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Old 07-20-2012, 10:41 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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The Fiscal Cliff Approacheth

In an effort to make this thread sticky-worthy, I am going to update this OP to keep casual glancers informed.

This post is the official one-stop shopping of the key points/developments of the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Far as I understand, the fiscal cliff:

1. Gets rid of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
2. Gets rid of the Bush tax cuts for everybody else.
3. Slashes defense spending by something like $500 billion.
4. Slashes domestic programs like the NIH, Head Start, and medicine/drug care for the poor by $500 billion.

The new idea is for Democrats to allow the cliff to hit, then immediately introduce a bill that would bring 2, 4, and some of 3 back. But not 1.

Here is a chart detailing exactly what the fiscal cliff is going to do, financially:

Spoiler!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
New CBO projection: if the fiscal cliff hits, we are in another recession, and lose two million jobs.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...87L0JV20120822
The poor would be hurt by the fiscal cliff:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Overall, if the tax breaks from the 2009 stimulus are allowed to expire—the EITC and Child Tax Credit expansions, along with American Opportunity Credit for college tuition—the poorest 20 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up by $209 on average, reducing their after-tax income by 1.9 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center.
As would the middle class:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
According to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, more than half of all married couples will owe an additional tax of around $4,000 unless Congress acts. And more than a third of families with children will fall subject to the AMT, with parents of three or more children facing an extra tax of $4,700.

Among married couples with at least two children and adjusted gross income between $75,000 and $100,000, the center estimates that 84 percent will face a significantly higher tax bill this year because of the AMT.
There seems to be some consensus between the parties that substantial revenues want to be raised. Boehner and the GOP hopes that's through limiting tax deductions rather than tax raises.

Obama's opening offer, essentially:

Quote:
  • Allow the Bush tax cuts on high earners to expire. $849 billion
  • Limit itemized deductions to 28 percent, close some loopholes and deductions on high earners, eliminate tax breaks for oil and gas companies, eliminate the carried interest loophole, plus a few other items. $584 billion
  • Create a special "Buffett Rule" tax rate for millionaires. $47 billion
  • Restore the estate tax to 2009 levels. $143 billion
  • Limit corporate income shifting to low-tax countries. $148 billion
  • Other miscellaneous tax increases and reductions. About -$200 billion
  • Total: $1.6 trillion

Last edited by Direckshun; 11-14-2012 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:06 PM   #271
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
300,000 new jobs would create 600,000 new jobs and cut spending on unemployment at same time....
It's a 2 for 1 deal, you get 2 jobs, working twice as much with less pay to pay more taxes for the lazy ones on entitlements, that feel entitled.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:16 PM   #272
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Mortgage interest deduction is on the table.

So the middle class will be a part of tax rates going up.
Oh no way, say it ain't so !
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:45 PM   #273
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Some depressing poll results from WaPo today. Even Republicans prefer hiking taxes on the rich to minor entitlement cuts.

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Old 11-28-2012, 05:03 PM   #274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FD View Post
Some depressing poll results from WaPo today. Even Republicans prefer hiking taxes on the rich to minor entitlement cuts.
That is depressing.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:08 PM   #275
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at some point you no longer can be more depressed. Taking time to reconsider what you have, how its invested, and how you can survive the inevitable is a better use of energy.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:30 PM   #276
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For all those who think the "rich" need to pay more...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/poli...-tax-rate.html

Quote:
Almost two-thirds of the country’s million-pound earners disappeared from Britain after the introduction of the 50p top rate of tax, figures have disclosed.
BUT raising taxes on the rich will increase revenue!

I'm not saying that a jump back to a top rate of 39% will cause mass migrations but at some point it becomes "worth it" for people with money to look at other options. Those options could be various tax dodges or simply moving to another country. Too many people fail to take this in consideration when looking at what the optimal numbers are for tax rates. It's no surprise that the states with the highest growth rates are also the ones with 0% or low income taxes.

My position: I have no problem with raising taxes on anyone or everyone so long as it comes with a 3 to 1 reduction in spending. The simple fact is that we just spend far too damn much and that includes the military(one of the few things we are SUPPOSSED to be spending Federal money on).
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:36 PM   #277
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
http://wonkwire.com/2012/11/21/the-a...nking-deficit/

The Amazing Shrinking Deficit
November 21, 2012

“Believe it or not, the federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II,” Investor’s Business Daily reports.

