With twenty-five days to go until the fiscal cliff and a November jobs report showing that unemployment decreased to 7.7 percent (ABC), House Speaker John Boehner has conceded that the wealthy will pay more in taxes (CNN) and some Republicans are falling in line behind him (CBS).
Boehner has requested that he and President Obama negotiate (NYT) without the presence of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate leaders, and said he will continue to try to find a way to increase revenue without raising tax rates, while President Obama has persisted in saying that rates must go up (CNN) on the top 2 percent of earners.
A Quinnipiac poll released Thursday shows that 65 percent of voters support raising taxes on those earning over $250,000 per year, including 53 percent of Republican voters, reports Politico. Thirty-one percent of all voters and 41 percent of Republican voters oppose the idea. The same poll shows that Obama’s approval rating is currently the highest it’s been since the summer of 2009, “with contentious negotiations over the upcoming ‘fiscal cliff’ so far not dampening his support,” reports the Huffington Post.
Doyle McManus writes in the LA Times that although it’s looking more likely that the fiscal cliff will come to pass, “it may not be as alarming as it sounds.”
In an op-ed for the Washington Post,Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) proposes a plan that he says “would produce $4.5 trillion in fiscal reforms and replace sequestration.” In Politico, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal lays out structural reforms that he says should come in tandem with solving the fiscal cliff, including a federal balanced budget amendment.
It’s not too hard to see the outlines of a grand bargain. A deal that raises $1.2 trillion in revenue — halfway between Obama and Republicans, cuts $400-500 from Medicare between lower drug prices and means-testing, and adopts chained CPI for budget and benefit calculations — without cutting discretionary spending anymore — could get the job done.
–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri