Learned Behavior: Obama’s Backtrack on Tax Rates, Debt Limit Empowered Republicans

By: Wednesday December 19, 2012 7:45 am

The White House announced they would veto “Plan B,” John Boehner’s gambit to pass a bill extending the Bush-era tax rtes for all earners on the first $1 million of income. And Nancy Pelosi said that Boehner had better have 218 votes for such a bill, since House Democrats won’t provide any. Of course, Boehner [...]

Means Testing Emerges as a Social Insurance Pill Democrats Could Swallow

By: Friday December 14, 2012 10:05 am

It certainly looked yesterday as if the White House had dropped any notion of using an increase in the Medicare eligibility age as a bargaining chip in future negotiations on a grand bargain. While the White House has not ruled out increasing the age, some of its leading allies did, and Dick Durbin went so [...]

Liberal Groups Whip Senate on Social Insurance Cuts

By: Wednesday December 12, 2012 7:45 am

Liberal groups have targeted Democratic Senators in a campaign to forestall benefit cuts to social insurance programs as part of any deal to avert the fiscal slope. The groups, which include CREDO, Progressives United, the PCCC, DFA, MoveOn, the Campaign for America’s Future and Rebuild the Dream, have segmented the Senate into three categories, based [...]

Corporate Tax Reform Dropped Into Fiscal Slope Negotiations

By: Wednesday December 12, 2012 6:17 am

I think the White House added the corporate tax piece into the negotiations so that they could get business groups to pressure Boehner on the other points, especially raising individual tax rates. John Engler of the Business Roundtable dutifully carried that out yesterday.

450,000 Seniors Would Lose Coverage Under Medicare Eligibility Age Increase

By: Tuesday December 11, 2012 2:21 pm

The ferocious pushback on a trial balloon offer to raise the Medicare eligibility age continued today, at a very high level.

The Case for Adequacy and Economic Growth Rather than Deficit Reduction and “Smart Cuts”

By: Tuesday December 11, 2012 8:30 am

Fiscal slope talks have progressed, according to multiple news reports. Nobody’s talking details, which tea leaf-readers are taking as a sign of advancement (I wouldn’t be so sure of that, it seems more like standard back-room negotiating practice). But we do know that both sides are talking. What could they be talking about? Well, we [...]

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 [...]

Medicare Eligibility Age Increase Rejected By Obama Allies

By: Monday December 10, 2012 6:16 am

Staffers in this White House in particular float trial balloons on a continual basis on virtually every issue of importance to gauge public response, and the whole point of that exercise is to actually respond to it rather than not take it seriously. And if that’s the case, and the eligibility age conversation represented a trial balloon, I think we can say it’s been effectively and efficiently popped. Because over the weekend, Dick Durbin, perhaps the closest US Senator to the White House, criticized the idea.

Fiscal Slope: Time to Go to Conference on Taxes?

By: Saturday December 1, 2012 10:24 am

Mitch McConnell laid out his wish list for the endgame in the fiscal slope negotiations, and it’s basically the kinds of social insurance benefit cuts that the White House offered up in 2011 (which is again a reminder why you don’t offer those up as a bluff, because they will come back to haunt you), [...]

White House Makes Aggressive Opening Bid in Fiscal Slope Negotiations

By: Thursday November 29, 2012 3:54 pm

In the context of doing a deficit reduction deal at all, this is an extremely strong bid that Tim Geithner delivered to John Boehner today. Now we know why Boehner whined and cried all afternoon. Let’s walk through it. House Republicans said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John [...]

Obsession With Getting Republicans to Acquiesce on Tax Rates Masks Larger Deficit Reduction Agenda

By: Wednesday November 28, 2012 11:30 am

The President began his public PR effort to get the top marginal tax rates back to their Clinton-era position today, but I think the way he framed his remarks does show a bit of his hand here. President Obama expressed optimism in a “framework” for deficit reduction being worked out before Washington disperses for the [...]

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