Daily News header

Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Drag On

By     get stories by email

Dispute Over The U.S. Budget

President Barack O bama and House Speaker John Boehner met today at the White House to discuss the dispute over the U.S. budget. In what appears to be serious negotiations to prevent the so-called "fiscal cliff," representatives of both sides said the talks were "productive."

Amy Brundage, a White House spokesman said, "This afternoon, the president and Speaker Boehner met at the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff."
That was countered moments later by Michael Steele, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner and former head of the Republican Party, who said almost the identical statement.

Neither gave further details.

Face-To-Face Conversation Between The Two Leaders

The meeting is the first known face-to-face conversation between the two leaders since Nov. 16, when Boehner and other congressional leaders sat down with Obama at the White House. There have been conversations by phone since then, but the most significant meeting for the president has been with Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

What that could possibly accomplish to end the fiscal stalemate is anyone's guess.

Boehner and Obama are attempting to find some common ground that would prevent automatic cuts in the budget of $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases taking effect in January.

Disputes Over Tax Rates and Spending Cuts

Disputes over tax rates, spending cuts and the debt ceiling are among the barriers to a deal.

The majority House Republicans are insisting on broader tax bases to generate revenue rather than raising rates, signaling no softening in their ongoing impasse with the president.

Here's the latest Republican offer:

Eight hundred billion dollars in additional revenue over the next decade, brought about in a fashion less likely to damage the economy than merely higher rates. That may mean allowing the tax rates on top earners expire.

That would likely be the less painful route and allow Republicans to escape the political slur of being "the party of the rich."

Will this all lead to an inevitable recession in 2013?

If no deal is reached, Republicans will "own" the recession that will inevitably follow, Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said Sunday.

The Democratic blame game continues in force evne though the clock shows 21 days left until time expires.

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, both Republicans, said Sunday that Democrats needed to accept significant changes in entitlement programs.

"What happens to that early retiree?" he asked. "What about that gap in coverage between their workplace and Medicare," asked Sen. Coburn.

Will it all lead to higher rates, period?

Obama has called for higher rates on income of individuals above $200,000 and married couples above $250,000, wants $1.6 trillion in additional revenue, double what Republicans have offered. He has said that limits on tax breaks could generate only $300 billion to $400 billion.

Whatever the rhetoric, each side's argument on tax rates has gaps. Obama's own budget calls for more than $750 billion in revenue from top earners without raising rates, and he said last year that achieving $1.2 trillion without higher rates was possible.

Republicans however haven't been specific on exactly which tax breaks they would cut. Like the Democrats, they are not wild about stepping on any toes, but nevertheless, the clock still ticks.

The most politically volatile of these possible cuts are among the most popular, such as those for mortgage interest, charitable contributions, capital gains and employer-provided health insurance.

Here is the bottom line:

If Congress doesn't act by the end of the year, income taxes at all levels will go up, and the top tax rate will reach 39.6 percent, up from 35 percent now.

Automatic spending cuts, half in defense programs, will begin taking effect. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that inaction would lead to a recession in the first half of 2013.

The clock is ticking and nobody has blinked yet.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. His BS in journalism from University of Oregon with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing. Read more stories by Dwight L. Schwab Jr..

* If you have enjoyed this column, may I suggest you scroll down this page and press the SUBSCRIBE box? It's FREE. Thank you for your patronage.

** Send your comments to: dwight.schwab@gmail.com

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

* The views of Opinion writers do not necessarily reflect the views of NewsBlaze

Related Opinions News

Discipline is not just to say yes sir or no sir but to be in control of every aspect of your life to become the best person you can become.
Ari Bussel says the Netanyahu government was the longest-serving and likely one of the strongest in recent memory. But like all things, it must come to an end.
'TV production, a $100 billion industry, is very conservative and it is difficult to convince people to make changes,' Yoav led me to the idea behind ZullaVision. 'There
Smoking has had a great adverse impact on many communities and has been directly responsible for the plight of those who are slowly wasting away from the ravages of lung cancer.
Many see this as a trend of disenfranchised, antisocial misfits with no identity. We, the freedom lovers, paint them as narcissistic sociopathic orphans lacking empathy, and certainly there is some truth in the one sided approach.
So, all Serbian official politicians have no more authority and any kind of right to blame or hate the European Union or the United States of America why they are demanding the recognition of Kosovo if Serbia wants to join the European Union (EU).

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

landing page ad

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site