THE TRULY GRAND BARGAIN
NEW YORK TIMES
…A budget stalemate on these terms will confirm every bad Republican stereotype. Republicans will be raising middle-class taxes in order to serve the rich — shafting Sam’s Club to benefit the country club. If Republicans do this, they might as well get Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments printed on T-shirts and wear them for the rest of their lives. So Republicans have to realize that they are going to cave on tax rates. The only question is what they get in return. What they should demand is this: That the year 2013 will be spent putting together a pro-growth tax and entitlement reform package that will put this country on a sound financial footing through 2040.
FROM ALL SIDES, FISCAL PLANS FALL FAR SHORT OF WHAT’S NEEDED
NEW YORK TIMES
President Obama has put on the table a package that should be commended for its willingness to both increase taxes on the wealthy and at least dent the mushrooming costs of entitlement programs, most importantly Medicare. But “scored” fairly, the Obama plan would contribute about $3 trillion to lower projected deficits, at least $1 trillion short of what’s needed. The Republicans are much further from the mark, having not yet even put forward a formal plan. However, none of the intimations from their leaders suggest that their plan will exceed the White House’s in size. … Both sides appear more interested in reaching an understanding that avoids the cliff than in achieving the full range of necessary reforms.
THE HOUSE MAKES AN ‘OFFER’
NEW YORK TIMES
… Republicans didn’t even bother to assemble their own package of spending cuts and revenue increases; they did a simple copy and paste of a few proposals made extemporaneously at a hearing last year by Erskine Bowles, the Democratic co-chairman of a deficit reduction committee. …Raising the Medicare eligibility age hurts working-class Americans unable to work to 67, and it is likely to increase health care costs. But when you are simply tossing out random ideas, as Republicans seem to be doing, those kinds of long-term implications don’t matter. Monday’s offer may simply be intended to show the most conservative Republicans that their leaders fought before the compromises to come. For everyone else, they show a party unwilling to approach the bargaining with responsibility.
[President Obama] asked Congress to cede its control over the debt limit. And then he undertook a clumsy campaign swing, accusing Republicans of offering a “lump of coal” and a “Scrooge Christmas.” It was a policy joke, wrapped in a taunt, delivered with a puerile touch. …If Obama really wants long-term fiscal stability that will reassure markets and encourage investment and growth, he needs the leverage of Republicans pushing for entitlement reform within budget negotiations. If he merely wants to fund unsustainable federal commitments for a few more years through higher taxes on the wealthy, he will try to steamroll Republicans on rates. So far, he seems to be taking the latter course.