The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

January 1, 2013
GOP House painted itself into corner on fiscal cliff

It now appears that the U.S House, controlled by Republicans, will approve a Senate bill to avert the fiscal cliff that includes a tax hike that House leaders said they would never endorse, even with corresponding spending cuts.

How did this happen?

They were completely out-maneuvered.

Remember, it was just 12 days ago when House Speaker John Boehner proposed his "Plan B" proposal, which would have included a tax hike, but only on the super rich -- those making more than $1 million yearly. But Boehner did not bring that tax plan up for a vote because, he said, "it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass."

Had House GOP members gone along with their leader, they would have sent the Democrat-controlled Senate a bill that Harry Reid would have hated, and that the Senate might well have rejected. If that had happened, then Republicans would now be in the position of blaming Democrats for potentially sending the nation over the fiscal cliff. Instead, it is Republicans worrying about saddling the blame, which is why they are about to blink in a dangerous, reckless, stupid game of fiscal chicken.

True, as I write this, the House has not yet voted. The whole thing could still blow up. But in all likelihood, the GOP-led House will vote to support a tax hike on families making more than $450,000 yearly, instead of a $1 million threshold, as Boehner had proposed. And they will do so close to midnight, or else risk the wrath of Asian stock markets, which will render a verdict as the clock approaches 12 pm EST.

Those on the left are angry at the Senate and Obama for agreeing to this deal. According to White House figures, Obama only gets to extract about $600 billion from the wealthy, instead of $1.6 trillion he originally sought. That means more hard decisions ahead to reduce the deficit -- quite likely, spending cuts that liberals oppose.

But in the world of Realpolitik, , Obama and his V.P., Joe Biden, totally kicked ass. They live to fight another day, whereas the GOP House, from its perspective, is forced to chose between really bad and assuredly worse.

This blog item was modified from the original to correct cost figures on what the Obama administration originally sought in a fiscal cliff deal.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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