Congress must craft deal on debt

  • Article by: Erskine Bowles , Special to The Washington Post.
  • Updated: November 8, 2012 - 2:02 PM

Important decisions need to be made in the next two months to address the "fiscal cliff."

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twinsajsfNov. 8, 12 2:38 PM

As a Republican, I don't know why anyone would think these negotiations would go any differently than last time. If you recall, Boehner announced proudly after the last "fiscal cliff" deal that he "got 98% of what I wanted". The reason is that Obama and the Democrats are wimps and don't have the stomach for high-stakes games of "chicken" where America is concerned. There is only one Party willing to ACTUALLY send America over the fiscal cliff if we don't get what we want, so as long as we control at least one House of Congress, we will continue to get 98% of what we want in these deals. In other words, RELAX fellow Republicans, we are still in control!

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gcriley1050Nov. 8, 12 2:57 PM

RELAX fellow Republicans, we are still in control! --Hench the foot on the accelerator towards the cliff

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hawkeye56379Nov. 8, 12 3:51 PM

" I don't know why anyone would think these negotiations would go any differently than last time"----------Maybe because there was an election Tuesday in which the Republicans lost a winnable presidential election, and had their numbers reduced in both the House and the Senate. There is another election in two years and if they don't want to take another beating they need to do their part in solving problems.

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bluedevil101Nov. 8, 12 4:05 PM

The cliff to me isn't that big of a deal. As a nation we have borrowed and borrowed...we need to pay the piper. I'd make no deals without significant sacrifice from the Senate and Executive.

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goldengoph3rNov. 8, 12 5:14 PM

Can't disagree with twinsajsf on his take about our national Democrats being wimps in high-stakes negotiations. Obama DID wimp out before, in a huge way. Even more disconcerting: Obama is already making conciliatory noises about another go at the "Grand Bargain." He has big advantages this time around that he lacked before, however. First, he can act free of reelection worries. And second, he need not do a thing to end the Bush tax cuts. Whether he uses these advantages remains to be seen, but I'm not confident he will.

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gimbelNov. 8, 12 5:35 PM

"In a speech Monday, Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the Senate’s No. 4 Democrat and the leader of the caucus’s campaign arm, plans to make the clearest case yet for going over what some have called the “fiscal cliff.”

“If we can’t get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013,” Murray plans to say, according to excerpts of the speech provided to The Washington Post."

This speech was given last June and Murray delivered it just the way this article describes. Any Con who thinks the Dems won't hold out for tax increases on the wealthy had better think again. And be prepared to take the consequences if they refuse to meet the Dems half way.

BTW, if Boehner got 98 percent of what he wanted in 2011, then I'd say that puts the big fat lie to the cons constant whining about how Obama wouldn't compromise, wouldn't reach across the aisle, wouldn't work with them. If Obama did indeed hand the Boehner 98 percent of what he wanted I'd say that was more than cooperation, it was caving to Con blackmail in an attempt to save the country from further fiscal damage.

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nonewtaxesNov. 8, 12 6:10 PM

Why did the president ignore the recommendations of his own commission? The plan is reasonable and should be implemented.

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gimbelNov. 8, 1210:34 PM

The president didn't ignore ANY recommendations because there weren't any from the commission. They couldn't agree among themselves and when their report was put to a vote, it failed. There was NEVER ANY FORMAL recommendation for Obama to ignore. Besides that it's not up to the president to "implement" anybodys' recommendations. That's the Congresses job, they hold the purse strings, NOT the President.

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twinsajsfNov. 9, 12 7:38 AM

P.S. (to my earlier post) Thanks to 2010 election redistricting coup, Republiccans will have control of the House for the foreseeable future (perhaps decades), regardless of what happens with the Senate and Presidency. As such, Dems will continue to give us Republicans what we want in deal after deal. They (e.g. Patty Murray) talk tough, but when they are staring over the cliff and about to plunge to their deaths, they will cry "uncle". Much was said about how important the 2012 election was in charting a course for the future, and perhpas this is correct in the sense that Republicans will now not be able to enact our entire platform, BUT I'm convinced that the 2010 elections, giving overwhelming redistricting control to Rebpublican legistlators throughout the nation, was every bit as important. The Dems will now not be able to get ANYTHING done without the Republican stamp of approval for many, many years.

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hjlazniNov. 9, 1210:26 AM

The rich people have been able to convince the politicians to create a system where the rich pay less taxes so they have more money at hand to grow the economy, but will, at the rich peoples’ option, borrow money to the government to be returned plus interest to make up for the lack of revenue, with the national debt, debt ceilings and deficits always increasing. During depression/recession times the nervous rich, holding government paper, exchange this government paper for cash printed under the heading of "quantitative easing" supposedly conducted for the sole purpose of increasing value of this government paper and subsequent lowering of interest rates. In this way, we are investing in rich people to grow the U.S. economy that will result in increased revenue. Is this system working? It depends. The rich people are getting richer and the middle class is getting poorer because the politicians are allowing the rich to put small business out of business, big business is increasing productivity and globalizing manufacturing and bringing lower paid workers into the U.S. to lower wages in the U.S. and putting U.S. citizens out of a good paying jobs with less income tax revenue coming into the treasury. In the U.S. at this time, the top 1% makes more money each year than the bottom 90%. More and more monopoly money is going to the rich, which money is not used by the middle class to purchase stuff that may be manufactured in the U.S. which may increase economic growth and printing of "real" dollars” to add to the supply of "real" money in the monopoly game. Rich people can only buy so much stuff and horde most of this money and purchase investment products. I expect a similar play is staged in Europe except the central Fed in Europe is not as clearly defined. At some point, the townspeople can rush the castle and take the rich people's stuff and take back the system, meaning, forcing the rich people to pay more tax or hiring and paying “hanger on” employees because we let big business put small business out of business, unless you believe in borrowing from the rich instead of true U.S. economic growth to generate revenue. These people paid 90% tax rates during the Republican Eisenhower years. What if we threaten not to pay the rich people back. In Europe, the private sector rich people are willing to cut the debt in half and extend pay back at a lower interest rate and the public sector may do the same. The U.S. government can tell the rich people, the U.S. government will pay you back the money we borrowed plus interest BUT we will go back to the 1960’s and recalculate your taxes up to today at 90% because you guys did not provide the jobs you promised to create. What choice do they have?

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