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GOP Should Offer Obama an Eensie Weensie Fig Leaf

by Keith Koffler on December 4, 2012, 9:34 am

There is little question that the money needed to reduce the deficit enough to avoid the fiscal cliff can be found without raising tax rates on upper income Americans. President Obama insists there will be no deal unless this is done. Republicans aren’t budging, demanding to raise revenues by closing loopholes and scaling back deductions while making serious cuts to entitlements.

But Obama campaigned on almost nothing. His main platform was the personal destruction of Mitt Romney. One of the few policy ideas he did promulgate was raising taxes on people who are the highest earners. If he gives that up, then his campaign – he – are truly not about anything.

And so he continues to insist on a rate increase. Republicans have resisted, and if they change course, they will have caved to Obama.

Republicans were not sent to Washington in 2010 to raise tax rates. Doing so would spur division and wounds within the Party that would not easily heal.

According to Charles Krauthammer, Obama’s true aim is not less than destroying the GOP.

Well, that may be part of it, but Obama will not cave on this after his victory. The question is whether Republicans will give him a fig leaf and allow taxes on high earners to rise by a small amount – not quite back to the Clinton-era levels Obama wants.

Republicans have a lot of leverage, as I’ve written. But they cannot move Obama on this, because otherwise Obama is nothing. What they should do is offer to raise rates by the smallest amount imaginable, offering him the tiniest fig leaf to cover his nakedness on deficit reduction. A tax increase is a tax increase, after all, whether you do it through rate adjustments or ending deductions. And it won’t destroy the Republican Party.

Not giving Obama a small rate increase would plunge the nation over the cliff, resulting in a second recession and massive pain for the country.

Meanwhile, Republicans should insist on far-reaching cuts to entitlements that Obama has resisted. Because they have strong hand, with Obama dreading a recession, they’ll get it. And they should make sure much of the tax rate

But to send the country into the abyss over a tiny increase in rates is unacceptable.

I believe in the end this is what will happen. I don’t think we’re going over the cliff, not for any length of time. But, really, who knows?

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Cooper December 4, 2012 at 9:51 am

Better to take our medicine now and go over the so-called cliff. Kicking the problems down the road further will only make the eventual corrections all the more painful. Stand your ground House Republicans. Give Obama no quarter.

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AFVET December 4, 2012 at 10:03 am

I agree.
The republicans should make an announcement that they are folding their hand and walking away and hanging the economy around Obama’s neck lock stock and barrel.
The only way the drones will wake up is when they start feeling the pain.
Otherwise, the mess will just be prolonged and the next dem that runs will be elected.

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Julie Brueckheimer December 4, 2012 at 10:48 am

I agree with both of you, especially what you say about the drones needing to feel the pain. They are incapable of thought so you have to get visceral with them.

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Billj December 4, 2012 at 10:03 am

You really think Obama “dreads” a recession? He doesn’t care about this country. Wake up, Keith. He wants to bring this oppressor country to its knees, and he is well on his way to completing the task. God help us.

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WMP December 4, 2012 at 10:11 am

The President is nothing more than an empty suit. He knows these things, but chooses to hang his hat on the “rates” for the wealthy.

Scenario: You live in California and you have a neighbor who falls in the lower end of the “wealthy” category and makes $270,000 a year (just above the threshhold of being “rich”). You see that he lives comfortably but not extravagantly ($270,000 a year is not RICH especially in very “blue” states). You know he has a small business (trucking) and has several employees. President Obama gets his wish and everyone is singing hurray – the rich are paying their fair share. Your neighbor is now paying 39.6% federal income tax but there has been no serious pay down of the deficit – cuts in government, etc. (which it appears is what the President and his party want). In California his state income taxes are one of the highest in the nation, “cap and trade” has just been implemented so you have added cost for that; a sales tax increase just passed and sales taxes are extremely high, he has provided a modest health plan for his few employees, but now with Obamacare it isn’t sufficient – he has to choose to increase his plan benefits and the costs or give it up; fuel costs continue to rise or don’t decrease from their current levels (average $3.75 a gallon). Business simply stays stagnant, receivables slow down because your customers are also being hit with the same increases and are not able to pay their bills in full or timely. All of a sudden your neighbor can’t afford all of his employees so he cuts back; he decides not to provide health care, the regulations and taxes are sapping the life out of his business and him. He decides to shut his doors or employ just himself because of the cost of doing business, or worse yet – he goes bankrupt. Now he has no business, no employees and the vicious cycle repeats itself again – but hey – everyone feels better because President Obama promised us that the rich would pay their fair share and by God they are.

