Ramesh is being too kind to the Republican leadership. He is correct that current, supposedly temporary tax rates are scheduled to “expire” and older, supposedly permanent rates are scheduled to resume – which is, in itself, an absurd proposition that exemplifies the dysfunction of American government. He then adds:
If letting part of a scheduled tax increase take effect counts as Republicans’ “giving in” on taxes, why doesn’t letting a scheduled reduction in projected spending take effect count as Democrats’ giving a little on spending?
Because, thanks to the Republicans, most of the “reduction” in “projected” spending (another absurd proposition) isn’t about anything Democrats care about. As John Hinderaker writes:
Sure, on this scenario the sequestration cuts remain; but they are tilted heavily toward defense, as a result of the last lousy deal the Republicans negotiated.
Exactly. Back when they were flush from their 2010 victory and were in a position of relative strength, the Republican Party held the debt ceiling hostage in order to extract an alleged seven billion in budget cuts – or about what the government borrows in a day and a half (and which, by the time the final accounting was done, all too predictably turned into a budget increase of $10 billion anyway) – plus a threat of mandatory spending cuts that impact Democrat enthusiasms not a whit, and which they scheduled to kick in on the same day as the Bush tax cuts expire, ensuring that Obama & Co can conveniently blur the two and blame everything on the GOP.
With negotiating skills like these, why not just go to the Bahamas and work on your tan?
PS Notwithstanding Ramesh’s technical characterization of what’s happening, it’s utterly ridiculous that an advanced society cannot say what its tax rates will be in 48 hours’ time.