When I heard reports earlier this week that the White House’ latest negotiating offer to avert the fiscal cliff (curb) was to extend the Bush tax cuts to a higher income threshold (incomes up to $400,000) and to also propose spending cuts to Social Security by changing how benefits are calculated (using the chained CPI), I was disappointed, to say the least. Some Democrats, and I’m one of them, had to break with President Obama’s latest fiscal cliff proposal. Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.
Then I began to think, this was probably a negotiating gesture by the White House that they figured Republicans would not accept anyway. Turns out, that’s the case. No one can ever say, credibly, that President Obama was not willing to make concessions during these negotiations. Then here comes Boehner, bam!, with bogus Plan B. Well, the President promised to veto Plan B, which is no viable plan at all, if it came to that. Boehner’s Plan B proposal extended the Bush Tax cuts on incomes up to $1 million.
Of course, Boehner’s Republicans did not accept the White House proposal (even with the Social Security spending cuts), but now Boehner’s inability to alternatively get his Republican caucus’ support for Plan B is solid evidence that he cannot responsibly negotiate the fiscal cliff. Boehner is a feckless leader, and probably the worst Speaker in the history of the United States. He appears to be a leader without any followers.
Republican House members were sent home this evening for the Christmas holiday after Boehner could not muster the votes to pass Plan B. What a well-deserved embarrassment for John Boehner. He had to call off the vote because, after all of Boehner’s rhetoric and posturing, he could not get the votes to pass it. As of this writing, Plan B is dead, so I guess the Social Security concession from Obama is no longer at issue either, I hope. It’s all for naught, and it looks like we may be going over the cliff after all. In fact, that may be the better deal for the American taxpayer, but it certainly will not help the economy, at least in the near term.