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It’s not as good as the Christmas Plan, but Joe Manchin’s CALM Act is worth consideration

It’s not as good as the Christmas Plan, but Joe Manchin’s CALM Act is worth consideration

Deprive Obama of the crisis he uses as leverage

Since early December I have been urging, in vain, Republican leaders to kick the can past January 1 on taxes so that everything is on the table, rather than giving Obama the tax increases he wants without a deal on spending and entitlements.

I called it the Christmas Plan, and the concept was to preserve the status quo pending further negotiations and to remove the contrived January 1 crisis:

I say call his bluff.  If a deal which tackles deficits from both revenue and spending can be reached this month, great.

If not, pass a 90 day extension of current tax rates and whatever else is needed to postpone the “cliff,” and go home for Christmas to give time for a Grand Bargain which puts Democratic sacred cows on the table.

Let Harry Reid refuse to bring it to a vote, and Obama refuse to sign it.  Their inaction will be the reason for taxes rising for everyone.

The Christmas Plan is better than a bad deal:

Sure a temporary extention of everything is not going to make anyone happy — and creates its own mess of uncertainty and complexity next year. But it is explanable to the public:

We’ve made progress, we just need a little more time to make sure we tackle the nation’s national debt and budget deficits, not just taxes.

It keeps everything on the table for negotiation. Otherwise, with the artificial deadline of December 31, Obama gets the tax rate increase he wants while allowing him to evade indefinitely the spending cuts and entitlement reforms he fears.

Joe Manchin has just introduced something along a similar concept of taking the cliff out of the fiscal cliff.  While it’s not my Christmas Plan, it stalls the effects of a tax rate increase long enough for future negotiations in which everything is on the table.

Via The Hill:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Sunday introduced a bill he said would “soften the landing” if the nation went over the “fiscal cliff.”

Manchin said his bill, the Cliff Alleviation at the Last Minute Act, — the CALM Act — would slowly phase in the tax rate increases and allow the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to propose substitute cuts to replace sequestration….

The bill would phase January’s tax rate increases over the course of three years. In addition, it would grant OMB “the flexibility to recommend what agencies and accounts to cut,” he said.

Manchin said that if OMB failed to do the job then the slated sequestration cuts would go into effect. Furthermore, Congress would have the “final word” on any changes to sequestration. “OMB’s decisions can be overridden by a joint resolution,” he added.

The devil, of course, is in the details, but the key thing is that the cliff ceases being a cliff, it’s more of a step down, which keeps the contrived crisis and emergency from happening while spending and entitlement reform is negotiated.

The key thing is to remove the crisis — depriving Obama of the drama he needs to get his way.

It’s not perfect, and I still prefer the Christmas Plan, but maybe it’s a viable alternative.


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A little good news, at least.

    That Manchin is a Democrat may mean some Democrats aren’t as much into the drama as Team Obama, and actually may want to participate in some form of honest negotiations with Republicans. I will be interested to see how this plays out with other Democrats.

    GrumpyOne in reply to Leslie Eastman. | December 31, 2012 at 8:12 am

    And the fact that it comes from a democrat would put the load on Harry “dingy” Reid.

    It might not be the “Christmas” present we all wanted but I’ll settle for it being an acceptable substitute…

As one watches the negotiation process unfold, it is becoming apparent, if it was ever in doubt, that the national Republican leadership does not believe in the principles of individual liberty and responsibility, lower taxes and smaller government.

    To be fair a handful of national Republican leaders who do not believe in the principles of individual liberty, responsibility, lower taxes and smaller government pales in comparison to 100% of Democrat Party voters who persistently vote against the principles of individual liberty and responsibility, lower taxes and smaller government.

    In America it is the voter who holds the power between Liberty and Tyranny; no gun is pointed at the head of the American voter forcing them to vote for this burdensome government.

    The blame rests upon the shoulders of those citizens (family, friends and neighbors) who vote against your belief in individual liberty, lower taxes and smaller government; the politician is simply their tool in their quest for imposing tyranny over you and me.

Two days ago, I commented on the ‘Potemkin Obama’ post:

Yes, Plan C is just the (Republican) ticket. They should have passed it already.

Above all, we don’t want Obama to propose Plan C and take credit if it passes or cast blame if it doesn’t.

Oh, well. The national welfare trumps partisan advantage. We know which is the Stupid Party.

OT but in the ballpark: And if we didn’t know despite the election results, Newt recently explained it:

MR. GINGRICH: Well, let me say, first of all, every Republican should be focused on what we just talked about. I mean, if their competitor in ‘16 is going to be Hillary Clinton, supported by Bill Clinton and presumably a still relatively popular president Barack Obama, trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl. And the Republican Party today is incapable of competing at that level. And it’s part of this cultural thing with our consultants. I mean, if you start out thinking giving away 47 percent of the country, by the way, which included retirees, it included veterans. You know, it was an absurdity. And– and I think this is– this is much more than Mitt Romney. We didn’t blow it because of Mitt Romney. We blew it because of a party which has refused to engage the reality of American life and refused to take– to think through what the average American needs for a better future.

