Reposted from Ezra Klein’s WONKBLOG, at

The very notion of a “fiscal cliff” suggests that the country is approaching a calamitous drop-off at the end of the year — and it would be tantamount to suicide to jump off.

But a contingent of policy wonks and Democrats insist that letting the Dec. 31 deadline come and go — thus triggering automatic tax increases and spending cuts — could produce the best outcome for the country. Once the tax hikes have kicked in, the reasoning goes, Republicans would be hard-pressed to roll them all back and would have to accept a deal on taming the deficit that contains more new tax revenue than GOP lawmakers want.

So some policy analysts and legislators say they are willing to go over the brink—and some are even gunning for Congress to do it.

Call them the cliff-divers.

“It will be much easier to negotiate a budget deal going over the cliff,” said William Gale, an economist at the Brookings Institute and former adviser to George H.W. Bush. “It seems to be the only way we can boost revenues.”

“The willingness to go over the cliff is a means to force a deal,” said Matt McAlvanah, a spokesman for Sen. Patty Murray, the fourth-ranking Democrat. In July, Murray said she would rather push the debt debate into next year rather than reach a deal “that throws middle class families under the bus.”

Fiscal Cliff-Diver Patty Murray, (D) WA

Publicly, most Democrats haven’t gone as far as Murray, continuing to stress that avoiding the fiscal cliff is their priority. But privately, some acknowledge that they’d be willing to jump if Republicans refuse to let Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy expire. GOP leaders have vowed to preserve the Bush tax cuts for the top income brackets and everyone else.

Other prominent cliff-divers include MSNBC cable host and former Senate Finance Committee chief of staff Lawrence O’Donnell, who’s launched an “Off the Cliff” campaign to press Democrats to jump….

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell displays Democrat fiscal derangement

…and Robert Greenstein, president of the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, who says going over could be the “least bad” option. ”I wouldn’t say it’s desirable, but it may be necessary,” explains former White House budget director Peter Orszag, who believes that going past the Dec. 31 could produce the best policy outcome in the face of a political stand-off.

In an ideal world, these figures would want Congress to reach a reasonable deal before the deadline. But they are skeptical that will happen, given the politics surrounding the fiscal cliff, and argue that going over the cliff would remove what they believe is the biggest stumbling block.

Since individual tax rates would go up automatically—rising from 35 to 39.6 percent for the highest-income bracket and 10 to 15 percent for the lowest—Congress would technically be voting to cut them rather than raise them. It’s a distinction that the cliff-divers believe will make all the difference. “Republicans won’t have to violate their ‘no new taxes’ pledge,” says Gale. “The politics are a lot easier and the incentives are a lot stronger.”

President Obama, for his part, promised to veto any legislation that kept the cuts for the wealthy intact.

The cliff-divers don’t deny that the fiscal cliff would deal a serious blow to the economy, knocking the US back into a recession if the spending cuts and tax hikes remain in effect for all of next year. But these advocates say the immediate risk is overblown.

The CBPP points out that most of the changes under the cliff would be phased in gradually, preferring the term “fiscal slope” to counter the notion of an immediate economic apocalypse. The group points out that some of the tax and spending changes could be reversed retroactively, and the Treasury Department also has discretion to stave off changes to withholding tables for payroll taxes.

“If not as though we reach January 2 without having addressed the cliff, and we’re in a recession,” said Josh Bivens, research and policy director of the Economic Policy Institute.

The cliff-divers worry, moreover, that rushing to meet fiscal cliff deadline at all costs could convince Congress to accept a subpar deal.

“People talk about a grand bargain—a short-term stimulus and long-term deficit reduction when the economy is stronger—that’s the gold standard, and you don’t get that from panicking prior to January 1,” said Chad Stone, an economist at the CBPP.

Making a hasty deal could involve undesirable trade-offs, for instance changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that these advocates oppose.

They also warn against a short-term fix of “extending everything for a little while, then revisiting the issue later,” as Stone put it. Doing so would forgo an opportunity to force Congress into making tough choices, they say, encouraging them to continue an undesirable status quo on taxes.

While they don’t think Dec. 31 is a drop-dead deadline, the cliff-divers also don’t believe that Congress has all the time in the world: They say Congress has a few weeks, at most, to work out a deal before the fiscal cliff starts to do real harm to the economy and the markets. “We won’t go over the fiscal cliff for very long,” concluded Gale.

Critics of the cliff-divers, however, ague they are being too sanguine about passing the Dec 31. deadline and doubt Congress would come together as quickly in early 2013 in such an environment of political brinksmanship. “It strikes me as a bit of a blase attitude—’We have an airbag, we’ll sprout wings,’” said Michael Hanson, chief US economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research.