We all know there are extraordinarily rich people in this country and of course they should pay their fair share of taxes. But what is fair? Should anyone have to pay 40% of their income in federal taxes (don’t forget all the other taxes we all pay)? I say NO. I guess this is where we are. So many people don’t look at the big picture. I’m so sick of all politicians – nothing is done for the good of the country – only to insure a takeover of a body of the legislature and White House. It’s already begun for the next election cycle. What will they be able to say – we raised the taxes on those stinking rich people…they caused the recesssion because they wouldn’t ask for more in taxes….they wouldn’t agree to make any cuts to entitlements or they caused Grandma to go off the cliff because of entitlement costs. It is all sickening. I pity the younger generation of this Country. There’s not much positive on the horizon.

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Moe December 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

We are so screwed, truely we are.

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mad as all get out December 4, 2012 at 10:27 am

while they want to tax the rich and capital gains, are they going after the trust funds? i really don’t know. i bet if they went after the trust funds the rich would be raising holly cain.

anyone know?????

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veritaseequitas December 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Keep an eye on your 401K.

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cincycinco December 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/112812-634984-401k-on-the-table-for-fiscal-cliff.htm

And your gold…

“Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Form 1099s will become a means of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 during a calendar year. Precious metals such as coins and bullion fall into this category and coin dealers have been among those most rankled by the change. ”

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/gold-coin-dealers-decry-tax-law/story?id=11211611

“By virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 5 (b) of the Act of October 6, 1917, as amended by Section 2 of the Act of March 9, 1933, entitled “An Act to provide relief in the existing national emergency in banking, and for other purposes,” in which amendatory Act Congress declared that a serious emergency exists, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do declare that said national emergency still continues to exist and pursuant to said section do hereby prohibit the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States by individuals, partnerships, associations and corporations …” – FDR, PRIOR to WWII.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=14611

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lc southern December 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

That makes sense, give them something small…then stand firm!

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Scottso December 4, 2012 at 11:56 am

The trouble is, as a conservative, this should have nothing to do with money.
Whether it is an increase of $1 or $1 million…
it’s is about what the nature of government is about.
Why is this money necessary? Where will this money go?

Where does the constitution does it say everyone has to pay their fair share? “Fair” doesn’t mean “equal”? Why is “fair” only 39%? Maybe “fair” means “60%”?

Why are people with more expected to pay more than an equal share?

It’s a constitutional issue. Not an issue on money.
That is why the republicans need to stand firm.

If it were just about money, then go ahead. Raise taxes. Collect $50 billion. The deficit is $1 trillion. $50 billion is 5% of the deficit for 1 year.

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veritaseequitas December 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Doesn’t it make you feel kind of powerless? Everyone is always saying how your vote counts, but really, once they get in office, the politicians just throw words at the voters and then do exactly what they want to do.

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Scottso December 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

there is no accountability in politics. No one is able to fire you until your term is over, and even then you have a 50/50 shot of keeping your job. You don’t have to be good, just better than the moron running against you.

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Julie Brueckheimer December 4, 2012 at 10:51 am

People need to learn that there are consequences for voting for Obama.

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Swedishlady December 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

Exactly Julie, his voters need to learn that and yes, AFVET, hang the economy around Obamas neck lock stock and barrel.
I am depressed by the reelection and I don´t even live in the US. It´s like the bright western light went out. I hope that the Inauguration will be a miserable event with not many showing up for that depressing day. My rant of the day.

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Julie Brueckheimer December 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

I live in the West but this household will not contribute to the inauguration’s TV ratings.

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AFVET December 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm

The inauguration will be staged, with major media coverage.
Probably lots of Hollywood personalities and left wing suck-ups.
He will be coming off a 4 million dollar Hawaii vacation over Christmas, thanks to the taxpayer.
My wife lost sleep after the election, so did I.
How so many idiots can look at the two candidates and re-elect Obama is indicative of the mentality that are allowed to select the POTUS.

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Quintus Arrius December 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I won’t be watching the coronation. Sorry, I will be chopping wood for my new eco-friendly firering in my backyard

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drk December 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm

I hope you have the proper permits.

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Susan December 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

Excellent real life scenario, WMP. The fallout that will result once the crooks in DC are finished haggling over how much more of our personal property they will steal from us will be mind boggling. While I’ll never hope to make a $250K income, I know that poverty trickles down, and we’ll all pay for DC’s incompetent money management policies in the end.

