As we careen toward the "fiscal cliff," the House GOP faces a problem. Obama won’t offer his own detailed plan which will involve big tax increases, until they offer their own plan– which, Obama says, must contain big tax increases or he won’t offer his.
That’s a mug’s game. Some have suggested that the House GOP should just walk away and let the nation go over the fiscal cliff. But I have some better ideas.
Truth is, Obama’s not really a key player here. All that he can do is sign or veto whatever legislation comes to him. And since under the Constitution money bills originate in the House, even the Democratic Senate will have to accept, reject or amend whatever the House sends. So if Speaker Boehner et al. are smart, they’ll send something that will be awkward, but politically damaging to reject. My advice:
1. Adopt the Bowles-Simpson Plan. The plan was the product of a bipartisan commission, chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, appointed by President Obama to address America’s ballooning deficits and national debt. Most experts agree that it’s a pretty good plan. President Obama didn’t like it because it shrinks government too much.
Tough. It’s a plan, which is more than President Obama has offered, and from a bipartisan commission he appointed. Can Obama get away with vetoing that? Can Senate Democrats get away with rejecting it and bringing on the automatic cuts and tax increases of the sequester? Doubtful. Plus, though the press tends to cover for Obama and blame Republicans, media types love Bipartisan Commissions.