This morning the White House released a report by the National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers predicting that failure to reach a deal that would avoid the “fiscal cliff” would cut consumer spending by $200 billion and slow economic growth by 1.4 percent.
“These estimates focus only on the direct effects on the demand for goods and services, and do not include other channels that are likely to be very important as well. For example, allowing tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans to expire and not patching the AMT would likely shake consumer confidence and increase uncertainty among households and financial markets, potentially leading to an even more negative outlook than is portrayed by these estimates,” the report claims.
The new Obama administration report seems targeted just as much at his own supporters, many of whom are pushing Democrats to go over the fiscal cliff, as it is directed at conservatives in Congress. That is because, as The New York Times reports today, Obama knows he will need to get the same youth and minority voters that showed up for him on election day to keep the pressure on Republicans in Congress to raise taxes.
Problem is, of the ones who care enough to pay attention between elections, those voters will be the last ones interested the type of compromise Obama will need to make to get Republican votes for tax hikes. “The big issue they are going to have to figure out with the list is that activists want to fight for issues they can believe in,” Eddie Vale, a spokesman for Protect Your Care, told The New York Times. “A call to cut a bipartisan deal — that’s not going to cut it.”
History and polling back up Vale’s analysis. The youth and minority voters that reelected Obama are far more liberal than the few remaining centrist Democrats in Congress. According to Pew, while 60 percent of Americans view socialism negatively, a plurality of Americans ages 18 to 29 (49 percent to 43 percent) and a majority of African-Americans (55 percent to 36 percent) view it positively. These groups appear to have have radicalized over just a few years. The small number of them who actually remain politically engaged between elections are the most radical, unlikely to be interested in any deal. As for the rest, they largely ignored Obama’s pleas when he asked them for help governing in his first term. His attempts to put his campaign organization’s sophisticated computer operation behind policies like Obamacare received a tepid response.
“We were stunned that it never showed up,” a senior member of a pro-health-overhaul interest group, told The New York Times. “They had this thing built, and we were waiting for them to turn it on, and it just never came.”
Obama’s techno-wizards can build all the social media mousetraps they want. But if Obama’s socialist-friendly base isn’t interested in a deal that includes significant cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and possibly even Obamacare, it’s hard to see them being a factor in the fiscal cliff negotiations.
From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Yes, you can balance the budget without raising taxes
Michael Barone: States choose own paths with one-party governments
Byron York: Hispanics favor Dems but didn’t decide election
In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Geithner to Play Key Negotiation Role: The White House has tapped the Treasury secretary as its lead negotiator in deficit-reduction talks with Congress, giving Mr. Geithner about a month to help cut a deal before $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts begin in January—and before his long-planned departure from the administration.
McClatchy Newspapers, ‘Fiscal cliff’ threatens to foul up usual fix of alternative minimum tax: A potential casualty of the “fiscal cliff” standoff is the ability of Congress to adjust an outdated tax code provision that could significantly boost what millions of middle-income households owe to the government.
The Wall Street Journal, Deadline Looms for Long-Term Unemployed: More than 40% of the nearly five million Americans who receive unemployment insurance are set to lose those benefits if federal programs expire as scheduled at year-end.
The New York Times, Pressure Grows on Egyptian Leader After Judicial Decree: Cracks appeared on Sunday in the government of President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, as he faces mounting pressure over his sweeping decree seeking to elevate his edicts above the reach of any court until a new constitution is approved.
The Washington Post, Syrian rebels making advances: Syrian rebels are making significant advances in their battle against government forces, raising new questions about President Bashar al-Assad’s ability to hold on to power and adding urgency to the quest by the international community for a unified and effective political opposition that could take control should his regime collapse.
Robert Kuttner calls it a “fiscal myth.”
On The New York Times op-ed page, Warren Buffet calls for A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy.
Think Progress attacks Boeing for not offering same-sex couples pension benefits.