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Fiscal Cliff Deal Close – Spending Not Included

Just in case you are tuning in to the ever-changing saga about the fiscal cliff and whatever deal may be finalized in the late hours of 2012, or the early hours of 2013, here is the latest. According to most reports I have read, a deal is close to being done (could it be the deal was done weeks ago). Those same reports are saying the deal will include an agreement on the tax issues of the fiscal cliff, but nothing on spending. Unless you count extending unemployment benefits for another year as a victory on spending.

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(Hot Air) As for details, there are no new spending cuts, only discussion of tax rates and how much more we’ll spend. There are wins for sanity in the mix (permanent AMT fix), but this is not a “deficit reduction” plan, folks. Welcome to this warped town. Negotiators will call it a plan to make “wiser” cuts than sequestration would have, but sentient beings are right to be concerned about whether they will ever materialize.

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Fiscal CliffI would now like to see a show of hands of anyone who is not surprised at the outcome we are likely to see in the coming hours. I don’t know about you, but this is what frustrates me so much about Washington and both political parties. For nearly a year, we have listened to our political leaders, Democratic and Republican alike, as they have foretold of the coming fiscal cliff. Much ado was made of how bad the coming tax increases would be for the American economy. Unless you were making over $250,000 as a couple. That classified you as rich and as a rich person, you needed to pay your fair share. Little was said about the spending cuts, other than they would also be bad for the economy. If you failed to grasp the logic of that theory, you aren’t the only one.

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The deal we are likely to see will probably include a deal to make the current tax rates permanent, up to $400,000 for individuals, or $450,000 for couples. They will go up to 39.6% after that. Unemployment benefits will be extended, ie. more unnecessary spending, and any mention of spending cuts is out of the question. The sequestration spending cuts will probably be put off for at least two months and I’ll be surprised if they ever surface again. Hence, my frustration. You’ll just have to forgive me for sounding so skeptical about anything coming out of Washington.

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The Democrats, especially President Obama, have been very successful at portraying the fiscal cliff as being all about taxes. Everywhere you turn, you can hear them talking about the coming tax increase on the middle class. Taxes, taxes, taxes! That’s all they want to talk about. As for the Republicans? Well, they have been missing in action. For the most part, they have been totally and completely unsuccessful at turning this discussion back to its proper roots, which is the uncontrolled spending taking place in Washington. How many times do we have to say this? Taxes are not the problem. It’s the spending, stupid!

About LD Jackson

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LD Jackson has written 2053 posts in this blog.

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Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

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  • Dragonconservative

    Personally, I liked Boehner’s Plan B as a sort of compromise. Ideally, I would have liked to see the Bush tax cuts extended permanently for all tax brackets, but clearly there was no chance of that with a Democrat president and Senate.

    I think that the American people missed a huge issue during election season: corporate taxes. American corporations are taxed at a rate of forty percent for those who don’t know. By comparison, the OECD average is twenty-five percent. That kind of excessive taxation has three relatively detrimental effects.

    1. Corporations cannot compete as easily: That’s pretty explanatory. The more you tax a corporation, the less profits they can make, and the less capital they can put into the market overall.

    2. Decreased wages: One study by Oxford indicated that for every dollar that the government taxes from a corporation, the median wage decreases by 75 cents. That’s a major problem for workers. They won’t have as much take-home pay, and their living standard is in danger.

    3. Decreased FDI (Foreign Direct Investment): During the recession, the American economy lost a huge amount of wealth. In order to recreate that wealth, money has to multiply. And the best place to get that money from is through foreign companies, which have huge amounts of capital at a time when US firms do not. When you increase corporate taxes, FDI decreases immensely. And that’s not good.

    So overall, during the campaign, I felt there needed to be more of an emphasis of corporate taxation, as opposed to income. The economy’s never going to recover if our companies can’t recover.

  • Thanks for the mention Larry. You know where I stand on this issue. I believe a deal was already done and all we’re watching is political theater from both parties. This is how things get done in Washington these days. They conceal the truth from the American people behind closed doors and then spring the trap. We all get rolled in the end because both parties are for bigger government. We have no choice any more and those who think we do are kidding themselves.

    • lou222

      I totally agree, John. We have no say in the matter. So they put the tax cuts back in play…where are the spending cuts?? Oh, they are put off for 2 months, never to be seen again. Kind of like someone telling you they will pay you back next week, then might be next month and soon you just forget about the money because it is not worth keeping after them on it. This is our Government,,,if they postpone it long enough, the people will become bored and move on to the next American Idol program, or whatever is thrown at us. The American people seem to have a very short attention span and the Government knows it…if they can just keep moving it, we will forget about these “small” of little importance formalities. The House has the ability to stop this in its tracks, TODAY, but I doubt they will, it has all been a game to them and we pay the penalities for it….what a country we are living in, isn’t it? Welcome to the New Year!!!! Wonder what else we have in store for us?

    • The more we learn about the deal that was passed, the more I believe you are right. We certainly need a change in Washington and that change is almost certainly not going to come from the entrenched leadership in either political party.

