Byron York today sums up where the “negotiations” over the “fiscal cliff” are heading (emphasis mine):

So a deal will most likely be done. But the bottom line is that the fiscal cliff fight will not end happily for Republicans. They will have given in on what was an article of faith — that taxes should not be raised on anybody, poor or rich — in return for essentially nothing. All they will have is a plan to fight again, soon.

We must capitulate by December 31, we are told.

That is wrong.  There is an alternative, a short-term extention of everything including current tax rates, a delay of sequester budget cuts, everything that allegedly constitutes the “fiscal cliff” pending further negotiations. 

It’s what I called the Christmas Plan, which preserves the status quo pending further negotation:

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.

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. 

And please don’t tell me that we’ll give in on taxes now and make our stand on spending and entitlements over the national debt limit — ain’t gonna happen.

What’s the rush to reach a horrible deal by December 31?

The media will be mad?  Obama will be angry?  Is a tongue lashing so worrisome that we will make a horrible deal?

Oh, but we’ll lose in 2014, you say.  No, if we raise taxes without fixing spending and entitlements, we lose right now.  What worse could happen in 2014, that Democrats will regain control of the House and vote to raise taxes without fixing spending and entitlements?

Punting is better than fumbling.  We are about to fumble.  Punt into next year.

(The Broadcast Altert now is closed, but if you click this link it should generate a tweet).


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