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GOP counter-offers Erskine Bowles to Obama’s la-la-land (Update — Obama rejects out of hand, wants his pound of tax rate increases)

GOP counter-offers Erskine Bowles to Obama’s la-la-land (Update — Obama rejects out of hand, wants his pound of tax rate increases)

Via The Hill (h/t Drudge):

House Republican leaders have made a counteroffer to President Obama in the fiscal cliff negotiations, proposing to cut $2.2 trillion with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.

The leaders delivered the offer to the White House on Monday with a three-page letter signed by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and four other senior Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the party’s just-defeated vice presidential nominee.

Republican officials said the offer was based on a proposal outlined by Erskine Bowles, the former chief of staff to President Clinton, in testimony last year before the congressional “supercommittee” on deficit reduction. That offer is distinct from the widely-cited Simpson-Bowles deficit plan released two years ago.

The GOP offer is a response to Obama’s opening bid, which called for $1.6 trillion in tax increases and reducing the power of Congress to block an increase in the debt ceiling….

He characterized it as a response to what he called the “la-la land” offer that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented to congressional leaders last week.

Here’s the key language from the letter, it’s really a “framework” for moving forward:

With the fiscal cliff nearing, our priority remains finding a reasonable solution that can pass both the House and the Senate, and be signed into law in the next couple of weeks. The best way to do this is by learning from and building on the bipartisan discussions that have occurred during this Congress, including the Biden Group, the Joint Select Committee, and our negotiations leading up to the Budget Control Act.

For instance, on November 1 of last year, Erskine Bowles, the co-chair of your debt commission, presented the Joint Select Committee with a middle ground approach that garnered praise from many fiscal watchdogs and nonpartisan experts. He recommended that both parties agree to a balanced package that includes significant spending cuts as well as $800 billion in new revenue.

Notably, the new revenue in the Bowles plan would not be achieved through higher tax rates, which we continue to oppose and will not agree to in order to protect small businesses and our economy. Instead, new revenue would be generated through pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates. On the spending side, the Bowles recommendation would cut more than $900 billion in mandatory spending and another $300 billion in discretionary spending. These cuts would be over and above the spending reductions enacted in the Budget Control Act.

This is by no means an adequate long-term solution, as resolving our long-term fiscal crisis will require fundamental entitlement reform. Indeed, the Bowles plan is exactly the kind of imperfect, but fair middle ground that allows us to avert the fiscal cliff without hurting our economy and destroying jobs. We believe it warrants immediate consideration.

If you are agreeable to this framework, we are ready and eager to begin discussions about how to structure these reforms so that the American people can be confident that these targets will be reached.

Update:  That was quick.  In no time Obama rejected the counter-offer in a press statement which once again indicates that for Obama it’s not about dollars, it’s an emotional attachment to raising rates on those making $250,000:

The White House on Monday dismissed a Republican counteroffer to avert the so-called fiscal cliff as failing to “meet the test of balance” by resisting higher tax rates for the wealthy, a point that remains a key hurdle in the impasse over spending and revenues.

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said in a statement that what congressional Republicans had billed as a “good-faith effort” to move toward compromise contained “nothing new” and offered no specifics on how they’d achieve revenue targets included in the plan.

He is a class warrior at heart. It’s about getting even and punishing people, not about dollars and cents.


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As I see it, Obama is in the catbird seat no matter what. He holds the psychologically overpowering force of the media and the rest of entire cultural monolith. He knows the media will — at worst — muddy the issue enough to leave him blameless and — at best — totally blame the republicans despite the outcome. Furthermore, he couldn’t care less if the country falls off the “fiscal cliff.” Krauthammer is entirely wrong in his reading of Obama as concerned about his economic legacy according to ridiculously conventional and bourgeois benchmarks. Obama is focused on his transformative agenda, which is enabled by a bad economy. He correctly understands the Republicans as hopelessly lost in their own short-sighted anxieties. It’s not so much that he’s playing them like a fiddle, he just doesn’t care, and otherwise knows they’re an impotent and clueless joke.

    snopercod in reply to raven. | December 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Excellent analysis! I used to think Krauthammer was smart until he started disrespecting Sarah Palin. Now I think he’s just another D.C. insider.

    JayDick in reply to raven. | December 4, 2012 at 11:17 am

    You are correct. And, his strategy is likely to work unless the Republicans have a good strategy for dealing with the fact that Obama really doesn’t want a deal with the Republicans. He wants to go over the cliff and then blame Republicans, which he could probably do successfully. The only chance the Republicans have of coming out of this in pretty good shape is to give Obama the parts of his proposal that are most popular, mainly to increase rates on top earners. Give him as little as possible, but enough to say that he got what he campaigned on. Republican members should be allowed to vote “no” if they feel they have to, but should be encouraged to vote “present”. Republicans should say at the time that it is bad policy, but not as bad as going over the cliff and the only available option given Obama’s recalcitrance.

    If the Senate doesn’t pass the bill or if Obama vetoes it, the Republicans can point to their efforts as giving Obama what he said he wanted. If it passes and is signed, then the economy really belongs to Obama. The likely economic downturn in the next year or so will be blamed totally on Obama.

    Then, and only then, will the Republicans have a chance to regain power in 2014 and 2016 so they can try to pick up the pieces. By then, it may be too late, but it’s our best chance.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | December 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

The plan is to agree to let government confiscate more money today, in return for promises of of entitlemente reform and spending cuts in the future?

It’s the J. Wellington Wimpy plan: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

Is this the same Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner who told Representative Ryan something like ‘Sure we don’t have a plan, but we don’t like your plan so we’re not going to use it.’

