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Michael Gerson: Is President Obama bargaining in good faith, or does he want a failure?

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  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:32 p.m.

    "Obama's initial budget offer was a calculated insult, involving, by some accounts, an actual spending increase. He has demanded unlimited debt-ceiling increases — a constitutional innovation of Mohamed Morsi-like ambition. And Obama has been in full, anti-Republican campaign mode around the country, as if the election had never ended."
    There you go folks! Obama's true ambitions have never been said better!

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:53 p.m.

    What the public is missing due to the pathetically poor job by journalists:

    Pres. Obama produced a fairly detailed budget, multi-paged proposal, addressing revenue and budget cuts.

    The Republicans countered with a 2 page proposal, including ONE SENTENCE regarding revenue and VERY FEW DETAILS, even LESS DETAIL on budget cuts than Pres. Obama's proposal. Not a serious or good faith effort by any measure.

    The House Republicans, who are supposed to write legislation are waiting for Obama to do their job for them. They are trying to avoid taking a political hit from what they want, expecting Obama to craft a bill cutting Medicare so they can then say, we didn't cut Medicare, Pres. Obama did. They expect Pres. Obama to negotiate with himself.

    What a joke.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:39 p.m.

    @Truthseeker: Republicans know it's a waste of time to write detailed proposals without some idea of what a deal would look like. They passed a budget that the Senate and President refused to even consider. So what's wrong with negotiating a deal before putting stuff on paper that will go nowhere?

    Republicans need to offer comprehensive tax and entitlement reform. We can't have one without the other. Obama seems to care only about political victories with no regard for doing the right thing for the country. If he was as smart as people say he is he would take on entitlement reform thus doing the right thing, AND blame it on the Republicans, thus acheiving political victory.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:13 p.m.

    re:InvisibleHand
    " So what's wrong with negotiating a deal before putting stuff on paper?"

    Is that what Obama should've done too? Made some vague recommendations?

    "Obama’s plan is detailed and complex. To raise revenues, families making over $250,000 a year would pay more, but he also has an extensive list of tax breaks he would eliminate. They can be arcane. For example:

    • Repeal last-in, first-out (LIFO) method of accounting for inventories
    • Determine the foreign tax credit on a pooling basis
    • Repeal lower-of-cost-or-market inventory accounting method
    • Eliminate special treatment of carried interest

    On the spending side, the president proposes $580 billion in cuts to a number of programs that range from agricultural subsidies to rental assistance to airport construction. In 2011, Obama proposed some $320 billion in health program cuts. The federal government would pay less to drug makers and nursing homes. In the long run, many states would shoulder a larger share of Medicaid costs."
    (politifact)

    House Republicans need to do their job. Put forth a serious proposal with some specificity. Obama did. Obama compromised with Republicans in 2010, extended all tax cuts, going against his party.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:22 p.m.

    re:VST

    Obama's budget was never voted on. Senate Republican Jeff Sessions took Obama's 2000 page budget, turned it into a 56 page bill, a mere shell (without details or specifics) and put it up for a vote.

    Senate Democrat Kent Conrad of So. Dakota explained the vote:

    “I think it’s readily apparent there is a big difference between the president’s budget, which I hold in my hands, and what Sen. Sessions has presented as being the president’s budget. This is not the president’s budget. So, of course, we’re not going to support it. It’s not what the president proposed.”

    To sum it up: another example of pure political games by the GOP.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 11:00 p.m.

    BO WANTS us to go over the cliff, he WANTS the talks to fail. He sees that as the easiest way for the dems to retake the house. Dems in control of the house is more important to him than the good of the country.

    Truthseeker,
    Medicaid was mandated by congress; why should the states pay for it? the SCOTUS said medicaid expansion was something the states could opt out of, regardless of what politomislead says.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 4:57 a.m.

    Obama has made essentially only one non-negotiable point of a slightly higher tax rate for the rich. Every thing else is on the table. All the Republicans can do is talk about how to stick it to everyone else and how to protect the rich. I don't know how much more obvious you can get about who they serve, and it isn't the vast majority of the people or the country.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 12, 2012 6:03 a.m.

    "He has demanded unlimited debt-ceiling increases — a constitutional innovation of Mohamed Morsi-like ambition."

