The fiscal cliffs to come

One self-created crisis behind it, official Washington is lumbering toward another fit of fiscal cliffiness: what to do about the debt ceiling.

Some on the right are already hoping for House Republicans to bite every bullet they have left and shut the government down if they can’t wrest “serious” spending cuts from the White House and Senate Democrats. The President has already made clear he will not negotiate over a debt ceiling increase.

House Speaker John Boehner, who is likely to be re-elected to that post later today, has drawn his own battle lines. No more private talks with the President. No more compromise. He wants (and his caucus desperately needs) a win on spending.

These are opening lines and subject to change. While it’s likely that there is some stomach in Republican ranks to shut the government down without a spending deal, the GOP’s horrific messaging effort during the recent fiscal cliff dance tells me they are utterly unprepared for such a turn — particularly once the President starts using the word “default” at every opportunity.

There’s another word to keep in mind: “sequestration.” Yes, the draconian, horrible, terrible spending reductions that were supposed to go into effect on January 1st have been delayed until March 1st. As Tim Donner argues below, the most fiscally prudent course is to swallow the cuts. While the “cuts” embodied in the sequester are of the “only in Washington” variety, meaning they are cuts in the increase in spending as opposed to genuine reductions, they are better than nothing.

If that wasn’t enough, we can also add tax increases. Those “permanent” tax cuts the GOP is so proud of today? Goldman Sachs says not so fast:

Tax increases would become part of the debate if entitlement reforms are considered. Although the President has indicated he will not negotiate on the debt limit, he has also indicated that whenever entitlement reforms are considered, he expects those to be balanced with additional tax reforms (i.e., spending cuts must be balanced with tax increases).


And none of this takes into account the expiration of the continuing resolution that has been funding the government since the beginning of its fiscal year back on October 1st.

That expires on March 27th.

  • Yes, it would seem counter intuitive that a Party that just lost so badly would a few short months later cause the Government to shut down. Wow, there is a sure fired way to further reduce your relevance.
    We all know what needs to be done, and if Boehner will allow votes in the House, we can get all these done. Four steps are needed: cut spending, increase taxes, reform the tax code to remove loop holes, and modify entitlements. Same formula we have needed for at least 2 years. But if far right republicans will vote for nothing by cuts, they won’t get any of the other either.
    So far, their policy of intrasigence has caused their political fortunes to wan. If they double or triple down, those fortunes will wan even further. But when you are an extremist with an aversion to negotiation and compromise, you gradually lose out to lose who will. Thank goodness.

    • oldgeezer

      OMG… This from the mouth of a far left wing democrat democrat who never met a tax increase he didn’t like..

      The same person who wants to raise trillions of dollars in taxes to fight man made global warming so that the ocean will not cover Virginia Beach… Who runs about bleating about the rising oceans.

      Only one problems chicken little.. Sea level is not rising…

      Here is a study by a REAL climate scientist..

      Main points:

      – At most, global average sea level is rising at a rate equivalent to 2-3 inches per century. It is probably not rising at all.

      – Sea level is measured both by tide gauges and, since 1992, by satellite altimetry. One of the keepers of the satellite record told Professor Mörner that the record had been interfered with to show sea level rising, because the raw data from the satellites showed no increase in global sea level at all.

      – The raw data from the TOPEX/POSEIDON sea-level satellites, which operated from 1993-2000, shows a slight uptrend in sea level. However, after exclusion of the distorting effects of the Great El Niño Southern Oscillation of 1997/1998, a naturally-occurring event, the sea-level trend is zero.

      – The GRACE gravitational-anomaly satellites are able to measure ocean mass, from which sea-level change can be directly calculated. The GRACE data show that sea level fell slightly from 2002-2007.

      – These two distinct satellite systems, using very different measurement methods, produced raw data reaching identical conclusions: sea level is barely rising, if at all.

      – Sea level is not rising at all in the Maldives, the Laccadives, Tuvalu, India, Bangladesh, French Guyana, Venice, Cuxhaven, Korsør, Saint Paul Island, Qatar,etc..

      Since you are so clueless about man made global warming, why should anyone believe you about anything ??????

      In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. – George Orwell

      • Great post, but I am perplexed. I don’t recall ever posting anything about sea level rise. Are you confusing me with some other person?

        • oldgeezer

          Remember when BD had an article about flooding in Norfolk. Remember what you said then. However since this is the start of a new Mayan 104,000 year cycle, lets simply go forward.

          The eco-fascist extreme left wing democrats claim that man-made CO2 is causing climate apocalypse due to postive feed back.
          Do you agree with them ??????????????

          • No, I don’t remember that, but if you, like Cuccinelli, continue to deny the effects of climate change, then you are missing the picture.

          • oldgeezer

            “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is
            true.” – Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace

            “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global
            warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and
            environmental policy.” – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

            “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change
            provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the
            world.” – Christine Stewart, fmr Canadian Minister of the Environment

            “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present
            levels, would be ideal.” – Ted Turner, founder of CNN and major UN donor

  • What really amazes me is that the House could pass a budget with cuts and increasing the debt limit, and the Senate could not even put the bill up to be amended, and it wouldn’t be viewed as the Senate, Democrats, and the President as shutting down government but instead as the House Republicans shutting down government.

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