Watcher’s Forum: The Fiscal Cliff – Let It Happen Or Grand Bargain?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question:The Fiscal Cliff: Let it happen or Grand Bargain?

For those of you whom may not be aware, ‘the Fiscal cliff’  refers to automatic and draconian spending cuts and the end of the Bush-era tax cuts and a general hike in taxes as many Americans now exempt form th Alternative Minimum Tax become subject paying it.  This was agreed to the last time  by both parties as part of a deal to raise President Obama’s credit card limit ( AKA the debt ceiling) last year. It goes into effect January 1st, 2013 if there’s no agreement between President Obama and the House Republicans on taxes, the debt limit and spending. The president  wants  to raise taxes on ‘the rich’, another binge of stimulus spending, an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling and sole authority  to raise the debt ceiling as he sees fit. The Republicans say they’re open to some tax increases but want significant cuts in spending as part of any deal and are not willing to see another stimulus or  give the president the authority he wants to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally.

 The Razor:Republicans have put themselves in a position where “heads you win tails I lose.” Given this option we have to look at what concerns the GOP House, the ones who must actually make this bargain.

These members, many elected with Tea Party support in 2010, are ideological and concerned about their reelections. Any compromise the Democrats will offer at this point will be ideologically repugnant. The Democrats and their propaganda wing in the mainstream media have fabricated this November’s election into a progressive landslide even when in reality it was anything but. They will not compromise enough to help these members of the GOP at all, and are on a “mission from g-d” or whatever the equivalent is for fired up atheistic liberals.

So the choice is whether to accept a package of tax increases with minimal if any entitlements cuts IF the Democrats offer such a thing, or allow the country to go off the cliff. That’s a big IF at this point, whether the Democrats will offer anything; I half expect them to keep demagoging the issue in the Press to beat up the Republicans through December while failing to negotiate in good faith. The other choice is to stick to their beliefs, fully aware that the Democrats are likely not serious about negotiations. These members will be pilloried by the Press in January, but they are going to be attacked by the MSM no matter what. At least when the primaries come around in a year they will won’t face Tea Party challengers who claim they sold out to the Dems on the tax issue.

Given such a Hobbesian choice, if I were a conservative member of Congress I would publicize the fact the Democrats have not negotiated seriously because they believe the election was a landslide. I would point out that it wasn’t, and as a consequence cannot offer any compromise on my part because it takes two to reach a deal. Every time I was in front of a microphone I would repeat this mantra. I full expect John Boehner to wobble on this issue and I would resist his calls for my vote. After January I would actively work to unseat him.

The Democrats believe the GOP will take the hit if we go off the cliff, but managed properly, I believe it is still possible to portray the Democrats as overreaching. Besides, by the time these members are up for re-election the country will be more receptive to fiscal conservatism than it is today. In the meantime, unfortunately, the half of the voting public that re-elected Obama needs to be taught that elections have consequences and that handing Democrats money is like giving heroin to a junkie.

 The Independent Sentinel: President Obama wants to go over the fiscal cliff. It’s a win-win for him. He gets automatic cuts (he wants the military cuts), higher taxes. and he can blame the Republicans, eliminating them once-and-for-all.

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