Wash Post’s Marcus: Fiscal Cliff Negotiations ‘Pathetic’

Thursday, 29 Nov 2012 08:36 AM

By Michael Kling

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We're headed over the fiscal cliff, warns Washington Post opinion writer Ruth Marcus.

"For a meaningful deal to be reached, more groundwork should have been laid by now," she writes. "Tick, tick, tick."

Public comments from Republicans has been encouraging, with talk about compromising and agreement to discuss revenues. Negotiations behind the scenes paint a different picture, she says.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

"The problem is that the behind-the-scenes deal making has been way more disappointing than the public posturing," Marcus writes. "It was, in a word, pathetic."

Republicans’ offer, according to Marcus, entails extending the Bush tax cuts for all, raising the age for Medicare eligibility, changing the way increases to Social Security benefits are calculated and vague promises of increasing future revenue.

"Even as an opening bid, this offer is dishearteningly low-ball and insincere," she asserts, saying it should have at least included a revenue figure, a trigger mechanism to enforce extra revenue and an increase in the debt limit.

Marcus also criticizes Democrats and President Barack Obama. Although entitlement reform is needed, Obama has backed away from considering cutting Medicare and Medicaid.

"So what, exactly, does he propose? Republicans can’t take the tax plunge if Democrats aren’t willing to give on entitlements — not later but simultaneously."

The willingness of the extremes on both sides to play a fiscal game of chicken does not bode well for the chances of reaching an agreement. Each side is ready to blame the other for letting taxes increase across the board.

Talks regarding the fiscal cliff continue to drag on in Congress with little advancement.

“There’s been little progress with the Republicans, which is a disappointment to me,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., according to Bloomberg.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

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