My take on this from last night is below, but here’s a link to CBPP’s Bob Greenstein’s detailed analysis. Bob amplifies the key points about lack of specificity, something I find a bit scary at this point in the negotiations. Again, I’m glad they’ve got a counteroffer and I wouldn’t expect to like what’s in there but to suggest we can save about $300 billion more than the President’s detailed savings from Medicare and Medicaid, without saying how, is simply irresponsible at this point. As is claiming $800 in revenues from unspecified loophole closures.
As Bob concludes:
In short, people with low incomes or serious disabilities, and elderly people of modest means, would face substantial cuts — but people at the top would get to keep a significant share of their munificent tax cuts.
[Last night’s take:]
Rep Boehner has come back with a counteroffer to the President’s opener, so the fiscal cliff negotiations are underway. That’s good.
What’s less good is the R’s offer itself. It’s way too vague. The time for stuff like this—”new revenue would be generated through pro-growth tax reform that closes special interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates”—is long past. That formulation didn’t work for Romney in the campaign, when you’d expect such vagueness. With the cliff a few weeks away, it’s useless.
Again, this is first glance, but it looks like the R’s want to lower tax rates, claim $800 billion in new revenue from unnamed sources, raise the eligibility age for Medicare, cut Social Security benefits, and forbid dancing on alternate Saturdays.
OK, I made that last part up. But this is far from a serious offer. I get that they didn’t like what the President brought to the table, but at least it was a coherent, detailed plan, largely derived from his 2013 budget. I expected their counteroffer to contain things D’s won’t like.
But this isn’t a real offer. At some point, the R’s are going to have to actually say, with specificity, what they’re for.
Those of us who want to see this calamity resolved anxiously await such a real offer.