Hanson predicts it will actually take much longer than the cliff-divers imagine to come to a deal if we pass the deadline. And by that point, significant damage would be done to growth, the stock markets, and consumer and business confidence. “It definitely increases the chance of having one-quarter if not two of negative growth,” he said

Can we all say, “Recession”??





Romney wins in a landslide — Las Vegas oddsmaker doubles down on prediction

As the new headlines reads Swing States poll: Women push Romney into lead, a successful Las Vegas oddsmaker predicts: a Mitt Romney landslide victory in November!

Read on:

Yes, you read that headline correctly. I am a Las Vegas oddsmaker (and former  Libertarian vice presidential candidate) and here’s why I am so boldly  predicting a Romney landslide.


In November of 2004, only days before the presidential election, I went on  CNBC and predicted a Bush victory by 3 points and 30 electoral votes. Every poll  at the time showed Kerry in the lead. Bush won by 3 and 35. Newsmax magazine  called it the most accurate prediction of 2004.
In October of 2006, I  went on Fox News to predict the GOP would get slaughtered in the midterm  election and lose Congress. They did.
In December 2011, before the GOP  primary, I predicted Mitt Romney would win the GOP presidential nomination and  go on to win the presidency. For the next few months, Romney trailed by a wide  margin to a range of contenders — Donald Trump, Rick Perry, Herman Cain,  Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum. It seemed no one wanted Mitt for  president. It seemed no one believed in Mitt. No one, that is, except this Las  Vegas oddsmaker and capitalist evangelist.
Fast forward to Spring 2012  after Romney clinched the GOP nomination, but trailed in every poll to President  Obama. I boldly predicted a Mitt Romney landslide on Election Day, November  6.
Fast forward to June 2012, when experts predicted a defeat for  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in his recall election. Unions were pouring  unheard of sums into the race in a longtime Democratic state that welcomes union  rights. I boldly predicted a Walker landslide victory of 7 to 10 points. He won  by exactly 7 (despite reported Democratic voter irregularities).
For the  past month, as Mitt Romney trailed badly in almost every poll, especially in the  all-important battleground states, I continued to predict a big Romney victory.  Today I’m making it official:
I’m doubling down. Mitt Romney will win the  presidency, and it won’t be close.
I’m predicting a 5 to 7 point popular  vote victory. Electorally it won’t even be that close.

Romney will win many  states that went to Obama in 2008. I’m predicting Romney victories in Ohio,  Florida, Colorado, Virginia, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and  Indiana. I predict a Romney victory by 100 to 120 electoral votes.
In the  days before the first presidential debate, polls showed Romney trailing badly in  most of those states. But, as I’ve argued from day one, the polls are wrong.  They are badly skewed towards Democrats. Quite simply they are over-polling  Democratic voters and assuming a turnout that looks like 2008, when record  numbers of Democrats came out for Obama. After Romney’s  overwhelming victory in the first debate he now leads, or is dead even in  battleground states where, only days before, he was supposedly way behind. My  contention is a 1 point Romney lead in those Democrat-skewed polls is really a  comfortable 5 to 7 point Romney lead on election day.

Electoral map today

There are several  specific reasons I predict a comfortable Romney victory on election day:

  • The news media is ignoring signs of mass revulsion towards President Obama.  In the West Virginia Democrat primary, a felon got 40% of the vote versus Obama.  In deep blue Massachusetts and Connecticut, GOP Senate candidates are even, or  leading in recent polls. In pro-union Wisconsin, Walker won by a country mile.  But worst of all for Mr. Obama, several recent polls show Romney competitive in  Illinois — Obama’s home state. Romney is actually winning by a landslide in the  suburbs of Obama’s Chicago. Even in Cook County, the country’s biggest  Democratic stronghold, Romney leads by double digits among independents (43-31)  and white voters (53-40). These are very bad signs for Obama.
  • In 2008 Democrats overwhelmingly controlled the majority of governorships.  Today Republicans control the majority of Governorships. Presidential elections  are always steered in each state by the governor — the most powerful force in  state politics.
  • After the 2010 census, electoral votes were added to states that lean  Republican in elections: Texas, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, South  Carolina, and Utah. Deep blue Democrat states like New York, New Jersey,  Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Massachusetts lost electoral votes.
    That brings up an interesting point. Why is everyone running away from these  ultra liberal, high tax states in the first place? Isn’t that alone proof of the  failure of Democrat ideas?
  • Next, follow the money trail. Yes, Obama is raising plenty of money,  although there is now a major question about whether it’s coming from illegal  foreign contributors. But forget all that. What matters is that in 2008 Obama  overwhelmed McCain by out-spending him 10 to 1 down the stretch. That won’t  happen in 2012. Romney is even, or can out-spend Obama, in the last 2 weeks of  the election. That makes a huge difference in the outcome.
  • Christians will turn out in record numbers this year. Obama has offended  Christians again and again. Last election 20 million evangelical Christians did  not vote. They will turn out in record numbers in 2012 to defeat the most  anti-Christian President in US history. How motivated are Christians? Did you  see the long lines around the country to support Chick-fil-A this summer? You’ll  see those same lines on election day.
  • Voter rolls have been purged in 2012 of felons and illegals in many states — particularly Florida and Ohio. Turnout of Democrats will be nothing like  2008.
    Which brings up another important question. What kind of political  party relies on felons and people illegally in the country to win elections?
  • The “Enthusiasm Factor” for Romney is huge. Conservatives are focused,  intense, motivated, and enthusiastic. Democrats turned out for Obama in record  numbers in 2008. Today they are demoralized. A big edge goes to Romney on  Election Day as conservatives, white voters, middle class voters and  independents turn out in record numbers for Romney.
    I know several people  who voted for Obama in 2008, but never again.  Does anyone know a McCain  voter who will vote for Obama in 2012? There are none.
  • Finally, history proves that a majority of undecided voters break for the  challenger. Romney will take most of the undecided voters on election day — just like Reagan did versus Jimmy Carter in 1980. Romney’s fantastic debate  performance gave them confidence to choose the challenger.

