Hostage Crisis

Here go the Republicans again:

Republicans are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely. It’s quite simple: House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more: no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.

Two senior Republican elected officials tell me this doomsday plan is becoming the most likely scenario. A top GOP House leadership aide confirms the plan is under consideration, but says Speaker Boehner has made no decision on whether to pursue it.

Under one variation of this Doomsday Plan, House Republicans would allow a vote on extending only the middle class tax cuts and Republicans, to express disapproval at the failure to extend all tax cuts, would vote “present” on the bill, allowing it to pass entirely on Democratic votes.

By doing this, Republicans avoid taking blame for tax increases on 98 percent of income tax payers. As one senior Republican in Congress told me, “You don’t take a hostage you aren’t willing to shoot.” Republicans aren’t willing to kill the middle class tax cuts, even if extending them alone will make it harder to later extend tax cuts on the wealthy.

Maybe if they try really hard, they can earn us another credit downgrade.

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105 replies
  1. 1
    kindness says:

    Somehow Republicans think they have power when they shriek like children. OK, so the MSM will act like Republicans have a point when they throw tantrums but the MSM is more full of idiots and morans than they aren’t.

    There will be no agreement in December. There may be one in January after the bush43 tax cuts end. I hope they just end and I will happily pay the extra money just to get NPR and the deficit scolds to shut the hell up.

  2. 2
    EconWatcher says:

    If they vote “present” on middle-class tax cuts, doesn’t that mean they “refused to support them” for purposes of 2014 attack ads? I don’t think that solves their problem.

  3. 3
    4tehlulz says:

    So, they want it to be even more obvious that they will wreck the country so that Mitt can steal more money from the middle class.

    Chicken, they be fucking it wrong.

  4. 4
    Suffern ACE says:

    I don’t know if I would my plan to be known as the “Doomsday Plan”.

  5. 5
    David in NY says:

    I hope they do this. I think Obama can turn it to his advantage.

  6. 6
    Nemo_N says:

    Sullivan told me this would be Obama’s fault for overplaying his hand.

  7. 7

    If they go through with that, I’d say the appropriate response would be for Obama to tell them that he regards the debt ceiling to be in violation of the 14th Amendment, and will advise his Treasury Secretary to disregard it from now on.

    Sure, it’s an iffy claim re the debt ceiling’s constitutionality, but what can Boehner actually DO about it?

  8. 8
    Eric U. says:

    I guess I’m confused on why taxes would be raised on 98% of taxpayers if the Bush middle income tax cuts are extended? What tax cuts did the Senate fail to protect in their bill?

  9. 9

    Right after the 2010 midterms, Boehner said something like, “well, in our system it’s the president’s job to come up with policy proposals” or something like that. The idea being, “no, we don’t have any ideas, we just want to cry and rave and bark and say ‘no’ to everything”.

    And he can’t really propose any reasonable or intelligent policies– he’ll get knifed by Cantor (or whoever), who will say that Boehner was raising taxes, or acquiescing to Obama Kenyan Muslim Socialism or whatever. Some people think that in Boehner’s heart of hearts he’d like to speak and behave rationally, but he’s constrained by the party he leads. I don’t really care much; the end result is what it is, regardless of what he secretly thinks.

    Ex-Republican Bruce Bartlett wrote in the summer of 2010 that today’s GOP is ”the greedy, sociopathic party” driven by an “ambition to retake power so that they can reward their lobbyist friends with more give-aways from the public purse.” It’s hard to see what if anything else they care about.

  10. 10
    Tonal Crow says:

    “Glad to see you, Speaker. I’ll get right to the point. As President, my job is to protect Americans from all enemies, both foreign (pause) and domestic. I will stop at nothing to fulfill that obligation. I know you understand this, but some people don’t. Please explain it to them.

    “Good afternoon. Agent Jones here will see you out.”

  11. 11
    japa21 says:

    Unless I am mistaken, if the tax cuts on the wealthy expire and aren’t renewed, and the sequestration takes place, doesn’t that totally alter the debt ceiling situation, as revenue increases substantially and spending drops. So where do the Republicans win?

