Gee, but I thought I’d ask you just the same

It is just me or is it obvious how FiscalCliffGate ends?

We “go over the cliff” for a couple days, then something is passed that reinstates the middle-class tax cut but not for the highest earners. Or maybe something is passed on New Year’s Eve when Republicans realize that their bargaining power goes down once we’re over the cliff.

There’s no other way for this to go, right?

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87 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    You left out the wailing, gnashing of teeth, and cries of betrayal from multiple sides, but, yeah, I don’t see it going down any other way.

  2. 2
    Hill Dweller says:

    The House just adjourned until Monday.

  3. 3
    rachel says:

    It’s probably going to be the first because then they can claim they voted for tax cuts instead of tax increases.

  4. 4
    srv says:

    Well you forgot all those SS benificiaries being sold out and being thrown off the cliff first.

  5. 5
    dollared says:

    Yes. Social Security will be cut 9% over 30 years. Every Balloon Juice reader will suffer this loss of income, except the state and federal federal retirees, along with 250 million other Americans who don’t have pensions or government retirement plans.

    Later, chained CPI will also be used to cut food stamps, causing 50 million more Americans to suffer, because it was so great for “strengthening Social Security.”

  6. 6
    c u n d gulag says:

    Yeah, that’s kind of how I see it.

    But, with these Manichean Birchers and Jesus-freaks in the House, you really can’t exclude any kind of irrational, even insane, path.

    It’s too bad we don’t have a parliamentary form of government, or we could still move on as a country – but instead, we are stuck with two parties, one of whom is clearly clinically insane.
    And the other one is likely to try to move ahead, by trying to negotiate with the Nihilists and Terrorists, and try to find some way to compromise.
    Which, to paraphrase someone on the intertubes, is like going on a date with someone, and trying to compromise between the spaghetti you want to eat, with the tire rims they’d prefer for dinner.

  7. 7
    Xenos says:

    In the mean-time CNBC gets to run breathless speculation from the likes of Rick Santelli about what it all means. Except he keeps bringing up the differing fertility rates of white “productive” people and non-European/Japanese/Chinese “unproductive3 people.

    My dearest wish for 2013 involves Jack Welch, a fire, and someone dying therin.

  8. 8
    Napoleon says:

    I Congress’ pay linked to CPI? Does anyone know?

  9. 9
    Sterling says:

    I figured we’d have a middle class tax cut in January until I remembered that the GOP won’t pass a tax cut without insisting that “everyone should have a tax cut.”

    They don’t care about the middle class, and they know their seats are safe whatever happens in January. A new election is two years away, and they’ll spend those two years arguing that the Kenyan socialist and Nancy Pelosi wanted higher taxes to give more money to lazy black people.

  10. 10
    dedc79 says:

    Yeah, the media is just so in love with the phrase “fiscal cliff”, and the “crisis” it portends, that they won’t it go.

  11. 11
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    BLARG

    Hey, Firebagger wannabes – have you heard anything about chained-CPI being in the current, smaller deals being thrown around?

    …No?

    THEN SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO BACK TO FDL.

  12. 12
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Also, the thoughtful commentary from the usual suspects in print (Bobo, Chunky Bobo) and on the teevee machine (Tweety, Chuckie, Punkinhaid Jr.). TeaNN may put together a nice graphics package with appropriate musical accompaniment. And Faux will just whine that if only Obama would either listen to or stand down in favor of D. Whiteman, everything would be OK.

    Did I forget anything?

  13. 13
    SatanicPanic says:

    Or maybe it just doesn’t get fixed at all.

  14. 14
    David Hunt says:

    We should never underestimate the ability of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but I think that is the best case scenario. After we start moving the down the fiscal slight-incline, I hope that the Democrats give it the GOPers good and hard.

  15. 15
    gene108 says:

    Or maybe something is passed on New Year’s Eve when Republicans realize that their bargaining power goes down once we’re over the cliff. There’s no other way for this to go, right?

    We go over the Fiscal Cliff.

    Republicans refuse to do anything constructive.

    They hold out hope whatever lumps the economy takes will (a) be blamed on Obama/Democrats and (b) their House seats are so safely gerrymandered they don’t have to care.

    I do not see anything happening other than a recession next year, because of Republican intransigence.

