Coalition Government? Don’t Hold Your Breath

After the House of Representatives signed the Fiscal Cliff deal approved by the Senate, the President commented that Republicans and Democrats can work together. Indeed. Under threat of a cataclysmic debacle perhaps.

The prospect of a coalition among moderate Republicans and Democrats in the House has some entertainment value. Most likely, however, the Republicans will try to re-instate their solid anti-Obama stance. They probably think they can hold the country hostage to the debt ceiling authorization, despite the President’s warning that he will not play that game again.

I wonder if the President is considering the following two options. First, a simple refusal to negotiate. The result of this would be clear – the US would default on its payments. Second, an emergency order to lift the debt ceiling, citing the 14th amendment to the Constitution. Either of these would be political hard ball of the first order. But each would force the Republicans to negotiate on substance and not threats.

Teetering on the Fiscal Cliff

I was trying to follow the news yesterday as the negotiations were going on between Biden and McConnell, but I soon found that I was looking at out of date stories. Things were happening so fast that the written press could not keep up.

As near as I can figure out, the Senate voted to keep my income tax rates unchanged, but my payroll taxes will go back up. We’ll see whether they do anything to cut back federal spending. Is this about right?

And why did this all have to happen on New Year’s Eve?

Which reminds me. The TV offerings last night were awful. Billy Joel in his 2008 concert? Who was that guy on NBC? Where is Walter Cronkite? At least one station could have played Die Fledermaus…

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