Here's the thing about my husband: even in the toughest moments, when it seems like all is lost, Barack Obama never loses sight of the end goal. He never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise, even if it comes from some of his best supporters. He just keeps moving forward.(emphasis mine)
And in those moments when we're all sweating it, when we're worried that the bill won't pass or the negotiation will fall through, Barack always reminds me that we're playing a long game here. He reminds me that change is slow — it doesn't happen overnight.
If we keep showing up, if we keep fighting the good fight and doing what we know is right, then eventually we will get there.
We always have.
As we hear rumors about what might be in the debt ceiling bill, I begin to wonder about that long game.
I've had one guess in the back of my mind for a couple of days. Its not like I have the greatest track record in these predictions. But its still interesting to throw this kind of thing out there. And then this morning I saw something that made it seem even more likely.
What I saw was an short note in Politico titled WH fine with no new revenue until 2013. It refers to something Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, said.
A bleary-eyed Sperling, who has been at the center of talks between the White House and congressional Republicans, said that Obama wouldn't seek new revenues over the next 18 months anyway and will still push for a payroll tax cut.
You have to ask the question about why President Obama would take new revenues off the table as part of this deal when that has been the bottom line of his whole appeal about a "balanced approach."
The key to answering that question is the timing referred to in both the Politico headline (2013) and Sperling's reference to 18 months. That's when the Bush tax cuts expire. And if the President is willing to let them ALL expire, the Republicans won't have any hostages to take to prevent that because all that needs to happen is for Congress to do nothing to extend them. And whala...we get our balanced approach that deals with the biggest contributor to our current deficit.
I might very well be wrong about this one. But I suspect its what's going on - or something like that. Who are you going to believe on this one? The poutragers who are convinced the President is caving? Or Michelle and what we've seen happen over and over again?
UPDATE: Ezra Klein sees the same possibility.
It’s difficult to see how it could have ended otherwise. Virtually no Democrats are willing to go past Aug. 2 without raising the debt ceiling. Plenty of Republicans are prepared to blow through the deadline. That’s not a dynamic that lends itself to a deal. That’s a dynamic that lends itself to a ransom.
But Democrats will have their turn. On Dec. 31, 2012, three weeks before the end of President Barack Obama’s current term in office, the Bush tax cuts expire. Income tax rates will return to their Clinton-era levels. That amounts to a $3.6 trillion tax increase over 10 years, three or four times the $800 billion to $1.2 trillion in revenue increases that Obama and Speaker John Boehner were kicking around. And all Democrats need to do to secure that deal is...nothing.
UPDATE 2: Joy Reid twitters:
Harry Reid doesn't have to negotiate with Mitch McConnell to get revenues. He doesn't have to worry about Boehner's impotence in the House.
Harry Reid can simple refuse to bring the tax cuts up for a vote before they expire next December 31st, and POTUS can threaten to veto them.
Even if Dems were to be wiped out next Nov, or Obama lost, the lame duck Congress would be in place til January 2013.
And I have good sourcing that Obama and Reid will hold the line, win or lose. So don't sweat this bill. Its long term "cuts", short term win