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November 30th, 2012
08:06 PM ET

Politicians playing word games as fiscal cliff talks stall... where are the adults in Washington?

OutFront tonight - Washington, stop playing battleship.

You know, the kids game where you destroy your enemy's ships while protecting your own? Because this fiscal cliff isn't child's play, it's 33 days away, and after a presidential visit to a toy factory today, the everyone was sounding a little childish, with phrases "naughty and nice list" and "rope-a-dope" being tossed around on both sides.

To be fair, who doesn't want to be a kid again? But Washington, you've got real work to do. And what are we hearing? Well as Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions says, flim-flam. That's right, flim-flam. Again with the kiddy euphemisms! 

Now, we told you last night about how Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner hopscotched his way down Pennsylvania Avenue to bring the president's proposal from the White House to Capitol Hill. And instead of offering something that hinted at compromise, his special delivery jumped to the extreme.

The plan raises $1.6 trillion in higher tax rates on families making more than $250,000, closed loopholes, limited deductions, and increased estate, capital gains, and dividend taxes.

It also spends roughly another $180 billion on another stimulus package of $50 billion, an extension of unemployment insurance benefits, and a extension of the payroll tax plan. All that, in exchange for $400 billion in Medicare and other entitlement cuts.

John Boehner was less than thrilled today. But the best response to a nonstarter offer like the president's is to put a real, thoughtful, compromised deal on the table.

Remember, the president promised during the campaign that he would cut $2.50 in spending for every $1 raised in additional revenue. With that ratio applied to his offer, you'd need $4 trillion in spending cuts to match the $1.6 trillion in additional revenue.

But he only offered $400 billion. That's $3.6 billion short, before you even get to the additional spending proposed.

CLICK TO SEE ACCOMPANYING PANEL DISCUSSION FEATURING THE WALL STREET JOURNAL'S STEVEN MOORE AND ETHAN POLLACK WITH THE ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE


Filed under: Congress • Deconstruct • Economy • Fiscal Cliff • Politics
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