How did this ever become a discussion over raising taxes on the “wealthy” when our debt is $16 trillion and climbing? The fact that this tax hike won’t keep the leviathan running for more than 8 days is not even mentioned. Doesn’t help that the purse strings are being held by a wheeler and dealer who would rather be popular among the capitol cocktail circuit than defend our Constitution and American way of life.

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WMP December 4, 2012 at 11:42 am

This scenario likely repeats itself over and over again all over the country. I am a bankruptcy paralegal and believe me I have seen lots of heartache over the years (especially since 2008) and small businesses that simply couldn’t stay afloat. Some of it of their own doing (as too with individuals), but heartache nonetheless. Like you Susan, my husband and I will never see $250,000 a year. We are comfortable (because we are now in our 60′s and have little debt), but certainly not rich and I think we pay way too much in taxes.

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movedtothefarm December 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm

agree!

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Sadie December 4, 2012 at 11:44 am

No fig leaf. The emperor is naked, winter is coming and I hope he freezes his golf balls off!

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Swedishlady December 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

Right Sadie, no fig leaf. I share your anger here. Now when I think about it, better to be angry than depressed.

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cincycinco December 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

“I hope he freezes his golf balls off!” – Sadie

No worries. ‘Shell’s got THOSE in her purse!

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veritaseequitas December 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Yeah, she and ValJar pass them back and forth, but they NEVER let Barry have them.

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Sadie December 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm

An Eensie Weensie Fig Leaf …hmmm if the shoe fits, so to speak .; > )

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Danceswithtruth December 4, 2012 at 11:56 am

Here’s a scenario:

As a parent, your grown child comes to you for assistance with his/her mortgage payment. “Mom/dad, I just don’t have enough this month to pay my mortgage.” After talking it over, you agree to help your child. However, you find out that your child received a ‘couldn’t pass it up opportunity’ to purchase a new iPad for half the amount of the mortgage. Hence next month said child comes back and repeats the same sob story. Every month for six month it’s the same thing. Mom and dad hand over the money for the mortgage but before the child can pay the bill they are lured into purchasing something they ‘just can’t pass up.’ Looking at this scenario who is the fool?

If we can recognize foolish behavior in a situation like this, why are we not willing to call it a foolish situation with our government? No taxes should be levied on anyone. The idiots in charge are like the child above. They are irresponsible with what they are currently given. Until they can take control of their spending habits, they should get no more. The problem won’t go away just because mom and dad (the taxpayers) keep paying more and more each month. To say increase taxes just a little is to foolishly believe, once again, that the ‘child’ will be responsible this time. It just won’t happen. There are no serious signs from the children that they are willing to curtail their propensity to spend on what they don’t need. To give them more is to enable them more. Stop the madness. Like in the scenario above, if you give them more now they will just spend it on the wrong things and they will need even more next time. It has to stop.

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veritaseequitas December 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm

You are so right. Our government is being run by a bunch of peope who can’t seem to grow up.

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veritaseequitas December 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

No figs for King Barack. He campaigned on nothing because he is nothing. And btw, he will manage to make his own fig leaf, as he usually does, with the help of the LSM, by vilifying the GOP and anyone else who does not agree with his plans of destruction – not just the GOP, but the people who believe in the concept of America as free, strong and undeterred by terrorists and “folks” like him
The GOP needs to take their medicine and quit being like a bunch of frightened little girls. The fact that they just jettisoned fiscal conservatives off committees where they could do some good, proves that the GOP is mushy and afraid and will probably cave in to this disaster of a POTUS.
America needs a good dose of John Wayne again.

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movedtothefarm December 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

We knew this taxation was coming so we got out of the big city, mcmansion and left the well paying jobs to make less than 250k/year. We couldn’t see working so hard to give hand outs – we donated our money as we saw fit – not any more. Only regret is leaving the great health insurance plans – but we would be taxed high on that as well.

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Darkangel December 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

The GOP needs to put Simpson-Bowles on the table and tell Obama that it’s either accept his own commission’s recommendation, or cause an economic collapse that WILL become his legacy.

Presidents are the ones that tend to get paired with the economy. Witness everyone remembering “the Clinton years” with such fondness, when all Clinton did was shrewdly get the heck out of the GOP Congress’s way and take credit for the boom times.

The opposite will happen here, despite the fifth column’s best efforts: if the economy tanks, it will be Obama’s economy in the long run, though he may score a few cheap political points in the short term. Once the misery starts coming home to MLK Boulevard, Obama will be politically finished. He may still be in office, but he will be the lamest of lame ducks, despite the best efforts of the fifth column.

