Theatrics at the cliff edge

 
Speaker of the House John Boehner during a media availability 18 December 2012 Both President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner made combative comments in press conferences on Wednesday

Related Stories

It has become known as the fiscal cliff, but it is more like a mutual suicide pact, agreed in the summer of 2011, in order to force Republicans and Democrats to do a deal to balance the books.

If they don't there will spending cuts so horrendous, tax rises so terrible that no one could allow it to happen. That's the theory anyway.

After all it is not just about the US. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says the negative shock could put both the US and the world back into recession.

But there is a wearily familiar pattern. After some fairly serious negotiations, the parties are back to posturing. Today's vote on the Republican leadership's "Plan B' is largely theatrics.

Start Quote

There are still few days left, and many think a deal will be done, because it has to be done.”

End Quote

The proposal from the Speaker of the House John Boehner does several things.

It amply demonstrates how difficult it will be for him to come to an agreement with the White House. Many conservatives will not vote for it, because it allows for some tax rises for the better off.

It is a flamboyant way of telling the president "see who I'm dealing with?"

If it passes the House, it also means there is a compromise plan in play.

If the Senate kills it or Obama vetoes it, as he says he would, Republicans must hope the Democrats would get the blame for putting the knife into the only existing proposal.

So it is positioning, theatrics, part of the negotiations, not the negotiations themselves. There are still few days left, and many think a deal will be done, because it has to be done.

But fighting on the edge of a cliff is a dangerous business.

 
Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

An ending - and a beginning

Mark Mardell says farewell to his years as North America editor, and introduces his new analysis blog.

Read full article

More on This Story

Related Stories

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 135.

    132.FrTed

    Bob's a race baiter. He is absorbed by race. When you have no logical argument re taxation as a % of GDP or government spending as a % of GDP, you say that those who do disagree with Ofailure because he is black.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 134.

    If Mr Boehner cannot get support for his Plan B from some members of his Republican Party when this close to the edge of the 'fiscal cliff', it doesn't say much about the motives of those members

    They seem to be interested, not in the welfare of the country whose future they hold but more about the few whose income is already substantially more than anyone else

    Lack of integrity or intelligence?

  • Comment number 133.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 132.

    bob (125)

    “You cannot seem to get past the fact your president is a black man …”

    The President is black?

    Few of us outside the USA even notice. Even fewer care.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 131.

    bob (125),

    “the people of the usa just voted and in most states put the same people back in place to do exactly what they were doing before …”

    If more people recognized this truth, they might be better able to seek the compromises needed for success.

    “… you cannot seem to get past the fact your president is a black man …”

    I didn’t see the last election as racially based

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 130.

    129.Chryses

    List of taxes, I, an average Yank, pay:

    City income
    County income
    City property
    County property
    State income
    Federal income
    Social Security
    Medicare
    telephone tax
    cable TV
    Sewer tax
    utilities (gas/electric)
    road tolls
    gasoline
    diesel
    30-40% of cost of every product I purchase is tax w/ sales tax tacked on top

    I spend over 50% of my gross income in tax.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 129.

    Bengalman (124),

    “121.John_From_Dublin

    The problem is not a lack of taxation, it's too much spending.”

    There is an alternative to the “too much spending/too little taxation” debate, & it describes many of what are often described as failures in contemporary societies: a lack of proportionality, shown by the “not giving in” mentality shown by both sides in this political game.

  • Comment number 128.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 127.

    in canada we have a party called the liberals-conservitive-and new democratics the liberals were in power for many years and eventually done such a bad job of governing that we had an election and((poof)) now they have not got hardly any seats left at all that is what you usa voters should have done a little while back to your republicans bob

  • Comment number 126.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 125.

    the people of the usa just voted and in most states put the same people back in place to do exactly what they were doing before ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IT SEEMS you cannot seem to get past the fact your president is a black man CANADIANS believe obama is doing a damn good job overall how about you getting behind your president for a change and see what happens CANADIAN bob

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 124.

    122.sieuarlu

    I live in the State of Ohio. The 2nd largest private employer in Ohio, after Wal-Mart, is Honda. If I were Japanese, should I wring my hands and in a fitfull cry I ask my government why it allows Japanese car manufacturing jobs to be outsourced to the US?

    121.John_From_Dublin

    The problem is not a lack of taxation, it's too much spending.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 123.

    80.FrTed

    I sense you fail to understand the American system of Government. The USA is a UNION of STATES with a Constitution that limits the power of the feds. The POTUS has no authority to tax or to spend money. The people elected Conservatives to run the House i.e. the body w/ authority to tax and spend.

    My duty as an American is to oppose failed ideas and an American tradition to do so.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 122.

    How about protecting American workers by ending the myth that free trade helps everyone.How about no longer exporting jobs, factories, industries, technology often paid to develop in whole or part by American taxpayers.How about taxing American companies for overseas profits.How about quitting WTO, imposing import duties, and subsidizing companies that create jobs in the US.Bankers won't like it.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 121.

    117 MK
    ‘The question Mark and other Obama Syncophants (sic) won't ask. Will Obama hurt all the tax payers just to squeeze a little more out of the rich?’

    Or alternatively – the question MK and the other Rep sycophants won’t ask – ‘will the Republicans hurt all the tax payers just to prevent the payment of a little more by the rich?’ (The answer is clearly yes.)

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 120.

    ref #119 How about ending govt pensions for non essential Fed emloyees including legislators and cutting their salaries in half?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 119.

    117" Will Obama hurt all the tax payers just to squeeze a little more out of the rich?"

    I hope not. I expect the tax rate hikes to do a lot better than "a little more." While he's at it, he can also put an end to pork barrel legislation by vetoing bills that provide massive funding for highways that go nowhere and military hardware even the military doesn't want.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 118.

    100 IF

    “Publius, Pinko, J-i-D, MK, Lucy, Mark, Curt, Walleye, KS, Bienvenue, OldLoader, et al., even Andrea, and Marcus if you're still there,

    A merry and safe Christmas to all of you, and to your families.”

    Right backatcha.

    Or “You betcha” as The Sage of Wasilla once put it ;-)

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 117.

    The question Mark and other Obama Syncophants won't ask. Will Obama hurt all the tax payers just to squeeze a little more out of the rich?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 116.

    Talk about kiddies throwing their toys out of the pram.....


    .....the GOP didn't get to play the games it wanted to play (Obama won the election) so they ignore the overwhelming will of the electorate & decide to throw a strop instead.....

    ....listen up GOP - the good people of the US deserve better form you.....

    ....you are on the road to oblivion if you keep acting childishly.....

 

Page 7 of 13

 

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.