  16. 16
    Ben Cisco says:

    @c u n d gulag: Tire rims without anthrax is like spaghetti without the sauce.

  17. 17
    Schlemizel says:

    Doug – wasn’t this the general opinion a month or two ago when the panic first started setting in?

    Nothing has changed. The goopers are incapable of compromise and the pussy Dems are incapable of cohesion. 1/1/13 will solve just enough of that

  18. 18
    SatanicPanic says:

    What makes you think Republicans care about middle-class taxpayers? Their voters are all upper-class, or think they are.

  19. 19
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @FormerSwingVoter: what about the public option, though? And Dawn Johnsen? And Donnie McClurkin?

  20. 20
    Ruckus says:

    @c u n d gulag:
    Tire rims would be a more palatable(and nutritious, Iron!) meal than the crap they are trying to foster on us.

    I suggest the meal is actually spaghetti and battery acid. The first is tasty, the second is toxic from the first second you experience it.

  21. 21
    burnspbesq says:

    I wouldn’t assume that a deal gets done in early January, or at any time in January, or at any time in Q1.

    I think the prevailing view of House Republicans is “in for a penny, in for a pound,” and they believe that their bargaining position gets rehabilitated as we get closer to needing to act on a debt ceiling increase.

    And in all honesty, does anyone know who (if anyone) on the Republican side of this conversation is empowered to say “yes?” I don’t think anyone is, right now. If you disagree, I’d like you to identify that person and explain the source of their authority.

  22. 22
    Heliopause says:

    There’s no other way for this to go, right?

    We go over the “cliff”. On January 3 Boehner narrowly loses the speakership to some uberwingnut who rolls the “cliff” talks into broader ones that include the debt ceiling and a birth certificate investigation.

  23. 23
    gene108 says:

    @Xenos:

    My dearest wish for 2013 involves Jack Welch, a fire, and someone dying therin.

    So, who will Jack Welsh be sacrificing into the fire?

    Maybe a new reality show…Jack Welsh’s: Human Sacrificial Apprentice, where people compete to be the person Jack sacrifices in a funeral pyre.

  24. 24
    DougJ says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Interesting.

  25. 25
    jibeaux says:

    @Sterling: I’m not suggesting you don’t know this, but there’s a pretty simple response to that: If there’s a tax cut on the first $250k of income, then everyone does get a tax cut. Even billionaires have a first $250k. Just because it’s not a tax cut on ALL of your income doesn’t mean it’s not a cut.

  26. 26

    @Napoleon: It’s not the pay but the pension. As with health care, our legislators have soshulism in this department too. They don’t pay into Social Security so the indexing doesn’t affect their retirement.

  27. 27
    burnspbesq says:

    @DougJ:

    Yeah. In the sense of the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

  28. 28
    danimal says:

    There’s no saying how long teh crazy will hold out, but you’ve given the rational end-game away.

    But if teh crazy lingers, it’s better to break them on the fiscal cliff than letting them take more hostages (debt ceiling!) throughout the year.

  29. 29
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Heliopause:

    We go over the “cliff”. On January 3 Boehner narrowly loses the speakership to some uberwingnut who rolls the “cliff” talks into broader ones that include the debt ceiling and a birth certificate investigation.

    I think there is a distinct possibility that Boehner may ousted from the Speakership but then the GOP caucus will be unable to muster enough votes to select anybody to replace him. We then somehow have to figure out how to run the House with no Speaker. Which results in the following exchange on one of the Sunday talk shows:

    [George Will]: This is unbelievable. I’m utterly speechless.
    [Paul Krugman]: Yeah, well so is The House.

  30. 30
    Kyle says:

    I think DougJ’s plan is the more likely, though any deal is up in the air considering the amount of crazy involved. The most galling are the teabaggers who are unwilling to vote for a tax increase, but are willing to allow the Bush cuts to expire so that when they vote for whatever final deal is struck, they are voting on a tax cut, and not a raise.

    However, if Poppy Bush doesn’t get better, the Bush junta might push a deal through if he lingers toward the end of the year. If the Bush cuts go away and then he dies, their estate tax bill will go up significantly–$4 million in exemptions go away and the rate goes from 35% to 55%. They may have Cheney pull the plug on new years eve.

