Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Prelude to a catastrophe

By Frank Moraes

(Ed. note: This post was written before the House vote last night. But the deal is still the deal, and it's not great. -- MJWS)

For the record, the Senate Fiscal Cliff deal is worse than indicated the day before yesterday. It doesn't raise capital gains tax rates as high as thought: only up to 20% and only on incomes above $450,000. It does not tax dividends as regular income. The estate tax was not raised as high as it should have been, thanks largely to fucktard Democrats. The sequester will only be delayed for two months; what's the point? Doctors get more money, but the payroll tax holiday is ended. As I wrote yesterday morning, this is very bad. And we get a 9-month farm bill. Nine months?!

It isn't horrible. But again: this is all we get when the Democrats hold all the cards. Just wait for a month or two when the Republicans hold all the cards. What are they going to demand? Burnt human sacrifice? Paul Krugman points out the real demon in this deal:

So why the bad taste in progressives' mouths? It has less to do with where Obama ended up than with how he got there. He kept drawing lines in the sand, then erasing them and retreating to a new position. And his evident desire to have a deal before hitting the essentially innocuous fiscal cliff bodes very badly for the confrontation looming in a few weeks over the debt ceiling.

He goes on to say that if Obama does a good job managing the debt ceiling fight, then this deal will look pretty good in retrospect. But really: how likely is that?

The truth is that the president has shown he was bluffing with all his tough talk about stopping this hostage taking before it becomes a habit. And now the Republicans have talked themselves into believing that Obama was so mean to them in this last negotiation, they will feel entirely justified pushing the debt ceiling to the limit. And because they believe that Obama will fold, this game of chicken will very likely end in government default.

If that happens, the fault lies with the president. We can't blame the Republicans; they are clearly crazy and we have long known that. Obama could have trained them not to play these games. Instead, he trained them to play these games. It seems that he is no more seasoned a politician than he was four years ago. He reminds me of a child crying in the playground because the other boys won't play fair.

I fear this deal is nothing more than a prelude to a catastrophe.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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