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…..