  31. 31
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Ben Cisco:
    Thanks! I kind of forgot that part.
    ‘Cause yeah, what’s a tire rim without a heaping helping of anthrax?

  32. 32
    MattF says:

    My old DC pals generally doubt that anything good can happen in a lame-duck session. I personally doubt that anything will happen until after Inauguration Day– at which point it may dawn on Republicans that Obama really did win the election.

  33. 33
    Ruckus says:

    @burnspbesq:
    does anyone know who (if anyone) on the Republican side of this conversation is empowered to say “yes?”
    Empowered? No one. The speaker might be if his party wasn’t imploding, so not him. That’s it I’m out.
    Willing? Not on your life. Or mine. Or what, any one of the 250 million others negatively affected.

  34. 34
    PeakVT says:

    I don’t think we’ll get any kind of deal to stop us from hitting the Austerity Wall, and I don’t think the Republicans as a group will sign onto any tax cut deal afterwards. Something might get passed via a discharge petition, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    Next up: hitting the debt ceiling hard.

  35. 35
    Elizabelle says:

    If there’s a tax cut on the first $250k of income, then everyone does get a tax cut. Even billionaires have a first $250k.

    Just because it’s not a tax cut on ALL of your income doesn’t mean it’s not a cut.

    This has to be said again, and again, and again.

    People do not understand that you get a tax cut on the first $250,000 and — what? —39% on the next say $100,000 you earned.

    It’s not all $350,000 taxed at 39%.

  36. 36
    dollared says:

    @DougJ: I am with Burns, planning on crisis running until May. But, I do think Obama can get 50 Republicans in the House with Social Security cuts, no tax increase until $500k, and top marginal rate of 37/38% (lower than Clinton), with capital gains no more than 20% and estate tax @$5M/35%.

    In other words, Obama will have the option to fuck over the middle class and get a bad deal. The Chamber of Commerce will provide enough cover for the 50 Republican traitors.

    We’ll see if Obama takes the bait.

  37. 37
    dollared says:

    @DougJ: I am with Burns, planning on crisis running until May. But, I do think Obama can get 50 Republicans in the House with Social Security cuts, no tax increase until $500k, and top marginal rate of 37/38% (lower than Clinton), with capital gains no more than 20% and estate tax @$5M/35%.

    In other words, Obama will have the option to fuck over the middle class and get a bad deal. The Chamber of Commerce will provide enough cover for the 50 Republican traitors.

    We’ll see if Obama takes the bait.

  38. 38
    Xenos says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    I think there is a distinct possibility that Boehner may ousted from the Speakership but then the GOP caucus will be unable to muster enough votes to select anybody to replace him. We then somehow have to figure out how to run the House with no Speaker.

    qncy
    That scenario applies only if the GOP, knowing their votes are split, do not allow for a speaker election. If they hold the election and are split then a minority speaker can be elected. It zould be terribly amusing to see Nancy P. become speaker again this way.

  39. 39
    burnspbesq says:

    @Kyle:

    If the Bush cuts go away and then he dies, their estate tax bill will go up significantly–$4 million in exemptions go away

    If they’re getting competent advice, those exemptions have already been used. I’d guess that hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth has been transferred this month in order to use those exemptions before they go away. Anybody with $10 million they can part with and competent tax advisors has put it in trust for the benefit of their kids or grandkids. And DOJ facilitated it when they agreed to dismiss the Government’s appeal of the Wandry case to the Tenth Circuit.

    ETA: My personal view is that Wandry was correctly decided by the Tax Court, but if DOJ had left the appeal pending it would have deterred some people from making formula gifts.

  40. 40
    lawguy says:

    The way it normally happens is that Obama gives them everything they want, right?

  41. 41
    Percysowner says:

    @dollared:

    Yes. Social Security will be cut 9% over 30 years. Every Balloon Juice reader will suffer this loss of income, except the state and federal federal retirees, along with 250 million other Americans who don’t have pensions or government retirement plans.

    As a retired state employee (Ohio) my cost of living adjustments are capped at 3% no matter what AND I can’t collect the Social Security that I would otherwise be entitled to if I weren’t on my state pension. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my pension, but COLA adjustments aren’t great.

  42. 42
    El Caganer says:

    @burnspbesq: Depressingly enough, that sounds exactly right.

