Do the Democrats have the upper hand on the fiscal cliff issue?
I am a lifelong Democrat, but I am trying to look at this as objectively as possible.
There seems to be agreement by economists over the complete political spectrum that if nothing is done about the measures that kick in next year, we will go into another recession, just as the economy is starting to recover.
Obama is asking for a vote on measures that everyone agrees on. Keeping taxes from going up for income rates less than $250,000 benefits everyone. Even millionaires would keep their current tax break on the first 250K of their income. By holding out for a tax break for the top 1%, Obama has used the very effective line that the Republicans are holding everyone hostage to the top 1%. Once there is a vote on what we all agree on, the Republicans can bring up additional measures, which they of course do not have a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting passed. That is too bad for them. If they do not have the votes, then their measures should not be passed.
It is possible that there are enough Republican votes in the House for the measure to pass on a bipartisan basis, but Boehner is refusing to even allow the measure to come to the floor because of his very anti-democratic requirement that a bill needs a “majority of the majority” to reach the floor.
Polling indicates that Obama has a sizable majority of the public behind him, and that people will be holding the Republicans to blame for a failure to compromise. In an off-year election like the one in 2014, the Republicans would ordinarily be expected to pick up seats. If we go into another recession with the Republicans being held to blame, they are going to be facing unfavorable odds in the election, even if they can avoid being lynched.