  12. 12
    Maude says:

    @Eric U.:
    The Bush Tax Cuts are for the high end. The middle class tax cuts were put in by Obama.
    The Republicans are going full spite. Sore losers.

  13. 13
    Tonal Crow says:

    @japa21:

    Unless I am mistaken, if the tax cuts on the wealthy expire and aren’t renewed, and the sequestration takes place, doesn’t that totally alter the debt ceiling situation, as revenue increase substantially and spending drops. So where do the Republcians win?

    I think that’s so, but I don’t know how the revenue from the tax increases and the reduced outlays from the cuts align in time with existing spending and bond maturities.

  14. 14
    BGinCHI says:

    So the GOP plan is to do everything possible to please 2% of the population in hopes that this will earn them 50+% of the votes in coming elections?

    Do they teach this shit in B School?

  15. 15
    redshirt says:

    Why does anyone think a Republican House member will work with or agree to anything from this White House? We’ve got plenty of evidence they will light themselves on fire before they work with Obama or anything to do with him. Why is this different? Because Obama just won big? Because the nation clearly wants to see it? Pshaw! Repuglicans serve a Higher Purpose: Republican Jesus will see you all ground into dust.

  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:

    “You don’t take a hostage you aren’t willing to shoot.”

    Conversely, when negotiations fail, the SWAT snipers shoot the hostage takers.

  17. 17
    A.J. says:

    But…but…but…the deficit?

    Go for it, Repukes!!

    I’d love to hear the screaming from the DoD, and the “beltway bandits” that feed off them, when $500 billion is chopped from their favorite government agency’s budget, putting over 100,000 employees into unemployment.

    Call their bluff, Dems!

    Oh, and increase the tax on the top 2% to Reagan’s 50% on incomes above $250K, just to eff with them.

  18. 18
    Feudalism Now! says:

    They think the debt ceiling is a winning issue for them? I mean it looks nice in an attack ad for 2014, but it wasn’t terribly effective in 2012. So the plan is to give the middle class tax cuts and let the Democrats be on record as passing the bill? And this can give us another year of putting off the cuts? So they can grandstand about not paying their debts next year. The GOOP has done everything possible to that poor chicken and are now pretending to be dead to get the buzzards down for a jolly rogering. Congress is being run by a 3rd grade Special Ed room. Holy hell!

  19. 19
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @japa21: They think it’s a win whenever they get to be assholes, hence it’s a win.

  20. 20
    PeakVT says:

    @japa21: It might alter the date, but the federal government will still be running a deficit, so at some point the debt limit will have to be raised or, better still, eliminated.

  21. 21
    BGinCHI says:

    @redshirt: Yep.

    There was a time when House seats were really, really safe if you were an incumbent. But now with aggressive primarying, that’s just not true.

    Party discipline, especially on the right, is getting WAY tighter and more ideological.

  22. 22
    Matthew Reid Krell says:

    @Tonal Crow: Also, DROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNEZZZZ.

  23. 23
    Seanly says:

    I’m going to be very pissed if all this eleventy dimension chess between Obama and Republican idiots costs me my job. I was already out of work for 7 months in 2011. All those roads & bridges aren’t getting any younger. Of course, if they do pass something for fixing the Sandy-ravaged East Coast, then I may be okay…

    Also, I don’t get how passing the middle class extensions would raise taxes on 98% of people. The expiring FISA tax holiday will mean another 2% in taxes for almost everyone, but I didn’t think that was part of the discussion anyway.

  24. 24

    @BGinCHI: You only get that some sort of innumeracy in a B-hole school class taught by mcmegan.

  25. 25
    MattF says:

    So, giving Obama exactly what he’s asking for is a ‘doomsday’ strategy. What am I missing here?

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    @ranchandsyrup: No way they let her teach a class, even in that “discipline.”

    Fox should give her a cooking show though. That would be entertaining.

  27. 27
    danimal says:

    So, Obama gets the tax policy he wants, the sequester hits (some domestic cuts will hurt people who are used to it and the defense cuts will make contractors writhe in intense pain, agony and shame) and the debt limit doesn’t get raised, guaranteeing another crack at solving the problem in a month or two.

