Obama has offered a fiscal plan, but GOP prefers whining to making a counter-proposal

Paul Krugman NAILS IT:

In the ongoing battle of the budget, President Obama has done something very cruel. Declaring that this time he won’t negotiate with himself, he has refused to lay out a proposal reflecting what he thinks Republicans want. Instead, he has demanded that Republicans themselves say, explicitly, what they want. And guess what: 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.


[W]hen you put Republicans on the spot and demand specifics about how they’re going to make good on their posturing about spending and deficits, they come up empty. There’s no there there.

And there never was. Republicans claim to be for much smaller government, but as a political matter they have always attacked government spending in the abstract, never coming clean with voters about the reality that big cuts in government spending can happen only if we sharply curtail very popular programs…

Now Republicans find themselves boxed in. With taxes scheduled to rise on Jan. 1 in the absence of an agreement, they can’t play their usual game of just saying no to tax increases and pretending that they have a deficit reduction plan. And the president, by refusing to help them out by proposing G.O.P.-friendly spending cuts, has deprived them of political cover. If Republicans really want to slash popular programs, they will have to propose those cuts themselves.

UPDATE: HERE‘s E.J. Dionne’s take on the matter:

We became so accustomed to Obama’s earlier habit of making preemptive concessions that the very idea he’d negotiate in a perfectly normal way amazed much of Washington….

 House Republicans have, so far, been unwilling to assume any risk to get what they claim to want. They seem to hope a deal will be born by way of immaculate conception, with Obama taking ownership of all the hard stuff while they innocently look on….

The only way to keep the next four years from becoming another long exercise in gridlock and obstruction is for Obama to hang tough now.



  1. The alleged $400 Billion in proposed entitlement savings will be worked out next year with no guarantees. So Democrats want revenue increases now before the fiscal cliff, but they want to postpone the details of the Medicaid and Medicare cuts. In other words, its the Charlie Brown football. Its note even close to a realistic, or even serious proposal.


  2. On another note, the Democrats opening bid was so comical that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is usually not one to show any kind of emotion whatsoever, actually laughed at loud when he heard then plan submitted by Treasury Secretary Geithner.


    So Pat has it wrong. The Republicans aren’t whining, they’re laughing.

  3. Demagogue McConnell laughs at Obama’s proposal, and pinhead Neftali thinks that’s tantamount to a counter-proposal. That’s sufficient cause for the rest of us to laugh at McConnell and Neftali both.

    This is a simple matter: The Republicans refuse to offer their own proposal. They prefer to peddle nonsense to the boobs who support them. They’re gutless. Everything Krugman and Dionne said in the pieces to which I linked is absolutely correct.

  4. Seems to me that you need two,proposals before you can negotiate something in between.

  5. Jeremy Cantrell

    Jerry Critter,

    Don’t bring that common sense nonsense to our whimsical national budget negotiation! We MUST get the national budget under control and progressives MUST propose the slashes first or how else will we be successful at enraging our base, enticing our people and building on the negative emotions needed to fail, only enough, that we can claim we didn’t fail!

    Republicans have offered the perfect plan…Romne..err Rya…errr Rymney..err Romnan, wait..which plan are we behind this week?

    Isn’t cliff jumping the best extreme sport?

  6. I agree with Peter Suderman’s tweet about what Republicans should offer as a comparative counter-proposal:

    “Republicans hear Obama’s opening bid, counter with: Eliminate the federal government, except for defense.”


  7. The last plan that the republicans approved is the “fiscal cliff” plan. I guess that’s their starting point.

  8. Jeremy Cantrell


    That wouldn’t be a surprising or new proposal, and the march towards that proposal is what tore away the Clinton surplus in the Bush, I know…WHO? Gee Dubya Bush the president that didn’t exist.

    I’m sure Bain Capitol has already ran a cost benefit analysis scenario for this and turned it down…not enough profit margin.

    Haha, yeah get rid of the very entity that our forefathers created…you know there are already countries whom have used that idea..maybe you should try those on for size….North Korea ring a bell?

  9. Jeremy Cantrell – You should take a class in basic economics. North Korea’s economy is almost exclusively controlled by the government. Its your statist heroes in the Democratic Party that want to increase spending as a percentage of GDP, making them more similar to North Korea.

  10. Brian Opsahl

    Lets see how Mitch Mconnell is laughting Jan, 1st if he and his party take us over said cliff the midterm elections just went to the Democrats….so go ahead make my day….!!

