Free Markets, Free People

Fiscal cliff: Politicians play “chicken” with your lives and livelyhood

Because we’re served by the worst political class ever:

President Obama’slead negotiator in the “fiscal cliff” talks said the administration is “absolutely” willing to allow the package of deep automatic spending cuts and across-the-board tax hikes to take effect Jan. 1, unless Republicans drop their opposition to higher income tax rates on the wealthy.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in an interview with CNBC that both sides are “making a little bit of progress” toward a deal to avert the “cliff” but remain stuck on Obama’s desired rate increase for the top U.S. income-earners.

“There’s no prospect for an agreement that doesn’t involve those rates going up on the top two percent of the wealthiest,” Geithner said.

Apparently there is no way to raise the desired revenue, at least according to Obama/Geithner, that “doesn’t involve those rates going up on the top 2%”.  No way.

Oh, wait …

What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes — tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base.

Say, wasn’t that President Obama in July of 2011 at a press conference?  Why yes it was.  So there is a way, but he and apparently his “negotiator” refuse to pursue it (btw, no I”m not fooled by the illusion that this isn’t just as much a tax hike as what they’re proposing)?  It that what is happening?

Why yes, yes it is.  So there is another way to do this, apparently.  Unless our President was telling a tall one about what he’d be willing to do in July?  Yeah, I know, perish the thought.  Lie to us?  Unthinkable.

Instead according to Turbo Tax Timmy, they’d “absolutely” take us over the cliff, because, you know, raising taxes on the “rich” is now the only acceptable position.  You and your life?  You’re a mere pawn for these poppinjays.  They’re fine with playing with your life and livelihood to score a political win.   They have no problem holding your life and property ransom and using your future to force their desired resolution.  But if we go over the cliff, screw you.

Meanwhile, in the House, Speaker Boehner continues to look for a comfortable place to lie down and surrender.

In the Senate the GOP actually tried to bring the President’s proposal to a vote and Majority Leader Reid denied it.  Because it was, per Reid, a “stunt”.

This is all a “stunt”.    A miserable stunt perpetrated by a miserable group of people who have no concept of leadership or service to their country but are long on ego and party.

It is the price of always voting for the “lesser of two evils”.

Screw ‘em.

~McQ

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50 Responses to Fiscal cliff: Politicians play “chicken” with your lives and livelyhood

  • “It is the price of always voting for the “lesser of two evils”.”
     
    And next time around you won’t hear me saying that’s what we have to do.
     

    • That’s the only choice you’ll ever have.  You will never have a perfect person running for office.
      McQ is just venting his spleen again.
      “Worse political class ever”…silliness.

      • I’d have been willing to agree with some of that if it weren’t for the fact that the “lesser of two evils” party is busy purging conservatives from the House committees and issuing threats of punishment for people who don’t toe the, “who knows what they’re up to” company line right now.  I surely don’t see a plan that makes any sense coming out of what they’re doing, and if they have one, they aren’t exactly telling anyone what it is.  All I see is Boehner consolidating his power and pretending to be tough with Obama.
         
        It’s one thing to lose the election, I don’t see how the actions of the House leadership are conducive and I don’t see why rewarding them by supporting them is warranted.    Locally I like a lot of the reps we sent to Washington, but it appears to me they aren’t going to be welcome to contribute unless they join the ranks of the ruling elite.   I might as well go all the way and vote Democrat if that’s all they’re going to do on the national level.

      • And I’m not looking for perfect, I understand that, but what I’m seeing isn’t even rising the the level of marginally acceptable right now.

        • We ALL agree that the leadership is pooing the scruch here.  I think Boehner has been given the proverbial rope, and adroitly hung himself with it, and I’m ready to press to get someone new in leadership.
           
          AND, of course, this tar baby is just exactly the one Obama designed for his opposition.  It was not necessary for Boehner to punch it by picking a fight with the TEA Party conservatives, but he has.
           
          My route would be this…kick this down the road to April.  Why April…?
          Then…
          1. vote on maintaining the tax code so as NOT to take another dollar out of private hands that earned it (and say it that way) OR propose a complete overhaul.  Go on record.
          2. vote on spending cuts, and entitlement reform.  Go on record.
          3. AFTER going on record, and assuming Obamic and Senate rejection, LET IT BURN, with the exception of choking off some of the killer agencies of the ObamaBanana Republic.
           

          • Looking at the numbers and the proposals, it’s pretty much all bullshit anyway.  They’ve concocted a huge system of linguistic and financial inaccuracies to describe what they’re doing and pretend if you don’t understand how all their magic shenanigans work, you’re an idiot.   They’ve consistently demonstrated they’re faithless in a year to whatever proposals they make and pass today and it’s just a continual exercise in kicking the can down the road.
             
