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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 12-11-2012, 02:37 AM   #556
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Democrats have every popular advantage.

http://www.nationalmemo.com/polls-vo...-cliff-issues/

Polls: Voters Side With Democrats On Key Fiscal Cliff Issues
Henry Decker
December 10th, 2012 5:52 pm

A new round of polls has confirmed the conventional wisdom that President Obama and the Democrats hold significant leverage over congressional Republicans in the ongoing “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

A new Politico/George Washington University Battleground poll finds that 60 percent of respondents favor raising taxes on households earning more than $250,000, while just 38 percent oppose the Democratic plan. Furthermore, 58 percent do not believe that such a tax increase would have a negative impact on the economy, while only 38 percent believe the Republican argument.

Among independents, 59 percent support raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000, compared to 38 percent who do not — a massive 21-point split.

On the flip side, just 34 percent favor raising the retirement age for Social Security benefits, compared with 64 percent who oppose the plan; 51 percent support reducing Medicare benefits for seniors with high incomes, while 46 percent oppose it. According to this poll, Americans clearly side with the Democrats on the key issues behind the fiscal cliff negotiations.

A new Pulse Opinion Research poll for The Hill comes to a similar conclusion. According to The Hill, 53 percent of likely voters either somewhat or strongly oppose raising the age of eligibility for Medicare benefits — one of the key Republican proposals in budget negotiations.

Furthermore, the poll shows that 50 percent of voters believe that President Obama and the Democrats are being “more reasonable” in the negotiations than House Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans, compared to 38 percent who believe that Boehner and the GOP are being more reasonable. This echoes the findings of a Pew poll from last week, which showed that voters would blame Republicans by a nearly two-to-one margin if no deal is reached.

According to The Hill‘s poll, voters see that as the likely outcome; 58 percent have little or no confidence that that a deal will be reached, while 39 percent believe that we will avoid going over the cliff.
'
Hahaha! 60% of people are in favor of spending someone else's money to fix the problems of the government.

That's ****ing priceless!

I wonder how many people think the government should just rob banks to come up with the cash? I mean, we've got special forces, right? Of course, it would be immoral if we voted to rob banks. But it's not immoral to rob - er "tax" individuals. American morality in action. We drone bomb the poor, er I mean "collateral damage." We rob, er I mean "tax" the rich. And of course, we do it all with good reason.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:43 AM   #557
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
What? Words aren't important?
Yes, that's what I was arguing. Well done.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:43 AM   #558
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I love stuff like this:

http://projects.wsj.com/my-deficit-plan/#sel=0-0-0

It's an interactive widget where you can fix the deficit on your own. What policies did you favor?
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:44 AM   #559
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I think we need to go over the cliff in order to see what is at the bottom.
(Philosophy borrowed from Nancy Pelosi).
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:05 AM   #560
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Numerous blogs online keep citing Ezra's piece as true to life, so here it is:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...al-cliff-deal/

Where things really stand in the fiscal cliff negotiations
Posted by Ezra Klein
on December 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

For the White House, the key to any deal is tax revenues — delivered at least partly through higher rates — and a long-term solution to the debt ceiling. Additionally, any big deal will have to include some stimulus, including an extension of unemployment insurance and either an extension of — or more likely, a replacement for — the payroll tax cut.

For Republicans, the key is some give on tax rates, as well as a few high-profile entitlement cuts, namely an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and chained-CPI.

It’s by no means certain the two sides will come to a “grand bargain” before the end of the month. But if they do, the bargain will likely include either those policies outright, or instructions for Congress to work on those policies over the coming months.

But any deal will include much more than those top-line items. It will also include deficit-reduction and tax reform targets for Congress to hit in the coming months. That gets to a deeper problem in the negotiations: When you drill down to the granular policy level, Republicans aren’t sure what Republicans want. Democrats complain that the Republican offers are bare of policy detail. They lay down targets — say, $600 billion in health savings — but say nothing about how those targets will be achieved.

Republican staffers admit that they need more time to come up with specific cuts — and, for that matter, specific tax reforms. But they argue they’ll have that time. Any deal is expected to include a two-stage process: Targets for spending cuts and tax revenues now, combined with consequences that force Congress to hit those targets later.

The administration is a bit agog at this approach: If you don’t know how you’re going to hit your target, how can you possibly know whether your target is reasonable? It’s like buying a house with the expectation that you’ll figure out how to pay for it later.

This is important context for the role the Medicare eligibility age is playing in these discussions. Though it’s emerged, alongside chained-CPI, as the GOP’s top ask in the negotiations, it’s disconnected from any larger theory about how to slow the rise in health-care costs. There’s no particular conservative — or even non-conservative — policy goal that raising the Medicare eligibility age advances.