    OK, we have a deal. Can I watch more football now?

  28. 28
    MattW says:

    The “Doomsday Plan” described in the article makes no sense.

  29. 29
    jon says:

    I don’t see why the GOP would want to negotiate the debt ceiling away until they had to. It really doesn’t make any sense for them to give up their only actual hostage, since they weren’t going to do away with the tax cuts for everyone (even if they’d bitch and moan about the “Job Creators” who will still get a tax cut on their first quarter million of taxable income.)

    If Obama just lets them default, would that destroy the GOP? I’d like to think so. Obama telling all the soldiers overseas that the GOP-controlled House is the reason they aren’t getting paid. Obama telling all the seniors that their Social Security checks will be smaller for a while. Obama telling all the workers on highway projects to go home because Boehner won’t allow them to be paid. Obama telling the country why those assholes are unwilling to approve payment on the spending they voted for.

    Aside from the human cost, it would be a great political moment. I say make them sweat. They’ll cave. There will be a downgrade because the credit folk are ninnies who want to blame the black guy rather than the moneyed interests, but if they want to fuck us they already have.

  30. 30
    jrg says:

    @Eric U.: I’m confused, too. Where did that 98% bit come from?

  31. 31
    Gindy51 says:

    @danimal: I think they are doing the echo chamber, fantasy land shit again just like they did in the election.

  32. 32
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I believe the Republicans thought is to take the middle class cuts out of the conversation by passing them, then, when Obama wants to raise the debt ceiling and take care of some of the cuts, Republicans will go “We won’t pass any of this unless you accept tax cuts for the rich.”

    They’re not thinking very far ahead.

  33. 33
    roc says:

    Assuming the GOP wasn’t going to play debt-ceiling games regardless. Which: of course they were.

    There’s no master play here. This is just their trying to find an exit from blocking the tax cuts (a general-election loser) without giving in to anything Obama wants (a primary-election loser).

    They always planned to fight over the debt ceiling and now they’ve just folded on the cliff and retreated to that fight, for which they’ll have better ground.

  34. 34
    PWL says:

    There is something truly insane about a party which would rather destroy the American economy than have 1% of the U.S. population pay a little more tax on their already obscenely bloated incomes.

  35. 35
    El Cruzado says:

    Weren’t defense contractors big GOP campaign contributors?

    They certainly seem to be willing to cut their legs to spite their asses.

  36. 36
    aimai says:

    This reminds me of a long forgotten Woody Allen essay on the Earl of Sandwich, working feverishly into the night on his invention. First he puts two slices of bread beneath some meat, then three slices of meat with no bread, then one slice of meat beneath two slices of bread. It takes him months of hard work and brainstorming to eventually get to the sandwich as we know it. Or maybe it reminds me of a MOnty Python routine in which the gentlemen of the road fall to arguing about exactly how a robbery works: do they threaten the victim and then give him their money?

    Do the Republicans have the faintest idea what leverage is,and how it works?

    aimai

  37. 37
    rb says:

    @jrg: It’s awkwardly worded. What the article means to say is: in the “doomsday” plan, Rs refrain from blocking the middle-class extension. Therefore (in the article’s reasoning), they can’t be “blamed” for letting the middle class tax cuts expire (and taxes going up on the middle class), because they won’t have expired.

    This seems (a) like terrible reasoning – as others have said, this strategy in no way prevents dems from saying that Rs voting ‘present’ “refused to support” tax cuts for the middle class, and (b) to change the current situation from fiscal cliff to fiscal cliff + middle class extension, which looks to me like a total loss for team crazy. I guess they’d rather fight the debt limit battle than the tax battle, but I’m not sure that’s any better for them.

  38. 38
    Sam says:

    This is the House’s plan? Really?

  39. 39
    rb says:

    @PWL: It gets scarier, because they’re doing their damndest to represent the will of their base. Widespread off-your-rocker-ism.

  40. 40
    liberal says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    …I’d say the appropriate response would be for Obama to tell them that he regards the debt ceiling to be in violation of the 14th Amendment…

    AFAICT the “platinum coin” plan is far superior, because (again, AFAICT) there’s nothing vaguely illegal or unconstitutional about it.