  • I am disappointed with the whole deal to say the least. The GOP are spineless twits who if they were really principled they would stand up and explain about spending and their positions on other issues. I know that President Obama has some mega-help with deciding the narrative and how the talks are presented but the GOP didn’t even try to explain their position to the public. Plan B probably would have been the best compromise with making nobody happy on either side (the least bad deal) but now the president has got about 90% of what he wanted and he calls that “meeting them half-way”. But he’s such a liar. The only reason I doubt a deal was in place is I doubt President Obama would have left his precious Hawaiian vacation or that some in Congress would have left their families if there was a deal in place. Sadly, it looks like we’re becoming Greece since its highly doubtful with this president and Congress that they’re going to get spending under control.

    • lou222

      I like the “spineless twits” comment. Spending under control is just a pipe dream anymore, isn’t it? It is a shame, this was once such a wonderful country to live in.

    • The GOP seems to have a lot of trouble in that area, namely trying to explain their position well enough, so that the general public really understands where they stand. As you said, the Democrats have help with that because the obvious media bias, but it’s almost as if the GOP have given up on the public relations battle. If they have, that is a mistake.

  • It’s all kabuki. Whatever deal they reach solves nothing and continues driving us deeper in debt.

  • I read this a.m. that we are getting $1 in spending cuts for every $41 in spending.

    • Wow, how generous they are. Somehow, I am not comforted by those numbers.

      • lou222

        This fiscal cliff is just for show, the country went over the cliff the second the debt become totally unmanagable. When the U.S. is only paying off the interest each month, I would say we already HAD a problem. All the rest is just scare tactics and something to keep our attention while they pull another slight of hand.

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  • lou222

    This may answer the question to why we are not better off than before we voted:

    Twenty-one of 22 incumbent senators were re-elected, and 353 of 373 incumbent members of the House were re-elected. The American people have re-elected 94 percent of the incumbents who were running for re-election to an institution that has an approval rating of about 9 percent. This indicates, as an electorate, we are a nation of idiots. We’re now stuck with the useless, dysfunctional government that we deserve.

    • That’s something I don’t really understand myself. With such a low approval rating, how in the world did so many members of Congress win reelection?

      • lou222

        I just can’t answer that, Larry. Usually if something is not working here at the house, we try something else…you would think that the American people would think that of what we have in Congress now. Somewhere something is lost along the way. Now, after the elections are over, the people are starting to complain AGAIN, well, they had their chance and had to blow it. Same goes for John Boehner, if they wanted him out, now was the time…but we will hear bitching again about what a poor Speaker of the House he is and yet they would not replace him. I can’t explain the stupidity.

  • I am with John on this; I think a deal is already done and both sides think that they can benefit most by not announcing the deal until after we go over the cliff.
    You nailed this Larry, the politicians have turned this into an issue of taxes while avoiding the real problem, which is spending. The spending cuts have been but on hold and part of me wants to believe the Republicans will hold out for real spending cuts when the debt limit debate begins, but I am doubtful this issue will be addressed then either because neither side wants to be the ones who make the tough decisions about cutting benefits to Americans even if it is to the long term benefit of the country.

    • That’s what really gets my goat about this. Far too many of our politicians seem to think the fiscal mess we are in has more to do with taxes and revenue than anything else. I can’t agree with that. Spending really needs to be cut to the bone, in a lot of areas. The amount of money we spend on some things is just stupid.

  • bill

    the house has just passed the senate bill vis~a~vis an ‘up or down’ vote. the last time i checked the republicans were the majority in this body. the wonder and beauty of our system of government is that just one of the three branches provide check and balance against the other two; so that the ‘interest’ of common-men might might be recognized.
    what transpired last night in the senate (86 to 8) and just now in the house was the capitulation of those elected to forfeit the economic health of our country for the ‘glad-hand’ of the media and their lobbyists. that assessment bears repetition:

    “what transpired last night in the senate (86 to 8) and just now in the house was the capitulation of those elected to forfeit the economic health of this country for the ‘glad-hand’ of the media and their lobbyists.”

    i honestly don’t know why i continue to follow with hope; anything political that transpires in this country after mr. obama’s re-election. i understand that i am just one of the ‘commen-men’, and therefore not privy to the inner
    machinations of government but:

    ~ mr. graham and mr. mc cain just accepted, on no more than a hope and a prayer, that our military will be fully funded…
    ~ and mr. coburn, who wrote the book, ‘back in black’; bent over at the waist and trusted this administration to cut spending somewhere down the road…

    there are folks who believe that over time; working from the grassroots with the likes of admirable congressmen like mr. lee and mr. chavez, our republic might return the ideals of it’s inception. as much as it pains me to say i’d suggest that 2010 was a ‘one off’. there are not enough informed patriots left to counter the ascendence of the left; and with the ‘aid’ of the ignorant, those who would have america ‘bend over’ to the will of the united nations and the imf, will prevail.

    i’d held out hope that our military would always have the wherewithal to counter the ‘dark forces’, but mr. graham put that on the auction block last night. you need money to pay for things; we’re out of money, so i guess eveything’s up for sale…b

  • $1 in cuts for $44 in spending.

    That’s a recipe for disaster and I cannot support the Republican leadership that voted for this.

    • I couldn’t agree more. With a deal like this, we will never be able to grow our way out of this fiscal disaster we are in.