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February 20, 2013
Because the sequester is (and is likely to continue to be) very ill-defined in the minds of most Americans, the politics of it will devolve into a popularity contest between the major players. Which gets us to the fact that Obama is at (or close to) his high-water mark in terms of job approval, while Congress sits in political reporter/used car salesman territory.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, theorizing that there’s no way possible way Congress can win the sequester battle against President Obama. The thinking here is is based on three premises: One, that Obama believes the sequester ultimately will not be avoided, because Congress is dysfunctional and if they could have struck a deal on these cuts, there wouldn’t have been a sequester to begin with; two, that effects of the sequestered cuts will be felt by many Americans once they come into effect; and three, that Obama is significantly more popular than Congress. Given these three assumptions, it seems reasonable enough to conclude that if the sequester happens, Congress—and the GOP-led House of Representatives—will be blamed by the American public. It’s not a bad theory, though it’s still quite speculative given the assumptions. More information on the sequester here. source
19:32 // 1 year ago
December 20, 2012
22:55 // 1 year ago
July 9, 2012
We have to continue to grow our economy — we need to grow it from the middle class out. Millionaires and billionaires — they don’t need a tax cut. They’re not struggling in this economy. They’ve done well even as the middle class has shrunk.
Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs • Speaking about the president’s upcoming speech, where he’s expected to push for an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts on those making less than $250,000 — but no extension of the tax cuts on levels above that. (The long-term goal is to make them permanent, as he’s pushed in the past, but this is for one year.) This is likely to make Republicans ticked, because they want the cuts extended for everyone. But if they can’t figure out how to handle this by January 1, the cuts will be cancelled for everyone. What are the odds that this will be dragged out until December 29th?
9:55 // 2 years ago
February 13, 2012

GOP caves on payroll tax cut; 10-month extension set to pass

  • 10 month extension of the payroll tax cut is likely to pass source

» Good news for Democrats:  GOP leadership has indicated that they’ll pass a 10-month extension of the payroll tax without any offsets in spending. Democrats had wanted to balance the tax cut, in part, with higher taxes on the rich; Republicans wanted to do so, in part, with cuts to unemployment benefits. Ultimately, they couldn’t agree, and so it will be passed with no offsets at all. Why is this good news for Democrats? Well, the GOP took a hard-line against the payroll tax cut—which largely benefits the middle-class—last December, making the once-benign policy a partisan issue. Democrats, by and large, were okay passing it sans offsets—the suggestion to pay for it via tax cuts on the rich was more a general effort to increase taxes on the rich—and so the fact that the extension is going to pass is a political and legislative win for Democrats. But the extension expires in ten months—right around the presidential election—so this fight is only over in the short-term.

