Even after several weeks of talks on the looming fiscal cliff, there still seems to be no real resolution as of yet between Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The president wants Bush-era tax breaks to be extended for all but the wealthiest earners, but Republicans have balked at tax hikes of any kind. After a proposal was made this week by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Republicans reacted with astonishment as they viewed the plan as “offering little the Republicans could agree to and was greeted with laughter.”
In the maiden bargaining session, Geithner, the president’s lead negotiator, proposed raising tax revenues by $1.6 trillion, congressional aides confirmed. That figure is in line with what Obama has said is necessary to achieve long-term deficit reduction of $4 trillion over 10 years. The plan also calls for another $50 billion in stimulus spending, as well as $400 million in entitlement spending cuts that would go into place per Republican requests. It seems, however, that the sticking point still resides in the tax raise for the wealthiest American’s.
John Boehner, after his meeting with the Treasury Secretary, said that the meeting had been ‘direct’ but that there was not much coming from it, “First, despite the claims that the president supports a balanced approach, Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts,” Boehner said. “And secondly, no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks.” “It’s very clear what kind of spending cuts need to occur,” he added. “But we have no idea what the White House is willing to do.” In spite of the clarity of what needs to be cut, there has been no word from Republicans what they would recommend cutting, with Boehner stating that “Over the past year and a half I’ve talked to the president about many of them.”
So, then, where do we go from here? There are many who insist that, despite the animosity, that there will be a common ground reached in time for Christmas. Even though the issue will be worked out, there is still the inherent issue of partisanship in Congress, and to see there be such a large amount of butting heads on an issue, for reasons that seem to be mostly party-serving, is rather unnerving. In a less than ringing endorsement, two-thirds of Americans predicted Washington’s elected officials would behave “mostly like spoiled children” rather than responsible adults in the upcoming budget negotiations, according to a CNN poll released Monday. What does it say when our elected officials are being viewed as spoiled children arguing over an issue? Although there is supposed to be gridlock in congress in order for deliberation to be proper, when there is a lack of deliberation due to heavy party ideology the repercussions for the country can be great. How represented are we being really that there is such a large expectation that personal issues will get in the way of political deliberation, especially on such a pressing issue.