December 7, 2012

Our weekly roundup of what the blogs are saying

We’re going to start a new feature on the blog, a weekly round up of what other blogs are saying about tax fairness and related issues

This week we saw bloggers focus on Speaker Boehner’s “plan” for the Fiscal Cliff negotiations make note of it’s lack of specifics.

A few highlights:

Eclectablog: House GOP continues their political death march to prevent the top tax bracket from rising by less than 4%

House Republicans have released a counter-proposal to President Obama’s budget plan to avoid plunging us off the fiscal cliff speed bump. Unsurprisingly, it raises tax revenue but doesn’t allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. In fact, according to analysis by the Washington Post, it appears tolower taxes for the top tax bracket.

DailyKos: GOP offers fiscal cliff ‘proposal’ but forgets to include any details

If you read the letter, it’s basically a two-page whinefest about how much they hated President Obama’s proposal from last week. But the only thing included in their counteroffer is a regurgitation of their willingness to raise $800 billion in new revenue from unspecified tax reforms along with a proposal to cut $300 billion in discretionary spending and $900 billion in entitlements. They offer no details whatsoever to explain how they would achieve any of these targets. They also say they want to continue all spending cuts included in the Budget Control Act last year, which presumably means the sequester would remain in effect. There might be more to this “offer,” but at least at first glance, it appears to be nothing more than some numbers picked out of thin air, and certainly not an offer worth taking seriously.

There was also growing interest and support among the blogs for the Pelosi discharge petition.  Joan McCarter wrote this up for DailyKos:

DailyKos: How Nancy Pelosi is influencing the lame duck negotiations

Pelosi’s express rejection of benefit cuts to Medicare and Social Security aren’t just an admonishment to Republicans, but a reminder to Democrats to stand by their principles. She’s giving Democrats the buttressing that they’ll need to withstand the constant pressure the Very Serious People will exert to make sure the poor and elderly suffer in this process in the name of balance.

She has her work cut out for her since she’s got “help” from the likes of Rep. Steny Hoyer, who’s trying to put benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare right back on the negotiating table. It’s going to be a long few weeks.

Also worth noting, over at Crooks & Liars, Karoli breaks down what would happen if we go over the fiscal cliff, and why it might be worth taking the plunge:

Crooks & Liars: Drive Off The Cliff: It’s Really Better That Way

That’s exactly what Republicans are threatening. I know there have been a lot of posts about this so-called cliff, but I think it’s worth listing what happens on January 1st if Democrats do absolutely nothing:

  • The top tax rate for individuals goes up by about 4 percentage points.
  • Capital gains rates increase to 20 percent.
  • Dividends are taxed as ordinary income, rather than at the Bush-era 15 percent capital gain rate.
  • Estate tax rates return to 2001 levels, and the taxable cap returns to $2 million instead of $10 million.
  • Payroll tax holiday expires

Some of these consequences aren’t great for the middle class, which is why House Democrats are pushing so hard to force a vote on the Senate bill extending those tax cuts while allowing the upper-income tax cuts to expire.

Still, the White House is signaling that they’re comfortable with waiting until January, and rightly so. Anything they can do in December, they can do in January, retroactive to January 1st. But by waiting until January, Democrats will be dealing from a position of pure strength then, because any vote in January will be a vote to cut taxes, not increase them.

That’s it for this week.  Are there blogs we should be aware of? Did we miss any of the week’s best posts?  Let us know in the comments.