Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer drew a curious comparison on Fox News Thursday evening between Washington's fiscal cliff standoff and the Civil War.
During a panel appearance on "Special Report" with Bret Baier, Krauthammer compared the White House's opening proposal in the fiscal cliff negotiations to the surrender terms offered General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House to conclude the Civil War.
It's not just a bad deal, this is really an insulting deal... Robert E. Lee was offered easier terms at Appomattox and he lost the Civil War. The Democrats won by 3% of the vote and they did not hold the House. Republicans won the House. So this is not exactly unconditional surrender, but that's what the administration is asking of Republicans.
There not only are no cuts in this, there's an increase in new spending with a stimulus - this is almost unheard of. I mean, what do they expect? They obviously expect the Republicans will cave on everything. I think Republican ought to simply walk away.
The actual offer, as explained by the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim, is as follows:
The proposal is based on a two-step plan that would decouple the high-end tax and capital gains rates from the middle-class rates, extending only those for the middle class. It would revert estate taxes to their higher 2009 level, and raise an additional $600 billion in taxes elsewhere, according to the GOP summary. It then proposes tax reform required to raise at least as much as the tax hikes, and entitlement reform that would trim $400 billion from the programs.
Members of Congress and the White House are currently engaged in the first stages of negotiations to avoid a combination of tax increases and spending cuts -- the former through the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, and the latter as mandated by last summer's debt ceiling deal -- that would take effect at the end of 2012.