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Democratic officials: Fiscal 'cliff' deal reached

By David Espo

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:29 p.m. HST, Dec 31, 2012


WASHINGTON » Racing against the clock, the White House reached agreement with congressional Republicans late today on a deal to prevent across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts to government programs from taking effect at midnight, according to administration and Senate Democratic officials.

These officials said a New Year's Eve vote in the Senate to ratify the deal was possible later in the evening, barring opposition from majority Democrats.

There was no immediate confirmation from aides to the top Republicans in Congress, Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.

Vice President Joseph Biden headed for the Capitol to brief the Democratic rank and file.

The officials who described the developments did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss the details.

Hours earlier, President Barack Obama said, "It appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year's tax hike is within sight. ... But it's not done," he added of legislation that redeems his campaign pledge to raise taxes on the wealthy while sparing the middle class.

Even by the dysfunctional standards of government-by-gridlock, the activity at both ends of historic Pennsylvania Avenue was remarkable as the White House and Congress struggled over legislation to prevent a "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts.

As darkness fell on the last day of the year, Obama, Biden and their aides were at work in the White House, and lights burned in the House and Senate. Democrats complained that Obama had given away too much in agreeing to limit tax increases to incomes over $450,000, far above the $250,000 level he campaigned on. Yet some Republicans recoiled at the prospect of raising taxes at all.

A late dispute over the estate tax produced allegations of bad faith from all sides.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell — shepherding final talks with Biden — agreed with Obama that an overall deal was near. In remarks on the Senate floor, he suggested Congress move quickly to pass tax legislation and "continue to work on finding smarter ways to cut spending" next year.

The White House and Democrats initially declined the offer, preferring to prevent the cuts from kicking in at the Pentagon and domestic agencies alike. Officials said they might yet reconsider, although there was also talk of a short-term delay in the reductions.

While the deadline to prevent tax increases and spending cuts was technically midnight, passage of legislation by the time a new Congress takes office at noon on Jan. 3, 2013 — the likely timetable — would eliminate or minimize any inconvenience for taxpayers.

For now, more than the embarrassment of a gridlocked Congress working through New Year's Eve in the Capitol was at stake.

Economists in and out of government have warned that a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts could trigger a new recession, and the White House and Congress have spent the seven weeks since the Nov. 6 elections struggling for a compromise to protect the economy.

Even now, with time running out, partisan agendas were evident.

Obama used his appearance to chastise Congress, and to lay down a marker for the next round of negotiations early in 2013 when Republicans intend to seek spending cuts in exchange for letting the Treasury to borrow above the current debt limit of $16.4 trillion.

"Now, if Republicans think that I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone — and you hear that sometimes coming from them ... then they've got another think coming. ... That's not how it's going to work at least as long as I'm president," he said.

"And I'm going to be president for the next four years, I think," he added.

Officials in both parties said agreement had been reached to prevent tax increases on most Americans, while letting rates rise on individual income over $400,000 and household earnings over $450,000 to a maximum of 39.6 percent from the current 35 percent. That marked a victory for Obama, who campaigned successfully for re-election on a platform of requiring the wealthy to pay more.

Officials said any agreement would also raise taxes on the value of estates exceeding $5 million to 40 percent, but a late dispute emerged on that point as well as on spending cuts. Democrats accused Republicans of making a 11th-hour demand to have the $5 million threshold rise each year to take inflation into account. GOP officials said the White House had agreed to the proposal on Sunday night, a claim administration officials disputed.

Any compromise was also expected to extend expiring jobless benefits for 2 million unemployed, prevent a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and likely avoid a near-doubling of milk prices.

Much or all of the revenue to be raised through higher taxes on the wealthy would help hold down the amount paid to the Internal Revenue Service by the middle class.

In addition to preventing higher rates for most, any agreement would retain existing breaks for families with children, for low-earning taxpayers and for those with a child in college.

In addition, the two sides agreed to prevent the Alternative Minimum Tax from expanding to affect an estimated 28 million households for the first time in 2013, with an average increase of more than $3,000. The law was originally designed to make sure millionaires did not escape taxes, but inflation has gradually exposed more and more households with lower earnings to its impact.

