Fiscal Cliff

Obama Speaks After House Passes Fiscal Cliff Bill: "Very Open to Compromise," Can't Just Cut Spending, Not Having Debt Ceiling Debate Again

Can kicking a popular sport in DC


late night talk

President Obama spoke tonight after the House passed a fiscal cliff deal previously passed by the Senate. Obama boasted the bill would raise taxes on the "wealthiest 2 percent."

Saying he was "very open to compromise," the president nevertheless said he would not have another debt ceiling debate with this Congress (though with this session of Congress almost over, taken literally the president's pronouncement is insignificant). Obama's expressed his wish not to repeat the 2011 debate over the debt ceiling (how much money Congress authorizes the U.S. government to borrow) before.

The fiscal cliff deal passed tonight cancels virtually all the reductions in spending growth meant to kick in when the fiscal cliff was reached. As economist Bob Murphy noted last week, the fiscal cliff consisted of about 98 percent tax hikes and 2 percent spending reductions. Yet the president still insisted "we cannot simply cut our way to prosperity." He needs to read this, desperately.

More on the fiscal cliff

Roll call of tonight's House vote here

NEXT: Obama to Sign Fiscal Cliff Deal

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  1. How much spending was cut?




    3. Purportedly there are only $15B in “spending cuts.” Compare to $1.2T in “spending cuts” from the fiscal cliff sequestration.

      1. Sorry, I know I could easily Google this, but how much of the original $1.2 trillion came from the military.

        I’m not some “cosmo” who easily settles for military cuts at the expense of entitlement and discretionary cuts, but I was definitely dreaming of the day when the Republicans would show good faith by cutting their precious budgetary item.

        1. It was purportedly a 10% cut across the board except for the non-discretionary entitlements.

      2. Purportedly there are only $15B in “spending cuts.” Compare to $1.2T in “spending cuts” from the fiscal cliff sequestration.

        That 1.2Tn was backloaded bullshit that never would have happened.

        According to the CBO (yeah I know GIGO but still) spending would have dropped by $9 billion this year if the ‘fiscal cliff’ austerity actually went into effect. While revenues would have increased by $478 billion.…..utlook.pdf
        Go to Table 1 on page 4 of the pdf.

        1. Note the quotes.

          And frankly, I’m all for upping taxes. In fact, I’ve come to think the quickest way to force America into fiscal realism would be to raise taxes to cover 100% of current spending. When we are all paying 43% more in taxes and no longer putting all the stuff on the credit card (i.e. future taxes plus interest), maybe there would be some political willpower to stop the spending for real.

          1. I think that raising taxes to cover expenditures is a fantasy.

            The dollar’s reserve currency status gives the federal government the ability to expand the money supply via monetizing debt without any significant domestic inflation.

            A fact which few people realized until relatively recently. Remember Cheney saying that deficits don’t matter? Well unfortunately he was right.

            The cat is out of the bag now and there’s no going back. Any increases in revenue will quickly be met with even larger increases in deficit spending.

            The party is only going to end when the dollar is not longer the world’s reserve currency and the debt monetization causes seriously high inflation (100% a year?) at which point political pressure will force the government to live within its means.

            Any amount of fiscal responsibility before that happens will be pointless. Cut the deficit through tax increases one year and new deficit spending will come roaring back the next year or the year after.

            So we might as well keep as much of our money as possible.

            1. Voters always vote to avoid the excruciating pain and cost of fiscal chemotherapy today. They instead convince themselves there will be a magical cure for fiscal cancer sometime between today and tomorrow so they won’t die an excruciating and slow death.

              That’s why we won’t solve the budget and we won’t solve the entitlement crisis that is about to go into overdrive when the boomers start retiring. We’re truly fucked because we live in a democracy with an irresponsible media.

              1. Consumption tax is best tax. The GST really helped change Canada’s political calculus.

                1. I thought the Canadian people hated the GST.

                  1. Canada implemented a GST with continued high income tax. Really it just allows the government another avenue to tax people.

                    A consumption tax is only viable if we get rid of income tax.

                  2. I’m pretty sure that’s his point.

      3. Unemployment was extended without funding and various other goodies were distributed in the bill. The spending “cuts” and tax hike was spent immediately.

  2. Boehner is done. I can’t see any way he retains the speakership.

    1. The Rex Ryan of the House. Total spaz-case, can’t lead worth a crap, but we still employ him for some reason.

      1. I think we need more high-ranking political figures making foot fetish videos.

    2. That was my thought too. I think Cantor gets it.

    3. That would be a very nice positive outcome.

      Maybe Ron Paul could show up and read from a teleprompter just before Boehner loses the vote.

  3. House Speaker John Boehner couldn’t hold back when he spotted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the White House lobby last Friday.
    It was only a few days before the nation would go over the fiscal cliff, no bipartisan agreement was in sight, and Reid had just publicly accused Boehner of running a “dictatorship” in the House and caring more about holding onto his gavel than striking a deal.

