The fiscal cliff news today reported by Jonathan Weisman and Jackie Calmes is that there is progress in the negotiations between Boehner and Obama. The progress is that Boehner has finally agreed to a rate increase for the rich. The problem is that the rate increase would apply only to households making more than $1 million a year, raising only $300 billion over ten years. This is far short of Obama's recently lowered demand of $1.4 trillion in new revenue over ten years. Republicans have yet to specify how they will make up the difference. What deductions would be eliminated?
Another idea floated by Boehner is a one-year increase in the debt ceiling. And while Boehner has shelved the proposal to raise Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67, he is sticking to his demand that government reduce its cost-of-living adjustments.
It seems like a ruse to me, the smallest of gestures; so when talks finally collapse and the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone and the sequester kicks in Boehner can say, "See, I tried; I gave ground." This way he can deflect some of the public ire that polls show is coming the GOP's way once we go off the cliff.
An important story in today's paper is Nicholas Confessore and Monica Davey's description of how Amway scion Dick Devos along with the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity ginned up right-to-work legislation in Michigan. Rightist strategy appears oriented towards gaining control in state legislatures and thereby ensuring "a favorable position for Congressional redistricting."
The Mad Mullahs in the House of Representatives are going to be with us for a while. Will we continue to placate them?