Your Daily Jolt: Watch the Dow on cliff day

Like energy drink-guzzling college students pulling an all-nighter, our federal lawmakers are up against the “fiscal cliff” deadline today. And who’s the man you call when you need real work to get done? Biden. Politico this morning reports Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Veep have made “major progress” toward an accord:

McConnell and Biden, who served in the Senate together for 23 years, are closing in on an agreement that would hike tax rates for families who earn more than $450,000, and individuals who make more than $400,000, according to sources familiar with talks.

The vice president and the Senate minority leader only began talking Sunday, after negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and McConnell sputtered.

Sources close to the talks said a deal is now more likely to come together but cautioned that obstacles remain, including how Speaker John Boehner and House Republican leaders react to any tentative agreement.

But both parties have incentives to wait until January to strike a deal. Talking Points Memo’s Brian Beutler lays it out well:

Democrats can probably get a better revenue deal next year if all the Bush tax cuts expire, and Republicans will have an easier time supporting such an agreement when it’s not construable as anything other than a tax cut.Democrats want Republicans to agree to raise the debt limit now, and enough to avoid a new round of brinksmanship for at least a year. Republicans — or at least the party base — want to leave that piece out of the puzzle so they can turn to a more balanced, and higher-stakes fight early next year.

GOP leaders want Democrats to regard any agreement that allows tax rates on top earners to rise as a concession in and of itself — one that Democrats ought to meet with a spending-side concession of their own. Democrats want to bracket the higher tax rates (taxes are going up anyhow, so why should they regard this as a concession?) and then horse trade over ancillary issues like emergency unemployment benefits, the sequester, the debt limit, Medicare physician payments and so on.

But your must-see cliff TV today is not CSPAN, or CNN — it’s CNBC. Watch what the stock market is doing. If investor pessimism causes a big crash, it will be the biggest possible impetus for lawmakers to act. Remember TARP?

***

Your Washington-based fill-in Jolter was scurrying around the Capitol on Sunday in a Wu-Tang Clan state of mind, because Cliff Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M.). Here’s what Georgia’s elected representatives provided my tape recorder:

Republican Sen. Johnny Iskason: “I’m not going to talk about what I would and would not do except to say the bottom line needs to be (increased) revenues and reduced spending, not new spending.”

Tifton Republican Rep. Austin Scott: “I think we’re all hopeful that we’ll get an agreement, but from our standpoint, we want to see spending cuts. And the idea of passing a tax increase without spending cuts just so the president can increase the size of the federal government is unacceptable.

Atlanta Democratic Rep. John Lewis: “I hope we come up with a plan that a great majority of members of the House — both Democrat and Republican — can vote for and support, and I hope we do it in a strong bipartisan fashion. Back in the district, every place that I’ve been … people are asking about it. They want to know. They want to know: ‘What are y’all going to do? Do it.’”

Atlanta Democratic Rep. David Scott: “We’re up here wanting to do the people’s business. We are hopeful that we do not go over the cliff. It is our resolve not to do it.”

Marietta Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey: “Our leadership is to the point where the Senate’s got to act. The Senate’s got to act. … We’ve extended the low Bush-era tax rate for everybody back in May, we passed that bill. And then the other thing of course was the Sequester Relief Act (moving Pentagon cuts to domestic programs). So we’ve done our job.”

***

Seizing upon the anti-Congress zeitgeist, Augusta Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow urged colleagues on Sunday to reject their own scheduled pay increase, as President Barack Obama proposed last week that all federal employees get a 0.5 percent bump, ending a two-year freeze. Barrow is seeking co-signers for the following letter to House leaders from both parties:

We oppose the pay increase for Members of Congress granted by Executive Order on December 27, 2012. The Executive Order would raise our salaries by $900 per year, beginning March 27, 2013.

We believe that it is inappropriate for Members of Congress to receive a pay increase of any size while American families and taxpayers continue to face tough economic times.

We urge you to bring legislation to the floor to stop this pay adjustment as soon as possible.

***

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been hospitalized after doctors discovered a blood clot. AP reports that Clinton “is being treated with anti-coagulants and would remain at New York-Presbyterian Hospital for at least the next 48 hours so doctors can monitor the medication.”

***

Washington is not the only place Georgians should keep an eye on if they are worried about new taxes. The AJC’s Arielle Kass lays out the fight over online retailers’ sales taxes:

Georgia, in an attempt to collect state and local sales taxes from online retailers that weren’t required to make shoppers pay, has expanded the definition of who must collect. Part of a new law goes into effect Jan. 1 and will ensnare online stores that don’t have a store or a warehouse in the state, but use ads on Georgia-based websites as a gateway to their own sites.

Sellers that have offices, stores or employees in the state are already required to collect sales tax in Georgia. It’s a fairness issue that has riled those retailers.