            They’ve built a mega-Madoff elephant sized tiger and they have no clue how to get down from the howdah they’ve built for themselves without being eaten.   And we’re just supposed to continue to send them money to keep the damn thing fed.  And in reality, very few of them WANT to get down.

          • Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI) was on NPR this afternoon saying that he has been advised that nothing will happen on Jan 1st and that it will take months for any ill effects of the “fiscal cliff” to appear. He finished by saying that he wouldn’t be surprised if a deal isn’t reached until February.
            So why all the rush ?

      • “Worse political class ever” >>>>>>  He’s correct but the REAL problem:  worst citizenry ever.  Well again, I’m firmly in the let it burn camp. Give Baracky whatever he wants, give him MORE than he wants. When it burns, let everyone know who splashed the gasoline and lit the match

        • C’mon, shark…!!!  This is NOT REMOTELY the worst “political class ever”.  Cripes, let’s US not mangle history.  Look back on some of the Congresses of the past, and you’ll think these guys are saintly.
          American voters lost their way pretty seriously back in the Progressive Era, too.  Worse, in some respects.

          • I’ll modify- our pre-Civil War pol class was worse. That’s it.  You can’t show me a single member of the Dem caucus that cares about this country. NONE of them. And a large segment of the GOP caucus are cravens.  This pol class STINKS but again so does the electorate that put them in there in the first place

          • Except now everyone is supposedly more educated.

          • Sure
            now I know if you keep your yearly household spending at the current level over the next 10 years, you’ve made a spending cut AND you can spend the money you ‘saved’ on other things.
            Now I know that you can spend your way out of debt.
            Now I know that I’m entitled by the Constitution to a free cell phone.
            Now I know if I don’t like your speech, I can get the law to shut you up.
            Now I know that taxation wise I might be better off WITHOUT representation.
            Now I know I owe money to long dead people for actions taken by other dead people who’s only connection to me is we share the same skin color.
            Now I know I should be paying off YOUR college loans for YOUR higher eduction in making mud pies and drinking beer.
            Now I know I need to pay for you to have sex, and then pay for the results of you having sex.
            Now I know the government can make me buy the products they like, or punish me monetarily for not doing so.
            Now I know I never had to study in school to get ahead, I just had to figure out what kind of societal victim I was.
            Mow I know I don’t have a right to defend myself, my family, or my possessions.
            Now I know that my labor and the fruits thereof rightfully belongs to the government.
            Now I know the government can stop me, search my stuff, test me without consent, and charge me for the inconvenience I caused them.
            NOW I know the States really don’t have many rights.

      • That’s the only choice you’ll ever have.

        No, it isn’t.  And, it isn’t a real choice at all, since your vote is statistically meaningless.  You fill out a ballot and wait to find out how the mob went.  That’s not a choice.
        You can choose not to participate in the election farce at all.  You can just carry on with your life and ignore the hoopla.  You can engage in civil disobedience.  You can go “off the grid” or “go Galt”.  There are other choices you could make, which I wouldn’t recommend, and which I won’t enumerate.
        What a perverse mindset to consider opting out of that false dilemma to be silly.

        • Of course, you ignore what we were talking about.
          I understand and find silly your absolutist POV, which inherently rejects a republican democracy and all we know about civil society.  Fine.
          One may vote and still practice civil disobedience, go Galt, etc., as well.

          • …absolutist POV…

            As though standing on principle, being absolutely opposed to evil (what even you acknowledge is evil), is somehow bad?  I’ll take that designation.  I also have an “absolutist” opposition to rape, murder, child molestation, human sacrifice, and a whole host of other things.  I assume you do, too, which makes it downright hilarious that you would spit out that word as though it were a horrible insult.

            …inherently rejects … all we know about civil society.

            That is not true.  Democracy is ultimately at odds with civilized behavior.  You’ve fallen for the lie that a winner-take-all contest, in which people in Maine get to decide how people in Kansas pay for doctor visits, is somehow the way that civilized people deal with one another.  It isn’t.
            Sure, you can compare democracies to dictatorships and argue that only the former is civilized, but the fact is that democracy has lead to the election of Nazis, Hugo Chavez and other Latin American socialist regimes, Hamas, Obama, etc..

            One may vote and still practice civil disobedience, go Galt, etc., as well.

            You can smoke a pack a day and still engage in regular workouts to improve fitness.  So what?

          • “As though standing on principle, being absolutely opposed to evil (what even you acknowledge is evil), is somehow bad?”
             
