The Fiscal Slope Exposes Deficit Scolds as Cowards

By: Friday December 21, 2012 10:00 am

Let’s just stipulate something for the record. If the Congressional Budget Office were asked to step in and score John Boehner’s “Plan B,” it would score as an increase to the deficit by about $4.9 trillion over ten yeas. If CBO scored the Obama plan, it would score as an increase to the deficit by [...]

Plan B Morphs Into a Conservative Wish List

By: Thursday December 20, 2012 10:45 am

House Republicans will wait until tonight to pass “Plan B,” and while I think ultimately it will pass, the reason they’re waiting so long is that they have to figure out what to put into it to get conservative votes. Erick Son of Erick has a whip list of 34 no votes and 12 leaners, [...]

GDP Rises to 3.1% in Final Q3 Estimate, But the Main Drivers Won’t Last

By: Thursday December 20, 2012 10:00 am

The economy grew at a faster rate than expected in the third quarter, according to the final revision on GDP released today. GDP increased at a relatively healthy 3.1% clip in Q3, a step up from the 1.3% increase in the final revision in Q2. Both figures are annualized. The Bureau of Economic Analysis explains [...]

Pelosi Says Chained CPI Would Strengthen Social Security

By: Thursday December 20, 2012 7:45 am

Republican craziness has stopped a deal from happening on the fiscal slope, and really nothing else. Because here’s Nancy Pelosi yesterday on chained CPI, a benefit cut to Social Security recipients that happens to be regressive and more painful as people age: Q: Members of your Caucus are organizing against the chained CPI that the [...]

Senate Republicans Nickel and Diming Sandy Relief

By: Thursday December 20, 2012 7:01 am

While the nonsense continues on the fiscal slope, which increasingly looks like something the nation will have to weather, the Senate has been working on an appropriation for states suffering from the disaster caused by Hurricane Sandy. The parallel has to be understood: in one part of Washington, they’re trying to put in a deficit [...]

Threat of Medicare Eligibility Age Increase Recedes – For Now

By: Wednesday December 19, 2012 10:00 am

Amid all the fiscal slope machinations comes one bit of good news, at least in the near term. House Speaker John Boehner has pulled back on raising the Medicare eligibility age in this deal, although he holds it out as a possibility for the conclusion of the deal next year. This suggests that the White [...]

Obama’s Latest Fiscal Slope Offer: I’m Missing the Part Where Republicans Give Up Something

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 6:00 am

The headlines here is that the Obama Administration narrowed the demand they maintained for four years, for tax rates to increase above $250,000, and they would agree to a benefit cut for Social Security and $400 billion in unspecified Medicare cuts, and in exchange they would mostly extend current law on a few fronts (but not all) and get an unspecified amount, no more than $50 billion, in infrastructure spending.

Fiscal Slope Deal Taking Shape; Social Security Benefit Cuts Contemplated

By: Monday December 17, 2012 1:47 pm

John Boehner’s willingness to see tax rates rise at some level has kick-started negotiations over a deal to avert the fiscal slope. The President and the Speaker met today for 45 minutes, and the staffs for both sides are working on a deal. In a sign of how ridiculous our fiscal conversation has gotten, the [...]

We Don’t Have a Deficit Problem, Cont’d

By: Monday December 17, 2012 6:59 am

Paul Krugman takes aim at something that should have been a major talking point for progressives, even if lawmakers couldn’t touch it, for the last four years. There has been a void in talking about the budget deficit in real terms, in what it’s composed of and what it really means. First of all, to [...]

Boehner’s Debt Limit “Concession” Not a Concession at All

By: Monday December 17, 2012 6:19 am

The offer apparently paired $1 trillion in tax increases with major social insurance cuts. Assuming that the spending cuts match the tax hikes dollar-for-dollar, all Boehner is saying is that his rule, where every dollar of debt limit increase must be matched by a dollar of spending cuts, remains in effect. So he’ll honor that with a $1 trillion increase in the debt limit. Tax increases do not count as deficit reduction in Boehner’s equation; only spending cuts will register for increasing the debt limit.

Strategic Plotting for the Fiscal Slope: How Democrats Could Find Their Way Out of the Box

By: Monday December 10, 2012 12:59 pm

I think Brian Beutler has a pretty good summation of why we’re talking about social insurance cuts when the White House appears to have leverage: …in three weeks, tax rates will go up for everybody with or without any concessions from the White House [...] That’s the single most important fact to know about the [...]

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