    Of course, a few financial illiterates like ThymeZone think it would wreak monetary havoc, but they haven’t the faintest understanding of how the monetary system works.

  41. 41
    Liberty60 says:

    I just don’t see the politics in this.

    The 27% of course will feverishly embrace it, but the average low information voter will only hear “those crazy politicians fighting like children” from the MSM.

    There might be some “both sides do it” BS, but Obama at least can benefit from being seen to be struggling against Republicans on the side of the middle class.

    The more the GOP caters to the 27% the more they alienate the rest of America.

  42. 42
    BGinCHI says:

    @aimai: I have a gub.

  43. 43
    Joel says:

    So the republicans are back to shooting hostages again? Wonderful.

  44. 44
    SFAW says:

    @aimai:

    Or maybe it reminds me of a MOnty Python routine in which the gentlemen of the road fall to arguing about exactly how a robbery works: do they threaten the victim and then give him their money

    Dennis Moore? (Or is that a different sketch?) Maybe Boehner will ask Obama to turn over all his lupins.

  45. 45

    Maybe if they try really hard, they can earn us another credit downgrade.

    I half hope that Obama might put on his Constitutional Law Professor hat on for just long enough to tell Congress where they can put their ‘debt ceiling’.

    IMO, Congress gives implicit consent for spending that money when they pass a new budget. This debt ceiling BS is roughly like having a crazed spouse or roommate agree to put a new fridge on the credit card bill, then reneging on it the next month when the credit card bill comes due.

    Too late. We bought the fridge. And here’s your signature on the receipt, right next to mine. So STFU.

  46. 46
    The Other Chuck says:

    So that “doomsday plan” is to give Obama exactly what he asked for?

    mmkay, works for me.

  47. 47
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    Sure, it’s an iffy claim re the debt ceiling’s constitutionality, but what can Boehner actually DO about it?

    Articles of impeachment, which would presumably have Bullshitico and the rest of the Village media polishing his Boehner because it keeps them in content throughout the year. (And would also make any kind of legislation over the next two years a non-starter.)

    And yeah, impeachment backfired on Newty’s gang, but they didn’t have the tight gerrymander that allowed the GOP to retain a House majority while getting fewer overall votes than Democrats.

  48. 48
    dr. bloor says:

    I love the part where they want to hold the debt ceiling hostage, thus reminding everyone that they’re trying to renege on the deal they cut the last time they did it. Oh, and that they’re infantile assholes.

    You can only run that scam once.

  49. 49
    The Other Chuck says:

    I thought congress’s sole power on the debt ceiling was that they were now able to pass a “resolution of disapproval” on it or something, but had no power to actually block it anymore. Did that not happen?

  50. 50
    gene108 says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    The Doomsday scenario is letting taxes on the rich go up and you end up with a recession.

    Forget the fact all the budget cuts would be what actually caused a recession or economic slow down.

    Republicans get to go on TeeVee and declare Obama raised taxes on the rich and that caused a recession.

  51. 51
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    To borrow a phrase, “Please proceed, Mr. Speaker.”

  52. 52
    feebog says:

    So what happens when 30 or so Republicans vote yes instead of present during the vote? I just don’t get this. Holding the Debt Ceiling hostage didn’t really work out so well for Republicans or the country. How do you make an argument that you are being fiscally responsible when you risk (again) the the nation’s credit rating?

  53. 53
    redshirt says:

    @feebog: Because you, as a crazy Republican House Member, know the media will spin the message to your benefit. That FoxNews will be screaming 24/7 how the Dems raised your taxes and wrecked the economy. That you know facts and truth hardly matter anymore.

    It’s a source or strength to the insane.

  54. 54
    Napoleon says:

    @liberal:

    Actually he should invoke both so when it ends up in court Obama only needs to win on one of the two basis to win.

  55. 55
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Someone has eleventh dimensional chessed the Republicans into a corner and they don’t like it. Obama gets his way, the deficit hawks get there’s, all by do nothing. The Repugs have to lead and Pelosi is the one who steps up with a plan. What a bunch of idiots.

