Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Drawing The Line

There are times we look at what's going on in our national political debate, and have to wonder if the bigger picture hasn't been drawn by the ghost of Chuck Jones. After all, it's a strangely accurate coincidence that the ongoing fiscal slope debate in Washington, DC appears more like an old Looney Toons cartoon every day.

In case you missed the latest episodes in this ongoing farce, late on Monday, Republican Speaker John Boehner finally offered a joke of a "counterproposal" to President Obama. Not only were there few real details in Boehner's proposal, but what details there were effectively shaped up to be like one of Wile E. Coyote's dreams. In Boehner's 'crafty' plan, the President and Democrats - as the Roadrunner - would give Republicans everything they want, falling right into Boehner's carefully laid trap. In reality, the White House sidestepped Mr. Boehner's idiotic "plan", just like the Roadrunner would have.

Put another way, as Steven Benen notes, "This isn't a "counteroffer"; it's a Christmas wish list written by kids without access to calculators."

Not to be swayed by their rediculous failed 'counterproposal', Congressional Republicans appear to have gone back to the drawing board, and created an alternate plan, where they'll attempt to draw the deadline for the fiscal cliff right off the end of the legislative calendar - like Wile E. Coyote trying to run into the painted tunnel.

Someone should really check Bohener's office and the pockets of Congressional Republicans for receipts from Acme.

The simple fact is that Congressional Republicans still mistakenly think they have some kind of significant leverage in the debt and budget negotiations going on right now. President Obama and Congressional Democrats know; on this issue, the Republicans have virtually no power right now.

If no agreement on the fiscal cliff is made, Democrats get what they want, as tax rates will go back up to Clinton-era levels, when the economy was doing well for everyone. Democrats will then offer their own tax cut for everyone except the rich, just after the first of the year. It will be a Democratic tax cut, however, with the name Obama emblazoned across the top - something Republicans will be loathe to vote for.

The Republicans’ alternate backup plan as we noted above, is to only pass the bare minimum on the fiscal cliff: a tax cut for the middle class, with no tax rate increase for the rich, no closing loopholes, nothing on unemployment, and no extension of the debt ceiling. Yet, as Timothy Geithner told Speaker Boehner last week, and as the White House reiterated today, without tax rate increases on the rich, there will be no deal. Period. So Republicans won't get what they want that way either.

In fact, when the debt ceiling needs to be renegotiated in January or February, Democrats will vote to raise the ceiling, as both sides have without argument for most of our history as a nation. If Republicans balk and cause problems, like they did in 2011, Republicans alone will be held to blame for any economic downturn caused by their political temper tantrum. So refusing to be responsible legislators will only hurt Republicans, politically, in the end.

For Congressional Democrats, all they have to do is wait for Congressional Republicans' next cockamamie idea to blow up and fail, like the latest "genius" idea from Acme. Then Democrats can stick out their tongues, give the Republicans a raspberry, and speed away back to their normal lives.

You know, the more we discuss the topic, the more we realize the fiscal slope debate is exactly like an old Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon.

We recommend you watch out for falling Republicans.

No comments:

Post a Comment