President Obama participates in a Twitter live question and answer session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 3. (Pete Souza)
Read all the President’s Twitter replies today here
Steve Benen: …. Under this proposal, Republicans would keep all of the Bush-era tax rates, but accept $800 billion in new revenue. How? Through “pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates.”
From there, the GOP leaders want to cut $600 billion from Medicare and Medicaid; cut $300 billion from mandatory programs; cut $200 billion by changing the consumer price index; and then cut another $300 billion in further discretionary spending.
To call this a “counteroffer” is to strip the word of meaning … This isn’t a “counteroffer”; it’s a Christmas wish list written by kids without access to calculators.
Michael Tomasky: So, the House Republicans made their counter-offer today. But it’s not much of a counter-offer. Josh Barro of Bloomberg identifies three problems: 1, zero specifics; 2, what description there is of the tax numbers doesn’t add up; 3, it doesn’t really avert the fiscal cliff….
…. It’s always the same story with these people. They have these policy goals that they know are quite unpopular outside their besotted 30 percent, so they’ll never put specifics to them until the last possible second. But until then, anyone would be a fool to trust them. The only thing they really care about is cutting high-end tax rates, but they know full well that they can’t say that, so they make us all play these silly games.
…. Let’s keep remembering, folks, that they’re going through all these contortions basically so as not to raise the top tax rate 4.6 percent on taxable income above $250,000, which a little less than 2 percent of the population even has. Deeply unserious people.
Josh Barro (Bloomberg): House Republicans are out with their response to the President’s opening bid on the fiscal cliff, and it’s not very impressive. Here are three big problems with the letter they sent to the White House:
1. It’s not really a proposal – it’s just a set of headline numbers without specific policies….
2. The description of tax reform makes little sense…
3. The proposal does not fully avert the fiscal cliff …. it would only partly delay the implementation of austerity measures (tax increases and spending cuts) into future years when the economy is stronger.
…. The letter also says nothing about the payroll tax holiday or extended unemployment insurance benefits, both of which Republicans likely want to sunset. As such, this proposal only constitutes a partial aversion of the fiscal cliff, which would mean a drag on economic growth in 2013.
Erskine Bowles: While I’m flattered the Speaker would call something “the Bowles plan,” the approach outlined in the letter Speaker Boehner sent to the President does not represent the Simpson-Bowles plan, nor is it the Bowles plan. In my testimony before the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, I simply took the mid-point of the public offers put forward during the negotiations to demonstrate where I thought a deal could be reached at that time.
Dan Pfeiffer: “The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve. Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires.
While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. President Obama believes – and the American people agree – that the economy works best when it is grown from the middle out, not from the top down. Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won’t be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.”
Steve Benen: If a video like this one seems familiar, it’s because this is exactly the sort of clip Obama for America routinely released in the weeks and months leading up to Election Day. Yesterday, however, the same campaign organization put this clip online for President Obama’s new fight.
…. I’m nearly as interested in its existence as I am its message …. Team Obama is hoping to approach the second term very differently from the first, and that’s especially true of dealing with Congress….
… This time, the president is taking a new negotiating posture, hosting public events outside the Beltway, and utilizing his campaign structure in the hopes of shifting public attitudes…..
2:55: President Obama hosts a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov of Bulgaria
4:0: Delivers remarks to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction symposium
Paul Krugman: In the ongoing battle of the budget, President Obama has done something very cruel. Declaring that this time he won’t negotiate with himself, he has refused to lay out a proposal reflecting what he thinks Republicans want. Instead, he has demanded that Republicans themselves say, explicitly, what they want. And guess what: They can’t or won’t do it.
No, really …. And there’s a reason for this reticence. The fact is that Republican posturing on the deficit has always been a con game, a play on the innumeracy of voters and reporters. Now Mr. Obama has demanded that the G.O.P. put up or shut up — and the response is an aggrieved mumble.
Steve Benen: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner appeared on several Sunday shows yesterday, and for the first time, made explicitly clear that higher rates on income above $250,000 is a precondition to any fiscal agreement.
…. this, in a nutshell, is why talks aren’t going anywhere. The White House has a plan on the table, which includes $1.6 trillion in new revenue, relying largely on higher rates on income above $250,000. Congressional Republicans, by their own admission, have no plan….
For those who take arithmetic seriously, the GOP approach borders on laughable….
CNN: Mitt Romney supporter Kid Rock said on Sunday that he told President Obama there are “no hard feelings” over his re-election victory. In an interview with CNN, the rock singer said he spoke with the President on Sunday at the Kennedy Center Honors event. (Video at link)
No hard feelings? Aw, that’s nice of him.
Loved what the President said to him when they met: “I’m still here.”
Kathleen Geier (Washington Monthly): One of the more surprising voting trends in American politics over the past two decades is the dramatic shift of Asian Americans toward the Democratic Party. Only 31% of the Asian American electorate voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, but 73% supported Barack Obama in 2012. What accounts for this change? Working with data from the National Asian American Survey, two political scientists have some answers.
The professors reject a variety of explanations that have recently been offered. No, it’s apparently not because, as David Brooks proposed, Asian American voters are less individualistic or less antagonistic toward government than are other Americans …. Rather, there are are cluster of “push and pull” factors …. Some of the pull factors: Asian Americans like President Obama’s policies on health care, education, and the Iraq War…..
As for the “push factors”: well, the Republican’s anti-immigrant bias and its alliance with the Christian right are not doing them any favors so far as Asian Americans are concerned….
Business Insider: One month before Election Day, David Paleologos threw himself into the poll-heavy discussion of the 2012 campaign with a bold prediction.
Paleologos, the director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said that he would no longer poll three key swing states — North Carolina, Virginia and Florida — because he was certain Republican Mitt Romney would win them.
That prediction, obviously, turned out to be horribly wrong. Romney won North Carolina, but Romney lost Virginia by nearly 4 points — and one of the biggest surprises of the election came when President Barack Obama won Florida.
…. Paleologos said that Suffolk would re-evaluate its likely voter screen ….
ABC: When Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the Constitution won’t wait …. The iron beams are in place jutting out over Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House.They will become the roof of the presidential reviewing stand for the second Obama inaugural next month.
But the traditional parade with its bands and floats will not march on January 20th, the day the Constitution requires the President to be sworn in. That falls on a Sunday this time so by tradition there will only be a small Sunday ceremony for the oath-taking at noon.
…. President Obama will also have to take the oath twice: At noon Jan. 20 as the Constitution requires, and again Monday at the US Capitol with the whole world watching.