  11. The GOP has nothing to share with the class except that good feeling they once had that Romney was going to win the election.

  12. http://thehill.com/homenews/house/270649-house-republicans-make-22t-counter-offer-to-obama-in-debt-talksklj

    House GOP make $2.2T debt counteroffer to Obama on cliff
    By Russell Berman – 12/03/12 03:00 PM ET

    House Republican leaders have made a counteroffer to President Obama in the fiscal cliff negotiations, proposing to cut $2.2 trillion with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.

    The leaders delivered the offer to the White House on Monday with a three-page letter signed by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and four other senior Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the party’s just-defeated vice presidential nominee.

    Republican officials said the offer was based on a proposal outlined by Erskine Bowles, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, in testimony last year before the congressional “supercommittee” on deficit reduction. That offer is distinct from the widely-cited Simpson-Bowles deficit plan released two years ago.

    The GOP offer is a response to Obama’s opening bid, which called for $1.6 trillion in tax increases and reducing the power of Congress to block an increase in the debt ceiling.

  13. Brian Opsahl – You obviously haven’t thought this through. The pressure is squarely and 100% on the Democrats to come up with a bi-partisan solution. Most Americans don’t keep track of who is in charge of each house of Congress. Almost all Americans know who is President.

    Next year, the Bush tax cuts will be repealed in addition to Obama’s Social Security tax cuts. In other words, the middle class will be walloped with a massive tax increase 80% of whom have never experienced in their lifetimes. After that, the economy will begin to retract possibly causing another recession if the CBO is correct. Think of it another way. For the past 4 years Republicans have been falsely claiming Obama has been raising taxes, some people even believe it. Imagine what happens when taxes really are raised. And by a LOT.

    Now, Obama will of course try to blame Republicans, but it won’t work. People will look at their shrinking paychecks and blame the President. If he tries to blame the Republicans he will only be thought of as weak. It will be devastating to the Democratic party. Obama and the Democrats are clearly the people in charge of the government right now. Republicans will easily take back the Senate in 2014 and the red carpet will be laid out for a easy victory to the White House in 2016. Then we’ll be talking about Democrats being lost in the wilderness for a generation. All because of the failed fiscal cliff negotiations.

  14. There are many ways to raise revenue for the government, the easiest of which would be to grow the economy. You know actual incentives for business to grow and profit. Simplification of regulation to decrease overhead and complexity of even starting a business.

    Simplification of the tax code would also be splendid.

    The problem is that raising tax rates on the rich is the only choice that fits the class warfare meme of the left. It is truly an unfortunate happenstance that simply raising marginal rates on the rich won’t even come close to fixing our fiscal problem.

  15. Wow! Neftali and expdoc are both waxing extra silly today.

    Neftali thinks Democrats would be blamed for going over the fiscal cliff, which is the exact opposite of what the polls already indicate (by a margin of 24 percentage points) and even what many Republican politicians readily concede.

    And expdoc is still dreaming his plutocratic dreams. He even thinks it’s important that Congress maintain its authority to pass judgement on any increase in the debt ceiling.

    I would love to hear doc’s explanation of that matter. I hope he’s not one of those right-wing dimwits who think an increase in the debt ceiling would give Obama a blank check to spend money without congressional approval. But then, that’s exactly what doc’s Republican heroes have been telling the booboisie.

  16. By the way, doc, please tell us more about this need for “incentives for business to grow and profit.”

    I’ve been under the impression that corporate profits are now at an all-time high. But you seem to think that profits aren’t high enough, and we have to cut regulations and do other things to improve the corporate bottom line.

    Regarding regulations, I suppose you think that we can trust corporate America to not pollute the environment or sell unsafe products or do any of those other things regulations are intended to prevent.

    You live in a dream world, don’t you, doc? A world without unions or tax fairness or pesky regulations and — most importantly — a world in which the policies advocated by you and your fellow right-wingers are not recognized as the ultimate in class warfare.

  17. Brian Opsahl

    @neftali, Maybe you haven’t been paying attension, but the Democrats have been fighting to get a middle class tax cut bill passed before the fiscal cliffhanger Jan,1st
    That means every voter is paying attension that the republicans continue to hold out for the super weathly …Do you really think were that stupid !!

    This whole fight is about Grover Norquist and his henchmen robot republicans trying to protect a bunch of rich floks all while selling out us middle class VOTERS..

    And Neftali we are paying Attension…this time

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