Fiscal Cliff ... did the Republicans "win"?

Republicans win big in fiscal cliff outcome, continue to "starve the beast"


To listen to all the moaning out of the House of Representatives yesterday, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Republicans are losing the fiscal battle in Washington.

Actually, they're winning. To see this, you just need to step back and look at the tax deal and the country's fiscal trends from a broader perspective.

Yesterday, the American government voted to extend almost all of the Bush Tax Cuts permanently. Not temporarily, as a stimulus measure. Permanently.

Ever since the Bush Tax Cuts were first enacted in 2001 — temporarily, as a stimulus measure — one goal of the Republican party has been to "make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent."

For most of the last decade, this goal has seemed like an extremist view: Making the Bush Tax Cuts permanent would drastically reduce the federal government's revenue. It would also increase inequality and balloon the national debt and deficit — so how could we possibly justify doing that?

And yet now, suddenly, almost all of the Bush Tax Cuts are permanent. The Republicans also got a good deal for the investor and owner class, making the Bush dividend tax cut permanent. This saves a lot of money in tax bills for America's wealthier investors.
Comment: Probably arguable whether one side won. Not dealt with ... debt crisis.


  1. Congress approves ‘fiscal cliff’ measure

    House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and most other top GOP leaders took no public position on the measure and offered no public comment before the 10:45 p.m. vote. Boehner declined even to deliver his usual closing argument, leaving House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to defend the measure as the “largest tax cut in American history.”

    During floor debate, Camp, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, said GOP members should support the bill because it would make “permanent tax policies Republicans originally crafted” under President George W. Bush.

    Rep. Sander M. Levin (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, countered that Democrats should back the bill because it would let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy, breaking the “iron barrier” to tax increases since 1993.

  2. Fiscal Cliff “Victory” Folly

    With the feeble spending cuts in the deal staring us in the face, many of us are patting ourselves on the back that the Bush tax rates were made permanent for most Americans, vindicating George W. Bush’s supply-side policies that the left derided at the time. In the words of Jennifer Rubin, “There were plenty of irate right-wingers ranting that the House had the temerity to make permanent the vast majority of the Bush tax cuts, shelter millions in estate taxes, make permanent the alternative minimum tax patch and spare the country for now from devastating defense cuts.”
    This is undoubtedly a victory on its own merits, but victory in negotiation does not mean that you win something that you want -only that you win something that the other side does not want. Obama and his fellow Democrats have for long been on the record assuring Americans that tax rates won’t rise for those earning below $250,000 a year. The Democrats similarly feared deep defense cuts, leading to Obama’s hilariously false debate claim that “sequestration will not happen.”

  3. Contrarian view: Surprise! Republican Leaders Have No Backbone

    On January 1, 2012 the Republican leadership broke their promise about not raising taxes on the rich. "The deal passed by the Senate early this morning, with the endorsement of all but seven of the 47 Republicans, would raise $620 billion in new revenue, hiking tax rates on households earning more than $450,000 a year."
    "'Keep in mind that just last month Republicans in Congress said they would never agree to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans,' President Obama said Monday. 'Obviously, the agreement that's currently being discussed would raise those rates and raise them permanently.'"

    Author is from Anoka MN

  4. Minnesota House members split on 'fiscal cliff' vote

    Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann, Chip Cravaack and Erik Paulsen were among the 151 GOP House members who opposed the bill. Rep. John Kline joined 85 Republicans in voting for it.

    Among Democrats, Rep. Collin Peterson was one of only 16 who rejected the proposal. Minnesota Democrats Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum and Tim Walz sided with 172 party colleagues to support the bill.

  5. 1/4/13: Has leverage switched to Republicans on spending cuts?

    By splitting the fiscal cliff into two different debates — one on taxes, the other on spending and debt — Republicans shed their worst political position with a one-off concession and can now concentrate on a political strength.


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