Friday, October 18, 2013


At The Washington Post, Ryan Cooper says he has a "grand bargain" idea that Republicans and Democrats might actually agree on, because it doesn't involve tax increases, which Republicans have made clear are unacceptable to them:
... it might be possible to move past this point. The way to do it would be for Dems to ask for a different concession from Republicans, such as a huge boost in infrastructure spending to get the economy going again, and give them tax cuts in exchange for it....

Such an offer would throw the incoherence of the Republican budget position into sharp relief.... I'd wager that if the offered tax cuts were big and juicy enough, Republicans would conveniently forget all about their balanced budget mania (just like they did in the Bush years) and might be ready for some good old logrolling.

This deal would be quite a long shot. But it's got a better chance that anything that hinges on tax increases.... In fact, probably the biggest roadblock to such a deal would be President Obama, who seems to actually value his deficit reduction quite highly.
Atrios picks up on that last point:
I'll Take That Deal!

But, of course, Obama wouldn't, because as Ryan says, he seems to love his deficit reduction. I always joke that nobody cares about the deficit, but the truth is Obama is probably the exception to that. I have no idea why.
In fact, the president made an offer very similar to Cooper's earlier this year, in an appearance at an Amazon distribution center in Tennessee (remember?), and -- imagine my amazement -- he was smacked down by Republicans:
Obama offers 'grand bargain' on corporate tax rate, infrastructure

President Barack Obama proposed a "grand bargain for middle-class jobs" on Tuesday that would cut the U.S. corporate tax rate and use billions of dollars in revenues generated by a business tax overhaul to fund projects aimed at creating jobs....

The president's plan combined a proposed corporate tax rate cut - desired by Republicans - with new spending on infrastructure projects like roads and bridges as well as education investment - desired by his fellow Democrats....

Despite the olive branch, Obama's proposal immediately drew fire from the top Republicans in Congress. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, "It's just a further-left version of a widely panned plan he already proposed two years ago - this time, with extra goodies for tax-and-spend liberals."
Boehner shot it down, too:
While the president presented the proposal as a concession, Republicans dismissed it more acidly than usual. "It's the opposite of a concession," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio.

In the Republicans’ view, Mr. Obama's offer was less of a "grand bargain" than an effort to extract a new fiscal stimulus program with money from a corporate tax cut that would end up, for accounting reasons, initially generating billions of dollars of revenue for the government.
Obama's infrastructure proposals always go nowhere with the GOP -- for instance, in 2011:
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica (R-Fla.) tossed cold water on Obama's call for a national infrastructure bank Thursday night, just minutes after the president told Congress to put partisanship aside and pass his plan quickly.

"We've already had experience with some of these federal grant programs that requires Washington bureaucrats, Washington red tape, Washington approvals and then bowing and scraping to Washington. I'm strongly opposed to any type of a new federal infrastructure bank," Mica said in an interview following the speech.
Asked and answered. If you want to see a complete list of the Obama tax or spending proposals Republicans would accept, pull out a blank sheet of paper and stare at it. That's the complete list.


Unknown said...

Atrios is showing that ignoring reality which conflicts with ideology isn't limited to the right.

What is it about Obama that has some in the left so riled up about him? I don't agree with many of his beliefs and policies, but they seem to share some of the same delusions (though not at the same extent, and definitely not at leadership levels) that those in the right do.

Victor said...

President Obama wants the same "Broderly-love" from the MSM punTWITS, that Clinton got when he gutted Welfare!
He longs to bask in the adulation of the DC Villagers - never mind that, as a Schwartze, he's got NO chance!!!!!!!!!

Clinton was convinced by others that the idea about limiting Welfare, and which may have not seemed horrible in the improving and good economic times back in the mid-90's, wouldn't be so bad.

But, instead, it has had catastrophic repercussions in the "George W. Bush Re/Depression."

"Chained CPI," sounds good to the Obama people - until you, or someone you're related to or know, is chained.

Then, it's just another link in your economic 'slave-chain.'

aimai said...

I can't stand this left wing hysteria about Obama "wanting" a grand bargain. The guy wants to keep the economy and the society moving forward and he has to try to figure out a way to bargain with terrorists to do it. It should be obvious that neither Obama nor the dems are interested in a "Grand Bargain" they just talk like they are in order to try to get something, anything, done that will assist the country out of the recession and out of having an Republicans in power. Once the Republicans are gone we can actually talk about having a politics that goes between center and left. Until then its just not in the cards. But I think it should be obvious that Obama isn't all about granny starving--why would he be? If he could cut the military he probably would.

You go into negotiations with the options you have, not with the options you don't have.

Other than that steve is right--if its a question of "what the republicans will accept" the answer is: nothing. they will never accept anything that Obama proposes because of a sneaking suspicion that accepting the deal might make someone, somewhere, happy. (Keynes, I think).

The New York Crank said...

Hey, hey! Listen up! Just pay some attention!

I'm one of those riled-up left wing hysterics, and I'm taking umbrage at some of the things I'm reading here.

From everything I've read, Obama's "Grand Bargain" includes a grand slap in the face to the weakest members of our society — the oldest, the sickest, the weakest, the poorest.

Chained CPI is just the beginning. Means testing is a minefield. How much means is means? If you have no income other than Social Security, but have $60,000 in the bank, will that be sufficient "means" to cut off your Social Security until the well is dry? How much means do they mean? Or will we decide how much money to take out of the old man's purse after we cut it and count the coins inside?

Truth is, modest and incremental increases in the taxes of people in the highest income brackets would be a huge lever toward raising America's living standard and lifting some of our most wretched (and near-wretched) out of misery. And taxing the richest might be a way to eventually getting the middle class to willingly (although not cheerfully) make a few mild sacrifices, too.

But don't throw the far right a few bones of compromise when those bones are my mother's, and they are still supporting her living body.

When all of America needs is a fair shake, not a handshake.

Very, very crankily yours,
The New York Crank