I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really tired of the negotiations on this so-called "fiscal cliff" and whether those tax cuts are going to expire for the wealthiest among us must always be framed the way David Gregory did here, which is that no proposal is Serious unless it causes some pain for the working class. Of course that pain is something which David Gregory and his ilk will never feel themselves.
He also did his best carrying water for Republicans during this interview with Sec. Tim Geithner and pretended that the administration hasn't put forth any specific details about their proposals, which as was already noted here, is just not true.
If Gregory wants to know what's "fair," how about a reminder that those tax cuts were temporary because that's the only way Republicans could get them passed using budget reconciliation. They weren't concerned about blowing a hole in the budget back then and now that they've starved the beast, they want to go after our social safety nets, and David Gregory is always more than willing to help them along.
Rough transcript below the fold.
GREGORY: Let me come back to the idea of, what is the pain point for Democrats here? What is the pain that Democrats are going to have to be willing to live with to get the kind of deal that you're driving with Republicans on taxes, when it comes to both spending cuts, particularly spending cuts to programs like Medicare?
GEITHNER: Well, I think that it's true that both sides are going to have to do things that are difficult for them, uncomfortable for them, and the American people have already been asked to adapt to $1 trillion in spending cuts in defense and non-defense, that cover comprehensively things that touch the lives of many, many Americans.
GREGORY: But you're not proposing that the sequester remaining in place on the defense spending? You want to dial that back?
GEITHNER: We're talking about the cuts enacted last year.
GEITHNER: And we want to replace the cuts in the sequester of last year with a much more carefully designed set of spending savings...
GREGORY: On defense? A lot of liberals are saying there still should be some significant cuts to defense.
GEITHNER: It's true that people say that, and again, we're going to look to the Pentagon for what makes the most sense for the national security needs are the country. But again, what we proposed top of those $1 trillion savings of last year is $600 billion in detailed reforms to our health care programs and other government programs that over ten years yield very substantial savings.
Now, again, David, Republicans have said that they don't like those reforms. They'd like to do more. and if that's true, then they should tell us what they'd like as an alternative or as a compliment to that. If they want to build on those, they should tell us how. But we can't react to anything until we see the details of their proposal, and we need it on the rate and revenue side as well as on the spending side. We've given them our view of what makes sense for the country. We think our proposal will have enormous support.
GREGORY: So Mr. Secretary, is it fair to go to Republicans, many of whom were re-elected just like the President was re-elected in their own districts and say, look, we're going to get specific when it comes to the tax increases that we want, but we're be pretty vague when it comes to stuff that's hard for our side, which is Medicare?
GEITHNER: David, that's a misperception. Again, we proposed $600 billion in detailed spending savings. They are in public. People can take a careful look at them. What we haven't seen from the Republicans is a plan to raise rates and revenues. They said they're prepared to raise revenues, but they haven't said how, how much, or who should pay, and haven't proposed what they think they need on the spending side. Again, what we can't figure out what they need. They have to tell us. And then we have to look at it and see if it makes sense for the American people.