The Republicans just can't or don't want to. Whichever it turns out to be, we finally know that the GOP side in the Washington partnership has given up. "Guess what," says Paul Krugman. "They can't or won't do it."
No, really. While there has been a lot of bluster from the G.O.P. about how we should reduce the deficit with spending cuts, not tax increases, no leading figures on the Republican side have been able or willing to specify what, exactly, they want to cut.
And there’s a reason for this reticence. The fact is that Republican posturing on the deficit has always been a con game, a play on the innumeracy of voters and reporters. Now Mr. Obama has demanded that the G.O.P. put up or shut up — and the response is an aggrieved mumble....Paul Krugman, NYT
Kind of looks like they never planned to, either. There's no "equivalence" here.
As his opening bid in negotiations, Mr. Obama has proposed raising about $1.6 trillion in additional revenue over the next decade, with the majority coming from letting the high-end Bush tax cuts expire and the rest from measures to limit tax deductions. He would also cut spending by about $400 billion, through such measures as giving Medicare the ability to bargain for lower drug prices. Republicans have howled in outrage. ...Paul Krugman, NYT
There's one healthy outcome of this situation. The American people are now clear about who's to blame. The failure of the Congressional Republicans to act "has finally laid bare the con that has always been at the core of the G.O.P.’s political strategy." I guess it would be interesting to know for sure whether they're sick or just criminal. Most of us would probably say, "A little of both." But it isn't going to change the hardship they're imposing on all of us.
In another take on the situation, reporter Peter Baker describes a powerful and self-assured President Obama.
Disciplined and unyielding, he argues for raising taxes on the wealthy while offering nothing new to rein in spending and overhaul entitlement programs beyond what was on the table last year. Until Republicans offer their own new plan, Mr. Obama will not alter his. In effect, he is trying to leverage what he claims as an election mandate to force Republicans to take ownership of the difficult choices ahead. ...NYT
Obama learned a lot during his first term. He has support from voters and he knows it. As though he's taking a leaf out of his predecessor's book, he's doing what Bush did and, of course, annoying the bejesus out of the Republicans. Bush, we're reminded, "barnstormed the country in favor of a Social Security restructuring plan that he never successfully sold to leaders on Capitol Hill."
State by state:
This week, Obama will gather with governors and make a speech to the Business Roundtable, a lobby group representing big business, to urge lawmakers to embrace his tax proposals. Boehner will meet with governors and rally with small-business owners against tax increases. ...WaPo
Republicans are now calculating that the President's greatest priority is higher tax rates for the top earners. They figure that they can use that to get sacrifices from him on just about everything else, including cuts in "entitlements."
But of course Americans are much clearer on what those "entitlements" are. They're "entitled" to them because they pay for them. So they're keeping a shrewd eye on both the President and the Republicans.
Just when you thought Grover Norquist was yesterday's flu bug, he's ba-a-ack.
Norquist, whose influence in the conservative movement spans well beyond his well-known fixation on taxes, remains an unwavering force in the GOP debate — and even some of the most prominent lawmakers publicly flirting with a break from Norquist have assured him in private that they remain loyal soldiers in the anti-tax cause. ...WaPo