    “Go f? yourself,” Boehner sniped as he pointed his finger at Reid, according to multiple sources present.
    Reid, a bit startled, replied: “What are you talking about?”
    Boehner repeated: “Go f? yourself.”

    1. If true, the wisest words ol’ spineless has spoken in a long time.

      1. Harry Reid’s awfulness is just now becoming apparent to Boehner? “Civic service” is a terrible career to get into, especially if you have to deal with people like Reid (and Boehner, for that matter).


      Come on! We haven’t had a decent Congressional brawl for over a hundred fucking years! We’re due for one, I think.

        1. It’s too bad a cane isn’t a common accessory for able-bodied men anymore. But I’ll settle for a good-ole fashion bout of fisticuffs.

    3. That is awesome.

    4. The weeper should have dropped old Hairy with a couple of quick jabs.

    5. That’s some sweet projection on Reid’s part.

      1. Considering how much politicians say, “Because fuck you, that’s why”, I don’t see why any politician should blanch at having another of their kind address them with an obscenity.

    6. I long for the days when this would have been cause for a duel.

  4. It doesn’t really matter what Boehner did, because Obama wasn’t going to accept any real spending cuts.

    The prize goes to the winners, and Obama and Dems won big time in the last election. Fighting to the death usually means you lose big time with some style points.

    The nation doesn’t want spending cuts. And most people don’t make enough to be affected by the new tax hikes. What’s the leverage for anyone who’s serious about spending cuts?

    1. Fuck it then. We should have just gone cliff-diving. Give me the $1.2T sequestation. Of course, how could Republicans explain cutting off their defense-contractor friends?

      Somehow a Congress that was supposed to address deficit reduction pass a deficit reduction plan that increases the deficit by $4T over the next 10 years. Disgraceful.

      1. how could Republicans explain cutting off their defense-contractor friends?”

        I’ll just stick this here:…..?mobile=nc

        1. From the link:
          “With Millions Still Waiting For Sandy Relief, Republicans Reintroduce Obamacare Repeal”

          Good! Phooey on Sandy relief; buy your own damn insurance.

      2. The 1.2 Tn sequestration was pure bullshit. Spending was slated to be cut by 9bn this year.

        Fuck that. I’ll keep as much of my money as possible, thanx.

        1. But you aren’t really keeping as much of your money as possible, unless you are planning to die before the bills for all the spending come due. Or, more realistically, if you are planning to die before they devalue the currency completely to pay the bills. In the long term “no taxes today” will cost us tomorrow. I’d rather put the responsibility for the debt on current taxpayers who keep voting for these fucktards instead of our children.

          1. The politicians are going to spend until they destroy the value of the dollar regardless of how much or how little of my money they take along the way.

            Have you ever heard of a counterfitter going honest because he’s finally printed enough money or it just becomes to dreary to print more?

            I haven’t. They keep going until some exogenous force stops them. Same with our pols.

            1. Destroying the value of the dollar today is the same as or worse than taking your money away today. Either way you’re going to pay for it, but tomorrow you’re going to pay more for it.

              As a proud cosmotarian, I virulently oppose placing the disproportionate burden of the debt on the poor, which is exactly what future monetary devaluation does. I’ll take my fucking progressive taxation now, thanks.

      3. Give me the $1.2T sequestation

        Of course that $1.2T was over 10 years and virtually none of it was set to start for at least 2 or 3 years from now.

        So had the sequestration happened, it would have cut 1 fucking year’s worth of deficit over 10. 1. Fucking. Year.

        There might be 5 people in both chambers who are serious about making real cuts. The rest simply want to continue with the can kicking as long as they can and figure out who to point their fingers at later.

    2. Anyone who earns wages is hit by the new tax hikes.

      In a civilized country we’d be dragging the Republicans who voted for this behind trucks. Slow, so little kids could ride on their broken bodies like in The Wild Bunch

    3. The prize goes to the winners, and Obama and Dems won big time in the last election.

      Last I checked the Republicans won the House, where spending bills are supposed to originate.

      1. Tar, feathers, rope, stakes, bundles of faggots, bullets, votes…

        Apply as necessary and repeat

      2. They held onto the house (with some losses), lost ground in the senate, and Obama won. Voters rejected the GOP for merely acting libertarian. Most states that benefited from stimulus spending went to Obama in the election.

        I’m not sure what the Republicans could have done. They could stand up as a group against Obamacare it was unpopular. The fiscal cliff debate was only few weeks removed from the Obamamania election, and the nation was hit by the Sandy Hooks tragedy. They had no momentum on their side.

        I dutifully voted against all tax hikes in CA, and voted only for principled Republicans. Things did not go my way. I stopped obsessing over how “true” or “committed” Republicans or certain voters remain to cause a long time ago. Unless limited government is a winning issue across the board, the moderates will flinch.

