting a comprehensive tax reform package to the Congress, he insists on letting Congress work things out. And he keeps pointlessly signalling that he is willing to compromise, which is only encouraging much of the same old obstructionism. If Obama has some eleven dimensional trick up his sleeve, he should get ready to play it.

  66. 66
    Yutsano says:

    @Brachiator: The one that worries me most is EITC. That’s a HUGE tax break for the poor in this country and if they lose that a lot of them will fall off fiscal cliffs of their own. There would only be one group of people who wouldn’t mind it dying: those who work Examination in the IRS. EITC is an automatic audit.

  67. 67
    waynski says:

    Their entire sequestration was beating obama and taking back the Senate. That got BLOWED UP when obama and the dems won.

  68. 68
    Platonicspoof says:

    Yes, the CBO issued a report that if everything happened (tax increases, budget cuts, etc.) on January 1st as scheduled—AND nothing was done to change that—THEN bad things could happen in the short run, but good things in the long run.

    Links to report here.
    9.1% unemployment (using the usual minimizing formula) one year from now would not only be bad in itself, but would also reverse people’s belief that the economy was improving.

    I don’t think the CBO or anyone else can say the increase would stop at 9.1% when consumer fears return and the government has already been tapped out by the 2008 recession and by the prior eight years of Bush spending increases and tax cuts.

    For those who used up their savings, etc., over the last four years, “good things in the long run” might not only be legitimately questionable, it might be far too late.

  69. 69
    El Cid says:

    @Lurking Canadian: “We’ve got to avoid the fiscal cliff because if we don’t there won’t be enough government spending to keep the economy going.”

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