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.
With the expiration date on the two wars in sight, why not let all of the Bush-era tax cuts expire, so that everyone has skin in the game? Let us simply go back to paying the rates during the Clinton era -- everyone.
We've all known a kid who upon losing a board game would freak out, hurl the game across the room and storm off while shouting something like, "This game sucks anyway!" It's no surprise the Republicans are doing exactly that.
This is all too complicated and controversial to be settled between now and the end of the year. I foresee a two-step process.
No one should continue to indulge this fiction. Republicans have voted to raise taxes. Repeatedly. They just did it again in 2010.
The best way to generate jobs and growth is for the government to spend more, not less. And for taxes to stay low -- or become even lower -- on the middle class.
This should not be so hard. The fiscal cliff is nothing more than one more set of self-imposed deadlines that Congress put in place so that they could comply with their own rules. We have seen this before.
We are in danger of going over "The Fiscal Cliff" -- in large part -- because of the framing of the Bush tax Cut issue and adding "revenue" to our debt crisis has been appalling. Why is no one breaking this down? And why are we ignoring two hugely relevant points?
America's seniors, who have worked so hard to build a strong economy and democracy in their lifetimes, need reliable and robust government in their golden years.
The path of least resistance is for congressional Republicans and the president to agree to kick the can down the road -- keeping everything as it is (current spending, the Bush tax cut) until a date in the not-too-distant future -- say, March 15.
The hard truth is that the pummeling the GOP got in the election hasn't moved them one inch from their stuck in cement tax orthodoxy that raising taxes on the rich kills jobs and does little to shave down the trillions racked up from the budget deficit.
The nation requires more tax revenue to address the nation's fiscal problems and, by doing this, we can advance toward the goal of guaranteeing that everyone has the property necessary to lead a meaningful human life.
Raising taxes on the rich, who usually pay a lower rate than everyone else because of the loopholes available to them, is not about redistribution of wealth but about creating a level economic playing field for all Americans.