        1. Yeah but…reform-minded Republicans at the state level have been doing pretty well. RTW is law in Michigan for crying out loud.

          1. They’ve done OK at state level. The last time a Republican made noise in CA was Arnold. Boy, talk about a wasted opportunity.

            1. You think Arnold represented an opportunity? Seriously? Electing him was CA voters letting the mask slip; they want to seem all sophisticated and tolerant, but they really let their true retard out when they voted for a glorified body builder who can barely speak English.

              Arnold was a joke.

  5. Ed you can’t just link us to your C drive.

    1. lol

      The C stands for “cosmotarian”.

      1. It also stands for “too lazy to install Linux”.

    2. have not seen one of those since the early aughts.

      2013 is the new 2003.

      1. It’s the second time in a couple of months that a Reason editor has done it. Don’t know if it was Ed the last time too (but probably was).

    3. NOW WE KNOW HIS DIRECTORY STRUCTURE. Hacking is the next step.

    4. +1. LOL. Though maybe he could just share his entire drive with the whole internet, and we could install Ubuntu over it.

  6. Sooo… objecting everything Obama wants and just going off the cliff would have been a problem why exactly?

    Optics? Obama blaming you for going off the cliff? And this would be different from Obama’s usual behavior how exactly?

    1. Obama might win traction with popular opinion and lead to the House Republicans’ ousting.

      Those are comfy digs. You can’t expect them to give up their lovely offices over principle.

    2. Raising taxes for everyone by a few percentage points would be the obvious answer. To me, that’s worth a 10% across the board spending cut. But I don’t have to run for re-election every two years.

  7. Since practically no politician wants to actually cut spending isn’t it a bit pointless to discuss if higher taxes are worth a spending cut? Also I’m not sure how higher taxes leads to “fiscal realism.” It certainly didn’t in Weimar Germany. Or anywhere else for that matter.

    1. No my point was that forcing taxes to match spending would give taxpayers far more motivation to throw out politicians that don’t want to cut spending. In no way do I “want” higher taxes, but I would prefer significantly higher taxes now to the future monetization of that unpaid-for debt anyday of the week. Assuming that’s an either-or situation, which of course, it isn’t.

      1. Assuming that’s an either-or situation, which of course, it isn’t

        This I don’t get. This attitude would make sense if there was some evidence that the politicians actually want to cut spending. Otherwise you end up getting high taxes and spending.

        forcing taxes to match spending would give taxpayers far more motivation to throw out politicians that don’t want to cut spending

        I don’t think it usually works out that way. I think the more logical hope is that high taxes would worsen the economy which in turn would make the fiscal crisis more acute which would lead to either a libertarian revolution or (more likely) an authoritian one. After a few years (decades?) of the dictatorship it would be overthrown and the people would be suspicious of the state afterwards. Or end up like Greece or Spain. Or end up like China were the Commies had to liberalize some of its laws.

        1. I bet you support forcing spending to match tax revenues? Which is the same thing, just presented differently. The notion that any democratic majority would accept an average 43% increase in taxes to match current spending (and more if we’re talking additional spending) would be unbelievable. We’d see Democrats and Republicans trampling each other underfoot in the race to cut spending as much as possible so they wouldn’t have to face broke voters. If they don’t perhaps Libertarians would finally start becoming a viable electoral option.

  8. The fiscal cliff deal passed tonight cancels virtually all the reductions in spending growth meant to kick in when the fiscal cliff was reached.

    So let me get this straight.

    Reaching the fiscal cliff would not have kicked in reductions in spending, but spending growth?



        Yep. There is just NO WAY that we could go back to 2006 federal spending levels without forcing every American but the most wealthy to live in abject poverty.

        You don’t want abject poverty, do you?

        1. Yep. There is just NO WAY that we could go back to 2006 federal spending levels without forcing every American but the most wealthy to live in abject poverty.

          We could go back to 2004 per capita spending levels and come out with a surplus.

  9. Please fix the link in the phrase “He needs to read this”. Currently, it is a link to a file on the Reason hard drive, not a URL that we can read.

    1. Thanks, it should be fixed now!

  10. Taxes are irrelevant. Just print, baby, print.

  11. This should make it apparent how retarded all the Republicans who voted against “Plan B” actually were.

    Who seriously believes this is a better deal?

    By not voting for a tax cut on people under $1M they paved the way for a tax increase on everyone over $400K. And no spending cuts.

    If the Republicans can’t even pass their own plan and challange the D’s to an actual fight then the future is one of “bipartisan” legislation like this than is much further left than most of the anti-tax Republicans actually want. Learn some fucking tactics. Don’t pick fights you can’t win (i.e. pretending that you could ever get a deal with no tax increases on anyone).

    1. No, the retard was from the 85 Rs and virtually all the Ds in the House who made the $400K deal possible. The rest of them voted against any tax increase compared to the rates in 2012.

      It’s not retarded to vote against raising taxes.

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