Commenting on the state of the fiscal cliff negotiations, Ezra Klein writes:
The White House wants a deal. Administration officials want one because they think passing more stimulus and reducing the deficit is important, and they want one because they think the scheduled austerity would be devastating to the economy. They want one because a budget deal is a necessary precursor to moving on to other priorities like immigration reform, and they want one because a big budget deal is seen as a key element of the president’s legacy.
The White House is firmer on its red lines in this deal than I can remember in any other negotiation. Administration officials don’t want a deal so badly that they’ll accept one that doesn’t raise tax rates, or that leaves another debt-ceiling crisis around the corner.
This is why more and more Republicans are beginning to realize that just giving President Obama what he wants on rates, and then going home, could be the best possible fiscal cliff outcome. Such a move would: 1) deny Obama more stimulus spending; 2) deny Obama the ability to move on to amnesty; 3) deny Obama a ‘grand bargain’ for his legacy; and 4) preserve conservative leverage over spending by not raising the debt ceiling.
Obama spent the entire campaign saying all he wanted was for the rich to pay a little more by returning to the Clinton rates. He could never refuse to sign such a bill if House Republicans passed one. Plus, it would be a huge conservative victory of 98 percent of the Bush tax rates were made permanent. How could anything Boehner might get out of Obama be any better?