Headlines today: Obama plays hardball with GOP on fiscal cliff (which then goes to article with a less caustic headline: First Thoughts: A laughing matter?)
My response: please GOP, just hit it right back up the middle. If President Obama and his side want to play hardball, then go for it. As much as I don't want to see the economy rocked by stupid actions by the Congress, or lack of action (either one), I refuse to accept that the congress has to accept Obama's (and/or the Democrats in general) "take or leave it" approach.
He seems bound and determined to test the GOP on their resolve. He knows that they don't like the idea of raising taxes, especially not given the pledge that many of the GOP signed. He knows that if they do nothing they will, be default, raise taxes on everyone -- not just the wealthy, but everyone. He seems to assume he can then paint them as the party of taxing the middle class, even though it should be assumed that the congress will come right back in the spring and retroactively 'fix" the problems that they seem determined to push off into the future. He seems confident that if that all happens he'll get to raise rates on the wealthy and that the GOP will just *have* to give in and cut taxes on the middle class so they don't wreck the economy.
OK, most of that might be safe assumptions, but... what the President and his party and leadership have failed to do is show, well, anywhere that they are really willing to cut back on the spending.
As has been said, the country doesn't so much have a revenue problem -- despite the class warfare speachifying that the Democrats have taken to -- as the country has a spending problem. The Democrats don't want to cut spending. While I don't particularly want to cut spending in some key areas, I recognize that there is just too darned much spending going on, and too much that was spent on "shovel ready jobs" that were far from being shovel ready and which really did nothing to truly help the country out, either by improving infrastructure, or by putting people to work and thereby really pumping money into the economy in general.
So, please, GOP in Congress, just run right on over the cliff. Hit the fastball right back up the middle and take advantage of the situation to knock the Democrats back on their kiester in the next election (the mid-term cycle). It'll require a good sales job, it may wind up costing a supposed tax-increase on the wealthy, and may wind up playing chicken with the middle class tax cuts until late next year, but in the interim it would mandate the draconian spending cuts that need to happen and likely never will if we continue to allow the Democrats to keep kicking the can down the street until later in the game.