            I believe he said silly, not bad. There is a difference. And I agree.

          • “Democracy is ultimately at odds with civilized behavior.”
             
            You are going to have to expand considerably on that statement before it ceases to be ludicrous.
             
            “democracy has lead to the election of Nazis…”

            I can do no better than W. Churchill;

            Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”
            So what’s your alternative?

             
             
             

          • You are going to have to expand considerably on that statement before it ceases to be ludicrous.

            Ludicrous to whom?  To people who buy into the lie that democracy and freedom are the same thing?  Next you’ll be telling me my arguments are “not convincing”.
            >shrug<

            If there is a matter of contention between groups of people, the civilized way to handle it is for the parties involved to sit down and negotiate a settlement which benefits everyone.  Smaller groups, those with fewer “shares” (to borrow a term for a more generic purpose), don’t get to set the terms, but neither do they have to accept an arrangement which completely shuts them out.  Also, people who have no “shares” in the matter don’t get to butt in, either.
            Democracy, on the other hand, is a winner-take-all proposition.  The party with the most votes gets to make the rules and ignore the interests of losing parties, not to mention the people not part of the political process.  Voters who have no stake in an issue presume that their ballot gives them the moral authority to butt into the affairs of others.
            How is any of that civilized?
            I know the Churchill quote and he was correct, but only as long as you accept the premise that the one must choose from the existing governments.

            So what’s your alternative?

            Why should I give you a plan for how you run your life, whether by your own individual authority or by bowing to the authority of a ruler?  Of all of the people in this world, you should know what works best for you.  You figure out your own problems.  If you can do so without violating the rights of others, then I have no problem with you.

          • tim, Elliot’s “plan”, near as I can tell, is something like a GRAND Rodney King vision…”Can’t we all just get along?”.  Which is silly on its face.  As are his arguments above, as you pointed out.

          • “Next you’ll be telling me my arguments are “not convincing”.”
             
            No, that would be redundant. I think ‘ludicrous’ covers that.

          • tim, Elliot’s “plan”, near as I can tell, is something like…

            You’re being dishonest.  I explicitly told you I don’t have a plan for you to deal with your problems:

            “Why should I give you a plan for how you run your life, whether by your own individual authority or by bowing to the authority of a ruler?  Of all of the people in this world, you should know what works best for you.  You figure out your own problems.

            Pretending I said anything akin to your Rodney King caricature is just a flat out lie.  It’s the sort of thing I’d expect from a propagandist who lacks a counter-argument so resorts to bashing strawmen.

          • I think ‘ludicrous’ covers that.

            I could understand you calling me “ludicrous” if I were trying to convince you that the path to freedom requiers filling out a piece of paper (which is statistically insignificant) and agreeing to abide by the decisions of the biggest mob–a mob filled with abject morons and beneficiaries of “free” stuff.
            You. Will. Never. Vote. Your. Way. To. Freedom.
            Any argument that you can, or worse, that you must, is preposterous beyond belief.

          • “You’re being dishonest.  I explicitly told you…”
             
            Dude, you need to get a sense of humor, among other things. And, to be accurate, you do have a plan.

          • Dude, you need to get a sense of humor, among other things.

            That’s a lame defense.  When my teenager was reprimanded for saying rude things, she used to say, “I was just kidding.”  Once she realized that was not a defense which worked, that she still got in trouble, she has begun to mature so that, more often than not, she takes responsibility for what she says, instead of using the ploy of trying to pull off a verbal Ctrl-Z.
            I got that Rodney King was a tongue-and-cheek aspect, but it’s just decoration for a lie.  It wasn’t all that clever–true humor has at least a grain of truth, because lampooning reality is far funnier than things which bear no semblance to what is actually true.  It’s why there is no humor in the lame retort of liberals that libertarians and anarchists are advocating a hellish condition one finds only in places like Somalia.  Similarly, I could riff on you for acting like Barney Fife and it wouldn’t be funny because it’s something I just pulled out of thin air, instead of reacting to your behavior.

            And, to be accurate, you do have a plan.

            Repeating the lie doesn’t make it so.
            Atheism is not a faith.  It’s the lack of such.
            Free market behavior is not a system.  It’s the lack of such.
            Rejection of democracy as being antithetical to freedom is not a system to rule others, or a plan for establishing some utopia.  It’s the lack of using such plans, the removal of power from centralized bureaucracies who claim to have authority based upon the “will of the people” (i.e., the popularity among the voting mobs).  It’s you figuring out your own plan for your own life to deal with your own problems, not someone in Maine deciding how you pay your doctor or pharmacist, not someone in California deciding that your grandchildren need to be in debt to China so they can build profitless bicycle trails to “stimulate” the economy.
            Again: no plan.  You figure out how to solve your own problems within the very simple, civilized parameters that you respect the rights of your neighbors rather than sticking a gun in their face (by proxy) to force them to alter their own life plans to conform to the whims of your mob when it gains a majority in the polls.

