Boehner caves, agrees to tax hike. Will Obama say thank you?

From Politico Playbook, your go-to source for insider leaks and messaging (December 16 edition, my emphasis):

GAME CHANGE – “Boehner pitches millionaire tax hike,” by John Bresnahan, Jake Sherman and Carrie Budoff Brown: “Speaker Boehner has proposed allowing tax rates to rise for the wealthiest Americans if President Obama agrees to major entitlement cuts … It is the first time Boehner has offered any boost in marginal tax rates for any income group, and it would represent a major concession for the Ohio Republican. Boehner suggested hiking the Bush-era tax rates for top wage earners, including those with annual incomes of $1 million or more annually, beginning Jan. 1 … Obama and Boehner spoke by phone Friday after a lengthy face-to-face session at the White House on Thursday. … Boehner also wants to use a new method of calculating benefits for entitlement programs known as ‘chained CPI,’ which would slow the growth of Medicare and other federal health programs and save hundreds of billions over the next decade [note the framing]. …

At Free Republic, they’re calling this “Boehner caves” (no link for the obvious reason) and they’re right. Boehner has put the knife in the Norquist Pledge. Now it’s Obama’s turn. Will he slaughter his own lamb in return?

What, oh what, is an entitlement-“reforming” NeoLiberal Rubinite to do?

It’s December 17 as this goes live. He’s got exactly two weeks to declare himself. As do you.

House phone numbers here. The Senate contact and whip-count page is hereSenate phone numbers here.

White House phones
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

My thinking is, they both want a deal; they’re just working the parameters to make sure it passes the House and Senate. Too much tax hikage, the R count goes down. Too much entitlement cutting, the D count goes down. So they’re looking for that sweet spot.

Which means — if we get to January 1 with No Deal, it will be a big deal indeed, not to mention a huge win for our side. More here — your Fiscal Cave reference post.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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13 Responses to “Boehner caves, agrees to tax hike. Will Obama say thank you?”

  1. slideguy says:

    No he won’t say, “Thank you”. He’ll offer to cut Social Security COLAs, despite the fact that Social Security is in surplus, and could be kept that way for the forseeable future simply by lifting the salary cap. Those of us who are on Social Security are being played by a bunch of millionaires who never expect to need it themselves.

  2. EdA says:

    Boehner did NOT agree to any tax “hike.” He agreed to allow the tax rate for some people to return to the rate that they were supposed to return to two years ago.
    Coca-Cola is on sale this week at Giant Food, 4 for $4. When it goes back to its regular price next week, does that represent a price “hike”? There IS NO F— DIFFERENCE.

  3. Naja pallida says:

    Obama’s starting position on this whole debate is a drastic compromise, that has very little chance in successfully addressing our deficit and other problems. If he compromises further to the right, with the random crap we’re hearing coming out of the discussions, it has absolutely no chance in being successful.

  4. hollywoodstein says:

    This will be the biggest factor of whether the Dems can snag back the gerrymandered House in 2014. Tax hikes and spending cuts are already current US law, scheduled to effect in two weeks. Then push for the Democratic/Obama middle class tax cuts, and unemployment extension, and let the Republicans destroy themselves opposing that. Your leverage will be replacing some but not all of the bloated Pentagon spending. The MIC will make the Rs compliant. This is so easy it’s amazing Obama is negotiating at all.
    If the Dems touch entitlements in the compromise for thin gruel offered, the Republicans will campaign on Dems cutting Social Security and Medicare and retain the House easily.
    Will Dems let Obama drive them off the compromise cliff.
    Hope not.
    Change that.
    Wish not.

  5. karmanot says:

    That sweet spot will cause suffering and death for seniors—–but, I imagine Obama accepts that as statistical variable for compromise.

  6. FunMe says:

    If the Democrats led by Obama do anything to cut EARNED BENEFITS (aka Social Security and Medicare) or increase the eligibility age, there will be political hell to pay for all of them in 2014.

    They’ve been warned.

  7. Drew2u says:

    Haven’t heard back from Herb Kohl in 2 weeks. Better move his name to the ‘weak-kneed’ column.

  8. samiinh says:

    It’s the only reasonable thing to do. That’s why it won’t happen.

  9. NCMan says:

    Exactly. This is no compromise from the R’s.

    Obama went in asking for a 4.6% tax rate hike on those making over $250,000, extension of unemployment benefits, extension of payroll tax holiday, targeted stimulus spending.

    Boehner comes back with 2% tax rate hike on those making over $1,000,000 and raise Medicare eligibility age by 2 years (which doesn’t save money, just shifts the costs to individuals), cut an additional TRILLION in spending to put off the debt ceiling hostage taking one year when he will use it as hostage again.

    Tell me again how Boehner moved TOWARD Obama’s position at all?????

  10. AdmNaismith says:

    We need to drop the entry age to at least 45 (40 or 35 would be better). Obviously an all-age single payer system would be save the most money.

  11. nicho says:

    The saddest people are those who spend their time watching soap operas and start thinking that they’re real and that the characters and plot lines are real. All this is is a soap opera. The corporatists are out to destroy the middle class — Boehner, Obama, Clinton, and the rest are just actors in the drama.

  12. BillFromPA says:

    We’re going to get a rate hike on everything regardless, after which we’ll push to drop the rates for everything under $250,000, have a ball blocking that, GOP. The repugs are offering a hike on income over 1 million, for a price, how is this a ‘cave’ on their part? Why even deal with someone who offers less than we’re going to get by letting pages fall off the calendar? And then they’re going to threaten the weak economy with the debt limit in order to get unpopular entitlement cuts? Go to it, Wingnuts!

  13. NCMan says:


    ” Too much tax hikage, the R count goes down. Too much entitlement
    cutting, the D count goes down. So they’re looking for that sweet spot.”

    There is no need for entitlement “cutting”. If you want savings in Medicare, just implement drug price negotiation. It saves more than any age increase.

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