Tuesday marks the beginning the of the lame duck congress, where voters are promised a conciliatory post-election tone. Congress has laid out two objectives: prevent the full blow of the fiscal cliff and then begin to tackle our nation’s debt, which is now more than $16 trillion. However, while many people are saying that Congress has a month and a half before the end of the year, in reality they have only 16 working days on the Congressional calendar before the end of the year. That’s no a lot of time for a government that takes an increasingly long time to get anything done.
Now the president is taking matters into his own hands. President Obama is kicking off his second term with a packed schedule of high profile meetings to discuss the debt. Tuesday he will meet with labor leaders, Wednesday he tackles the business leaders, and Friday Congressional leaders from both sides will attend talks at the White House.
Will we see a repeat of the July, 2011 debt meetings that lasted for weeks and resulted with the President looking bruised? There are hopes for more progress this time with the elections behind us and months ahead of the 2014 midterms. And unlike in 2011 when House Speaker Boehner was fresh off the Tea Party revolt, Boehner might now have more leverage to force compromise within his party.
Both sides have indicated that they may be willing to bend, albeit slightly on their positions when it comes to reaching a deal over the tax hikes and spending cuts, so will this actually happen when push comes to shove or will it be another brutal fight to the finish? Reuters Breakingviews, Rob Cox, joins the discussion during today’s show to discuss how we can get out of this. In his latest column he wrote that raising taxes on people making over $1 million/year may be the only way out of this mess.