Learned Behavior: Obama’s Backtrack on Tax Rates, Debt Limit Empowered Republicans

By: Wednesday December 19, 2012 2:10 pm

The White House announced they would veto “Plan B,” John Boehner’s gambit to pass a bill extending the Bush-era tax rtes for all earners on the first $1 million of income. And Nancy Pelosi said that Boehner had better have 218 votes for such a bill, since House Democrats won’t provide any. Of course, Boehner [...]


Means Testing Emerges as a Social Insurance Pill Democrats Could Swallow

By: Friday December 14, 2012 4:34 pm

It certainly looked yesterday as if the White House had dropped any notion of using an increase in the Medicare eligibility age as a bargaining chip in future negotiations on a grand bargain. While the White House has not ruled out increasing the age, some of its leading allies did, and Dick Durbin went so far as to say this was “no longer one of the items being considered by the White House.” But the Press

Corporate Tax Reform Dropped Into Fiscal Slope Negotiations

By: Wednesday December 12, 2012 8:21 am

I think the White House added the corporate tax piece into the negotiations so that they could get business groups to pressure Boehner on the other points, especially raising individual tax rates. John Engler of the Business Roundtable dutifully carried that out yesterday.

450,000 Seniors Would Lose Coverage Under Medicare Eligibility Age Increase

By: Wednesday December 12, 2012 7:00 am

The ferocious pushback on a trial balloon offer to raise the Medicare eligibility age continues, now at a very high level.

Medicare Eligibility Age Increase Rejected By Obama Allies

By: Monday December 10, 2012 6:35 am

Staffers in this White House in particular float trial balloons on a continual basis on virtually every issue of importance to gauge public response, and the whole point of that exercise is to actually respond to it rather than not take it seriously. And if that’s the case, and the eligibility age conversation represented a trial balloon, I think we can say it’s been effectively and efficiently popped. Because over the weekend, Dick Durbin, perhaps the closest US Senator to the White House, criticized the idea.

Fiscal Slope: Time to Go to Conference on Taxes?

By: Saturday December 1, 2012 11:27 am

The advantages of going to conference committee include the fact that the finished product returning becomes non-amendable (though it can still be filibustered in the Senate). You can fast-track the conference report onto the floor without going through the committee process. And most important to me, you can provide some transparency in these negotiations that has been lacking. Conference committees are often pro forma processes, with the real work going on behind the scenes, but members of the conference committee still have to vote on any changes, in public view.

A conference committee will at least create a forum for the debate in public rather than in cloistered back rooms.

White House Makes Aggressive Opening Bid in Fiscal Slope Negotiations

By: Thursday November 29, 2012 4:48 pm

In the context of doing a deficit reduction deal at all, this is an extremely strong bid that Tim Geithner delivered to John Boehner today. Now we know why Boehner whined and cried all afternoon.

Let’s walk through it.

Tim Geithner’s Lead Negotiating Position on Fiscal Slope Should Cause Concern

By: Tuesday November 27, 2012 6:08 pm

The White House absolutely wants the Treasury Secretary to be deeply involved with budget issues. But we know this because they’ve already designated current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the lead negotiating role on the fiscal slope. So while Lew may have the resume, Geithner already has the job, and he has indicated he will not step down until the negotiation gets resolved somehow.

The Next Grand Bargain Negotiations Will Begin January 1

By: Friday October 19, 2012 6:00 am

I know there’s a lot of outside pressure on Congress to reach a wide-reaching agreement in the lame duck session on taxes, federal spending and social insurance programs, one that will trade the expiring tax and spending measures for the long-awaited “balanced solution.” The truth is that nothing’s going to happen in the lame duck. That’s the meaning of Barack Obama’s pledge to veto anything in that lame duck that doesn’t allow tax cuts on the top marginal rates to expire. It doesn’t mean that January 1 represents the end of the discussion, however; it represents the beginning.

The Dividing Line Between the Presidential Candidates on Social Insurance Really Falls on Medicaid

By: Monday October 15, 2012 3:30 pm

Throughout the election campaign, when the two competitors talk about social insurance programs, they usually confine it to Social Security and Medicare, and really just Medicare. And it’s true that the Romney-Ryan plan for a voucher program instead of traditional Medicare would lead to higher premiums for most seniors.

But the planned growth rates for Medicare laid out by the Obama and Romney campaigns are actually the same: GDP + 0.5%. Both sides take different approaches to get there.

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