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December 31, 2012

Deal Struck?

Here is the outline, as I understand it.

Rates on the rich will increase, but only above the $400,000 threshold, rather than the $250,000 threshold so beloved by Obama. But the tax cut for those making less than $400,000 would be permanent -- no sunsetting, no expiration date.

However, some exceptions and deductions will be lost for those making more than $300,000 (jointly) or $250,000 (singly):

Under the proposed accord being hammered out by Biden and McConnell, households earning less than that would largely escape higher income tax bills, though couples earning more than $300,000 a year and individuals earning more than $250,000 would lose part of the value of their exemptions and itemized deductions, under the terms of the emerging agreement.

The estate tax rises from 35 to 40%, but the $5 million exclusion (the first five million isn't subject to tax) remains.

You'll be happy to know we've agreed to keep spending an awful lot of money. Republicans spin this, saying they've gotten a permanent good in exchange for a temporary bad, but we never get around to spending, do we?

Low-income households would also benefit from a five-year extension of credits for college tuition and the working poor first enacted as part of Obama’s stimulus package in 2009. And businesses would see a variety of popular tax breaks extended, including a credit for research and development.


The two sides also appeared to have reached consensus on unemployment benefits, with Republicans acceding to Democratic demands to keep benefits flowing to the long-term unemployed for another year. Medicare payments would not be cut for doctors next year, and the cost of preserving those programs would not be offset with other spending cuts

There are no damn cuts in the agreement. The agreement isn't quite struck yet, as the sides are hung up on what to do about the automatic sequester -- Republicans want to delay that for three months, in order to revisit spending issues later without, I guess, the supercharged atmosphere of the current negotiations. Democrats want the cuts delayed until after the 2014 election (to 2015).

Sabotage? The liberals apparently hate this deal, so Obama larded his 1:30 speech with attacks against them, possibly to provoke them into walking away from a deal he's finding politically tough. (The liberals are incensed that the $250,000 threshold was moved.)

Obama: "If Republicans think I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone … then they've got another thing coming"

Others call the "speech" a "political rally" and "tone-deaf."

Republicans are apparently reacting angrily, but who knows if they'll walk away.

ATM Fix Permanent? The current plan is to fix the ATM -- permanently.

And nearly 30 million households would be protected from paying the costly alternative minimum tax for the first time — either on their 2012 tax returns or at any time in the future. The developing agreement calls for a permanent fix."

Is There Any Hope? Soothsayerwing Plover has an idea:

emember that ROBERT PALMER video with all those hot looking CLONE MODELS behind him?

that's what Boehner should do

Florence + the Machine did a cover, I just learned.

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:28 PM

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