  43. 43
    James E Powell says:

    @burnspbesq:

    This is the question that should be at the center of this Sunday’s talk shows. Daniel Henninger asked it in a WSJ Op-Ed a couple weeks ago, but from a different angle: he is worried that those two RINOs, Boehner & McConnell, are going to sell out the cause.

    I can’t answer your question, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Boehner and McConnell doesn’t seem to want to be Vox GOP.

  44. 44
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Heliopause:

    …some uberwingnut who rolls the “cliff” talks into broader ones that include the debt ceiling and a birth certificate investigation.

    @burnspbesq:

    I think the prevailing view of House Republicans is “in for a penny, in for a pound,” and they believe that their bargaining position gets rehabilitated as we get closer to needing to act on a debt ceiling increase.

    We’ll just do without a government, then.

    We’re not facing a fiscal crisis, we’re facing a fundamental crisis of governmental legitimacy, where the minority party isn’t willing to concede that the majority party has any right to govern at all.

    Only Americans — i.e. Republicans — can make laws for America. Democrats can’t. Because they’re not Americans, not really.

    The GOP’s playing the role of the Orleanists or Bonapartists of the 19th c. French Second and Third Republics, or the Irish independent members of Parliament of the 19th c. House of Commons.

    Depending on taste, separatism (the Irish solution). or revolution, and restoration of the monarchy (the Bonapartist/Orleanist solution) is the answer. Hence all the loose talk of secession, and calls for Jeb!, and need for guns…

    Countries don’t always come out of such corners, once they’ve been painted into them, with their polities and constitutions intact.

  45. 45
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    And not all Federal employees will “miss” this, just the ones under the “old” system, one which Reagan killed in 1985, thus, most Feds would experience a theoretical “loss of income” if Social Security hacks were implemented.

  46. 46
    different-church-lady says:

    There’s no other way for this to go, right?

    Ten years ago maybe. Today we’re dealing with maniacs for whom delusion and scorched earth are ways of life. They do not care if we go all the way to the bottom of the canyon, nor how broken the country gets if we do.

    That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them kick the can down the road one more time.

  47. 47
    Brachiator says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    It’s too bad we don’t have a parliamentary form of government, or we could still move on as a country – but instead, we are stuck with two parties, one of whom is clearly clinically insane.

    There’s nothing about the parliamentary form of government that guarantees sanity. Ask the Brits, the Greeks or the Israelis. You could ask the Italians, but their government may be collapsing. Again.

    Back in 2011, Belgium went 535 days without a government while waiting for a stable coalition to be formed.

    The Tea Party would probably be more powerful than it is now under a parliamentary system. You wouldn’t even be able to form a government without them and the Libertarian crazies.

    And would you really want to see a Tea Party Vice President or Secretary of State as part of some coalition government?

    @burnspbesq:

    I wouldn’t assume that a deal gets done in early January, or at any time in January, or at any time in Q1.

    Some preliminary deal absolutely must be cut sometime in January. What people keep forgetting, especially the crazier Republicans is that 2012 is being held hostage as well. They will have to do something about the alternative minimum tax for 2012 or else up to 30 million Americans will see an immediate tax increase for this tax year. There are a few other expiring 2012 items that have to be dealt with as well.

    I am not sure that even the nuttiest wingnuts in Congress would say to their constituents, “file your return now and pay the tax increase, and file an amended return later and get a refund. Maybe.”

    And when states start taking a hit and possibly have to furlough cops and firefighters….

    Newt just wanted to stop the federal government. These clowns seem willing to stop the entire economy.

  48. 48
    Yutsano says:

    OT: whatever you do, don’t even THINK of mentioning gun control! Just arm everyone unless it raises taxes. Then just arm a few folks and make them pay for it on their own dime. Go Arizona. Or something.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    @dollared:

    But, I do think Obama can get 50 Republicans in the House with Social Security cuts, no tax increase until $500k, and top marginal rate of 37/38% (lower than Clinton), with capital gains no more than 20% and estate tax @$5M/35%.

    Given your extremely poor record of prognostication so far, you need to name at least 25 Republicans in the current House that you think would flip. Note that 25 is the minimum number required to pass a bill in the House, assuming that every single Democrat also votes for it.

