Fiscal Cliff Developments

Deal or no deal? It's hard to tell.

Looks like no vote tonight, but they are hoping for one tomorrow.

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    Say what? (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by lentinel on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:07:55 PM EST
    Harry Reid is quoted as saying;

    "The one thing I do want to mention is that we're not gonna have any Social Security cuts. At this stage, that just doesn't seem appropriate.

    "We're open to discussion about entitlement reforms, but we're going to have to take it in a different direction," he continued. "We're willing to make difficult concessions as part of a balanced, comprehensive agreement. But we'll not agree to cut Social Security benefits as part of a smaller, short-term agreement, especially if that agreement gives more handouts to the rich."

    My question as to sentence number one: At what "stage" would cuts to Social Security "seem appropriate"?

    As to the next paragraph - what is the world is Reid talking about? He is saying, I believe, that he and the democrats are open to "discussing" entitlement "reforms" - and that they will consider "concessions" as part of a long term agreement.

    With friends like this...

    Two other things mentioned in the article, although relatively benign, nevertheless made my eyeballs twitch:

    Mitch McConnell says he needs, "a dance partner".
    Anybody interested in dancing with Mitch?

    The "Senate Chaplain" (!) appealed to a higher power:

    "Let us feel your presence today on Capitol Hill..."

    No problem.
    I'm sure that God will take time out from her busy schedule to drop in on the negotiations.

    What a zoo.

    Glad to see the leadership is up to the task. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by ruffian on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:14:37 PM EST
    Over the cliff we go! We need that 'wee wee wee' squealing  pig from the Geico commercials.

    I think Reid is saying what Obama has been saying for years- they are willing to put SS "reform" on the table as part of a 'grand bargain'  comprehensive deal.  But not in this hurry up thing they are trying to do now....which makes me glad for the hurry up thing. Let the tax cuts expire already.


    He said what we already knew (none / 0) (#5)
    by CoralGables on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:25:33 PM EST
    CPI would likely be part of a mega deal, but no part of a little deal.

    Yes, the political optics of cutting (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:13:32 AM EST
    social security do not look good in a small deal,--it sticks out too much.  If the common understanding of a deal boils down to maintenance of Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans  "balanced by reductions in social security checks to elderly Americans, it does not look good.  Better that such cuts be buried in a complex bargain that appears to affect all equally, or at least, seems to have something, good and bad, for everyone.

    The Best Deal (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by koshembos on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:02:01 PM EST
    The best deal on the financial cliff is no deal. The rich must pay more. Cut in payroll taxes hurts the social security trust fund.

    When the debt ceiling must be raise do a Clinton. You want to close the government? Be my guest.

    That would be great (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:22:03 PM EST
    just don't think that is what will happen.

    Has no direct effect on me either way (none / 0) (#10)
    by CoralGables on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:58:44 PM EST
    but are you okay with 2 million getting kicked off unemployment, and between 1.4 and 2.1 million more losing their jobs?

    I can't speak for MoBlue, but I am not (5.00 / 8) (#11)
    by caseyOR on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:09:11 PM EST
    okay with any of it. There is no good reason anyone should lose their job or unemployment benefits or face Social Security cuts or lose food stamps or get kicked of Medicaid or lose VA health benefits or any of the other "painful" things Obama and Congress seem bound and determined to inflict on the American people.

    Your argument, the one that asks who deserves to be sacrificed on to the false god of deficit fetishism, is exactly the framing the politicians and the big $$$ guys who control them want us to use. Divide and conquer is their strategy. Get us fighting each other for scraps so we don't realize that they, the politicians and their owners, are the real enemy.

    You are asking the wrong question, CG. As always, follow the money. Who makes money by cutting the federal budget, by kicking people out of programs, by cutting federal jobs? I can assure it is not going to be your average American.


    Please do speak for me on this issue (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:16:37 PM EST
    You are doing a great job of laying it all out clear enough for everyone to understand.

    Lost in all of this, or so it seems to me, (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Anne on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:57:20 PM EST
    is the striking lack of attention to the very real problem of unemployment, especially the long-term variety - not to mention that spending cuts being offered as an alternative to the sequestration cuts are not likely to create economic conditions conducive to getting anyone back to work.

    I wish I could get past the feeling that the most vulnerable are once again going to be the ones who bear the brunt of whatever happens next - I mean, who better to bear the burden than those whose voices are most easily ignored?


    Didn't get the memo? (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by NYShooter on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:04:05 PM EST
    EVERYBODY has to share the pain equally. The Criminals, and their victims, both equally to blame, and both must sacrifice equally.

    Now, what could be fairer than that?


    Those that want no deal (2.00 / 1) (#18)
    by CoralGables on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:15:09 PM EST
    appear to not care about the long term unemployed.

