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.

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. 



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