Yesterday Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented Republican leaders on Capitol Hill with President Obama’s plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. The Geithner proposal asked for:
1. An immediate $1 trillion tax hike through higher top marginal income tax rates as well as higher taxes on both capital gains and dividends.
2. An agreement to raise $600 billion more in taxes later this year by limiting tax deductions for top earners.
3. $50 billion in new infrastructure stimulus spending.
4. Another “emergency” extension of unemployment benefits.
5. An extension of either the payroll tax cut or the reinstatement of Obama’s stimulus Making Work Pay tax credit.
6. A mortgage refinancing program.
7. Billions in new spending to prevent cuts to Medicare reimbursement payments for doctors.
8. An infinite debt limit hike.
Upon hearing Geithner’s wish list, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reportedly “burst into laughter.” He should have patted Geithner on the head and offered him a candy cane instead.
The offer Obama gave to Republicans yesterday should cure any conservative of the fantasy that Obama is an honest partner in either the fiscal cliff talks or the larger and long-term fight to reduce the deficit. Yesterday’s offer proves that Obama will never agree to any significant and meaningful entitlement or tax reform.
The best Republicans can do now is just go back home to their constituents and wait till the Obama administration grows up.