  50. 50

    @FlipYrWhig: For some reason they kept the public option secret, and nobody noticed but Ataturk, last October. A frail little thing perhaps, but it will grow. As for Dawn Johnsen, I’ll bet she’s having a good time, like Van Jones; nicer to be outside government than to be H.H. Koh and Eric Holder explaining indefinite detention. As for McClurkin, forget about McClurkin, then you’ll be happier too.

  51. 51
    Elie says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    As long as one side (the Democratic and Administration’s side), wants to hold up and respect the existing governmental process and credibility, IT has to follow the rules as they exist. They have to try to get some sort of agreement or work with the existing system — which means somehow working the Republican reptiles into some semblance of a negotiated solution so that we can MOVE ON. The reptiles of course, do not want to govern or to allow the current system to seem credible and valid, so there is every incentive for them NOT to agree or negotiate.

    We cannot blame the Democrats and Administration for attempting to negotiate. Given the current situation, we have to receive some sort of input from the republicans. We cannot repudiate this government after fighting for responsible governance in this system. That is of course, what the republicans would like. Since we are the upholder to this system, we fucking well have to follow and uphold it. And that is where we are. Its an arm wrestle where the republicans would like us to bust up and repudiate the very same government process we fought to keep. Then everything would be in play and no “rules” would exist — a state that the republicans would like since they have no prominence and status in within the rules of the existing US government having lost the election badly.

    The republicans have done what they can to break the current governmental system. They would like to coerce the administration and the democrats into breaking it some more. That is how the Adminstration sees it and that is why it has been very careful to show its willingness to engage and compromise and has generally avoided extreme name calling in public and talk of using the 14th amendment for the debt ceiling. They cannot be forced to repudiate the current process by giving into the frustration. The only game I see for the Democrats and administration is tough for people to watch. It requires patience and a slow set up to make clear how willing the republicans are to destroy our government and ruin the economy. At the same time, our side has to come across as reasonable and patient and willing to engage.

    The republicans have cut their link to legitimately be given responsibility for the welfare of the people in this country. Boehner and the republican henchmen are just party hacks who care only for their narrow interests. They are hanging themselves. Its a slow, uggly process but that is what you are looking at.

    Just my take.

  52. 52

    @gene108:

    Republicans refuse to do anything constructive. They hold out hope whatever lumps the economy takes will (a) be blamed on Obama/Democrats and (b) their House seats are so safely gerrymandered they don’t have to care.

    I agree with this, and with burnspbesq’s comment below it. I wrote a little while ago, “John Boehner (and Eric Cantor under him, and Kevin McCarthy under him) has every incentive to attack moderate proposals from the president (or their own leadership) as not merely unwise but tyrannical. There are no GOP actors with the political sway, or perhaps even the inclination, to return to rational discourse on public policy.”

  53. 53
    RaflW says:

    @MattF:
    It won’t dawn on the Republicans that they lost this election until they loose the next one. They’re still living in 2010 as far as I can tell.

  54. 54
    handsmile says:

    Once we’re airborne over the cliff, the situation will clarify very quickly where the true power lies in the Republican Party: the fractious Tea Party Nihilists or the nervous Free Market Realists.

    The shuddering international markets will soon persuade House Republicans who’s the ideological boss. Follow the (dwindling) money.

    Also, as the debt ceiling looms closer (Geithner’s remarks yesterday on “certain extraordinary measures” that Treasury can take punts that collision about another two months), Obama’s refusal to apply the 14th Amendment remedy will become less categorical. If he “will not play [the debt ceiling] game”, that is one weapon he won’t relinquish if necessary.

  55. 55
    burnspbesq says:

    @James E Powell:

    According to Steve Benen, McConnell is already quaking in his boots at the possibility of having to face Ashley Judd in 2014.

  56. 56
    Bulworth says:

    @Sterling: Also, too: everyone needs a tax cut because DEBT CRISIS! Runaway spending! //

  57. 57

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Countries don’t always come out of such corners, once they’ve been painted into them, with their polities and constitutions intact.