    Yes Mountanman. Unlimited debt-ceiling increases. How ambitious.

    Were you aware that this idea was introduced in the Senate last year by Mitch McConnell?

    As far as budget talks, Yes, the dems want to raise the tax rates.
    They have put out specifics on what they want.

    Conversely, the GOP wants spending cuts. However, what are those cuts? We have no idea.
    Just like during the presidential election process, the GOP has yet to define where they want to make cuts.

    Cmon GOP. Where are your plans. What cuts do you propose. Lets SEE IT. NEGOTIATE.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 12, 2012 7:32 a.m.

    Joe, there you go again, playing loose with the facts. $800 billion in spending cuts and closing tax loopholes have been on the negotiation table from the Republicans for weeks. Obama rejected them. Can you name ONE entitlement spending cut Obama has offered?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 12, 2012 7:48 a.m.

    "Joe, there you go again, playing loose with the facts. $800 billion in spending cuts and closing tax loopholes have been on the negotiation table from the Republicans for weeks."

    My apologies, if what you say are true.

    But, even with a quick look, I cannot find SPECIFICALLY, what spending cuts and loopholes the GOP is proposing to cut.

    I am not talking about someone saying "we propose spending cuts of $XXX billion dollars"

    I am talking about specifics. "we propose cutting Medicare by XX dollars. We will close (Specific) tax loophole which will raise XX dollars.

    If that plan is there, can you point me to it?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 12, 2012 8:12 a.m.

    The proposal from the Republicans was to NEGOTIATE where those cuts would actually happen and which loopholes would be closed. Obama has refused to negotiate anything on spending cuts. Won't even discuss it! Negotiations only happen when two or more people give and take on a specific proposal(s) or idea(s). So far nothing on cuts from Obama, only tax increases. Draw your own conclusions.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    Hey JoeBlow, by his words, your friend Mountanman confirms that the Republicans have no plan. Liek McConnell doing a filibuster on his own bill, the GOP is just playing games. And you know what? Polls show that the American public is onto their games. The only question is will they remember in the Fall of 2014.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 12, 2012 8:58 a.m.

    @ Esquire. Suggestion for you; read Mr. Gerson's letter. Disagree with him (or myself) if you will but get the facts first.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    Esquire,
    a SLIGHTLY higher tax rate? he is talking a 460 basis point increase which is a 13% increase in taxes, since 4.6 is 13% of 35.

    If 13% is only a slight increase, what do you consider a large increase? How much is enough to satisfy libs?

    How much of other people's money do you want to confiscate? Are you EVER satisfied?

    When you kill the horse that pulls the cart will you still say he is not doing his share?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 9:55 a.m.

    ‘Michael Gerson: Is President Obama bargaining in good faith, or does he want a failure?’

    ============

    "I Hope HE fails! There, I said it!" ~ Republican radio hack, Rush Limbaugh

    "The single most important thing we [the GOP] want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." ~ GOP Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

    Seems to me that the only one's hoping and praying for America's failure seem to be promonant Republicans.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 12, 2012 9:56 a.m.

    "How much of other people's money do you want to confiscate?"

    As much as it takes to run the programs that our leaders enact.

    Want to cut taxes? Great. So do I. First cut the spending that eats up the taxes.

    Want to go to war? Raise taxes or cut spending to pay for it.

    I see the GOP constantly cutting tax rates. Have you seen them cut spending?

    You know, when they control the govt. What spending do they cut when they are in power to do it?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 10:13 a.m.

    Republican are only serving the wealthy, and grover's ego.
    What is pathetic is the same few neocon rabid radio fans repeating the same empty rhetoric day after day.
    Bumper sticker solutions to complex problems for simpletons is not going to save the nation from the republican
    plan to create a plutocracy, then we can all eat cake, from China.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    I'm not saying it's never happened, but will someone enlighten me when the last time was that the Deseret News published an op-ed by someone even slightly left of center. It's always Gergen or Krauthammer or someone on varying levels of the right. Might be nice to see a bit of diversity of thought somewhere besides in the comments section.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 11:45 a.m.

    Obama's "budget" is revealing. Truthseeker told us that the Senate rejected a "Republican" summary of Obama's budget. Where is the "Democrat" summary? If they believed in Obama's budget, why didn't the Democrats write a bill that included all of his "points" and then present that bill to the Senate? The Democrats have control. They could pass Obama's "budget" without help from any Republican. Why don't they do that?

