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January 01, 2013

Did Obama Cave to Republicans Again?

Noam Scheiber: "I think the president made a huge mistake by negotiating over what he'd previously said was non-negotiable (namely, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on income over $250,000). Then the White House compounded that mistake by sending Biden to 'close' the deal when Harry Reid appeared to give up on it. As a practical matter, this signaled to Republicans that the White House wouldn't walk away from the bargaining table, allowing the GOP to keep extracting concessions into the absolute final hours before the deadline."

Paul Krugman: "Anyone looking at these negotiations, especially given Obama's previous behavior, can't help but reach one main conclusion: whenever the president says that there's an issue on which he absolutely, positively won't give ground, you can count on him, you know, giving way -- and soon, too. The idea that you should only make promises and threats you intend to make good on doesn't seem to be one that this particular president can grasp."

Ryan Lizza: "My view is more charitable to the White House. Obama approached this phase of the fiscal wars as the fight over revenue and (seemingly) has reached a reasonable compromise. With a slew of previously temporary pieces of the tax code now locked in, the White House insists it will go into the next phase of negotiations with a stronger hand. Republicans will be stripped of the political power of calling for tax cuts, and instead will be in the unpopular position of mostly insisting on cuts to Medicare and Social Security, which they are often loathe to actually detail. And their response if Obama won't reduce benefits to the two most popular government programs? They will allow the United States to default and perhaps plunge the world economy into recession."


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