      • That’s one of the consequences of having a nation of 180 million voters – 51% don’t vote the way YOU want.

  • Hold on a minute.  What is so terrible about sequestration happening?  Dems get tax increases, Repubs get spending cuts.

    The mere term ‘fiscal cliff’ is meant to panic etc.

    • Don- Because at the end of the process once various political machinations are completed: 1) The Dems will win on tax cuts; 2) The Dems will restore all slashed spending (except military); 3) The GOP will be blamed, and probably lose the House.  It’s going to go to sh*t and the GOP will get 100% of the blame. This way let the Dems get 100% of the blame. We’re screwed, it’s about managing the aftermath.

      • Maybe we’re the doom and gloomers Shark, but I personally think you’ve nailed it.   10 years if plenty of time to restore any spending cuts, especially after they’ve taken the House from the Republicans, and they will.  I took a gander at the exemption list on those cuts earlier.  What I saw tells me there are boodles of other programs I don’t even know exist, because what I saw on the exempt list would have been things I thought would be cut, and WON’T be.   Anyone who toddles in and says it’s things like food stamps or CHIP or unemployment is full of bull.

        • Much of the ‘spending cuts’ touted are ones already in place. 

          But it will be months not years, before the majority of spending is restored.  Because spending cut A on initiative A has little to do with spending increase B on initiative B technically.  Even though initiative A and initiative B could be essentially the same thing.  Just change the names. 

          That’s why any spending cut, especially spread over 10 years, is a joke.  We need spending caps, not cuts, to be implimented. 

          OTOH, I don’t think the Republican politicians are behaving any differently than you’d expect.  It because the only real power the House has is turning off spending.  Whenever that happens, the Republican (House or President) gets blamed for old women and young children starving to death. 

          And if they aren’t going to turn off the spigot completely, they don’t have any ‘hand’ to speak of when dealing with the other two players. 

        • Looker, I fully admit I’m a doom and gloomer. Obama won because people voted for him ” because he gave us a phone”. Spending is the issue and where’s the national debate? Over meaningless tax increases that will solve nothing but are seen by the mob as a magic bullet. Eff em all, learn the hard way or never learn at all. That’s where we are as a nation

          • Teachable moment. Maybe.

          • They just didn’t vote for him because he gave them a phone.  There’s a large block of people who have zero sense of fiscal responsibility.  None.  They don’t necessarily get much or anything from Obama.  But they like to feel good about themselves.  They don’t mind Obama handing out gobs of candy because they don’t see a problem.  The only problem the have with it is if it increases their taxes.  So those are the people that voted for Obama but kept the Republicans in the House.  They voted for him because it was safe to do so.  ‘The republicans will stop him [from raising taxes]’.
             
            I really don’t want to see those people rewarded because as long as they are, they’ll give the lions share of power to the Democrats.  Its only when increased spending means a risk of increased taxes for them, will they stop voting for it.
             
             

          • JPM- If these idiots are going to suffer, it’s important that the blame be assigned to the proper recipients. That’s why I say give Obama a blank check and let him do what he will. When it comes crashing we can throw up our hands and tell the howling mob to aim their pitchforks to the left, because we had zero to do with it.

          • @Shark,  That’s why if they are going to pass something like this, they should do it with abstaining.  Send the message that they want to move forward on fiscal responsibility but believe taxes aren’t the way to do it.  Of course the media will accuse them of pouting.  So better yet they should vote ‘present’ because criticism of their abstaining would come back onto Obama.

      • “the GOP will get 100% of the blame.”
         
        So what’s new? Anyway, they have earned 50% of the blame since they voted for this crap.

  • $1.2 trillion in higher taxes over 10 years doesn’t even come close to solving the fiscal problems when you’re running trillion dollar deficits every year.  In about a years time you’ll be right back where you started with the American citizens out another trillion dollars.  The whole argument for raising taxes on the top 2% is bunk as it doesn’t even come close to solving the problem.
    The problem is not revenue.  The problem is spending.

  • The Republicans will lose the House.

    Could someone please explain to me, in light of Boehner’s sacking of fiscal conservatives and the statements by a growing number of Republicans indicating capitulation on tax hikes, why anyone should care if the Republicans lose in 2 years?
    Why are people so willing to work to maintain GOP control when GOP control doesn’t mean squat?

