I realize that all of the "wise men" of Washington are clamoring for a bi-partisan solution to fix the nation's deficit. But the plain fact is that the deficit is not a bi-partisan problem.
We should stop taking the flawed arguments of the rich seriously, and call it out for what it is. Greed.
Published in today's New York Times, the article by Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff establishes a powerful context for Democratic arguments that taxes on the wealthiest Americans must rise both for reasons of fairness and in order to sustain government.
Rarely has any tax cut in history shoveled more money to wealthy households than the 2003 tax cut for both dividends and capital gains.
In the hallucinogenic haze that is today's far right, apparently it's "radical" to promote ideas and policies supported by most American voters -- including, in many cases, most Republicans.
If there's one thing that unites conservative politicians, it's the economic value to all of society of tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy, such as those passed in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush.
Despite the constant drumbeat of scary cliff talk, there is no such thing as a "fiscal cliff."
There's going to be pain all around in whatever deal is struck. Most Americans are going to be directly impacted in one way or another by whatever bargain is made between President Obama and congressional Republicans.
I'm sick of all the palaver about Obama's so-called gifts to poor and middle-class voters. Republicans are free marketeers. Romney was virtually breastfed on Adam Smith. These people are supposed to understand capitalism. Didn't they ever hear of the invisible hand?
There is a relatively simple proposal that the president make that could raise more money than the nominal rate increase he wants, be progressive in its impact, and produce a more equitable and widely understood tax system.
Allowing the nation to go over the fiscal cliff for a very short period of time will provide all the legitimate political benefits of such a policy dive -- with few to none of the menacing losses that are looming at the bottom. We can readily fly off the cliff on January 1st and be back on the top by January 2nd, 2013.
Every major event in the last decade has exposed Pax Republicana as a crumbling empire based on false ideologies, none more dangerous than believing in the Tax Fairy that magically grows the economy and fills the treasury when Congress cuts taxes on the wealthy.
President Obama has available a "plan B" that will save the middle class and, in the process, devastate the Republicans.
Underlying all of the policy-speak, the Lame Duck budget battle is really about one question. Will the 1% of Americans who had the party that caused the deficit be asked to pay the bill?
As President Obama gets closer to making his deal with the Republicans on the budget, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the fiscal cliff is an artificially contrived trap. Were it not for the two Bush wars and the two Bush tax cuts and the House Republican games of brinksmanship with the routine extension of the debt ceiling, there would be no "fiscal cliff." Rather, there would be a normal, relatively short-term increase in the deficit resulting from a deep recession and the drop in government revenues that it produces. When the economy recovered, the deficit would return to sustainable levels. In the meantime, these deficits are necessary and useful to maintain public spending as a tonic to the economy.
Millions of Americans will start off their Thanksgiving statements with, "I am thankful Barack Obama will be our president for four more years. The biggest lesson we hope he learned from over the past four is to not start negotiating from a compromise position.