    However, I still expect long term unemployment compensation to be included (along with an AMT patch) in whatever tax bill Reid sends to the Senate floor tomorrow if their is no deal. I wouldn't expect the Republicans in the Senate to filibuster, but look forward to how Boehner handles it in the House.


    I don't think that is true, CG. (5.00 / 6) (#19)
    by caseyOR on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:32:09 PM EST
    People do care about the longterm unemployed. I care about them. i am furious that our political leaders only seem to care about them when it is time to use them as an excuse to screw some other poor segment of the American populace.

    It is possible to care about them and still be opposed to a deal that just makes things worse overall, even if it provides some temporary measure of comfort to the unemployed.


    My son (none / 0) (#25)
    by cpresley on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:26:10 PM EST
    is going to school on the GI bill from serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He should have received his monthly check by now but nothing has shown up yet. I wonder if it has anything to due with the dept ceiling?

    No (none / 0) (#26)
    by CoralGables on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:39:54 PM EST
    There should be no effect felt from that until almost March. Perhaps just holiday mail issues if it comes by mail rather than direct deposit.

    You know, nothing that happens (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Anne on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:56:22 PM EST
    at 12:01 am on January 1, 2013 cannot be undone shortly thereafter, and it's felt to me for a long time that all this hysteria over HAVING to get a deal done by year-end is to distract from that reality.

    So, long-term unemployment expires on 12/31 - then pass an extension in the new year.  The Bush tax cuts expire?  So, extend them in the new year to those making whatever amount of income is considered "middle class."  The AMT patch disappears?  Put it back on.  Pass a freakin' farm bill so we don't have to start paying $8 for a gallon of milk.  

    The question is, as it always is, why?  Why so much hysteria, so much urgency over getting a deal done NOW?  Why all the weasel words on "entitlements?"  

    Who benefits?  


    The Farm Bill (none / 0) (#21)
    by CoralGables on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:59:06 PM EST
    has been done.

    Well, there's been an agreement; (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Anne on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:03:03 PM EST
    I guess they will vote on it tomorrow.

    Still, all they managed to agree to was a one-year extension.

    We're living from crisis to crisis as if that was normal - and it's giving us some really bad policy.

    Makes me think I should reread The Shock Doctrine.


    Let me correct myself (none / 0) (#22)
    by CoralGables on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:02:38 PM EST
    They have a patch ready to put in place.

    Kick any can they can find. Which with this group of republicans in the House has to be considered progress.


    True (none / 0) (#27)
    by CoralGables on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:43:48 PM EST
    damage on paper can be undone. But the longer you wait the more damage it causes.

    Will the new congress be easier or harder to work with? Likely the same, as the House should be no different as long as they maintain their approach that no bill will be passed without a majority of republicans voting for it.


    Is it that many (none / 0) (#12)
    by coigue on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:14:15 PM EST
    that are the long term unemployed?

    2.1 million (none / 0) (#13)
    by CoralGables on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:32:55 PM EST
    according to Google will be hit nationwide.

    119,000 in Florida as of the 1st.


    wow. (none / 0) (#14)
    by coigue on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:45:12 PM EST
    Only 2.1M? Hardly. U6 paints a much grimmer (none / 0) (#31)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:43:09 AM EST
    You're conflating figures (none / 0) (#32)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:08:31 AM EST
    Alternative looks at labor underutilization such as U-6 has nothing to do with the precise known number of people receiving long-term unemployment compensation.

    Watch who you're pointin' that conflation at, (none / 0) (#33)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:15:25 AM EST
    Pardner.  The question was how many are the long term unemployed.  U6 is a much better measure of that than the number of people who are still getting paid benefits.

    The jobs are gone.  


    You failed to follow (none / 0) (#34)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:27:07 AM EST
    the premise from the start. The discussion is how many lose their unemployment benefits if no fix is made to unemployment compensation as part of the tax deal today.

    You're free to use U6 all you want, just not in relation to the exact numbers receiving long-term unemployment compensation today.


    Nonsense. Anne introduced the question (none / 0) (#36)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:41:20 AM EST
    and I quote, " Lost in all of this, or so it seems
    is the striking lack of attention to the very real problem of unemployment, especially the long-term variety"

    Find somebody else to lecture.


    Then respond to Anne (none / 0) (#37)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:52:52 AM EST
    I'll stand by my statement. Your U-6 number means nothing in regard to loss of long-term unemployment compensation tomorrow.

    Shazam. (5.00 / 6) (#9)
    by lentinel on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:44:11 PM EST
    A surprise guest appeared today in the Senate Chamber: God.

    The Senate Chaplain had asked God to let the Senate chamber "feel the presence" of the Lord.

    And, sure enough, God popped in and offered a few suggestions. From sources closed to the Deity, the proposals were more progressive than either the Democrats or Republicans were inclined to accept. Some members said, on condition of anonymity, that God had drifted too far to the left.

    God was reportedly interested in diverting funds to medical care, infrastructure and environmentally sound methods of providing energy. The mention of the environment made everyone on the Hill quite nervous, as did God's reference to world peace. But the biggest groans came when God relaunched into the familiar "giving to the poor" mantra. Some openly said that God was naive and had become confused by the intricacies of modern governance.

    God was somewhat annoyed by this response and was said to be considering a few targeted plagues.

    Insiders say that God's visit could not be considered to have been fruitful and Chaplain Black said that he would be a little more circumspect about calling on the Lord in the future.

    If I remember (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by NYShooter on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:59:04 PM EST
    my history correctly the last time god was called upon to settle our wealth inequality issue was over a hundred years ago during the great Robber Barron, "Gilded Age."

    It seems then, as now, the filthy rich, Robber Barons had their sociopath, sadistic feelings hurt by the awful things the dirty rabble were saying about them as they were being crushed under the iron wheels of their glorious Industrial Revolution. It wasn't enough then, as now, for the rabble to have their wealth, health, and dignity stolen from them. They had to express their love for the criminals leading the carnage also.

    Enter....god. Yes, while we know "money doesn't buy happiness," apparently, it does buy god. Or, if not god, then the next best thing, god's mouthpieces, the priests  and preachers speaking for him. It seems then, as now, that a bunch of well stuffed envelopes bought you not only jewelry, but god's word. And so, from pulpits nationwide, the word went out, "god loves rich people, and god made them rich because they deserved it."

    The way I see it, the only difference between then, and now, is that instead of preachers we've got politicians. And, since we re-elect them over 90% of the time, they must be doing god's work.

    Blankfein was right.

    I think that's when "cliff dwellers" (none / 0) (#39)
    by Towanda on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 12:07:55 PM EST
    also became a term for the economic elites, interestingly.  It's time to bring it back.

    Of Starbucks, Coffee Cups and (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:37:12 AM EST
    Grounds for Dismay.  When Paul Krugman thinks B.S. (Bowles Simpson) is to the left of the president's proposals, there is trouble in the Potomac River City.

    Tis The Season (none / 0) (#6)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:55:48 PM EST
    Over The Potomac River
    But Not Through The Senate
    Or The People's House Ya Know

    The Republicans Had Their Way
    To, Slice, Dice and Fillet
    A Budget Bill On The Go

    Ban "Fiscal Cliff" (none / 0) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 06:59:22 AM EST
    DETROIT (AP) -- Spoiler alert: This story contains words and phrases that some people want to ban from the English language. "Spoiler alert" is among them. So are "kick the can down the road," ''trending" and "bucket list."
    At the risk of further offense, here's another spoiler alert: The phrase receiving the most nominations this year is "fiscal cliff," banished because of its overuse by media outlets when describing across-the-board federal tax increases and spending cuts that economists say could harm the economy in the new year without congressional action.

    "You can't turn on the news without hearing this," said Christopher Loiselle, of Midland, Mich., in his submission. "I'm equally worried about the River of Debt and Mountain of Despair."


    Not only is "fiscal cliff" overused, but (5.00 / 5) (#29)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:39:26 AM EST
    it is done with little real understanding of the term by those doing the overusing.  Night after night, the phrase is brightly spoken - one clue the speaker has no idea what it means - or delivered with the-teleprompter-says-I-should-look-grim-now frowns and a collection of sound bites and bumper-sticker phraseology that signal equal ignorance of the issue.

    It's not so much the phrase that should be banned, but use of it by those who don't know or care to explain that it was manufactured for the purpose of shocking people into believing there was no other choice but to accept inflicting more pain on those with the least.


    On Media Hype... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:39:27 AM EST
    This may be the single greatest example of excess media hype since Y2K.  What is causing all the sturm und drang? Is this really a Mayan apocalypse of expiring tax breaks and sequestered spending cuts?

    Here is the current outline (none / 0) (#40)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 12:21:21 PM EST
    Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the college credit extended for 5 years.

    Long term unemployment insurance extended 1 year

    Estate tax increases from 35% to 40 percent over $5 million

    Income tax rates increase to 39.6%  at $400,000 for individuals and at $450,000 for joint filers

    Capital gains and dividends also increase at $400,000 for individuals and at $450,000 for joint filers from 15% to 20%

    Medicare reimbursement cuts to docs off the table for 1 year

    A permanent AMT patch

    Sequestration cuts likely will be kicked but for how long is still being debated

    Should be noted (none / 0) (#41)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 12:26:31 PM EST
    at this point it only takes one Senator from either party to put off any deal until the new session. And one House member (Boehner) can do the same thing.