  56. 56
    Ruckus says:

    @BGinCHI:
    Do they teach this shit in B School?/em>

    Depends if your B means business or bullshit.

    Wait a minute, maybe those terms have become interchangeable?

  57. 57

    Also, WaPo calls bullshit on Boehner’s claim that tax increases would affect small businesses. Actually, only a tiny % of small businesses will be affected. Go cry your great orange tears, Johnny.

  58. 58
    Brachiator says:

    Republicans are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely. It’s quite simple: House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more: no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes

    I am not seeing how this helps Republicans in any way. It still looks as though the taxes on upper income people still goes forward, and the House Republicans still end up agreeing with the Democrats on the middle class tax cuts.

    Kicking the can down the road on the debt ceiling issue will still make the GOP look like clowns. And while this may get them some way to strong arm some more cuts, it will not get them a cut in the tax rates for the wealthy.

    @kindness:

    There will be no agreement in December. There may be one in January after the bush43 tax cuts end. I hope they just end and I will happily pay the extra money just to get NPR and the deficit scolds to shut the hell up.

    This actually gives them some wiggle room to get something done before the end of the year.

    BTW, if the Congress does not provide AMT relief as part of the deal, the taxes of up to 30 million taxpayers will go up in 2012. Not 2013. This would kill the Republicans even if Fox News and ignorant pundits tried to blame Obama for this.

  59. 59
    Sterling says:

    The wealthy contributors who pay Republican campaign bills will be screaming when they start paying 39% rates in 2013. Republicans should be trying to negotiate smaller permanent tax increases on the wealthy, not talking tough. Once the current rates expire they aren’t ever coming back.

    Hard to look at this and not see a bunch of dumbasses who think it’s still 2009-2010.

  60. 60
    Yutsano says:

    @Sterling: The bigger deal, and the one that will cause much more squaking, is the fact that the preferential treatment for capital gains also expires. The AOS will be getting lots of nasty phone calls about that one, but no way in Hades should that go up. There will be some estate tax rates restored to older levels as well. Poor Orange Julius.

  61. 61
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @A.J.:

    Oh, and increase the tax on the top 2% to Reagan’s 50% on incomes above $250K, just to eff with them.

    “You’ll take nothing and be grateful for it!”

    If Obama actually was a progressive, he’d put something in there that raised taxes on the 2% above the Bush tax cut expiry as a condition for any deal, even if by a very small amount. Just to get a clear win and change the debate in the future.

    But he isn’t, and he won’t.

  62. 62
    The Golux says:

    @PWL:

    There is something truly insane about a party which would rather destroy the American economy than have 1% of the U.S. population pay a little more tax on their already obscenely bloated incomes.

    It all makes sense when you keep in mind the only thing that matters to them: The obscene wealth of the obscenely wealthy is insufficiently obscene.

  63. 63
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @PWL:

    There is something truly insane about a party which would rather destroy the American economy than have 1% of the U.S. population pay a little more tax on their already obscenely bloated incomes.

    Not at all. In terms of political economics, their only purpose is servicing the needs of that 1%. And in psychological terms, they are convinced the interests of that 1% ARE America.

  64. 64
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    This is actually a pretty good result – it ensures that the most harmful and immediate element of the fiscal cliff goes away. We’ll just need to do the nonsensical Debt Ceiling Dance again next year.

  65. 65
    David in NY says:

    When we talk about $250,000, do we mean $250k in taxable or adjusted gross income?

    Because if it’s taxable (which it seems to me it would be), that’s probably actually $300k to $400k in income.

    That’s a lot of money.

  66. 66
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Also, WaPo calls bullshit on Boehner’s claim that tax increases would affect small businesses. Actually, only a tiny % of small businesses will be affected.

    They trot out the “small business” line all the time, even though the definition covers people selling their crap on eBay and claiming deductions on the stamps, right the way through to big law firms.

    Credit to Kessler where due.

  67. 67
    El Kabong says:

    @SFAW:

    Working out who threatens the victims and how does the money change hands is part of the Piranha Brothers (Doug and Dinsdale) sketch. Google “the other other operation”.