The new law is intended to get sites such as Amazon to collect taxes, but even the head of a lobbying group for Georgia retailers doesn’t expect it to work.

- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider

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39 comments Add your comment

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 31st, 2012
10:45 am

They should make government salaries commensurate with the federal debt. Run a surplus – you get a percentage of it. Run a debt – you pay the treasury a percentage of it.

Retired Soldier

December 31st, 2012
11:19 am

Fables-

Better idea. There can’t be a surplus with the outsatnding debt we have. So balance the budget which includes at least a 2 per cent reduction of the debt, Congress and the President gets paid. Run a deficit, no pay.

What do you think?

Marlboro Man

December 31st, 2012
11:23 am

Next on the chopping block might be military pensions…

Kris

December 31st, 2012
11:51 am

It would be a shame if there is a empty seat in the GOP clown car when it goes off the cliff…Just saying.

Retired Soldier

December 31st, 2012
12:11 pm

MM-

That’s fine I work for a living, are you willing to give up your unemployment insurance?

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 31st, 2012
1:58 pm

The privileged daughter of a prominent city doctor, and her boyfriend — a Harvard grad and Occupy Wall Street activist — have been busted for allegedly having a cache of weapons and a bombmaking explosive in their Greenwich Village apartment.

It looks like some libs don’t have an issue with “assault” weapons.

Cherokee

December 31st, 2012
2:18 pm

Got a link, Aesop?

Kris

December 31st, 2012
2:26 pm

Drinking Tips for boehner “Bonehead”
1. Guzzle it down
2. Avoid Eat Fatty Foods
3. Drink plenty Carbonated Drinks
Raise your head, look as your political career comes to a sudden stop…usually when you fall off a cliff

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 31st, 2012
2:28 pm

CC

December 31st, 2012
2:48 pm

President Obama pledged Sunday to make gun control a top priority in his second term and vowed to put his “full weight” behind such legislation.

“I’d like to get it done in the first year,” the president said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This is not something that I will be putting off.”

td

December 31st, 2012
2:53 pm

CC

December 31st, 2012
2:48 pm

Just another defeat awaiting him.

NEAGU MIRCEA

December 31st, 2012
3:04 pm

BUCHAREST 31 DECEMBER 2012
DEAR SIR PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA ,
MY NAME IS NEAGU MIRCEA – 49 YEARS , AND MINE ADDRESS SHE IS :
SOS. MIHAI BRAVU NR.98-106 BLOC D.16 SC.1 ETAJ 6 AP.23 SECTOR 2 OF.POSTAL 39 COD.-021332- BUCHAREST ROUMANIEN .
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 !

123

December 31st, 2012
3:12 pm

td

Sort of like that defeat you predicted last month, right?

honested

December 31st, 2012
3:31 pm

Well, at least we will get a good part of the necessary tax increase.

Since the hostage takers will be disarmed tomorrow, I hope we can rustle up the rest of the revenue necessary to finish paying off the bush depression!

Voter

December 31st, 2012
3:32 pm

@CC “President Obama pledged Sunday to make gun control a top priority in his second term and vowed to put his “full weight” behind such legislation.

“I’d like to get it done in the first year,” the president said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This is not something that I will be putting off.”


Can’t put a budget together or get spending under control but he’ll take on the 2nd Amendment. Right!!

td

December 31st, 2012
3:35 pm

honested

December 31st, 2012
3:31 pm

Well, at least we will get a good part of the necessary tax increase.

Since the hostage takers will be disarmed tomorrow, I hope we can rustle up the rest of the revenue necessary to finish paying off the bush depression!

How much is this tax increase going to bring into the government and how much is our deficit?

CC

December 31st, 2012
3:36 pm

td:

“Just another defeat awaiting him.”

Maybe, but I’ve ceased predicting anything! After a slim majority of Americans reelected an idiot, I will be surprised at absolutely nothing. I am certain, however, of continuing and worsening unemployment numbers, an increasing indebtedness of the country, more inflation and a worsening economic situation.

honested

December 31st, 2012
3:39 pm

td,

Suffice it to say it will begin to move us FORWARD and in the correct direction.

Enough childish quibbling about who it to important to be saddled with taxation equal to their share of the collective wealth.

CC

December 31st, 2012
3:40 pm

Voter:

Obama will never miss an opportunity to adapt the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to HIS view of “the way they ought to be.”

td

December 31st, 2012
3:40 pm

Just in case you missed this number crunching yesterday about the real meaning of Obama’s feel good legislation:

A little math prospective to put this mess in terms that everyone should be able to understand

US national revenue: 2,170,000,000,000
Federal Budget: 3,820,000,000,000
New Debt: 1,650,000,000,000
National debt: 14,271,000,000,000
Recent budget cuts: 35,500,000,000

Now let us remove 8 zeros and pretend it is a household budget:

Annual family income: $21,700
Money family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Total household budget cuts so far: $38.50
New revenue coming in this next year (Obama proposed tax increase): $80.00

Cherokee

December 31st, 2012
3:56 pm

“maybe, but i’ve cease predicting anything’

Just before you make another crazy prediction.