To help businesses, the two sides also agreed to extend an existing research and development tax credit as well as other breaks designed to boost renewable energy production. Details on those provisions were sketchy.

Obama's remarks irritated some Republicans.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona they would "clearly antagonize members of the House."

There was no response from Speaker John Boehner, who has been content to remain in the background while McConnell did the negotiating.

Some Democratic officials said that with his comments, Obama was hoping to ease the concerns of liberals in his own party who feared he had given away too much in the current round of talks over taxes.

Obama campaigned on a call for higher tax rates on income over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples, far lower than the $400,000 and $450,000 that Biden and McConnell have set.

Similarly, the pending agreement on the estate tax would allow more large estates to escape taxation than many Democrats prefer.

By late afternoon, the two sides remained separated by a stubborn dispute over spending cuts scheduled to take effect on the Pentagon and domestic programs alike.

Officials familiar with the talks said the White House has been seeking agreement to stop the cuts from taking effect, either for a period of months or a year, and wanted to count higher taxes created elsewhere in the legislation to offset the cost.

Republicans have said they are willing to delay the across-the-board cuts, but only if Obama and Democrats agree to targeted savings from government programs to take their place.

___

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram and Ben Feller contributed to this report.

Details of tentative deal averting 'fiscal cliff'

Highlights of a tentative agreement today between the White House and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., aimed at averting wide tax increases and budget cuts scheduled to take effect in the new year. The measure would raise taxes by about $600 billion over 10 years. Still unresolved is how to avert across-the-board spending cuts set to begin slashing the budgets of the Pentagon and numerous domestic agencies.

Highlights include:

> Income tax rates: Extends decade-old tax cuts on incomes up to $400,000 for individuals, $450,000 for couples. Earnings above those amounts would be taxed at a rate of 39.6 percent, up from the current 35 percent. Extends Clinton-era caps on itemized deductions and the phase-out of the personal exemption for individuals making more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $300,000.

> Estate tax: Estates would be taxed at a top rate of 40 percent, with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million for family estates. In 2012, such estates were subject to a top rate of 35 percent.

> Capital gains, dividends: Taxes on capital gains and dividend income exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families would increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.

> Alternative minimum tax: Permanently addresses the alternative minimum tax and indexes it for inflation to prevent nearly 30 million middle- and upper-middle income taxpayers from being hit with higher tax bills averaging almost $3,000. The tax was originally designed to ensure that the wealthy did not avoid owing taxes by using loopholes.

> Other tax changes: Extends for five years Obama-sought expansions of the child tax credit, earned income tax credit, and an up to $2,500 tax credit for college tuition. Also extends for one year accelerated "bonus" depreciation of business investments in new property and equipment, a tax credit for research and development costs and a tax credit for renewable energy such as wind-generated electricity.

> Unemployment benefits: Extends jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for one year.

> Cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors: Blocks a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors for one year. The cut is the product of an obsolete 1997 budget formula.

> Social Security payroll tax cut: Allows a 2 percentage point cut in the payroll tax first enacted two years ago to lapse, which restores the payroll tax to 6.2 percent.