“If U.S. history offers any guide, we are already testing the speed limits of a fiscal consolidation that doesn’t risk backfiring. That’s why the best way to address the fiscal cliff likely is to postpone it… In fact, a number of so-called deficit hawks are calling for short-term tax cuts to spur growth, rather than immediate austerity. From fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2012, the deficit shrank 3.1 percentage points, from 10.1% to 7.0% of GDP.”
So glad the House of Representatives flipped Republican when it did. Nice to see that the Tea Party movement was able to accomplish something so substantial as this story demonstrates. Funny how ineffective the OWS movement has been by comparison.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:09 AM   #278
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
So glad the House of Representatives flipped Republican when it did. Nice to see that the Tea Party movement was able to accomplish something so substantial as this story demonstrates. Funny how ineffective the OWS movement has been by comparison.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:39 AM   #279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
We should put everyone on unemployment then!
Swing and a miss.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:50 AM   #280
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A "framework" is emerging.

Either that, or both sides are bending over backwards to avoid the appearance that there's little progress to avoid rattling the market.

http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/84364.html?hp=t1

Inside the talks: Fiscal framework emerges
By JIM VANDEHEI and MIKE ALLEN
11/29/12 4:42 AM EST

Listen to top Democrats and Republicans talk on camera, and it sounds like they could not be further apart on a year-end tax-and-spending deal – a down payment on a $4 trillion grand bargain.

But behind the scenes, top officials who have been involved in the talks for many months say the contours of a deal – including the size of tax hikes and spending cuts it will likely contain — are starting to take shape.

Cut through the fog, and here’s what to expect: Taxes will go up just shy of $1.2 trillion — the middle ground of what President Barack Obama wants and what Republicans say they could stomach. Entitlement programs, mainly Medicare, will be cut by no less than $400 billion - and perhaps a lot more, to get Republicans to swallow those tax hikes. There will be at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and “war savings.” And any final deal will come not by a group effort but in a private deal between two men: Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The two men had what one insider described as a short, curt conversation Wednesday night — but the private lines of communications remain very much open.

No doubt, there will be lots of huffing and puffing before any deal can be had. And, no doubt, Obama and Congress could easily botch any or all three of the white-knuckle moments soon to hit this town: the automatic spending cuts and expiration of the Bush tax cuts, both of which kick in at the end of this year, and the federal debt limit that hits early next.

But it’s clear to veterans of this budget fight a deal is there to be done. Here is the state of play that is sketched out by top officials in both parties:

The coming tax hike

There is no chance taxes are not going up for people making north of $250,000 – and virtually no chance that doesn’t include their tax rates, too.

Republicans publicly say they are opposed to rate hikes – but privately they know they are going up, if not all the way to the Clinton-era 39.6 percent, then darn close.

The reason is simple math. Take a look at this list, and you will see that any tax loopholes worth closing won’t get Obama or Republicans close to their targets.

To those involved in the talks, it’s not really a mystery how big the overall hike will be. Boehner was for $800 billion before the election, and Obama slapped down an opening bid of $1.6 trillion after. So it doesn’t take Ernst and Young to add those numbers, divide by two and know the president wants to end up close to $1.2 trillion.

House Republicans, already worried about possible primary challenges in 2014, are pleading to keep that number below $1 trillion, even if it is by a hair. Still, they know it’s likely to come in a shade higher. The safe bet is just over $1 trillion for the final number. A bit less, and that’s a notable win for Boehner.

Officials familiar with the White House position say Obama plans zero flexibility on his insistence on a higher tax rate for top earners. He plans to take what one aide called a “trust but verify” position: He will insist on a higher rate in the year-end deal. Then next year, during tax-reform negotiations, “the onus will be on Republicans to propose something that raises the same amount of revenue,” the aide said. “He’s going to pocket their rate hike on the top two brackets at first, and then he’s going to say to them in the 2013 process that we set up: If you think you can realize these same revenues in a different way, prove it to me.”