This is Carter/Reagan all over again. The same horrible same  economically ignorant fool in the White House bringing misery to Americans. The  same economic collapse under the weight of socialist, pro union, soak the rich,  demonize the business owners, policies.
I predict the same result  on election day. Mitt Romney in a landslide.
And If I’m wrong- God help  the United States of America.

Wayne Allyn Root is a capitalist evangelist and serial entrepreneur. He is  a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee. He now serves as chairman of the  Libertarian National Campaign Committee. He is the best-selling author of  “The  Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns,  Gold & Tax Cuts.” For more, visit his website:

Read more:


Mitt Romney is often accused of being “stiff”, “out-of-touch”, and “unemotional”.

Personally, I think that this portrayal is only partially true.

In this fallen age of the ALL TOO COMMON MAN, I for one appreciate a bit of “gravitas” and “dignitas” in my leaders. I really DON’T want to know if my President wears boxers or briefs!

But I digress.

Mitt Romney here shows his emotional side; as he recounts his meeting the fallen Ex-Navy SEAL, Glen Doherty.

The two apparently met by accident at a neighborhood party. Glen made a good impression on Mr. Romney, who was sadened to learn of his recent death in Bengazi.

Just one more reason I am supporting Mitt. For another, go back to my early story, “SOMETIMES IT TAKES A HERO“.


Just when you begin bragging that your ship is UNSINKABLE, the gods have a way of tipping an iceberg in your path.

For SS OBAMA, what was supposed to be a reelection pleasure cruise just struck an iceberg: Mitt Romney!

In their first Presidential Debate, moderated by Jim Lehrer, the President’s Republican challenger scored a knockout! Perhaps not since Howard Cosell breathlessly cried, “DOWN GOES FRASIER!”, as challenger George Foreman knocked out the Heavy Weight Champion Joe Frazier in the First Round of their title fight; has he pundit-class expressed such shocked and dismayed by an unexpected knockout of their heavily favored champion!

If you wonder how bad it was for a President who seemed often uncomfortable and even somnolent, just listen to the after-action reports from LIBERAL pundits:

This was a disaster for the President!”, opined Andrew Sullivan, over at the Daily Beast.  “Obama looked tired, even bored; he kept looking down; he had no crisp statements of passion or argument; he wasn’t there.”

“It makes me just sick to my stomach!”, snorted Mika  Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe show, the morning after.

From fellow MSNBCer, Ed Schultz: “I Was Absolutely Stunned,” Obama Was “Off His Game“. That’s putting it mildly. The last time a prohibitive favorite was this “off his game” was when Napoleon marched off to Waterloo!

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times (on MSNBC’s Jansing and Co. morning show) was more succinct concerning Obama’s lackluster performance: “He blew it.”

Long-time Clintonista James Carville (“The Ragin Cajun”) was somewhat more colorful in his analysis: “I think he (Obama) was off his game tonight….Mitt Romney came in with a chainsaw“!

The Washington Times Charles Hurt dissected the President’s poor performance harshly:

Bewildered  and lost without his teleprompter, President Obama flailed all  around  the debate stage last night. He was stuttering, nervous and petulant. It  was like he had been called in front of the principal after goofing  around for  four years and blowing off all his homework”! “Not  since Jimmy Carter faced Ronald Reagan has the U.S. presidency been so  embarrassingly represented in  public. Actually, that’s an insult to JImmy Carter”!