    Matt Yglesias noted that a few years ago:

    In his classic essay “The Perils of Presidentialism” (PDF) political scientist Juan Linz noted the striking fact that “the only presidential democracy with a long history of constitutional continuity is the United States … [a]side from the United States, only Chile has managed a century and a half of relatively undisturbed constitutional continuity under presidential government—but Chilean democracy broke down in the 1970s.” By contrast, many parliamentary democracies have managed to hold together for a long time. … [W]e find ourselves several congresses into a brave new world in which every single Democratic Party legislator is to the left of every single Republican Party legislator. In terms of partisan politics, in other words, we’ve become a normal country. But as Linz observed, the “normal” outcome for a country with our political institutions and ideologically sorted parties is constitutional crisis and a collapse into dictatorship.

  58. 58
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    Given your extremely poor record of prognostication so far…

    He’s not really here for the hunting, is he?

  59. 59
    burnspbesq says:

    @Brachiator:

    They will have to do something about the alternative minimum tax for 2012

    If I’m a Republican in the House, my answer to that is “why?” Take a look at the geographic incidence of the AMT. It hits blue states hardest, and (IIRC) it hits Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland hardest of all, with California not far behind.

  60. 60
    RaflW says:

    @handsmile:

    The problem in waiting for rational actors to emerge from the business/investor class is that they’re in the tank on the Obama/Demcrats derangement.

    They funded Romney heavily and most likely bought the 47% crap. The insights into the utterly corrupt and totally ignorant upper echelon on the National Review cruise make it clear, the party hacks are doing what the party faithful, including the business leaders, wants.

  61. 61
    Elie says:

    @handsmile:

    Obama’s refusal to apply the 14th Amendment remedy will become less categorical. If he “will not play [the debt ceiling] game”, that is one weapon he won’t relinquish if necessary.

    Obama will stay within the current “rules” until he absolutely cannot do anything else. He represents the legitimacy of our current system so he must not abandon it unless he absolutely has to… Once he is outside the “rules”, he gives them power to stay outside the “rules”. Right now, he has the upper hand in an ugly process to make them respect the legitimacy of this government under his and democratic leadership. That, as you know, is a fave of the republicans — to deligitamize any democratic president and his/her administration and leadership. They MUST be taught, no matter with what difficulty, to mind the rules and take their medicine.

  62. 62
    Triumph says:

    Yeah, I’ve pretty much been telling people this was how things were going to go from the beginning.

  63. 63
    James E Powell says:

    @burnspbesq:

    That might be comedy gold but I don’t see it happening.

  64. 64
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    These clowns seem willing to stop the entire economy.
    Yes, yes they are. There is no longer a republican party. There is a group of idiots that all wear the same club jacket but they haven’t figured out yet that all of the members are insane, just in different ways. Their supposed leader, the orange drunk, has no power and is proving that daily. We will all suffer until the club is disbanded or enough of the members sober up. Unless our side wants to take drastic(and possibly not legal) measures to keep the whole mess from exploding, that’s where we are headed. As someone up thread asked, find 25 rethug house members to vote for any thing a dem proposes. And find a leader willing to bring up the issue for a vote. What is their motivation to be one of the 25? None. And orange j has already proven that he is not a leader nor willing to even bring for a vote anything that has even a modicum of sanity and dem votes.

    We are watching and being unwilling participants in a government dying. From internal injuries paid for by a few rich motherfuckers.

  65. 65
    Brachiator says:

    @burnspbesq:

    RE: They will have to do something about the alternative minimum tax for 2012

    If I’m a Republican in the House, my answer to that is “why?” Take a look at the geographic incidence of the AMT. It hits blue states hardest, and (IIRC) it hits Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland hardest of all, with California not far behind.

    Lots of conservative farmers in those blue states. People with lots of kids (the child tax credit would no longer be allowed against AMT) and moderate to high incomes.

    The regular income tax allows a personal exemption for each family member but the AMT does not. In 2011, taxpayers with three or more children are three and a half times more likely to owe AMT than those with no children. Under current law, 44 percent of filers with three or more children will find themselves on the AMT in 2012, compared to only 17 percent for those without children.

    And also, the GOP’s favorite coalitiion, rich people.

    “In 2011, 42 percent of tax filers with cash income greater than $1 million will be affected by the AMT, compared with nearly 52 percent of those with cash income between $200,000 and $500,000. In 2012, the difference will increase if there is no AMT patch: only 51 percent of millionaires will pay the AMT, compared with 94 percent of those with income between $200,000 and $500,000.”

