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A Laughing Matter?
30 Nov 2012

A Laughing Matter?

After Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s individual meetings yesterday with congressional leaders in the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations, Republicans leaked to reporters, per NBC’s Luke Russert, what the Obama White House is offering: 1) $1.6 trillion in tax increases and revenues, 2) a permanent end to Congress’ control of the debt limit, 3) additional stimulus of at least $50 billion, and 4) $400 billion in savings in Medicare and other programs to be worked out next year. Republican aides dismissed the offer as “unbalanced” and “unreasonable.”  A House GOP aide adds to First Read that the $1.6 trillion is TWICE the revenue that President Obama campaigned on (by not extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy); that the debt-limit demand is a “pipe dream”; and that the revenue in the offer ($1.6 trillion) is four times greater than the spending cuts ($400 billion). The Weekly Standard reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “burst into laughter” after Geithner offered the plan. THE WHITE HOUSE MESSAGE 1. extending the middle-class tax cuts is MUCH LESS painful than the other revenue, the debt-limit demand and additional stimulus and 2. if the Republicans want entitlement reform, they’re the ones who will have to propose it. The administration’s offer is very specific when it comes to taxes, but not specific when it comes to entitlements. In other words, the WH is saying, we’re dragging you to agreeing to higher revenues, but you guys need to drag us to entitlement fixes.

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