  68. 68
    Tone in DC says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Especially when the ditz sets the stove (and the rest of the set) ablaze.
    Cue Talking Heads playing “Burning Down the House”.

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @Yutsano:

    The bigger deal, and the one that will cause much more squaking, is the fact that the preferential treatment for capital gains also expires.

    Yep, capital gains and qualified dividends no longer get preferential treatment. I imagine that the Republicans are also trying to blunt the impact on the new 3.8 percent tax on net investment income that goes into effect for 2013, which will hit wealthy taxpayers more than anyone else.

    There will be some estate tax rates restored to older levels as well. Poor Orange Julius.

    The estate tax is still a mess. Here, doing nothing is a bad solution.

    When we talk about $250,000, do we mean $250k in taxable or adjusted gross income?

    We’re really talking about taxable income. But it’s hard for politicians and pundits to be clear about this.

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    If Obama actually was a progressive, he’d put something in there that raised taxes on the 2% above the Bush tax cut expiry as a condition for any deal, even if by a very small amount. Just to get a clear win and change the debate in the future.

    This would never pass the House.

    However, I think that Obama should have proposed this. Hell, maybe even a rate that was 5 percent above the Bush tax rates. This would give the GOP some face saving room to just let the Bush tax cuts expire and claim that they prevented the Democrats from taxing and spending even more than usual.

  70. 70
    Punchy says:

    Dumb question — so a bill can pass the House with less than 218 votes? So just as long as there’s more “yeas” than “nays”, it passes automatically, regardless of whether that number represents a majority in the House?

    I did not know this. Can a Senate bill pass 47-46 if 7 Sennys go “present” on a bill, too?

  71. 71
    chopper says:

    By doing this, Republicans avoid taking blame for tax increases on 98 percent of income tax payers.

    and allow the democrats to become the party that cut taxes for every single income-earning american. and brand themselves as the guys who fought a tax cut for every single income-earning american.

    yeah, you guys go with that. you’ll really whip obama good with that strategy.

  72. 72
    burnspbesq says:

    John Cole:

    Maybe if they try really hard, they can earn us another credit downgrade.

    Yeah, because the last downgrade really caused our borrowing costs to skyrocket.

  73. 73
    burnspbesq says:

    @Brachiator:

    The estate tax is still a mess. Here, doing nothing is a bad solution.

    Unless you’re an estate planning lawyer. For them, 2012 is going to pay to renovate the vacation houses they bought in 1981.

  74. 74
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Punchy:

    Dumb question—so a bill can pass the House with less than 218 votes? So just as long as there’s more “yeas” than “nays”, it passes automatically, regardless of whether that number represents a majority in the House?

    It depends a little bit on whether there are rules attached the vote, although those kinds of rules are usually designed to skip procedural steps as long as a bill gets two-thirds passage. But yeah, standard procedure is that more yeas than nays means the question passes.

  75. 75
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    As one senior Republican in Congress told me, “You don’t take a hostage you aren’t willing to shoot.”

    I wish to FSM they’d name this asshole. WTF hostage-taking as a metaphor? This is why we can’t have nice things.

  76. 76
    Schlemizel says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I love that stupid movie!

  77. 77
    BGinCHI says:

    @Schlemizel: Glad someone got it…..

  78. 78
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Punchy: My understanding of it, though I could be partially wrong, is that for a bill to pass it needs a majority of the House or Senate to vote for it, but those that are not present are still included in the total for this purpose. So if 10 Senators are absent, you can’t just pass something with 45 votes – but you can if those same 10 Senators are there and simply vote “present”. If a seat is empty for whatever reason (someone retires or something), they are removed from the total in the same way a “present” vote would be.

    Fairly certain that breaking a filibuster requires 60 votes no matter what, though.

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    @redshirt:

    We’ve got plenty of evidence they will light themselves on fire before they work with Obama or anything to do with him.

    I haven’t seen any of them actually light themselves on fire yet, just a bunch of them waving gasoline and matches. I’m not going to believe them until the whole Republican caucus immolates itself live on pay-per-view- which sounds like a great way of raising money to pay down the debt, BTW.

