The Next Fiscal Cliff

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“Democrats want to preserve the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and add to them what every other advanced country has: a more or less universal guarantee of essential health care. Republicans want to roll all of that back, making room for drastically lower taxes on the wealthy. Yes, it’s essentially a class war.” Paul Krugman, NY Times Jan 3, 2013

“If the Republicans think that I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone, that’s not how it’s going to work.” President Obama Dec 31, 2012

“Democrats say they want to raise as much as $1 trillion in new revenues through tax reform later this year to balance Republican demands to slash mandatory spending.”  The Hill Jan 7, 2013

In other words, the “fiscal cliff” fight isn’t over. It’s just beginning. Senator McConnell and Speak Boehner may think we are done talking about taxes, but the President, his chief cheerleader at the New York Times and Congressional Democrats don’t. McConnell and Boehner may think that the Bush tax cuts have been made permanent for 98% of the American taxpayers, but the President and Congressional Democrats think otherwise. What they can’t do by raising tax rates they will try to do by limiting deductions.

And how serious is the President about reforming entitlement and reducing the growth of discretionary spending? When was the last time we heard a democrat of any stature suggest raising the Social Security retirement age, or reforming Medicare or turning Medicaid over to the states, or slowing the growth of health care, education, welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, kid care, or aid for college students?

And will the House GOP really hold firm and refuse the raise the debt ceiling until Obama and company put serious spending reductions and reforms on the table? If the GOP could not stomach staring down Obama on the tax fight, can we really expect the GOP to stare down Obama on the debt limit? I am not holding my breath.

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

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