Actually, I think President Barack Hussein 0bama does have a plan, and that plan is the destruction of American culture and society.

White House rejects GOP fiscal cliff counteroffer, saying it …
… it does not meet what the White House calls “the test of balance.

Simon H Gedney | December 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm

If Obama were really serious about avoiding the fiscal cliff, he would not have designated a lame duck cabinet member to negotiate for him. It’s an insult to the other party, like sending your paralegal to meet with another firm’s partner when you have to negotiate something. You’ve sent someone with no authority to deal, but used that person to present demands.

Let it go over the cliff. Let the Obama voters and the Obama supporters start feeling the pain they want to inflict on everyone but themselves.

Cliff. Go. OFF…

Go FULL Clinton. State it that way.

Then go FULL Ryan on the spending side. Say it.

    Chicklet in reply to JP. | December 3, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    If Obama’s boys and girls had done their job according to dear leaders specifications I believe there would be 1,690 pages. He’s going to be pissed…

Vote present and let the Dems own this. Do not cave!

Obama’s on top of the world right now, there’s no tax hike his lefty friends in the media won’t love, his armies of spinners have already convinced the same people who voted for him that the opposition is wrong and it would be those that dare to oppose him who will cause harm to the country.

You couldn’t write a better play, it is just so disheartening to watch all these older, supposedly wiser Republicans respond to Obama’s message and just play into his hand. It’s time to go back to basics and teach schoolchildren about the constitution, join local clubs and organizations and build a new powerful base and issue a proper response.

It’s Obama’s ball, het him run with it and let the chips fall where they may.

TrooperJohnSmith | December 3, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Prez-O-Bama: “No, damnit! I will have my way! FortheloveofAllah I AM the President! ME! I AM the one we’ve been waiting for! It’s my compromise or no compromise!” [sucks thumb while Michelle strokes his cheek]

Hey, Barry-O needs those dollars badly. He’s got a three-week Hawaiian vacation to pay for.

Insufficiently Sensitive | December 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm

He is a class warrior at heart. It’s about getting even and punishing people, not about dollars and cents.

For those who are five years late to figuring it out, a “Community Organizer” is a high-ranking officer in a savage class war, an officer who regards the US Constitution with the same respect that Hamas does the Geneva Accords – a mere obstruction. Cover for its violation is generously provided by the MSM.

An officer for whom the ends justify the means.


    And from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

    Background information

    Obama learned his lesson well. I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.” –Letter from L. DAVID ALINSKY, son of Neo-Marxist Saul Alinsky.

Let the House approve the Ryan budget, send it to the Senate and leave it at that letting the chips fall where they may.

And let them send people on the road to explain their actions and why they took the steps to do so.

I swear that this administration gets more outrageous everyday…

Since the IRS released the new surcharge of 3.8% on investment income and .9% healthcare tax for high wage earners today, that should satisfy the White House requirement for the wealthy “to pay a little bit more”, right? So now we are free to reduce spending and work on the deficit problem!

Big problem: No one will hear about this offer unless they watch FNC, LI, American Thinker or other conservative blogs. The msm will never report this or report this accurately. All Obama wants to do is lay blame at the feet of Republicans and conservatives.

For two-income families (by far the majority), Obama’s tax hike is on individuals making an average of $125,000 a year.

Didn’t Joe Biden say paying higher taxes was patriotic? Didn’t one MSM DNC byliner after another say raising taxes was necessary for years? They all admitted at one time or another the only place to get the amounts they want is from the middle class. Well America you voted for it! You elected a person who demands it and listened to a media machine that prattled it.

Of course the majority who voted for this will promptly blame the GOP for not stopping them from getting what they voted for.

GOP – Draft Obama’s legislation just as he demanded and then vote “PRESENT”, less the stupid $50 billion stimulus. After all, they already admitted the stimulus is to counteract the tax increase they want, you know the negative effects on their cronies.


Connect the dots folks, the point of the fiscal cliff and Harry Reid refusing to allow any votes on a budget for years is to manufacture a crisis to give Obama the unilateral power (usurpation) to spend money WITHOUT Congress. IF Congress is no longer needed to authorize spending and no longer needed for passing laws, there are no longer any impediments to Obama ruling by Executive Decree. The ultimate irony, the use of the democratic process to end a republic.

    JayDick in reply to dscott. | December 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Not bad! I’m not sure it’s necessary to give him everything he asked for in his last proposal though. The authority to raise the debt limit is especially troubling. And, of course the stimulus plan is absurd, as you say.

    I would favor just giving him the stuff he campaigned on and that seems to be popular, mainly to increase the rates on top earners. If it doesn’t get enacted and signed, at least the Republicans still look pretty good for passing what Obama campaigned on and it would make Obama look really recalcitrant.

    Your proposal, on the other hand, would certainly hang the economy around Obama’s neck. I could go with that, too.

The Republicans must realize that this debate is not about policy. It is about politics. Obama wants more power now and in the future for Democrats and he thinks going over the cliff will hurt Republicans. The Democrats must realize that their proposals are economically stupid; if they don’t, they’re in worse shape that I imagined.

The Republicans must figure out how to counter this. And, they must realize that their voices won’t get out very much because most of the media is on Obama’s side.

They must figure out how to make the economy totally belong to Obama. To do that, they will probably have to give him much of what he wants, certainly the stuff he campaigned on and that is popular. Either that or be prepared to conduct a political campaign that costs about what a presidential campaign costs.