  80. 80
    redshirt says:

    @Roger Moore: I’m in for a fitty.

  81. 81
    Brachiator says:

    @burnspbesq:

    RE: The estate tax is still a mess. Here, doing nothing is a bad solution.

    Unless you’re an estate planning lawyer. For them, 2012 is going to pay to renovate the vacation houses they bought in 1981.

    Hah. True enough.

    BTW, I’m reading today that an outline plan that the White House offered to Boehner included the following:

    … the president’s plan would raise $960 billion over 10 years by increasing the top two marginal tax rates, as well as rates on capital gains and dividends. Another $600 billion would be raised by capping deductions. The offer also reportedly includes setting estate taxation at 2009 levels and extending bonus depreciation. The proposal also calls for alternative minimum tax relief at a cost of $236 billion and an extension of payroll tax relief at $110 billion.

    However, one House bill calls for the extension through 2013 of current law estate tax rules ($5 million (indexed) personal exemption and 35 percent top rate).

    What a mess if Congress does nothing for a while, and then later significantly changes the the law here.

  82. 82
    JWL says:

    “You don’t take a hostage you aren’t willing to shoot.”

    Those people watch way too many movies.

    Consider the quote an early Xmas present to Obama. Assuming, of course, he’s willing to throw it back in their teeth (and it’s always a big “if” with the man and his rhetoric).

  83. 83
    Roger Moore says:

    @liberal:

    AFAICT the “platinum coin” plan is far superior

    UNLIMITED CORPORATE PLATINUM CASH!

  84. 84
    David in NY says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: I thought the general rule was there had to be a quorum, and if there is, a measure passes if it gains a majority of all those “present and voting.”

  85. 85
    aimai says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I still laugh hysterically at “I have a gub.” I think, on reflection, that the Monty python reference I was making may have been to the early part of the Doug and Dinsdale sketch.


    Presenter: At the age of fifteen Doug and Dinsdale started attending the Ernest Pythagoras Primary School in Clerkenwell. When the Piranhas left school they were called up but were found by an Army Board to be too unstable even for National Service. Denied the opportunity to use their talents in the service of their country, they began to operate what they called ‘The Operation’… They would select a victim and then threaten to beat him up if he paid the so-called protection money. Four months later they started another operation which the called ‘The Other Operation’. In this racket they selected another victim and threatened not to beat him up if he didn’t pay them. One month later they hit upon ‘The Other Other Operation’. In this the victim was threatened that if he didn’t pay them, they would beat him up. This for the Piranha brothers was the turning point.

  86. 86
    Brachiator says:

    @liberal:

    AFAICT the “platinum coin” plan is far superior

    Might as well go for a system based on gold-pressed latinum.

  87. 87
    David in NY says:

    @Brachiator: We’re really talking about taxable income.

    Bet most people don’t know that — and that most taxpayers with that kind of income have a much higher gross income (which is what people are thinking of when they consider the $250,000).

  88. 88
    Fair Economist says:

    You only need a majority of votes cast in the House to pass a bill. Medicare part D, for example, passed 216-215 even though they needed 218 for a majority of House members.

  89. 89
    Rathskeller says:

    Boehner is the hostage. He has no control over his wing.

  90. 90
    rikyrah says:

    this is who they are. no shock here.

  91. 91
    JustAnotherBob says:

    Apparently only 2% of small business owners make more than $250,000, after deductions, taxable.

    Let’s say you’re one of that small group and you make $350,000 taxable a year. And your highest bracket tax rate goes up 3%. That means that your taxes go up $3,000. Now you have $250 less per month to spend. You’re making almost $30,000 per month before taxes and your after tax income drops $250.

    Do you shut down your business because of the pain inflicted or do you think of some way to grow your business to replace that loss?

    I’m of the opinion that we should tax rich people heavily.

    If they did, in fact, earn their money via their own superior abilities then we should motivate them to keep producing for the greater good.