    The answer is simple. They know that promoting Obama's "budget" is political suicide. They know that if they vote for Obama's "principles" that their budget vote will cost them their next election.

    They are cowards for not telling Obama that he knows nothing about running a lemonade stand, much less being the CEO of the United States.

    Obama goal is to "change" America into his version of a 3rd rate nation. Those who believe in him reject everything that made America an outstanding nation. They want to go back to pre-revolutionary days. They want a "king" to bully them with outrageous taxes so that he can buy votes from his "subjects".

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    "a constitutional innovation of Mohamed Morsi-like ambition."

    That's just ridiculous. An unlimited debt ceiling means absolutely nothing when Congress still has to vote to authorize any spending. What is nonsense is our current system where Congress can authorize spending like with this years' budget and then not raise the debt ceiling to cover the spending they just allowed. How does that make any sense?

    I usually like Michael Gerson's writing, but this one is just completely off base.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Dec. 12, 2012 12:47 p.m.

    Obama wants failure. Just look at what he is doing.

    The Republicans are willing to do what he asked for in 2011, now he wants something different. Obama originally asked for cutting loopholes and $800 billion in new revenue.

    Now, Obama wants $1.6 Trillion in new revenue and wants to get it by raising rates and not cutting loopholes.

    Meanwhile, to show how important the fiscal cliff is to him, Obama schedules a 20 day Hawaii vacation from December 17th to January 6th. If the fiscal cliff was so important to him, why go on vacation for over 2 weeks during the critical crunch time?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 2:04 p.m.

    Redshirt1701
    Deep Space 9, Ut

    Obama wants failure.
    [Ya, Suuree he does...haha, snicker, sniker.]

    The Republicans are willing to do what he asked for in 2011, now he wants something different. Obama originally asked for cutting loopholes and $800 billion in new revenue.
    [Republicans also LOST seats. Whatever doesn't get passed now in this Congress, has an even lesser chance in the next even Lesser Republican Congress, AFTER going over the cliff to be blamed on Republicans. The President clearly has the upperhand.]

    Now, Obama wants $1.6 Trillion in new revenue and wants to get it by raising rates and not cutting loopholes.
    [No entirely true. new revenue is needed - has been for 12 years now, and he has a list of loopholes needing to be closed. Mitt Romney had perfect chance to name ONE, and blew-it on National TV.].

    Meanwhile, to show how important the fiscal cliff is to him, Obama schedules a 20 day Hawaii vacation from December 17th to January 6th. If the fiscal cliff was so important to him, why go on vacation for over 2 weeks during the critical crunch time?
    [Why not, he's earned it!]

    Obama - 1
    GOP - 0

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 2:48 p.m.

    LDS lib
    Of COURSE we want BO to fail. When he succeeds the US loses, when he fails the US succeeds.

    Happy Valley Heretic,
    The GOP only serves the rich? That’s why the poor and middle class received a higher percentage decrease in taxes than the wealthy under the bush tax cuts.

    But then you have said 49.2% and 43.7% represent majorities, so you have shown how proficient you are at math and how credible you really are.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Dec. 12, 2012 2:57 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" great point for Obama. PUshing the US over the fiscal cliff. I guess if you want to keep score for Obama's economic failures vs. the GOP, the Obama is winnning!! Yea!!! Obama has more failures than the GOP!!!

    Obama gets a point for taking off when things are critical. He gets 1 point for each downgrade in the US credit rating. He gets a point for each year he allowed deficits to be greater than Bush. How about we give him one more for each year without a budget.

    Yea, Obama has 13 points to the GOP 0. Yea!!! Obama is pushing the US into a hole!!! Lets celebrate. We are so much better than Rome. We can watch CNN, MSNBC, ABC, and CBS to watch Obama play the violin as the economy burns.

    I notice that you don't disagree with me, you just have to put up strawman arguments that have nothing to do with what I posted. Even in your disagreement, you agree that Obama's actions show he is not bargaining in good faith.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 7:36 p.m.

    Failure?

    Check with rush, mitch and jim.

    The trifecta of failure politics.