The news broke this afternoon that John Boehner made a new counteroffer in the fiscal cliff negotiations, but there are no details at all about what’s in the offer. What we do know is that Boehner is still whining that the president won’t specify which cuts the White House wants to make — and yet it’s still Republicans who want those cuts, and refuse, at least publicly, to say anything at all about what actual, real, government programs they want to slash.
Beyond that, plenty of good stuff:
1. What Kevin Drum says: the key variable in the fiscal cliff endgame could very well be what the business community says to Republicans.
2. An argument against “chained CPI” as a Social Security reform (and, for those wondering, a good explanation of what it is) from Timothy Noah.
3. Jonathan Chait: Republicans, when in power, tend to focus first on political reforms that will keep them in power; and Democrats don’t. It explains Michigan; it also explains why the District of Columbia still isn’t a state.
4. Perhaps an exception to that point: Barack Obama is, reports Ezra Klein, absolutely insisting on ending debt limit blackmail. Of course, one could look at it the other way; Republicans, new to office in 2011, immediately tried to change the rules of the game in their favor by initiating debt limit blackmail.
5. As Sam Stein and Ryan Grim report, the White House is also very serious about not dropping its demands for stimulus in the final fiscal cliff deal. Very interesting.
6. Here’s that Center for American Progress report about the problems with raising the Medicare age that Greg blogged about earlier today.
7. Republican opposition to renewal of the Violence Against Women Act draws a new ad from Ultraviolet and MoveOn. Does the GOP really want this fight?
8. “Delusions of Wisdom.” Paul Krugman explains.
9. Governor Rick Snyder signed the “right to work” legislation today. A union official emails the immediate impact:
1.Existing contracts are expressly exempted.
2.Law not to take effect for 90 days from the end of the session.
3.Govern only deductions from nonmembers.
4.We will evaluate possible legal challenges.
5.We will evaluate possibility of referendum or initiative.
10. Evan McMorris-Santoro has some good reporting on the path forward in the Michigan union controversy. Key quote:
“If this bill is signed today, it will be Thunderdome for Governor Snyder and Michigan for the next two years,” the official said. “There are multiple options for a referendum, for the voters to have their say on this issue and all options are on the table, the fight is far from over.”
[I]f right-to-work laws are indeed, as supporters claim, a “liberty” issue for workers who are otherwise slaves to “union bosses,” then why are Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan GOP legislators denying these “rights” to the most esteemed workers under their purview, police officers and firefighters?
12. James Downie makes an interesting point about a close cousin of too-big-to-fail: too big to indict.
13. Important comment from Brendan Nyhan about fact-checkers and broader journalism in the face of partisan asymmetries. In other words, how to handle it when one party lies a lot more than the other one does?
14. Will Obama break new ground in his second term appointments? Michael Sheer discusses the options.
15. And Emily Bazelon on what Zero Dark Thirty does and doesn’t say about torture.