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UHFAN1984 wrote:
I think the two parties have an agreement not to work this out that way they blame each other during the election year. I can tell you who's to blame for this mess you and me the voters. The ones who don't come out to vote and the ones who do and keep puting these yo-yo's back in office. The jokes on the american public.
on December 31,2012 | 03:37AM
waikiicapt wrote:
As all the comments below clearly indicate, most people (especially liberal democrats) have absolutely no idea or understanding of the problem this country faces, regardless of your party affiliation. Most all people (and the MSM) point to the "Bush tax cuts" or to their desire to RAISE taxes or LOWER taxes. To burn the rich or to give to the poor. Middle class, the rich, the lower class. Blah, blah, blah. THE PROBLEM IS SPENDING. Thus the insistence by republicans to focus on spending cuts, GET IT??? Our bloated governments (Federal and state) spend far , far more than they take in in revenues. Politicians simply do not have the courage to STOP making decisions that allow further growth in the amount they spend every year...much less cutting back. You can take every dollar from every rich person in this country, it would STILL not cover the amount of money this country spends on everything we purchase or service we use every day all year. Do you get it yet? FIRST. before politicians get any MORE money, you reign in their spending. SECOND, after they have demonstrated they are able to cut back, then you provide more tax revenues through modifying the tax code. It's simple. But you have to understand that the three biggest items where all our taxes go is defense, medicaid and medicare. By proportion, the rest is small stuff. If you can't honestly say you understand this, then you really shouldn't be whining about what the republicans are or are not doing. Don't forget...Obama owned the white house and congress for two years with Pelosi and Reid's leadership. He could have accomplished ANYTHING he wanted with congressional majorities. but he foolishly (due to his lack of leadership) squandered his time and effort on his Obamacare. What a waste. You can blame Bush all ya want. Obama has been in charge and responsible. We have toay what we voted for four years ago. And will have this bozo another four years. YOU get what you voted for. Own up for once in your life!
on December 31,2012 | 12:18PM
Labor wrote:
There is no wonder an agreement cannot be made with these kinds of comments. To blame one side completely shows YOUR inability to understand the problem. And to blame Obamacare? He wants something for us that nearly EVERY industrialized country in the world has. Universal health care is seen around the world as a "Human Right" so why not us?
on December 31,2012 | 01:59PM
thebostitch wrote:
You are correct in your statement, but sadly reality and common sense has nothing to do with the way out politics are working, and the fault of electing out leaders stands with the biggest problem this country has: record and growing number of ignorant people. And if the people are not ignorant, they are simply selfish, less and less people want to work for a living, they think the government should give them everything (not thinking where the government would have the money from) so they vote accordingly, for people like Obama who promotes communism. And yes, absolutely, we do have a SPENDING problem, not an income problem!
on December 31,2012 | 02:16PM
OldDiver wrote:
The Republicans are looking like fools. The main issue is the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans. The GOP is so dependent to their masters (The Rich) they rather look like fools than build a strong middle class.
on December 31,2012 | 04:38AM
bender wrote:
It wasn't that long ago that the GOP proclaimed they had to repackage themselves in order to make themselves more acceptable to a wider spectrum of American voters. That came following the reelection of Obama. But so far the GIOP has stuck to the old game plan. If they want that wider acceptance then they are going to have to abandon party unity and tell the tea party faction to go away. The tea partiers certainly aren't doing the mainstream GOP any favors.
on December 31,2012 | 06:06AM
mustangguru wrote:
They ALL look like fools. The first problem back when our friend took office was the economy was in shambles. Well shouldn't this have been the first priority? My friend, the Bush era tax cuts affect EVERYONE and not just the rich. They affect small business investment in capital goods---every heard of accelerated first year depreciation? This has helped many a small business and especially our CONSTRUCTION industry--sales of heavy equipment as well as enabling tax credits for the purchase of heavy equipment. This goes away and guess what----LOCAL heavy equipment distributors and sales establishment lose. Good for the economy?
on December 31,2012 | 06:20AM
Pacej001 wrote:
I think MSNBC has a great need for your political analysis skills? Question; who cut taxes on the middle class and the poor in the first place? Boooosh, in his 2001 and 2003 tax cut bills. Maybe you can explain the evil genius behind the GOP party of the rich plan to benefit the wealthy by reducing lower income earner taxes. Love to hear it.
on December 31,2012 | 07:52AM
