Oh yes, America. Republicans are certainly serious about negotiating in (cough, cough!) good faith. Clearly good faith has a different meaning to them than it does to me, since Boehner's "offer" with regard to making a "deal" on tax rates was to leave them right where they are forever and ever, amen.
Seriously, who calls this a negotiation again? Oh, that's right, the media likes to pretend Republicans are actually behaving in good faith, despite bonehead moves like this, via CNN:
One of the reasons Tuesday night's conversation between President Barack Obama and John Boehner did not go well was because the GOP House speaker sent the White House a fiscal cliff proposal calling for a permanent extension of Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, including for incomes in the top 2%, a Democratic source said Wednesday.
Democrats took the GOP counter offer to mean that tax reform cannot result in any marginal rates higher than current law, according to the source, who said Boehner's proposal was a "sign" to Democrats that "Boehner and the GOP are unwilling or unable to do any sort of deal that can pass the Senate or be signed by the president."
Yes, please. Let's get a little real here, shall we? We just went through 16 months of a Presidential campaign where these rates were the centerpiece of Democrats' platform. And we won. Of course the President will agree to cement the Bush tax cuts in perpetuity. Give me a break.
It is possible that Boehner is playing this game to protect his Speakership, which the restless Tea Party holds as a cudgel over his head. If that's the case, expect a lot of unserious nonsense from him until that deal is done.
Along the same lines, let me send this message to the President yet again. As news comes out that he's willing to put the Medicare eligibility age on the table yet again, this Obamabot shouts NO. Do not go there.
Matthew Yglesias had a great article out which says what I've been saying all along: Moving the Medicare age serves the Republican purpose of killing it.
Here's an idea. Instead of talking about moving Medicare eligibility to a later age, let's push to move it to an earlier age instead. That's how Medicare is saved, and how the budget stays within reasonable limits, too.
Now is the time for everyone to be heard on this. We can't rely on media to move the message, and we evidently can't rely on the president to keep the Medicare eligibility age steady. I confess a bit of self-interest; I would be right at the cutoff they're proposing to delay eligibility, which ticks me off to no end. It's bad enough that Wall Street ate my 401k and my Social Security start date was delayed by Reagan. Don't do it with Medicare, too.
Repeat after me: Wait until January 1, 2013 to start serious negotiations. And leave Pete Peterson out of it.