Heading for the Cliff

Obama's Famous Tax 'Victory'

Let us assume that Mr. Obama is correct in his bet that the GOP will prove more responsible than he is and won't cliff-dive. The president's recent baiting of Republicans—his unreasonable offers, his public campaign to belittle them, his refusal to negotiate—has not put them in a generous mood. If Republicans have to fold on the top tax rates, it's a decent bet they will do only that—and nothing more. .

.. Come February, Mr. Boehner will remind the president of his formula of $1 in spending cuts for $1 in a debt-ceiling hike. He will likely present Mr. Obama with the choice of doing serious entitlement reform that will get the debt-ceiling monkey off his back for a notable period of his presidency, or of monthly debt-ceiling fights. The latter has the potential to derail a second term. No question, the Republicans would suffer a bitter defeat if top marginal income-tax rates rise. Then again, if those rates are going up anyway—either because we go off the cliff or because Mr. Obama maneuvers them into a panicked, last-minute deal—the rational GOP response is to instead choose a deliberate course that mitigates its own political damage, and lands some blows. This is the corner our intransigent president has backed Republicans into. So, that Obama "victory": On Jan. 1, the president gets to give a news conference gloating over his tax win. He then faces four years and 20 days of a presidency marked by his ownership of a faltering economy, a spiraling debt problem, automatic sequester cuts, no prospect of further spending or tax revenue, and a debt-ceiling time bomb. If that's this president's idea of "victory," maybe it's what he deserves.
Comment: The "hoods" in DC don't care about our cars! (Famous scene from Rebel without a Cause)

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