Barack, I know what you’re thinking. “Do I have to compromise, or can I demand everything I want?” Well, to tell you the truth, given the last election results I’m kind of confused myself. But being as presidents get the blame for a bad economy, and tax hikes this big will send us into a major recession, and a major recession would make you go down in history as a disaster of a president, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

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mad as all get out December 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm

i absolutely love the last paragraph!!!

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Darkangel December 4, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Thanks. I try. :)

On an unrelated note, somebody also needs to run a variant of that past Harry Reid when it comes to the nuclear option. If he decides to do away with the filibuster, it’s not going to do him a whole lot of good as far as legislation goes. With the House in GOP hands, he’s not going to be able to get much legislation past the House if he doesn’t compromise with the GOP in the Senate to begin with. So getting rid of the filibuster only means his party-line bills end up getting killed by the House instead of dying in the Senate. And while there are a few things he doesn’t need the House for–confirmations being the big one–once the Senate and House have to agree to something, the House is likely to give him fits.

And look at the Senate map for 2014. 19 Democrats are up for re-election, compared to 13 Republicans. On the Republican side, only 1 state (Maine) voted for Obama in 2012. But of the 19 Democrats up for re-election, SEVEN are from states that voted for Romney. So even if we go strictly by presidential preference, the GOP would pick up a net six seats to add to the 45 they have already. That would give them 51, and control of the Senate.

Check my math, Harry, and then get away from the launch button. If you think the GOP is going to give you back the filibuster after you steal it from them, you’re a fool.

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barkley pontree December 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

why do you and everyone else assume that tax hikes will cause a recession? When Clinton was elected, we were in a recession. Don’t you remember Bill telling us he tried hard, harder than he has ever done, to give a tax break and we just couldn’t afford it? And the economy boomed under these tax rates during the Clinton years. We balanced our budgets!

If anyone really thinks about all of this BS, you might start realizing that Reagan cut taxes and the economy boomed, Clinton raised taxes and the economy boomed, maybe the tax code isn’t the secret.

Here is the real problem. For 50 years, our government took our money for SS/MED and each year there were huge surpluses. The government took out those surpluses and stuck in IOU’s. Then they used the surpluses for EPA, education, defense, saving the speckled peckered moth, and things like that. The problem created about 4 years ago was the surpluses in MED/SS came to an end, so the cash for all those other programs it was funding dried up, and now they had to borrow that money PLUS those two programs started running in the red and the government had to come up with cash for those IOU’s. That is why the deficit jumped from about 300b in 2008 to over a trillion in one year. The cash cow died. And now americans are expected to be taxed to cover the IOU’s.

It’s not the tax code; it doesn’t matter whether they go up or down. The surplus cash cow died and no one can figure out how to make up that money AND pay for the IOU’s.

barkleypontree.blogspot.com

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Darkangel December 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Tax hikes PER SE may not cause a recession. We can debate that point ad infinitum.

But a tax hike THIS big, WILL cause problems. That much is certain. If you seriously think jacking up taxes by 1.6 trillion dollars won’t hurt the economy in the slightest, I can’t help you.

And since Barack apparently wants to go over the fiscal cliff, we’re going to get to test that theory in less than a month, now, aren’t we?

Hope you’ve got some money saved up.

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BARKLEYPONTREE December 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Nope, broke as can be. Taking care of parent with Alzheimer’s and we struggle now on his RR retirement. I’ve spent all my retirement money, savings, etc. And I care for him full time so I don’t get paid but don’t tell me this ain’t work.

Kind of nice being broke right now and not paying any taxes to this regime. Really sucks trying to live two people on RR and the whopping 1.7% cost of living increase though. At least I’ll be well practiced at being poor when the economy collapses, feel sorry for the rest of you.

barkleypontree.blogspot.com

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srdem65 December 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I feel like an unwanted alien in my own country. Accused of racism, terrorism and selfishness because I didn’t have the courtesy of dropping dead before I “ruined” Medicare, because I support an America that respects the rule of law, because I paid taxes all my life and now spend my own money on a personal phone and buy my own groceries.
I am against killing unborn children for convienence of the parent, believe that adults are responisble for their own futures, and a free America is the greatest idea that thinking men ever imagined.

Now, a President claims it it “fair” that a certain group pay more than another which in it’s meaning is unfair that one is punished and not the other.
Our elected officials are now deciding if illegal aliens who broke the law should be rewarded with a right to citizenship in my country, when the home country of those illegal aliens who broke the law would arrest me for illegal activity.
I am the unwanted, ignored, White, law-abiding, tax-paying, heterosexual, child-raising citizen that is being forced to pay for the sins of someone else’s father and the excesses of a government too big to govern.