Raising the Medicare eligibility age doesn’t increase competition in Medicare, as some variant of premium support might. It doesn’t reduce national health spending — actually, as Medicare is cheaper than equivalent private insurance, it increases it. It doesn’t force seniors to act as more discerning consumers of health care, as various forms of deductibles and co-pays might. It doesn’t substantially pare back “the nation of takers,” as many of the 65- and 66-year-olds thrown off Medicare will enter the exchanges or be caught by Medicaid.

And it shouldn’t be forgotten: Raising the Medicare eligibility age really will hurt some seniors. The poorest seniors will be okay, thanks to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act — though that assumes that by the time the age increase phases in all states are participating in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion or that the deal includes some protection for seniors in states that have rejected it. Richer seniors will be fine, thanks to their wealth or to their employers. But there are a number of middle-income seniors who make enough that they won’t get much help from Obamacare, who are sick enough that they won’t get a good deal from insurers, and who may end up going uninsured (after paying the individual mandate’s penalty) or straining under the cost of health insurance.

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the Medicare eligibility age as “a trophy that the Republicans want.” That’s exactly right. For Republicans, it’s a signal that they won something big on entitlements. In a party that’s confused about where to go on Medicare, it at least proves they’re going in a direction Democrats hate.

The White House doesn’t like the idea, but administration officials see its incoherence as a virtue. The reason it doesn’t cut national health expenditures is that a lot of the pain is blunted by other players, like Medicaid and employers. The reason it doesn’t significantly pare back the safety net is that Obamacare is law, and by the time these age changes phase in, it will be deeply entrenched law. Better to give Republicans a bigger trophy than a deeper cut, or so goes the theory.

But that gets to the real question: What will the rest of the package look like? While it’s true that Republicans are confused on Medicare now, it’s also true that they won’t remain confused for long. As a plugged-in Republican policy wonk pointed out to me, the negotiators in the talks are mainly House Republicans, and they’ve sunk their energies into promoting premium support as the one and only Medicare reform worth doing. But among Senate Republicans, there’s been a lot of work done on more piecemeal reforms, and soon enough, Republicans will begin working off of bills like Coburn-Lieberman or (the non-premium-support parts) of Coburn-Burr.

Progressives have reacted to the prospect of an increase in the Medicare eligibility age with fury. If that policy is included in the final agreement, then the White House is going to have to be able to persuade its base that the trophy of an increased Medicare eligibility age really did forestall much worse cuts in programs, and really did unlock more revenues and more stimulus than would’ve been available otherwise. The politics of that explanation are difficult, though, as it’s tough to sell a deal in terms of what wasn’t in it.

The cynic would say that the White House sees the fury of progressives as an inevitable byproduct of a deal. Even when the administration had large majorities, its legislative victories tended to end with progressive disenchantment. The stimulus was larded with tax cuts and reduced from an already too-small $900 billion to less than $800 billion. The public option was dropped as part of the cost of passing the health-care bill. The Bush tax cuts were extended as part of the cost of getting more stimulus in 2011. In each case, the final agreement infuriated many on the left.

The White House wants a deal. Administration officials want one because they think passing more stimulus and reducing the deficit is important, and they want one because they think the scheduled austerity would be devastating to the economy. They want one because a budget deal is a necessary precursor to moving onto other priorities like immigration reform, and they want one because a big budget deal is seen as a key element of the president’s legacy.

The White House is firmer on its red lines in this deal than I can remember in any other negotiation. Administration officials don’t want a deal so badly that they’ll accept one that doesn’t raise tax rates, or that leaves another debt-ceiling crisis around the corner. But if Republicans will give on those issues, the White House has always been clear that it is willing to put a lot on the table. “We’ve had conversations where [President Obama] told me he’ll go much further than anyone believes he’ll go to solve the entitlement problem if he can get the compromise,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told me back in May. “And I believe him. I believe he would.”
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:09 AM   #561
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Numerous blogs online keep citing Ezra's piece as true to life, so here it is:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...al-cliff-deal/

Where things really stand in the fiscal cliff negotiations
Posted by Ezra Klein
on December 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

For the White House, the key to any deal is tax revenues — delivered at least partly through higher rates — and a long-term solution to the debt ceiling. Additionally, any big deal will have to include some stimulus, including an extension of unemployment insurance and either an extension of — or more likely, a replacement for — the payroll tax cut.

For Republicans, the key is some give on tax rates, as well as a few high-profile entitlement cuts, namely an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and chained-CPI.

It’s by no means certain the two sides will come to a “grand bargain” before the end of the month. But if they do, the bargain will likely include either those policies outright, or instructions for Congress to work on those policies over the coming months.