Boldface mine.

    syn in reply to gs. | December 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Plan D

    Convince your family, friend and neighbors who vote for higher taxation, greater regulation, additional Government authority, Entitlements, SS, Medicare/Medicaid and Welfare that their desire to impose this tyrannical form of government is what is killing the American dream of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    Unless citizens understand that they are responsible for causing this financial disaster then nothing will stop America’s path towards Serfdom

BannedbytheGuardian | December 30, 2012 at 11:35 pm

GO TO JAIL is a better plan.

    Who should go to jail?

    The politicians or the citizens who continue to elect the politicians who were elected to bring home the government goodies to the citizens who demanded politicians give them something in return for their vote?

    There would not be greedy politicians if not for greedy citizens.

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to syn. | December 31, 2012 at 12:54 am

      I would be quite happy to prepare a list of them too. But there will need to be priority citizens. we cannot accommodate them all.

      But an excellent idea Syn.

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to syn. | December 31, 2012 at 1:55 am

      First on my list is Babs. This is how Josef Stalin must have felt . It is invigorating . I think I will need to plan Andersonville camps or use Alaska as gulags.

      It would at least make a great board game moving those little cones around.

      Btw it is 6 pm on new years eve here & I am off to imbibe bubbly.

      Cheers. & back for more fun next year,

What a breakthrough! They’ve kicked the can down the road for three more months. Awesome.

Happy happy joy joy
The farce continues..

The cross/dressing “moderate Democrat” -ie liar – Joe Manchin provides the can that they can kick, along with the road to kick it down.

Mr Speaker:

Pass a standalone bill that extends the debt limit by $200 billion, but dedicates the amount exclusively to interest and due principal on already outstanding national debt.

Rejigger federal legislation spending priorities, if need be, in the same legislation, so the funds cannot be diverted to other discretionary spending.

In one stroke, this takes threat of default off the table. If you do it right, and additionally protect the priority of current Social Security and Medicare, they cannot scare seniors, either. If Democrats will not sign it, and heaven forbid take the country into default, they are holding solvency hostage, and blame falls on them.

Also, pass the Republican legislative agenda in a second, standalone bill. Repeal Obamacare. Enact the Ryan entitlement reforms. End the EPA’s regulation of CO2 emissions and give the go-ahead to Keystone and fracking. Cut taxes by 5% across the board, while eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes. Slash discretionary spending 20% across the board, including defence (which would have much less impact on national security with such a weak and misguided Commander in Chief). Authorize the additional (but much smaller) borrowing needed to fund this agenda, but no other.

Lay the groundwork for new bipartisan commissions to discuss selective restoration of spending, or additional cuts and department eliminations, and a new healthcare program focused on the uninsured and opening a national market for healthcare consumers.

Then, Mr. Boehner, take your caucus and leave town. Sell the program in the districts, in the streets, on the airwaves. If the Democrats default on the debt, debauch the currency, or otherwise act extra-constitutionally, the Republicans must fight them on all fronts.

Mr. Speaker, you won an amazing victory in 2010, the most dramatic change from one party to another since the 1940s. Remarkably, you repeated that victorious performance, in the most stunning and unexpected upset of 2012. (Obama’s victory not that surprising, and Senate Democrats won mainly on social issues).

The people are with you, but you must uphold principle. The Democrats are for raising taxes, but raising spending even more. The Republicans should be for cutting taxes, but cutting spending even more.

    What you’re suggesting Boehener do is like suggesting Boehner grow 7 inches in his bare feet.

    We need to replace Boehenr with a man or woman who will — and actually can — do the things you suggest.

    And we need to do it fast, before the inertia of the GOP failed leadership becomes as much a way of life as Obamacare will.

Boy, that’s always the Republican way, isn’t it: Do exactly what the democrats want, only slower. Sigh…

314 million people and not a damn good idea among em.

Oh c’mon, professor, give me a break. Manchin’s just one more gutless senator getting someone to give him something today in exchange for a promise to have someone else(!) do something in the future.

It’s about spending, not “revenue”.(The tax code itself is a complete disaster, but that’s another problem.) It’s about today, not the next three years. It’s about the government doing its job now, today, not assigning the task to some faceless bureaucracy three years down the road, e.g. granting “OMB the flexibility to recommend what agencies and accounts to cut,” and getting “the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to propose substitute cuts to replace sequestration….”

Talk. Talk. Talk. Golf. Delay. Delay. Delay. Golf. Spend. Spend. Spend. Golf. Print. Print. Print. Golf. Take a vcation.

Shut it down, and send them home, and ground AF-1!