07/09/2012 08:14 am ET

Obama's Tax Cut Gambit: Seven And A Half Things To Know

Thing One: Cliff Diving: We're less than six months away from hitting the fiscal cliff, and our national co-pilots are too busy bickering over the controls to steer us away from disaster.

President Obama plans to today propose a one-year extension of the Bush tax cuts for people making up to $250,000, a small measure that could help alleviate some of the pain of the "fiscal cliff," the set of tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year. But the move is almost sure to put him at odds with Republicans, and probably some Democrats, too, The New York Times writes. Republicans want to extend all the Bush tax cuts, and some Democrats may want to extend the cuts for all people making less than a million dollars a year.

According to the NYT, the message Obama wants to send with the move is about tax fairness, which seems like a fine message, I guess? But maybe a poorly-timed one when the job market absolutely sucks, particularly if it's not going to put any pressure on Republicans to offer any sort of short-term help for the economy. Republicans stand to benefit from the economy being crappy, and it's already sort of crappy, as Friday's disappointing jobs report showed. And speaking of the Republicans, they are busy dealing with the crappy economy by pushing a futile vote this week to repeal Obamacare -- their 31st such effort, according to NPR.

Meanwhile, the fiscal cliff looms ever nearer.

Thing Two: I Cannot Tell A Libor: Bank of England official Paul Tucker appears before a parliamentary committee today to answer questions about whether he gave Barclays the go-ahead to lie about its borrowing costs when helping set the influential short-term interest rate known as Libor. Bob Diamond, the ex-CEO of Barclays, has suggested as much. Let's go ahead and predict that Tucker won't 'fess up to doing that. Not that it matters much -- every bank was probably manipulating Libor, and they were doing it long before Tucker's alleged nudge-and-wink in 2008.

Thing Three: Earnings Disappointment Ahoy: Say, what's that on the horizon? Why, it's another corporate earnings season. Alcoa kicks off a spate of second-quarter profit reports with its results on Monday. And guess what? Corporate profits are going to be awful, The Wall Street Journal writes, because of Europe.

Thing Four: The European Summit To End All Summits*: (* -- Until The Next Summit.) Speaking of Europe, European leaders gather yet again in Brussels to talk about some of the details of the agreement they hammered out in another summit, which was just a couple of weeks ago. The positive effects of that summit have already worn off, with European stocks lower and European borrowing costs higher, so it's plainly time for some more vague promises. Reuters warns us, in case any of us still had any doubt, that European leaders may be moving too slowly to fend off the collapse of the euro zone.

Thing Five: Coming Soon: QE3: The same group of economists that just a few months ago did not think the Fed would launch a third round of bond-buying, known as "quantitative easing," now firmly believes that the Fed will soon launch that bond-buying round, also known as QE3, according to a new Reuters poll. Because of Europe.

Thing Six: China Fragile: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reassured his people yesterday that everything in China's economy was just fine, but maybe a little more massive fiscal and monetary stimulus couldn't hurt, and also maybe China should try to curb runaway speculation in real estate before the entire economy implodes. You know, no biggie.

Thing Seven: This Is Your Bank On Drug Money: A Mexican drug cartel used Bank of America accounts to launder drug money, according to an FBI investigation, the WSJ reports. BofA, which the paper says is cooperating with the investigation, would not be the first U.S. bank to get in hot water over Mexican drug-money accounts.

Thing Seven And A Half: RIP Ernest Borgnine, star of hundreds of movies and TV shows, including "McHale's Navy," "The Wild Bunch," "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Poseidon Adventure."

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Calendar Du Jour:

Economic Data:

3:00 p.m. ET: Consumer Credit for May

Corporate Earnings:

After Market Close:


Heard On The Tweets:

@ReformedBroker: Obama: Under this administration, countless Beer Summit Waiters and Birth Certificate Inspectors have been hired.

‏@zerohedge: When will John Roberts rule that Bernanke's helicopter would be far more useful if it was a C-5 Galaxy?

‏@moorehn: It took a bankruptcy to wake up New York from its darkest decline; maybe other cities need to drive themselves that low to lift up.

@EddyElfenbein: To have the same jobs-to-population ratio as we had 12 years ago, we'd need 14.3 million more jobs or 22.2 million fewer people. $$

@BetseyStevenson: Romney policy advisors: Please read him the American Jobs Act, since he appears unaware of its existence. We'll await his specific response.

-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.

And you can follow us on Twitter, too: @markgongloff and @byKhadeeja