    Lots of people with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 would be hit by the AMT.

    This is one of the dirty little secrets in all the “nothing but Bush tax cuts” and “it’s only a gentle curve, not a fiscal cliff” discussions.
    The AMT can’t be kicked down the road or put off until 2013 unless someone actually does something soon.

    I really look forward to the GOP crowing about how they are against tax cuts and allowing tax cuts.

    Hell, I would love it if Obama said, “No comprehensive deal and I will veto a standalone AMT patch and instruct the IRS to proceed with the old law.”

    Discussions about taxes and tax law are arcane to most people. But you let them do a 1040 with “here is your balance due” and not even Grover Norquist giving them a lap dance in their living rooms would soften the pain of what the GOP might inflict on the country.

  66. 66
    dollared says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): No, he’d need to get at least 50. You won’t get all Democrats with that bucket o’ swill.

    As for my record of prognostication….hunh? I’m flattered that you’re keeping a log, but you’ll have to show me at least one entry to give yourself a bit of credibility.

  67. 67
    Elie says:

    @Ruckus:

    I completely disagree that we are witnessing our functioning government dying. We ARE witnessing the republicans wanting it to die and acting in ways to deligitimize and make it less credible. It is their only game and has worked for them up till now. We are winning and will win this. Watch.

  68. 68
    handsmile says:

    @RaflW:

    Thanks for the link to the NY Magazine article on the National Review cruise (yeeesh!).

    In scanning the article, however, I came across plenty of members of the “conservative entertainment complex” and assorted malefactors, e.g., John Yoo, Bing West, but no mention of the leaders of the business/investor class.

    Obama’s tactical decision to meet with such figures in the days immediately following his re-election signaled an acknowledgement of their mutual interests, now that electoral rhetoric was being hauled away.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....83742.html

    I should say that much of my opinion on the actions of these post-ideological “rational actors” is influenced by Chrystia Freedland’s superb book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich. Profits before party.

    http://www.amazon.com/Plutocra.....B007V65OQG

  69. 69
    Ruckus says:

    @Elie:
    Given the way our government is set up we need 2 functioning political parties. We have one that is just barely on the side of OK and one that is imploding. With no way to change that dynamic soon we are not winning. And I say this as a person who would like to see the current(OK last 50 yrs) rethug party die. But it has too much power and stupidity to die quietly or quickly. And that throughout history has spelled doom for governments and much pain for it’s citizens.
    Now it would be wonderful to be wrong and dog knows I’ve been wrong before. But my internal record for knowing stupidity and idiocy when I see it and that humans will run full speed into walls while being same is spectacular.

  70. 70
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Elie:

    The republicans have done what they can to break the current governmental system. They would like to coerce the administration and the democrats into breaking it some more.

    That’s about how I see it. A much more intelligent strategy than the one they last employed in the spring of 1861. Why fire on Fort Sumter when you can just cut off its funding and get the same result?

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    @dollared:

    No, he’d need to get at least 50. You won’t get all Democrats with that bucket o’ swill.

    And your proof that Obama would want to pass something like that is … ? I mean, other than “insider” reports about one or two purported features from the negotiations.

    Sorry, but I have a feeling your predicted outcome has about as much chance of happening as the Mayan apocalypse.

  72. 72
    Elie says:

    @Ruckus:

    Well I hear you, Ruckus and of course I don’t know what will actually happen. That said, I am betting on the Democrats. What the Democrats are doing is tough, without a doubt, and very unglamorous to observe. Like wringing a towel, slowly — its putting increasing pressure on the Republicans and walking them carefully into a powerless corner. It IS risky and an imperfect process that lacks the satisfaction of punching them in the nose and just walking away. That is what they WANT.

    This will be written about in the history books… the defeat of the republicans (read South), in the second US civil war to preserve the United States. Again. Every bit as spiritually bloody as the first one.

  73. 73
    Elie says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Yep. And I think your analogy is going to happen..

  74. 74
    Brachiator says:

    So, the House is coming back on Sunday to do a little cliff diving.