  92. 92
    Elie says:

    I believe that they think that they have no choice but to fight like crazy to impose their priorities. They fully realize now, after the election, that they have no spokesman, no policy, no identity but NO to taxes on the wealthy. If they lose that and some cuts on entitlements, they have no other national policy that hasn’t been completely repudiated. They would effectively disappear on the national policy arena and would have no place to go as far as what they would advocate for. These are people fighting to survive irrelevancy. They are dangerous because almost anything is better than just being invisible. Of course, my opinion is that this is when they must be forced exactly into irrelevancy and be made to disappear. But this will be ugly and rough…

  93. 93

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    If Obama actually was a progressive, he’d put something in there that raised taxes on the 2% above the Bush tax cut expiry as a condition for any deal, even if by a very small amount. Just to get a clear win and change the debate in the future.
    __
    But he isn’t, and he won’t.

    My kingdom for a moving goalpost.

    /O-BOT…AWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!

  94. 94
    El Cid says:

    When Pelosi passed the TARP, she refused to provide more Democratic House votes than would suffice to pass the bill if and only if a majority of Republican House members voted for it.

    The Republicans didn’t believe the Democrats could or would hold to that, so the morning vote failed.

    Hours later after much Wall Street panic and reportedly heated calls from big money types to whatever direct or indirect contacts to the Republicans brought them in line, and by the afternoon they passed it.

  95. 95
    Morzer says:

    The GOP have made a remarkably passive-aggressive counter-offer on the fiscal cliff:

    http://livewire.talkingpointsm.....unteroffer

  96. 96
    Fair Economist says:

    Actually, the TARP bill passed the House with only a minority of Republicans voting for it (91 for, 108 against). http://www.govtrack.us/congres.....-2008/h681

    edit: The Powers That Be did indeed apply a lot of pressure on both Democrats and Republicans to get the bill to pass the second time. The bipartisanship was not so much demanded by Pelosi as genuinely required to get such an unpopular bill through.

  97. 97
    SFAW says:

    @El Kabong:
    @aimai:

    Thanks. It didn’t feel like Dennis Moore, but senility wiped the Piranha Brothers from my cortex (or whatever). Which is pretty embarrassing. I guess I gots to go back and study them some more.

  98. 98
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Morzer:

    The GOP have made a remarkably passive-aggressive counter-offer on the fiscal cliff:

    Interesting that they call it a “status quo election”. As I see it, the House Republicans had negotiated with the President assuming they would unseat him. They didn’t, so while they retain the House, the status quo has changed. They’re trying to deny that elections have consequences.

  99. 99
    grandpa john says:

    I,m so old , I can remember when treason was a crime. Actually that wasn’t so many years ago, because I can remember being labeled a traitor because I opposed invading Iraq and not agreeing with the shrub was labeled as treason

  100. 100
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Morzer:

    The GOP have made a remarkably passive-aggressive counter-offer on the fiscal cliff:

    http://livewire.talkingpointsm…..unteroffer

    Okay, so NOW would be a good time for Obama to come back with a higher-than-Bush-expiry-taxes-on-rich “offer”, just to make them scream and sweat.

  101. 101
    jp7505a says:

    I read a rather short summation of the entire mess, to wit –
    ‘are we a country that CAN”T afford the government programs that we use or are we a country that WON”T pay for the government pogams that we use?’.
    I suspect the answer is the later.

  102. 102
    Jennifer says:

    @Morzer: And the White House responds:

    “The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve. Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires. While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. President Obama believes – and the American people agree – that the economy works best when it is grown from the middle out, not from the top down. Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won’t be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.”

  103. 103
  104. 104

    @El Cruzado:
    It gives them a good excuse to lay off workers. Many of them union.

    Great for the stock price, also, too.

  105. 105
    fuckwit says:

    I don’t see a downside here, really.

    Middle class tax cuts, pushed through by Obama, and passed by the Senate, get passed, and 98% of us DO GET TO KEEP OUR TAX CUTS. The article must be wrong.

    Meanwhile, the Bush tax cuts for those over $250K go away. They now pay higher taxes. Defense gets cut deeply, which it needs, other austerity measures kick in, which sucks but we can try again to fix those in February.

    Let’s do this.

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