Some Fiscal Cliff Notes

December 13, 2012


Post by Joseph M –

Nothing like the back-and-forth, finger-pointing, and grand-standing bluster of John Boehner to throw water on any lingering post-election celebratory feeling.  Yes, the congressional Republicans are the ultimate buzz-kill.  And of course, once again, President Obama is proving himself perfectly diplomatic in the fiscal cliff negotiations.  He is even doing campaign stops, which makes me suprisingly nostalgic for two months ago when the idea of moving forward seemed much more of a possiblity than it does right now.  Also, the President is proposing real compromise (cuts in spending in addition to raising rates on the wealthiest of Americans) while the Republicans are offering a vague proposal to close tax loopholes as a way to generate revenue from the upper 2% and to cut spending on who-knows-what.

A large majority of Americans agree with President Obama’s balanced approach to dealing with the fiscal cliff.  In fact, according to Kwame Holman from the PBS Newshour:

…new polls show Americans do want compromise, and it’s the Democrats who hold the edge. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released yesterday shows a majority, 65 percent, say President Obama has a mandate on both increasing taxes on the wealthy and reducing federal spending.

A similar two-thirds are willing to accept tax increases or cuts in federal government programs to reach a deal. But while public support on taxes is overwhelming, opinion on proposed cuts is less so.

So according to these numbers, even Americans who may not have supported President Obama for reelection acknowledge that his balanced approach to looming fiscal cliff is the way to go.  Presently, Obama’s approval rating is at 55%, while the Republicans stand at a 32% approval rating.  See the full report from the PBS Newshour‘s coverage for more complete “notes” of the going-ons of this debate.

But what does this say about the Republican’s digging-their-heels approach to dealing with President Obama’s agenda?  Apparently, the Republicans view this as their means of getting what they want, while America sees it as more of the same.  However, President Obama clearly has the upper hand.  The Republicans run the risk of being the party that denied tax cuts to the majority of Americans in order to preserve tax breaks for the wealthy.  And seriously, is $250,000 really the defining cut-off for the middle class?  Many would disagree and believe that Obama’s proposal of going back to the pre-Bush tax rates are not enough.  According to Chris Weigant, “If we’re going to tax the rich… then let’s tax the rich.”  See his recommendations on Huffington

So hope and change are once again side-stepped by Boehner’s need to hold a daily press conference where he says the same thing over and over again with his gravely voice and his blunt affect: “It’s clear the president is just not serious about cutting spending!”  Meanwhile, America’s economy is inching closer and closer to the edge of some cliff.  (Probably in the Arizona desert somewhere.)  Which causes me to think: while I hope we are spared a Thelma-and-Louise-type ending in 2012, (although there are a few things/people/Boehner I would like to see driven over a cliff,) maybe this is the end the Mayans where predicting?  In lieu of that meteorite colliding with the earth, we get a tumble off of a fiscal cliff instead.  This might be the time we should call our members of congress.

See this inforgraphic from for more insight into the so-called fiscal cliff.

Click on the Infographic to link to Daily Kos

Click on the Infographic to link to Daily Kos

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4 Comments on “Some Fiscal Cliff Notes”

  1. Frank Stark Says:

    Who pays how much of the taxes according to the Congressional Budget Office?

    Top 1% of the population earns over $340,000/ yr and pays 36.7% of the income taxes
    Top 5% “ 154,000 “ 58.6 “
    Top 10% “ 112,000 “ 70.4 “
    Top 25% “ 66,000 “ 87.3 “
    Top 50% “ 32,300 “ 97.7 “
    The bottom 50% of income earners, those who earn less than $32,300 per year, pay only 2.3% of the total income taxes paid.

    FICA is not a ‘tax’, per se. It is a forced insurance premium. If most of us could be trusted to save for our own retirement, we wouldn’t need this. But the bureaucrats know that we can’t be trusted, so they take 12% of the first $108k/year ‘you’ make.

    This is a forced insurance premium. You get something in exchange for it….this isn’t how a tax works.

    And, if you increase the amount taken from a wealthier person, you would simply have to increase the payment they get. And…wealthy people don’t need the govt for this function, as most can save for themselves.

    Translating to my own budget: I don’t pray for a raise, I pray for wisdom in using what I have. The Federal Government would have enough and to spare if it was cut down to its Constitutional responsibilities. Cut spending, don’t raise taxes. And Pres. Obama has yet to propose any serious spending cuts. His solution is an unconstitutional transfer of responsibility for raising the debt ceiling.

    • Jeremy Says:

      If you don’t look for a part time job or extra way to make money when you have a budget shortfall and can’t pay your bills then I pity your family. Knock it off with the tired kitchen table balancing home budget analogy. It doesn’t work if you think about for even a second.

    • Gary Says:

      Actually according to the GBO numbers, the federal spending rate has gone way down for the first time since the Republican years of Bush. So Obama has already started on that and wants to do more in a balanced way. It’s up to Congress on how they want to do it and they have blocked many good measures in the past four years, much of what would have helped us greatly.

  2. Keki Says:

    Joesph M,

    Your inability to understand finance is only explained by you referencing PBS and the Huffington Post as your information source. Please stop talking. You have know idea how foolish you look.

    After exploring this site, I’m convinced people are being mentally ill on purpose.
    Get back to reading the BOM and not the Huffington Post.

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