Uber-Progressive Bill Maher, who has put his money where his mouth is by donating a million dollars to a pro-Obama Super PAC, seemed shocked when he twitted the following:

An appalled Chris Matthews had a meltdown; sputtering, “What Was He Doing?? (Obama) had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it…What was Romney doing?” Matthews asked. “He was winning.”

Matthews, who claims to get a “tingle in his legs” when Obama speaks, was forced (grudgingly) to compliment the Republican: “(Romney) had a plan, he was going to dominate the time, he was going to be aggressive, he was going to push the moderator around, which he did effectively, he was going to relish the evening, enjoying it… You’ve got to beat the champ”, Matthews muttered.

Beat him he did! Returning to the boxing analogy, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough observed that not since Buster Douglas took down Mike Tyson has the challenger so overturned the expectations of the “nattering class”.

Obama has been knocked down. It remains to be seen if he will get back up again, or if he is down for the count!


by  Deroy Murdock columnistThe Marietta Daily  Journal
October  02, 2012 01:11 AM
(Note: Word Warrior is on vacation this week. Please enjoy this guest column)

Concerning the fun parts of his job, Barack Obama resembles the Energizer Bunny.  If there are crowds to wow, entertainers to schmooze or donors to pitch, Obama  is Johnny on the spot. Too bad Obama’s sparks stop flying when it comes time for  the serious, heavy lifting of the presidency.

This phenomenon’s most  chilling example involves Obama’s national security-related presidential daily  brief (PDB). As the conservative Government Accountability Institute calculated,  and Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen first reported Sept. 10, Obama  attended only 43.8 percent of his daily briefings between Jan. 23, 2009 (three  days after his inauguration) and May 31, 2012. Available nearly every day, the  briefing allows the commander-in-chief to hear directly from top intelligence  professionals about the latest threats to U.S. safety. These experts are on hand  to answer questions, hear suggestions and otherwise help Obama foil America’s  enemies.

But Obama has had higher priorities.

According to the  institute’s data culled from the official White House calendar and’s news coverage of that schedule, Obama chose to skip his daily  briefings and, instead, simply read his briefing book. This is a bit like  studying one’s chest X-rays at home while spurning a radiologist’s offer to  interpret them and answer pertinent questions.

In this sense, Obama  quietly reviewed his national security X-rays alone during 56.2 percent of the  time the institute analyzed. Obama missed 61.6 percent of these briefings in  2011.

Obama skipped his briefings between last Sept. 4 and 11, the  entire week before the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya suffered an Islamic  terror attack that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, technical  officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.

Who knows if a briefer’s classified utterance, or a particularly astute  question from Obama, might have triggered tighter security in Benghazi and,  perhaps prevented the murders of four Americans?

Even worse, as Thiessen  reports, Obama postponed and eventually skipped his briefing on the day after  these planned and deliberate assassinations. This liberated Obama for a truly  indispensable responsibility that day.

As American embassies burned  brightly throughout the Islamic world, Obama jetted off on Air Force One for a  campaign fundraiser in America’s least solemn city — Las Vegas.

At last,  three days after the Benghazi bloodshed, and nine days after his previous  briefing, Obama sat still for a proper briefing Sept. 14, the White House  schedule shows. Perhaps the scrutiny of Thiessen and other critics finally has  inspired Obama to attend his briefings with the regularity of his  predecessors.

Obama last week met with exactly zero world leaders at the  United Nations General Assembly, not least of them Israeli Prime Minister  Benjamin Netanyahu, who wants to stop Iran from redecorating Jerusalem and Tel  Aviv with mushroom clouds. Obama found time, however, to serve as “eye candy” for Whoopi Goldberg and the cast of “The View.”

Obama has shirked his  domestic obligations, too. He reportedly has held just two Cabinet meetings this  year — on Jan. 31 and July 26. While claiming to be totally focused on reducing  naggingly high unemployment, Obama has not met with his Jobs Council since  January. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained, “The president’s  obviously got a lot on his plate.” This has included a $38,000-per-plate  fundraiser at the Manhattan home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker and golf, of  which Obama has enjoyed some 104 rounds as president.

Obama’s dereliction  of duty would be bad enough if he were a latter-day Eisenhower: a  well-respected, perhaps feared, world leader enjoying prosperity at home and  peace (or at least a manageable Cold War) overseas. Instead, Obama grows  increasingly comical, the domestic economy languishes, and the American flag has  become an alternative fuel source across the Middle East. Nonetheless, Ike Jr.  parties like it’s 1959.

Perhaps Obama has devolved from president to  slacker-in-chief in an elaborate display of empathy for America’s 12.5 million  unemployed.

With so many citizens not working, Obama may reckon, why should  he?

Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News  Service.

Read more:  The Marietta Daily Journal – Barack Obama The Slacker in Chief