When looking at the past few negotiations between President Obama and the Republican-led House of Representatives, most Democrats will tell you that their man came out getting the worst part of the deal.
Think back two years ago when the Bush-era tax cuts were initially designed to expire. President Obama wanted to extend those tax cuts only to people making less than $250,000, while the Republicans argued the economy was still too fragile to raise taxes on everyone making more than that threshold. Of course, the GOP has steadfastly refused to support virtually any tax increases at any time. At the end of 2010, Obama and the Dems backed down to that Republican call, which ended up being an $858 billion hit to the deficit over two years time (Mother Jones' David Corn has a contrarian view about the idea that Obama 'capitulated,' which he wrote about in November).
You didn't hear much about how extending the Bush tax cuts added to the deficit, but you sure are hearing about that today, with Republicans angrily denouncing the legislation alleviating the so-called fiscal cliff that will add $4 trillion to the deficit compared with current law.
According to The Hill:
The extension of lower tax rates for the bulk of the nation's taxpayers and the addition of a patch to the Alternative Minimum Tax would add roughly $3.6 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, the CBO said. Other individual, business and energy tax extenders would add another $76 billion. The extension of unemployment benefits would cost roughly $30 billion, and the so-called "doc fix" would tally another $25 billion through fiscal 2022.
The CBO says the budget agreement will lead to an overall increase in spending of about $330 billion over 10 years.
While some conservatives are blasting House Republicans for allegedly "getting rolled" in negotiations with the president, what do the the two most famous men in America — when it comes to arguing that Washington must come together on a fiscal deal — have to say about the soon-to-be-signed legislation?
We're talking about Simpson-Bowles. That would be former Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former Bill Clinton chief-of-staff Erskine Bowles, who led a bipartisan debt-reduction committee whose final report was never acted upon in 2010.