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What Fiscal Cliff Negotiations?

By The Reverend Published: December 14, 2012

NY Times on Wednesday...

A White House official said the president reiterated his request that Mr. Boehner detail what cuts he wants. He still has not.

Politico on Wednesday...

White House aides say they have been asking the speaker’s office for weeks to provide details of the cuts that Republicans want.

Washington Post's Greg Sargent yesterday....

I spoke this morning to an official familiar with the fiscal cliff talks. He tells me that ever since Republicans rejected the first White House fiscal offer, White House negotiators have been asking Republicans to detail both the spending cuts they want and the loopholes and deductions they would close to raise revenues while avoiding a hike in tax rates for the rich.

According to the official, Republicans continue to refuse to answer.

“No answer ever since the Geithner meeting,” the official said. “To date they have been unwilling or able to identify a list of specific cuts or changes they would like or a single loophole they are willing to close.”

Sure, everyone in those articles could be lying or making stuff up.....but if they aren't, then, are there really any "fiscal cliff" negotiations going on? And if what Sargent says is accurate, aren't we simply living out the Romney campaign all over again some 5 weeks after the election?

Remember, ....Mitt Romney would not offer any details on which tax deductions he would eliminate either. If he offered details, Romney explained at the time, those details would be used against him in political talking points. Is that what John Boehner, and Republicans in general, are doing again with "fiscal cliff" talks? Offering no specific details on which tax deductions would be eliminated in a GOP plan to raise over a trillion in new revenue.

Other than suggesting that "entitlements" must be cut or reformed (whatever that means), Republican leaders have also failed to specify what they would cut in spending. Is that because what they have in mind.....raising Medicare eligibility age, cutting Social Security cost-of-living formula, block granting Medicaid.....are all  extremely unpopular with the American people?

Are Republicans simply afraid of a political backlash from Americans if they detail what it is they really want to do? After all, GOP governors have done exactly that. Kasich in Ohio, Walker in Wisconsin, and Snyder in Michigan never offered specific details about how they were going to gut unions and suppress workers wages if they were elected in their respective states. Do you think that those details about plans to bust unions and suppress wages would have been "used against" those candidates by fully informed voters?

Most likely.....and that's why those governors remained mum about their intention to wage political war against working Americans in their states.

Boehner and McConnell's Republicans are now following those three wage suppression governors....and Mitt refusing to provide any details in alleged negotiations over the alleged fiscal cliff....because Republican plans to cut spending are astoundingly unpopular with voters.

Republicans still insist income tax rates should not go up on the wealthy. Here's the latest polling on what the American people prefer.....

Some bad news for Republicans trying to hold back tax increases on the wealthy as part of a fiscal cliff deal: A Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll out Monday morning finds that 60% of likely American voters favor raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year.

Polls taken in March, 2011....August, 2012 ....and again following the November election.....demonstrate that voters, by a 60-40 (or larger) margin reject cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits as a way of reducing the defcit.

So, are Boehner and Obama really negotiating a fiscal cliff deal? Or, has Obama laid out his revenue plan to raise $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues by raising income tax rates on the wealthy while also offering $600 billion in new cuts to Medicare drug providers.....and Boehner has offered up $800 billion in revenue by closing unspecified loopholes while slashing entitlements with unspecified cuts to those popular programs?

That's not a negotiation. Negotiations demand specifics. Republican leaders are in a Catch-22. They can't offer specifics because their specifics are enormously unpopular.

This is the game Republicans wanted. Obstruct Democratic governance until everything is at a standstill.....then gut popular domestic programs that make a difference in the lives of tens of millions of Americans while simultaneously cutting tax rates even further for the extraordinarily wealthy.

Problem is.....Republicans do not have the courage of their alleged convictions. They are afraid, just as Romney was afraid, to offer specifics.....because Republicans know that their policies are very unpopular with Americans.

Out of touch.....and out of places to hide.



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