The Republicans' "Doomsday" Fiscal Cliff Plan Sounds Brilliant

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 3 2012 9:43 AM

The Republicans' "Doomsday" Fiscal Cliff Plan Sounds Brilliant

Really, it does. Jon Karl gets crisp details of a punt-plan I've been hearing a little about.

House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the president nothing more – no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.
Advertisement

The beauty part of this: Democrats themselves have been laying some of the cement. On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic leaders held a mostly pointless press conference on the Hill to reiterate that the Republicans were really nasty. "We could give the American people a Christmas gift," said Pelosi, if the House pushed through the middle-class-only* tax extension that the Democratic Senate passed this summer. It sounded like fantasy, because revenue bills have to originate in the House, and why would Republicans adapt a bill passed by the people who keep blocking their budgets? Ah -- but what if Republicans shrugged, said "okay, enough already," and gave up fighting this incredibly popular tax hike in order to fight on higher ground?

Imagine you're pushing on a door with all your might, because someone's blocking it. You throw your shoulder against the door, again and again, hitting a solid surface. Then you throw in again, but your adversary has backed away from the door. You tumble through the threshold at high speed and lose your footing. That's sort of the Republican aspiration here.

*Yes, it's a marginal tax rate cut, not "for the middle class," but let's not get bogged down in accuracies.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.