    Will parachutes be provided? Republican House leaders informed their rank-and-file on a conference call Thursday that they have to be back at work at 6:30 p.m. Sunday – giving them, oh, 29.5 hours to forestall the “fiscal cliff.”
    __
    Absent a last-minute compromise, Americans will see across-the-board income-tax hikes and painful federal spending cuts come into force January 1. Some economists fear that, taken together, the measures could plunge the economy into a new recession.
    __
    Technically, however, the Congress could vote the cliff into oblivion at any time – either before OR after the income-tax increases and spending cuts are slated to take effect. Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor noted on Twitter that lawmakers “may be in session through Wednesday, January 2.”

    Back room deals, quickly and quietly done?

  75. 75
    David says:

    This is wrong! High earners are not excluded from the tax cut. Everyone gets the tax cut on the first $250,000.00 of income. It’s this incorrect phrasing which results in stories of people needlessly worried that their income might cross the $250,000.00 threshold resulting in much higher taxes on all of their income. Please phrase this issue accurately.

  76. 76
    Brachiator says:

    @David:

    It’s this incorrect phrasing which results in stories of people needlessly worried that their income might cross the $250,000.00 threshold resulting in much higher taxes on all of their income. Please phrase this issue accurately.

    No matter how you phrase it, some people just don’t get the idea of marginal tax rates.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Ruckus says:

    @Elie:
    I’d like you to be 100% correct. But my life has shown me that wishing usually gets me nothing. You know the old saying, Wish in one hand and…

  79. 79
    Jon H says:

    It’ll take a while for the “cliff” to really hammer the economy, so yeah, you’re right.

    The bigger problem is the debt limit, which, at least according to Geithner, we’ll hit on the 31st.

    It’s possible that Geither’s bluffing, in hopes of goading the GOP into negotiating for real.

  80. 80
    Yutsano says:

    @Brachiator: And then, at midnight of the 3rd, no matter what, they have to adjourn. By then we’ll have fallen two days into the abyss. And the new Congress takes over.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    @dollared:

    Yes, it was so horrible of Obama to extend unemployment benefits. Such a Republican thing to do, amirite? He should have told all of those unemployed people to go fuck themselves like FDR would have.

    Though I amused that you brought up one of the many instances where firebaggers swore on their mother’s grave that Obama was going to take the opportunity to kill SS and, once again, he did no such thing.

  82. 82
    Elie says:

    @Jon H:

    We are pushing them slowly into the corner.
    Never pretty — but someone has to throw the garbage can on the racoon… Grabbing that tail is the next challenge — fast enough to avoid those sharp teeth and very scared animal…

    The racoon may be smarter…

  83. 83
    dollared says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): Sorry, I don’t know what other people suggested. I did no such thing, because at that time Obama had not suggested that we cut SS. Now his official spokesperson has suggested it.

  84. 84
    Ron Thompson says:

    Maybe I’m crazy to suppose. . .

    The House Republicans might just ride this all the way down. When you’re convinced that you’re acting from highest principle, reversing course looks like a betrayal, and they’re a lot more scared of losing their primary than of anything else.

  85. 85
    mclaren says:

    Here’s what will happen:

    We go over the fiscal cliff. The Dow tanks. Big Wall Street players start pressuring the Repubs. The Repubs cave. Then we go up to the debt ceiling and the Tea Party lunatics get feisty again. We default and the United States shuts down and the shit hits the fan, and this is the one that pushes us over into another recession. At that point, there’s such a firestorm of protest that the Tea Party assholes don’t just get forced to vote to increase the debt ceiling without getting any concessions from Obama, the Tea Party creeps are now getting death threats.

    Then the Tea Partiers get voted out of office in 2014 when Obama and the Democrats relentlessly hammer home the message that the 2012 recession and resulting 10% unemployment was caused by the Tea Party lunatics who refused to vote to extend the debt ceiling unless they get more tax cuts for the rich.

    Unfortunately, by that time America is now deep in a double-dip recession worse than 2008 and unemployment is north of 10%. That’s when you get a real crisis. That’s when the mass public protests will get bigger than the Occupy protests.

  86. 86
    Ron Thompson says:

    @mclaren:

    From your lips to God’s ears.

  87. 87
    Bob h says:

    The Republicans then give up debt limit terrorism in exchange for repeal of defense sequesters. They get lower dividend rates in exchange for agreeing to unemployment extension.

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