But any deal will include much more than those top-line items. It will also include deficit-reduction and tax reform targets for Congress to hit in the coming months. That gets to a deeper problem in the negotiations: When you drill down to the granular policy level, Republicans aren’t sure what Republicans want. Democrats complain that the Republican offers are bare of policy detail. They lay down targets — say, $600 billion in health savings — but say nothing about how those targets will be achieved.

Republican staffers admit that they need more time to come up with specific cuts — and, for that matter, specific tax reforms. But they argue they’ll have that time. Any deal is expected to include a two-stage process: Targets for spending cuts and tax revenues now, combined with consequences that force Congress to hit those targets later.

The administration is a bit agog at this approach: If you don’t know how you’re going to hit your target, how can you possibly know whether your target is reasonable? It’s like buying a house with the expectation that you’ll figure out how to pay for it later.

This is important context for the role the Medicare eligibility age is playing in these discussions. Though it’s emerged, alongside chained-CPI, as the GOP’s top ask in the negotiations, it’s disconnected from any larger theory about how to slow the rise in health-care costs. There’s no particular conservative — or even non-conservative — policy goal that raising the Medicare eligibility age advances.

Raising the Medicare eligibility age doesn’t increase competition in Medicare, as some variant of premium support might. It doesn’t reduce national health spending — actually, as Medicare is cheaper than equivalent private insurance, it increases it. It doesn’t force seniors to act as more discerning consumers of health care, as various forms of deductibles and co-pays might. It doesn’t substantially pare back “the nation of takers,” as many of the 65- and 66-year-olds thrown off Medicare will enter the exchanges or be caught by Medicaid.

And it shouldn’t be forgotten: Raising the Medicare eligibility age really will hurt some seniors. The poorest seniors will be okay, thanks to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act — though that assumes that by the time the age increase phases in all states are participating in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion or that the deal includes some protection for seniors in states that have rejected it. Richer seniors will be fine, thanks to their wealth or to their employers. But there are a number of middle-income seniors who make enough that they won’t get much help from Obamacare, who are sick enough that they won’t get a good deal from insurers, and who may end up going uninsured (after paying the individual mandate’s penalty) or straining under the cost of health insurance.

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the Medicare eligibility age as “a trophy that the Republicans want.” That’s exactly right. For Republicans, it’s a signal that they won something big on entitlements. In a party that’s confused about where to go on Medicare, it at least proves they’re going in a direction Democrats hate.

The White House doesn’t like the idea, but administration officials see its incoherence as a virtue. The reason it doesn’t cut national health expenditures is that a lot of the pain is blunted by other players, like Medicaid and employers. The reason it doesn’t significantly pare back the safety net is that Obamacare is law, and by the time these age changes phase in, it will be deeply entrenched law. Better to give Republicans a bigger trophy than a deeper cut, or so goes the theory.

But that gets to the real question: What will the rest of the package look like? While it’s true that Republicans are confused on Medicare now, it’s also true that they won’t remain confused for long. As a plugged-in Republican policy wonk pointed out to me, the negotiators in the talks are mainly House Republicans, and they’ve sunk their energies into promoting premium support as the one and only Medicare reform worth doing. But among Senate Republicans, there’s been a lot of work done on more piecemeal reforms, and soon enough, Republicans will begin working off of bills like Coburn-Lieberman or (the non-premium-support parts) of Coburn-Burr.

Progressives have reacted to the prospect of an increase in the Medicare eligibility age with fury. If that policy is included in the final agreement, then the White House is going to have to be able to persuade its base that the trophy of an increased Medicare eligibility age really did forestall much worse cuts in programs, and really did unlock more revenues and more stimulus than would’ve been available otherwise. The politics of that explanation are difficult, though, as it’s tough to sell a deal in terms of what wasn’t in it.

The cynic would say that the White House sees the fury of progressives as an inevitable byproduct of a deal. Even when the administration had large majorities, its legislative victories tended to end with progressive disenchantment. The stimulus was larded with tax cuts and reduced from an already too-small $900 billion to less than $800 billion. The public option was dropped as part of the cost of passing the health-care bill. The Bush tax cuts were extended as part of the cost of getting more stimulus in 2011. In each case, the final agreement infuriated many on the left.

The White House wants a deal. Administration officials want one because they think passing more stimulus and reducing the deficit is important, and they want one because they think the scheduled austerity would be devastating to the economy. They want one because a budget deal is a necessary precursor to moving onto other priorities like immigration reform, and they want one because a big budget deal is seen as a key element of the president’s legacy.