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Otis Driftwood December 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm

well said! (and so true).

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Susan December 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Spot on, srdem. So much hate directed at those of us who have lived our life trying to do the right thing. Now the baby boomers are being blamed for bankrupting the country because we are coming for that lockbox. They just don’t want to admit there is nothing left in the lockbox except for the IOUs they have been floating to pay for LBJ’s Great Society.

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WMP December 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Some great and reasonable discussions here today. Glad to see they are rationale -

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barkley pontree December 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I, for one, say let it go off the so called cliff. Yes, I know reps promised no tax increases but not caving to Obama and the dems would impress me more. And since the only way we are going to see any budget cuts is to let this cliff plan be enacted, I say republicans should go for it, let it happen.

What I don’t understand is why for 6 years of the Bush administration, democrats screamed that the Bush tax cuts were tax cuts for the rich. Now, if they expire, the dems are claiming that it will hurt the middle and lower class with tax increases. Why has no one called out the dems on the fact you can’t make both arguments and ask them when they were lying?

barkleypontree.blogspot.com

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regina December 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I LOVE HOW HE HAS 54 TREES AND IS LOOKING FORWARD TO A 4 MILL. VACATION THIS MONTH ON TAX PAPERS. HE REALLY CARES ABOUT OUR COUNTRY.

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JustSaying12 December 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I been saying for quite awhile the GOP needs to move off it’s no higher taxes no matter what platform in order to change the narrative. They should tell Obama they are willing to split the difference with him. Instead of a 39% top bracket, tell them they are willing to go have it at 37% provided he FINALLY gives details on what he is willing to cut or hell, even offer a real spending cut plan.

The Republicans are losing the PR because they will not move a bit based on principle. If they do, then they will expose Obama for what he is. A man painted back into a corner. He cannot pay for ObamaCare and cut the deficit with taxes just for the rich. On top of that, they can bash him over the head for not keeping his end of the bargain. They were willing to move to the left on some tax increases but he has yet to offer ONE SINGLE CUT to spending. If they move beyond taxes, that will be the news story: Obama’s unwillingess to move on spending cuts. Then they can win the PR battle and weaken his 2nd term before it even starts.

But yet again, they rather shoot themselves in the chest.

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Langley Spook December 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm

‘Fiscal Cliff 2012′:
“Abandon Hope All Who Enter Here.”

(USA, 1776-2012 AD)

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ChicagoDave December 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I would suggest that we continue down the path offering larger and larger packages of spending cuts until he is in Hawaii soaking up the sun and eating at tony restaurants – then run a full blown offensive including an hourly clock that displays how much his vacation is costing us, while Republicans toil away attempting to solve the nation’s problems. We should also go to various cities and hold mini campaign events called “Growth Rallies.” We have to get better at playing the game – we need to animate our ideas because the average attention span is too short for a 10-page white paper.

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Otis Driftwood December 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm

sadly, I think it might make him stick around DC till the last day before Christmas and pack the big M + kidlets off to Hawaii ahead of him. Therefore, we go from a 4 mil vacation to a 5-6 mil vacation – separate planes.. staff, etc. SSDV. Maybe Bo will get to fly solo again?? Talk about FF miles!

The above would only be IF he cares about the nation’s issues. I would take bets he will go to the big island on schedule, and state he can sign the bill into law there just as easy as being in DC.

Ya get what u paid for. And I sure as heck didn’t pay for him (or vote for him either)

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Quintus Arrius December 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Sounds like a good strategy.

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gracepmc December 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Some people overstep. Like Obama’s buddy Morsi for example….

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Anonna December 4, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Seems as if you’re blaming the Republicans, Keith, for not helping The One hide the fact that he campaigned on nothing. Let his supporters learn this from his own actions. He’s not interested in finding the money, he wants to be Big Bad Daddy who made the Naught Repubs eat the bowl of turds.

It’s a power thing — he can’t stand that he campaigned relentlessly, gifted every person for a vote that he could, and still barely got half the votes. He wants to feel powerful over someone one — Romney has showed up and bent the knee, now The Boy Prez wants to make the rest of the GOP do the same.

I wonder where Just-Call-Me-Meesh-Antoinette has been lately. Getting some more facial surgery, planning some vacay, mourning the fact that hubby won and now she can’t divorce him for four more years?

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Anne Lieberman December 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Cliches have gotten a bad rap. That being said, give him an inch (or fig leaf) and he’ll take a mile.

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