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16:47 // 2 years ago
January 29, 2012
There is broad agreement on doing the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year … The problem is paying for it. … (Democrats) just don’t want to cut any spending. That is what made it problematic. But we will get it done. We will get it done before the end of February.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell • Emphasizing that the payroll tax cuts that proved a thorn in the GOP’s side back around Christmas will get extended through the new year, no matter how many arms McConnell has to twist. The thing is, though, he’s not the guy who has to do the hard work. It’s Boehner in the House, who pissed off his rightward-leaning members by ignoring their wishes to score a deal. However, even Boehner is confident: “I’m confident that we’ll be able to resolve this fairly quickly,” he said. The tax cuts expire at the end of February, but there’s no word on how they plan to pay for this. source (viafollow)
12:17 // 2 years ago
December 23, 2011
I promise you, the American people, your voices made a difference on this debate. You reminded people in this town what this debate and what all of our debates should be about: It’s about you; it’s about your lives; it’s about your families.
President Obama • Speaking about the debate around the payroll tax cuts, which finally reached his desk today after a solid week of hand-wringing by the House GOP. Here’s the plan from here on out, according to the president: “We’re going to have to roll up our sleeves together, Democrats and Republicans, to make sure that the economy is growing and to make sure that more jobs are created.” Think he’s making headway? source (viafollow)
14:28 // 2 years ago
December 22, 2011
A rare concession: House GOP loses on payroll tax-cut issue
The GOP lost one. The tell-tale signs were everywhere. On a day where John Boehner lost support from the GOP establishment on blocking a payroll tax-cut plan — which mind you, was just for two months, and otherwise would’ve been a big GOP victory because of the Democratic concessions made — the political kayfabe finally gave way to inevitability. Here’s how it went down. (Photo by Gage Skidmore, that guy who takes all the GOP politician photos on Flickr)
cause For months, Republicans were soft on the idea of extending payroll tax cuts into 2012, a key issue for Democrats, because they thought it didn’t stimulate the economy. Eventually, the Senate passed a limited extension, but the House wouldn’t go for it.
reaction For days, House speaker John Boehner faced significant pressure over the House’s stance, and eventually his own party started criticizing the late-December move, which they believed could give the Democrats major leverage in 2012.
result Today, Boehner  gave in, with the House speaker allowing for a voice vote on the issue. “We have fought the good fight,” Boehner said. “Why not do the right thing for the American people even though it’s not exactly what we want?” source
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The GOP lost one. The tell-tale signs were everywhere. On a day where John Boehner lost support from the GOP establishment on blocking a payroll tax-cut plan — which mind you, was just for two months, and otherwise would’ve been a big GOP victory because of the Democratic concessions made — the political kayfabe finally gave way to inevitability. Here’s how it went down. (Photo by Gage Skidmore, that guy who takes all the GOP politician photos on Flickr)

  • cause For months, Republicans were soft on the idea of extending payroll tax cuts into 2012, a key issue for Democrats, because they thought it didn’t stimulate the economy. Eventually, the Senate passed a limited extension, but the House wouldn’t go for it.
  • reaction For days, House speaker John Boehner faced significant pressure over the House’s stance, and eventually his own party started criticizing the late-December move, which they believed could give the Democrats major leverage in 2012.
  • result Today, Boehner  gave in, with the House speaker allowing for a voice vote on the issue. “We have fought the good fight,” Boehner said. “Why not do the right thing for the American people even though it’s not exactly what we want?” source

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20:08 // 2 years ago
Karl Rove: Republicans lost the payroll tax cut battle, and badly
That’s what he says in a new op-ed column: ”The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass,” he writes. “This is no easy double play.” He also suggests that Republicans in Congress might have helped hand Obama an early 2012 victory. When you’ve lost Rove, you know you’ve messed up pretty badly. source
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That’s what he says in a new op-ed column: ”The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass,” he writes. “This is no easy double play.” He also suggests that Republicans in Congress might have helped hand Obama an early 2012 victory. When you’ve lost Rove, you know you’ve messed up pretty badly. source

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10:00 // 2 years ago
December 18, 2011

So … who’s paying for the payroll tax cut, anyway? Homeowners

  • $17 per month charges on new homeowners’ mortgages source

» Those who refinance will feel the pinch, too: To help pay for the $33 billion cost of the extended-by-two-months payroll tax cut, the federal government will increase the cost for homeowners to get their homes insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who currently back nine out of ten home mortgages in the U.S. The fee, currently around 0.3 percentage points, would jump by 0.1 percentage points, which translates to roughly $17 per month for most homeowners. However, this fee would not affect current homeowners unless they refinance starting next year. Is this the best way to handle the extension?

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11:20 // 2 years ago
December 16, 2011

Worst compromise ever: Democrats get slight payroll tax cut extension

  • deal The Democrats, after much pushing, got through a modest two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts which Republicans had long fought against. This sounds like a pretty crappy victory.
  • compromise However … it came at a cost: Democrats had to give up on their plan to tax millionaires, and Obama has to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. Wow, they sure twisted the GOP’s arm! source
21:25 // 2 years ago