The White House is firmer on its red lines in this deal than I can remember in any other negotiation. Administration officials don’t want a deal so badly that they’ll accept one that doesn’t raise tax rates, or that leaves another debt-ceiling crisis around the corner. But if Republicans will give on those issues, the White House has always been clear that it is willing to put a lot on the table. “We’ve had conversations where [President Obama] told me he’ll go much further than anyone believes he’ll go to solve the entitlement problem if he can get the compromise,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told me back in May. “And I believe him. I believe he would.”
....if the Repubs just give the Dems what they want the Dems will pass this
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:46 PM   #562
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Why aren't the Republicans suggesting any specific spending cuts?

Because Republicans, as it turns out, actually hate spending cuts.

If ever there were a party without a sense of direction, it's the Republican Party in late 2012.

http://www.businessinsider.com/fisca...oehner-2012-12

There's Not A Single Spending Cut That Republican Voters Support
Brett LoGiurato
Dec. 11, 2012, 8:51 AM

The "compromise" in the fiscal cliff deal from Democrats is supposed to come in the form of spending cuts. But a new Marist-McClatchy poll shows that voters — including Republicans — oppose any and every specific spending cut proposed to them.

It goes hand in hand with the disparity between voters' wish for blanket "spending cuts" and their opposition to any cuts to an entitlement that benefits them.

A look at what Republicans oppose:
  • By 47-37, letting the Obama payroll tax cut expire.
  • By 68-26, cutting spending for Medicare.
  • By 61-33, cutting spending for Medicaid.
  • By 66-28, eliminating the tax deduction for home mortgage interest.
  • By 72-25, eliminating the charitable tax deduction.
  • By 56-44, raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.
Republicans don't favor much in any potential deal — they also, of course, are opposed to allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on any income bracket. Pollster Lee M. Miringoff warns that they might be unhappy with whatever happens.

“There’s no clear statement of what Republican voters want to happen. There’s opposition to everything,” Miringoff said.

“If you’re a Republican in Congress looking for what Republican voters are telling you, they’re not telling you much."
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:37 PM   #563
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Basically, John Boehner has the worst job in the world right now.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:51 PM   #564
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Basically, John Boehner has the worst job in the world right now.
Yeah, leading the USA.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:53 PM   #565
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Yeah, leading the USA.
Nothing says leadership like providing next to zero details and demanding your opposition negotiate with itself.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:54 PM   #566
J Diddy J Diddy is offline
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Nothing says leadership like providing next to zero details and demanding your opposition negotiate with itself.
Lol, that sounds like Romney.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:02 AM   #567
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Why aren't the Republicans suggesting any specific spending cuts?

Because Republicans, as it turns out, actually hate spending cuts.

If ever there were a party without a sense of direction, it's the Republican Party in late 2012.

http://www.businessinsider.com/fisca...oehner-2012-12

There's Not A Single Spending Cut That Republican Voters Support
Brett LoGiurato
Dec. 11, 2012, 8:51 AM

The "compromise" in the fiscal cliff deal from Democrats is supposed to come in the form of spending cuts. But a new Marist-McClatchy poll shows that voters — including Republicans — oppose any and every specific spending cut proposed to them.

It goes hand in hand with the disparity between voters' wish for blanket "spending cuts" and their opposition to any cuts to an entitlement that benefits them.

A look at what Republicans oppose:
  • By 47-37, letting the Obama payroll tax cut expire.
  • By 68-26, cutting spending for Medicare.
  • By 61-33, cutting spending for Medicaid.
  • By 66-28, eliminating the tax deduction for home mortgage interest.
  • By 72-25, eliminating the charitable tax deduction.
  • By 56-44, raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.
Republicans don't favor much in any potential deal — they also, of course, are opposed to allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on any income bracket. Pollster Lee M. Miringoff warns that they might be unhappy with whatever happens.

“There’s no clear statement of what Republican voters want to happen. There’s opposition to everything,” Miringoff said.

“If you’re a Republican in Congress looking for what Republican voters are telling you, they’re not telling you much."
I've been saying this for years. But lest you think democrats are any better, they oppose any specific deficit cutting measures that personally and directly impact the majority of their members too. It's no badge of honor to support raising taxes on someone else or gutting the defense budget.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:14 AM   #568
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A trio of polls coming out that point to how profoundly the White House has won this debate:
  • Americans approve of the job Obama is doing in these talks over Boehner by a 2-to-1 margin. The support Boehner receives, outside of the Republican base, is roughly nil.
  • Obama has crushed the Republicans so badly on top-end tax rates that even 50% of Republicans agree he has a mandate to raise them.
  • Obama's approval rating is at a three-year high (53%).
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:25 AM   #569
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Spooky fiscal number of the day: on the current fiscal path (which hopefully these negotiations will substantially change), 59% of the federal government's budget will be interest payments by 2082.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:26 AM   #570
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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On the table:

Obama has not ruled out raising the Medicare eligibility age.

Corporate taxes will likely be revamped under this negotiation.

So is the municipal bond tax preference for high income households.
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