‘Fiscal cliff’: Consensus on increasing tax revenue, a wide gulf on how to do it: “For the first time in decades, a bipartisan consensus has emerged in Washington to raise taxes. But negotiators working to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff” remain far apart on crucial details, including how taxes should go up and who should pay more. . .Neither side gave ground in an opening round of staff-level talks last week at the Capitol. As President Obama and congressional leaders prepare for a second face-to-face meeting as soon as this week, the divide over taxes presents the biggest obstacle to replacing the heap of abrupt tax hikes and spending cuts, set to hit in January, with a less-traumatic debt-reduction plan.” (Washington Post


New White House report helps Obama build public case for extending middle-class tax cuts: The White House warned Monday that the average family will pay $2,200 more in taxes next year if Congress does not freeze tax rates for the middle class, publishing a new report as part of President Obama’s campaign to extend tax cuts for most Americans while allowing taxes on the wealthiest to rise. (Washington Post)

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Politico’s Arena asks: Most Republicans and a few Democrats have signed the pledge – the Taxpayer Protection Pledge by Americans for Tax Reform – an anti-tax group. The decision by Chambliss could mark the beginning of a break in GOP ranks as the party works with Democrats to resolve some $600 billion in mandatory spending cuts and tax increases that go into effect next year. But it could also mean bad news at the polls, where breaking anti-tax agreements typically go over poorly with voters. Are Republicans right to at least consider breaking the pledge in order to help solve the fiscal cliff?  Or is there another way the problem can be resolved? 

Heritage’s James Carafano: By this summer, the White House phone book could have new names listed under the secretaries of defense, homeland security, and state, the national security advisor and the head of the CIA. Who fills these posts really matters. If the White House elects to select cheerleaders who will just rubber stamp the Obama Doctrine, the White House will likely just double down on failure. Obama, like Eisenhower, may already know what he wants. But world events have already shown that what Mr. Obama wants isn’t working so well. (Washington Examiner)

The rise of one-party states: “Starting next month, Americans in 25 states will have Republican governors and Republicans in control of both houses of the state legislatures. They aren’t all small states, either. They include about 53 percent of the nation’s population,” writes AEI’s Michael Barone. (National Review)

Brookings’ E.J. Dionne: Hiding the church’s treasure. (Washington Post)