A rate hike would be the most difficult element for Boehner to sell to his own members. But Republicans are already trying to build the case — both with their own members and with constituents — that whatever the final deal, they fought hard. And the Speaker has drawn a sharp distinction between increasing revenue, which he will accept, and raising rates, which he has said he will not. Kevin Smith, Boehner’s communications director said: “We have no intention of increasing tax rates. Doing so will hurt small business and destroy jobs.”

John Boehner to GOP: Stick together on taxes

Boehner told his conference in a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning: “We’ve staked out a principled position. It’s important that everyone in this room continue to be clear with our constituents about what that position is: We’re fighting for spending cuts. We’re fighting against increases in tax rates that destroy jobs. And we’re fighting for pro-growth tax reform and entitlement reform, the keys to economic growth.” And the Speaker narrated slides from Republican pollster David Winston arguing that most Americans prefer overall tax reform to higher rates for the rich.

So what does the final tax hike look like? That will take a while to hash out but those involved guess it will include a rate hike, higher taxes on carried interest and probably capital gains and dividends, and either a cap on total deductions for rich people or some form of a minimum tax rate for them.

The coming entitlement cuts

There is only way to make the medicine of tax hikes go down easier for Republicans: specific cuts to entitlement spending. Democrats involved in the process said the chest-pounding by liberals is just that – they know they will ultimately cave and trim entitlements to get a deal done.

A top Democratic official said talks have stalled on this question since Obama and congressional leaders had their friendly looking post-election session at the White House. “Republicans want the president to own the whole offer upfront, on both the entitlement and the revenue side, and that’s not going to happen because the president is not going to negotiate with himself,” the official said. “There’s a standoff, and the staff hasn’t gotten anywhere. Rob Nabors [the White House negotiator], has been saying: ‘This is what we want on revenues on the down payment. What’s you guys’ ask on the entitlement side?’ And they keep looking back at us and saying: ‘We want you to come up with that and pitch us.’ That’s not going to happen.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that he could see $400 billion in entitlement cuts. That’s the floor, according to Democratic aides, and it could go higher in the final give and take. The vast majority of the savings, and perhaps all of it, will come from Medicare, through a combination of means-testing, raising the retirement age and other “efficiencies” to be named later. It is possible Social Security gets tossed into the mix, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to fight that, if he has to yield on other spending fronts.

Democrats want most Medicare and other entitlement savings to kick in between 10 and 20 years from now, which will make some Republicans choke. Democrats will point to the precedent set by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) of pushing most mandatory savings off until a decade from now.

“A lot of the big entitlement savings comes in the 10-20 year budget window, not the next 10 years,” a Democratic aide said. “Everybody will need to get on board understanding that. Paul Ryan and the Obama budget are the same on health cuts for next 10 years.”

But that will likely be the deal Republicans will be staring at: tax hikes now in exchange for Medicare changes way later. That will require some fancy footwork by Boehner to sell.

The coming cave

People who have talked privately with the top three House Republican leaders — Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) – say they recognize that Obama holds the high cards, and that the public is likely to blame Republicans if negotiations blow up and the new year brings a fiscal disaster. Ryan, back at the Capitol after spending the fall on the road as Mitt Romney’s running mate, is said to be resisting concessions that the others consider inevitable.

Ryan, who is considering a run for president, will ultimately have to decide if he wants to be party to a deal - or if he wants to be the public leader of the resistance.

If that happens, Cantor becomes all the more important to getting a final deal through the House. Cantor is a bigger player than some think and his relationship with Boehner is stronger today than six months ago. The staff-level tension, which was often a distraction for both men, has abated ever since Barry Jackson left as Boehner’s top aide. Cantor, who is better versed on the details of tax issues than most members of Congress, also remains relatively tight with Vice President Joe Biden, a relationship that Bob Woodward’s book, “The Price of Politics,” revealed to be closer and more important than commonly known.

A Pew Research Center poll this month had sobering figures for Republicans: 53 percent of respondents said the GOP would be more to blame if the country goes over the fiscal cliff, while only 29 percent said Obama. A CNN/ORC poll this week had a similar finding: 45-34.

Even Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, sounded more pragmatic than doctrinaire during a Playbook Breakfast interview on Wednesday. He said that while Republicans need to avoid having “their fingerprints on the murder weapon” of a tax increase, they will have a defensible position if negotiations are conducted in public, they push for reforms, and the deal can “pass the laugh test” back home. That leaves a lot of leeway.

