Cultural Revolutions

Fiscal Miffed

The House of Representatives, at 10:57 p.m. on January 1, passed the Fiscal Cliff bill, with Republicans voting 2 to 1 against it.  Speaker Boehner’s negotiations with President Obama had been a disaster.  The President’s only concession was his definition of rich, which he raised from $200,000–$250,000 per year to $400,000–$450,000.  Other than that, nothing—no spending cuts, no discussion of entitlements.  The Senate Democrats, for good measure, added lard for such favorites as Hollywood and Goldman Sachs.  The law is 153 pages long with at least 100 pages of fat.  But following this debacle the Republicans told us not to be downhearted: We’ll get another chance; we’ll resume negotiations around March 1 when the debt ceiling needs to be raised.  The President will have less “leverage” then.

The Fiscal Cliff bill was drafted by the Senate, a statement that sounds wrong, since we learned in high-school civics class that “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.”  Again, the Republicans were outmaneuvered.  In August the House passed H.R. 8 to reenact all the Bush tax cuts and sent it to the Senate.  They knew it was pointless, since the Democratic Senate would not agree, but...

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