Too funny….

Cherokee

December 31st, 2012
4:03 pm

I realize I’m spitting in the wind here, td, but 1) no one says that raising taxes a little bit on the wealthiest Americans will solve the problem – so you really ought to stop knocking down that straw man.

And secondly, where in the world do you come up with $80? a 3% increase in marginal tax rates on someone making $500K annually would be way more than $80.

Cherokee

December 31st, 2012
4:04 pm

By the way Aesop, thanks.

Who would have thought that it was a Murdoch publication. There’s a surprise….

Voter

December 31st, 2012
4:08 pm

Spending cuts and budget cuts should be mandatory. Especially now that RAISES have been approved for our wonderful government employees who have done so well fiscally with OUR money

honested

December 31st, 2012
4:14 pm

td,
Until the bush depression is finally vanquished, I don’t give a whit about the deficit.

Remember, the clowns who insisted on the tax cuts sold it partly on the notion ‘deficits don’t matter’.

Think of everything you learned from noots, and then forget all of it because it could not be more WRONG!

clem

December 31st, 2012
4:14 pm

whinny little pissant house repubs got their feelings hurt by obama and now want to go home.

honested

December 31st, 2012
4:14 pm

clem,

Remember, boehner must have a couple of dozen parties to get to!

td

December 31st, 2012
4:14 pm

Cherokee

December 31st, 2012
4:03 pm

I realize I’m spitting in the wind here, td, but 1) no one says that raising taxes a little bit on the wealthiest Americans will solve the problem – so you really ought to stop knocking down that straw man.

And secondly, where in the world do you come up with $80? a 3% increase in marginal tax rates on someone making $500K annually would be way more than $80.

It is $80 billion but when you take away the 8 zeros and put it into the family budget then it is like adding $80. I tried to make it easier to understand in prospective since some people tend to get glazed over eyes when you talk about billions and trillions.

honested

December 31st, 2012
4:16 pm

td,

Federal Revenue and Expenditure has nothing whatsoever to do with the ‘family budget’.

It is a shame that noots led you so far astray you cannot see just how wrong you are.

CC

December 31st, 2012
4:18 pm

td:

“glazed over

td

December 31st, 2012
4:20 pm

honested

December 31st, 2012
4:16 pm

td,

Federal Revenue and Expenditure has nothing whatsoever to do with the ‘family budget’.

It is a shame that noots led you so far astray you cannot see just how wrong you are

Why are you protesting so much? I am putting into prospective for people to understand. My numbers are very accurate and the comparisons are very much in line with what a family may be going through.

CC

December 31st, 2012
4:20 pm

td:

“glazed over” is an apt description of a poster who shall remain unnamed!

honested

December 31st, 2012
4:34 pm

td,

You are inventing an ‘example’ that plays to wrong wing mythology, yet has nothing whatsoever to do with the function of the Federal Budget.

Your numbers have nothing to do with reality, nor does comparing apples to oranges.

CC

December 31st, 2012
4:51 pm

td:

“Your numbers have nothing to do with reality, nor does comparing apples to oranges.”

Yeah, td! Other than the fact that income, expenses, budget and money are common to both households and federal budgets, it has nothing to do with reality!

td

December 31st, 2012
4:57 pm

CC

December 31st, 2012
4:51 pm

I guess what the blogger means is that the Federal government can increase their revenue at any point that they want to at the point of the gun by Confiscating other peoples money and I can not rob a bank to increase my revenue.

CC

December 31st, 2012
5:06 pm

td:

That blogger has the answer to EVERYTHING! Don’t believe me?

Ask it!

honested

December 31st, 2012
5:14 pm

tiny dog,

In that case you would be right, that’s why they are in charge!

Never forget that we got into this mess by pandering to failed, conserrrrrrrrrvative ideology.

Luckily, the clear majority of Americans have set aside conserrrrrrrvative folly.

S

December 31st, 2012
6:13 pm

Well i’ll be darn, were going over the cliff and the Market was up, who would have thought? Guess people are glad taxes will be raised on the wealthy at last..about darn time.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 31st, 2012
9:14 pm

In its budget request for FY 2013, the Administration requested significantly more funding for embassy security—mostly through the Overseas Contingency Operations budget—but retained the same number of positions, apparently on the assumption that security staffing was adequate. Regardless, that budget, even if approved in its entirety, would have entered into effect after the events in Libya.

Nevertheless, obozo is supposedly the commander in chief and could have stationed Marine Guards at the embassy, which is typically among their duties.

So stick whatever pmsnbc is telling you.