Noose Hour: Boehner didn’t come out with a plan, he came out with a “plan”. He claims $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction, but the specific policies Republicans have mentioned only amount to around $300 billion. The rest is all vaporware…. A lot of weak reporting here; like it or not, the Obama proposal is a real plan, with specifics; the Boehner “plan” is a Potemkin village.
Three-Card Budget Monte: It goes without saying that the Republican “counteroffer” is basically fake. It calls for $800 billion in revenue from closing loopholes, but doesn’t specify a single loophole to be closed; it calls for huge spending cuts, but aside from raising the Medicare age and cutting the Social Security inflation adjustment — moves worth only around $300 billion — it doesn’t specify how these cuts are to be achieved. So it’s basically the Paul Ryan method: scribble down some numbers and pretend that you’re a budget wonk with a Serious plan.
What I haven’t seen pointed out here is the longer arc of GOP strategy. Does anyone recall how the Bush tax cuts were passed? The 2001 cut was passed based on the claim that the government was running an excessive surplus; the 2003 cut on the claim that it would provide an economic boost. Then the surplus went away, and the economy did not, to say the least, perform very well.
So now we face a substantial long-run deficit…. And the GOP says that because of that deficit we must raise the Medicare age and cut Social Security!
Oh, and for all the seniors or near-seniors who voted Republican because you thought they would protect Medicare from that bad guy Obama: you’ve been had.
And Matthew Yglesias:
Boehner's non-counteroffer on the fiscal cliff: Looking back on what I wrote yesterday about John Boehner's "counteroffer" to the White House's fiscal cliff proposal and what else is out there in the press, I thought I should clarify that this isn't really a counteroffer. What the Obama administration put on the table was a moderately detailed proposal that included specific tax measures and specific reductions in Medicare spending. Boehner didn't counter that with an equivalent proposal that contains different details. He rejected some of the details, and countered with a proposal that contains different quantitative goals. It's not quite an apples-and-oranges comparison but it's maybe like comparing apples to pears or lemons to limes. Obama's offer was more or less something you could say "yes" to if you wanted to, whereas even if Obama agreed to Boehner's framework you'd still have huge scope for everything to just fall apart over specifics.