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Predictable proposal: Tax increases now; spending cuts way later

By Doug Powers  •  November 29, 2012 03:54 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

On Monday I wrote this: If a “deal” is reached it will probably be more of the same: Higher taxes and a debt ceiling increase now purportedly offset by spending cuts that would go into effect the next time Halley’s Comet swings through the neighborhood.

If there’s one thing I take comfort in with this bunch, it’s their predictability:

Democrats want most Medicare and other entitlement savings to kick in between 10 and 20 years from now, which will make some Republicans choke. Democrats will point to the precedent set by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) of pushing most mandatory savings off until a decade from now.

“A lot of the big entitlement savings comes in the 10-20 year budget window, not the next 10 years,” a Democratic aide said. “Everybody will need to get on board understanding that. Paul Ryan and the Obama budget are the same on health cuts for the next 10 years.”

But that will most likely be the deal Republicans will be staring at: tax hikes now in exchange for Medicare changes way later. That will require some fancy footwork by Boehner to sell.

Assuming the cliff is averted and a deal is made, the “painful” cuts will be set to detonate after most of them know they probably won’t be in Washington anymore. Well, most with the exception of John Dingell, who is determined to have a career so long that he makes Amos Alonzo Stagg look like a quitter.

Even though the spending cuts will probably wait until much, much later (if ever), rest easy, because the **Hawaiian vacation part of the deal kicks in almost immediately. If you have to be staring at a cliff, it might as well be one on Molokai.

**No, not your vacation

No deal is imminent:

John Boehner also says there’s been no substantive progress at this point.

Newt Gingrich’s advice to Republicans? Don’t negotiate with Obama at all:

“So my number one bit of advice to the congressional Republicans is simple: Back out of of all of this negotiating with Obama. The president is overwhelmingly dominant in the news media. You start setting up the definition of success finding an agreement with Obama, you just gave Obama the ability to say to you, ‘Not good enough,’” Gingrich said.

“There is no fiscal cliff. It’s absolute, total, nonsense,” Gingrich said.

“It is an excuse to panic. It’s a device to get all of us running down the road so we accept whatever Obama wants because otherwise we have failed the fiscal cliff, and how can you be a patriot if you don’t do what the fiscal cliff requires, and the fiscal cliff will appear to us one afternoon, much like the land of Oz, where there will be this person hiding behind the machine who will say, ‘Raise taxes now,’” Gingrich intoned, “and if you don’t raise taxes you’ll have violated the fiscal cliff.”

We’ll close it out with an instant classic from Jay Carney speaking with reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations:

Q I wonder — it sounded like, in answer to Jim’s question when he was saying, do you have to do entitlement reform by the end of the year, your answer was in the future. And I noted that when the President spoke today –

MR. CARNEY: No, I didn’t say it was in the future.

Q — would pressure — when asked about pressuring Democrats, you said, he has vowed to do that in the future.

MR. CARNEY: No, he’s done it in the past and he will do it in the future.

Q We have a record of what you said. But –

MR. CARNEY: Right. I meant “the future” as also in the present tense.

At that point, Doc Brown’s DeLorean screeched up to the podium, Carney jumped in, and off they went — back to the future — except in the present tense.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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