Spending cuts will be crucial to this. The floor for new spending cuts is simple: replacing the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts set to kick in if the two parties can‘t cut a deal before year’s end. Republicans will insist these are real and imminent to swallow the rest.

It’s the Obama-Boehner show

Everyone has an opinion on the grand bargain. But only two matter: Obama’s and Boehner’s. Any deal will ultimately be hammered out between the two men, whose on-again, off-again relationship is stronger than most people realize.

Bluster aside, both know they have a heavy incentive to cut a deal, and quick. Boehner knows the president isn’t bluffing on letting the Bush tax cuts lapse to get his way on raising rates on the rich. Obama knows the last thing he wants at the start of a second term is an economic funk caused by Washington dysfunction, even if Republicans get more of the blame.

People involved in the talks over the past six months say House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is at best a bit player in the unfolding drama, and virtually certain to back any deal Obama blesses. Reid runs the Senate and has more juice than Pelosi, but he knows his role is to play bad cop until it’s time play loyal soldier to pass the final package. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, facing a reelection two years from now in conservative Kentucky, will defer to Boehner in brokering any compromise and might even break with his fellow GOP leader on a final vote.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:51 AM   #281
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This is pretty cool. How you would be affected by the fiscal cliff austerity crisis:

http://calculator.taxpolicycenter.org/
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:56 AM   #282
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Washington Post says things have slowed down as conversations have shifted to retirement programs:

Quote:
Negotiations to avert the year-end ‘fiscal cliff’ advanced at a glacial pace Wednesday, with a dispute over how to tackle the soaring cost of federal retirement programs emerging as the latest roadblock to progress…White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Obama has already offered a plan to slice $340 billion from federal health programs, in part by charging wealthy seniors more for Medicare, and that he is open to additional proposals for health-care savings.
Some Dems come out saying that cuts to Medicare benefits are off the table for them:

Quote:
Democratic party leaders on Wednesday argued that they had already put Medicare cuts on the table in deficit talks, but they ruled out any reduction to benefits…Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), who heads the House Democratic Caucus, echoed that message, claiming there’s more than $700 billion in savings to be had by ironing out inefficiencies in the healthcare system that wouldn’t affect direct benefits. He suggested fixing those problems shouldn’t be a partisan issue.
Can't help but think that's bluster. If Obama cuts the deal, I'm thinking they'll sign on...

Obama, on the other hand, is showing some conciliatory takes:

Quote:
President Barack Obama signaled he wouldn’t insist tax rates on upper-income Americans rise to Clinton-era peaks as part of a deficit-reduction deal, showing new flexibility as he tries to accelerate talks with congressional Republicans…Retreating from the Clinton-era levels opens up a number of new possibilities. Negotiators could pursue having tax rates rise on upper-income Americans to 37% or 38% instead of 39.6%. That could be coupled with new limits on the tax breaks for those households, something GOP leaders say they would oppose. Another option would be to leave rates unchanged but lower the income thresholds for when higher rates kick in, which Democrats would dislike
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:07 AM   #283
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Seriously, though, read the Politico piece in post 280. That's the story of the game so far.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:50 AM   #284
FishingRod FishingRod is offline
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I still think they will let it all expire and then do something. That allows the Republicans to vote on higher taxes than they are now but, still be able to truthfully say ( by politician standards) that they voted to cut taxes. Same story with the Democrats they can say they voted to increase the benefits even if they are less than they are today.
I will be more than shocked if in the end they manage to do anything that will bring revenue and spending anywhere close to where it needs to be. The national debt will continue to grow and at some point in the not too distant future the lack of fiscal responsibility will land squarely on the heads of John Q public and it won’t be pretty.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:51 AM   #285
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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My prediction is that they will do something like that, FishingRod. Not based on anything I've read, I just believe these deals don't get done until the 11th hour, and the 11th hour is honestly late January/early February.

I do think we're looking at a genuine Obama ass-whooping here. Obama was in a far less advantageous position two years ago and still managed to score a 2-to-1 deal that extended the Bush tax cuts for a second stimulative package, a coup in every way but that it extended the top-end of the Bush tax cuts.

I expect this deal to be much, much larger and much, much better.
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