President Obama is back in DC. He brought with him on Air Force One Brian Schatz, the man Neil Abercrombie appointed to replace Daniel Inouye, in direct disregard of Inouye's final wish. There's no doubt in my mind that Abercrombie will eventually pay a price for that.
But basically, the Democrats are either back in DC or on their collective way back. They're willing to do what is necessary to fix things before next Tuesday. The Republicans? They've completely abdicated their responsibilities. I don't understand how they get away with this. That is, how do their constituencies keep voting them back in? I just don't get it. How is it that they pay no price whatsoever for their intransigence?
It's a fine line of what will happen next week. "The government" in all sorts of different areas, has ways of making the cliff a curb, the curb a cliff, and how delicately that is handled will greatly affect what happens across the whole globe.
Take the debt ceiling. Tim Geithner announced we're out of money next Monday. He'll be able to juggle the books so that we have an additional few months, but we're going to have to deal with it. How is it no one remembers the summer of 2011 and the decrease in our credit rating? Why isn't everyone with a Republican rep on the phone daily saying "raise the debt ceiling, you moron." ??? Then again, I'm in favour of Obama having the Mint mint those 2 trillion dollar platinum coins. Or invoking the 14th. He's never running for office again, let the chips fall where they may.
Take taxes. The IRS has a lot of play in terms of what they do relative to whether Federal tax withholdings go up, when, and by how much. If they say that because there's no deal, everyone's withholding rises to the pre-Bush rates, that actually delays when the debt ceiling is hit as a lot more money hits Treasury sooner. But, if they do that, it greatly affects the overall economy, which is 70% consumer-driven. I'm unclear if they can change withholding amounts only for those earning over, say, $250,000 or $400,000, and what influence the White House would have on that decision. A lot of the tax changes don't come into play until the end of 2013 when people have to evaluate their situations for the 2014 filings. However, there's no AMT patch, which means that people earning in the neighborhood of $45,000 in 2012 will be hit with the AMT when they file in 2013. Will the IRS assume a patch? Or will they take the money, and then wait for people to file amended returns?
And the markets? Who's to say? It might be a great fall, but people may hold their securities assuming that there will be a fix.
Mostly, though, I just keep coming back to the House. The election for Speaker is next Thursday, and the CV says Boehner holds. Tmess proposed that a more moderate Congressman be selected. The interesting thing is that nowhere is it written that the Speaker needs to be a member of the House. Therefore, if we're going for the non-Boehner, I'm in favour of offering the job to Mike Bloomberg. He probably wouldn't do it as he likes being Mayor of NY, but I wonder if he could accept the position for 6 months only, take a leave from NY, and come down and do for DC what he's done for NYC government. Then again, he might actually want the job: imagine a press conference from him (with his deaf interpreter) daily on what is really going on. Talk about getting people across the country listening and ready to man those phones to their Congressional offices.
He certainly knows money. He wouldn't need a salary: he's been a dollar a year man since taking office as NYC Mayor. He is a straight shooter, and he's been a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, and has no loyalty to any party. He also has no hidden constituency to which he needs to answer. It's not as if the likes of the Koch Brothers or Sheldon Adelson can buy him off - he can buy them, or at least hold his own. And basically, can you think of a better choice?