December 21st has come and gone and apparently, the world is still standing. While the whole Mayans “end of the world” malarkey (for lack of a better word) did provide a sparse of entertainment and ruckus throughout the country, for those who truly believed it, (in the words of comedic legend, Redd Foxx) “You Big Dummy!”
Hopefully, the mood was lighted and no offense was taken.
Now, let’s talk about what could be life as we use to know it, come January 2013. Yes, we’re talking about the so-called fiscal cliff that has yet to be negotiated upon. The countdown is winding down as the GOP and democrats can’t seem to coincide for the good of the country to advert tax increases on virtually every working American, in turn, leaving many Americans’ nerves revved up, as we all anticipate a decision. We’re talking $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts. At the stake of how things are already fluctuating, not to mention the talk of inflation on milk. So just raise taxes and the price of milk too? Did the world really end?
Back to the topic at hand…
According to the Associated Press, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell states, “There is no single issue blocking an agreement but that the sticking point appears to be willingness, an interest, or courage to close the deal.”
What’s the real issue? We all know that President Obama has been nothing but adamant on the increase of taxes for wealthy Americans, while Speaker John Boehner and republicans will not shake on any tax increase for the rich.
It seemed hopeful that an agreement was drawing near when a proposal allowing a tax increase only on annual income of $1 million, was placed on the table. Boehner soon backed out stating that some of the members of the Republican caucus refused to back his tax measures because they didn’t want to be accused of raising taxes.
Talks of John Boehner’s reelection, has also alluded to reasons as to why a decision has not been made. According to Senator Charles Schumer on ABC’s “This Week” and The Huffington Post, he made mention that he thinks a fiscal cliff deal will come together after January 3rd, when Boehner is safely reelected. “I am hopeful in the new year, after Speaker Boehner is reelected and doesn’t have to worry about those 50 [members of the Tea Party faction] that he will start working in a way like the Senate works, which is Democrats and Republicans together,” claims Schumer.
President Obama took to NBC’s “Meet the Press” stating, “We have been talking to the Republicans ever since the election was over. They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers.
President Obama later adding:
“So far, at least, Congress has not been able to get this stuff done. Not because Democrats in Congress don’t want to go ahead and cooperate, but because I think it’s been very hard for Speaker Boehner and Republican Leader McConnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthiest Americans should go up a little bit, as part of an overall deficit reduction package.”
There has been a mass amount of back and forth on issues not just about the increase, but a slew of other issues, including social security that is impacting this ordeal as well.
Apparently, McConnell reached out to Democrats with a proposal on social security, but was not too enthused by the lack of response he received and implying that Democrats were playing games; calling it political gamesmanship.
According to the Huffington Post, “A Democratic aide said the problem was that McConnell's proposal includes basing Social Security's cost-of-living adjustments on something called a chained CPI, a measure of inflation that grows more slowly than the way Social Security measures inflation now. Democrats point out that the change would effectively cut benefits for seniors, and most oppose it.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid added, "It became clear that they are insisting on chained CPI as part of the deal. And they consider doing any [tax rate] threshold as a concession," the Democratic aide said, referring to the debate over extending lower Bush-era tax rates only for income below a certain level. Democrats want to preserve the lower tax rates only for income under $250,000, while the GOP is pushing for a higher threshold.” –Huffington Post.
Vice President Biden has been elicited by Rep Mitch McConnell, for his aide, immediately after McConnell realized negotiations were deteriorating. McConnell and VP Biden share a history together, from working in the Senate, and both played a significant role in restituting last year’s debt ceiling standoff.
Not much assurance as to what purpose the Vice President will be able to inflict, republican aides feel that VP Biden’s history of prevailing through past moments of crisis, could potentially be a missing link to a resolution.
Time is ticking and frustrations are soaring for both the GOP and democrats, as they ramble around, intensely deliberate to include on ways to unite for the country’s sake as a whole, to fix this atrocity.
More to come….