    • I believed as a group the group might have had SOME principles that resembled something that might lead to smaller government.
      And as a group they have managed to convince me otherwise since November 6th, and especially in the last week or so.    And they are clearly in disarray.

      • This is Lucy and Charlie Brown with the football and it’s an old, old story.  Since I’ve been paying attention, there have been Tip O’Neill and Reagan, Tom Foley and Bush 41, Gringrich and Clinton.  Boehner is just the latest Charlie Brown idiot to try to kick the football, with the predictable results.
        GOP voters think they’re getting principled opposition to the Democrats, but they keep getting Charlie Brown.

  • You guys are still playing checkers eh, I’ll tip you off on our plan:
     

    Step 1. As the victors, negotiate for everything we want
    Step 2. Profit! [Leadership in crisis]
    Step 3. Fall off the cliff
    Step 4. Profit! [Higher taxes, defense cuts]
    Step 5. Blame R’s
    Step 6. Profit! [Death of the GOP]
    Step 7. Tax cuts on the non-rich
    Step 8. Profit! [Hero of the middle class]
    Step 9. ???
    Step 10. Profit! [You’ll find out soon enough]
    Step 11. Dimensional chess yo

  • The sequestration bill was hailed in 2010 as the height of bipartisanship. Obama enthusiastically signed it; Reid and Pelosi thought it was the pinnacle of responsible governance.  The media wet themselves praising the bipartisianship of it all.

    Right now, the House Repubs are going over the cliff while Obama et al watch from the bank.  So, let sequestration happen.  Let Obama et al argue why it was perfectly acceoptable two years ago but not now.  Bring out the law with his signature on it.  Say Obama signed this so it must be ok, right low info voters?  I mean he would never lead you astray , would he?

    Share the pain; maybe the low info voters will feel some.

    In order to be good a poker, sometimes you have to go all in.  Obama has taken the House Repubs measure and he believes they’ll cave and give him anything he wants.  But conversly i don’t believe Obama ‘want’s anything other than a poltical club.  He’s an agitator; he wants to agitate.  If the reason for agitating goes away, well, there’s nothing to agitate about.
    Agitation is not about results; let sequestration happen and there will be results…with his signature at the bottom of it.

    • No. There will be no pain. The GOP will have to do middle class tax cuts or lose the House.

      • People kept Democrats in 2 of the 3 elected bodies in Washington, yet people on both sides are blaming the republicans for taxes going up.
         
        If people toss out the republicans because of this, people will be properly rewarded for such stupidity.
         
        Seriously, what the fudge can the Republicans do that doesn’t involve tax increases?  Because if they don’t, Obama and Reid allow automatic tax increases kick in anyway.  They are not afraid to cut spending if they can blame the republicans.  People are all over the republicans on this because they can’t touch the Democrats and are frustrated and not thinking.  The time to be all over the republicans was when they agreed to sequestration in the first place.
         
        Sequestration was a trap and Obama and the Democrats like it because, for example, it guts military spending without them being blamed for it.  They will control the spending restoration and shape it to their liking.
         
        People wouldn’t vote for a fucking Mormon or some rich prick they are jealous of, so this is what they get.

        • After thinking about it.  The only political face-saving way out of this is for Boehner to resign admitting the Democrats outfoxed them.
           
          He has to say something like, ‘The democrats are fanatically driving for tax increases and I’ve allowed republicans to become boxed in by Democrat ill-faith to where even if we oppose tax increases 100%, taxes increase significantly anyway.’
           
          But Boehner fall on his sword?  umm…… not likely. 

    • Sequestration works in Obama and the Democrat’s favor.
       
      Any tax increases will be blamed on republicans.  Any spending cuts will be blamed on republicans.  Obama will let it happen as it will be laid at the feet of the republicans by the ‘psychophant media’.
       
      Then Obama can look forward to increasing spending for the next four years that will quickly make up for what was lost and thensome..  All politicians in Washington love buying votes.  Cuts are not Caps.  So they are meaningless.  Obama will take bows for handing out the same candy for the 2nd time.  They’ll play this scenario.  Evil republicans took away your Rent Supplement and I’ll give it back to you.  All good for Obama and Democrats.
       
      Sequestration was a trap for Republicans because Republicans pretend cuts are meaningful.

      • What cuts…there won’t be cuts.  The “cuts” start later, it’s baked in, and just like sequestration, they’ll deal with it when they need to….but the taxing and spending?  Ah, the spending and taxing, starts NOW.