IAmSane wrote:
Because it would have looked really bad if he cut taxes just for the rich?
on December 31,2012 | 09:35AM
lee1957 wrote:
Try again.
on December 31,2012 | 10:45AM
IAmSane wrote:
Because it would have looked really bad if he cut taxes just for the rich?
on December 31,2012 | 01:43PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Wrong. It's because it would have looked really, really bad if he cut taxes just for the rich.
on December 31,2012 | 04:36PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Whoa, raised payroll taxes, that hurts. How many folks making over $450k? Looks like the little guy takes the heat, as usual. Barry misled us, again. Also, 0 spending cuts. Sad.
on December 31,2012 | 07:16PM
AdmrVT wrote:
Give everyone more money to spend to try and trigger the economy by more spending. They hoped (at least this is what the PR said) to encourage saving. Right. Just increased the taxes so they could spend more.
on December 31,2012 | 12:00PM
AhiPoke wrote:
"The main issue is the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans." People who think like you may end up getting what you want and deserve, another recession. I'm no republican but I know enough to understand that this president's continuous spending will eventually bankrupt our country. Taxing the "wealthiest of Americans", which I believe needs to be done, is not a solution to our fiscal problems. The way out of this mess is not to give more to people who don't work. The way out is to stimulate our economy and taxing people who succeed is not the way to do it.
on December 31,2012 | 09:35AM
lee1957 wrote:
The tax the rich strategy is purely idealogical and does not offer a practical solution to the impending collapse of our government.
on December 31,2012 | 10:46AM
AdmrVT wrote:
Neither does increasing taxes across the board, and in particular, those in lower or "middle" income levels that cannot pay more taxes and are getting by paycheck to paycheck. Hawaii already has the most couples that both work to get by.
on December 31,2012 | 01:15PM
AdmrVT wrote:
Agreed. Remember that the next time Lingle runs for ANY office; any republican candidate in this state. They need to become an endangered species. Send a message.
on December 31,2012 | 11:44AM
Kuniarr wrote:
Baloney. Obama's trillion-dollar spending is the reason for the gigantic leap in National Debt. All this talk about "tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans" is a lot of baloney. The US is not under Socialism but Capitalism which is an economy driven and fed by capital. This mantra of ENVY OF THE RICH is the basic rationale of Socialist countries like France and communist countries like Russia. Not in the US.
on December 31,2012 | 03:08PM
harley1 wrote:
Move along folks, nothing new here......
on December 31,2012 | 05:52AM
hawaiikone wrote:
You're right. Same tired, predictable comments from the same sources. Day after day.
on December 31,2012 | 06:21AM
AhiPoke wrote:
Exactly. And, notice that they haven't solved anything. All they're doing is kicking the can down a bit and they'll be back doing this again in a few months. Our system is broken. Leadership and problem solving skills are non-existent in Washington.
on December 31,2012 | 11:42AM
ichiban wrote:
First off-- It's politics as usual. Both parties are the same....DEM GOP=POLITICIANS. Yep, they're doing what they do best--The CYA game--look busy doing nothing. I got one idea--get rid of the AMT Code. And Pres. Obama grandstanding. Remember he is a lame duck president and that's dangerous because he knows this is his last term. Beware, he is going to try to pass all his SOCIALISTIC AGENDA down our throats and we're going to be paying for it if it happens. Mark my word.
on December 31,2012 | 06:29AM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Barry wants us over the cliff, he always said the Bush tax cuts should go - for 100% of us, not just 1 or 2%. It will be a big loss for him if we don't go over the cliff as he wants more money to redistribute. Besides, when we go over, then our valiant representatives can go to work lowering taxes and increasing benefits - that is, business as usual.
on December 31,2012 | 06:54AM
HawaiiMongoose wrote:
Enough already. Let the automatic tax increases and spending cuts take effect. If we all need to tighten our belts to prevent the country from sinking in a sea of red ink, so be it. Ultimately that's the only real solution anyhow. We've just been putting it off for the past decade.
on December 31,2012 | 06:57AM
Grimbold wrote:
HawaiiMongoose you are right. We can not go spending almost 40% more than we take in. The more we push out the day of reckoning with going deeper into debt, the worse the crash will be. Let's face it: We have been living way beyond our means for decades and the last decade it was getting totally absurd.
on December 31,2012 | 07:28AM
ichiban wrote:
WE??? Clarify we. I've been very prudent in the way I live. Then I got angry at how our government mismanage our tax dollars. Then I got even. I pay a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry little to none or where I get a rebate on my tax return.
on December 31,2012 | 08:46AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Tax increases without spending control? Wonder what will happen. Got it. More spending.
on December 31,2012 | 07:53AM
AdmrVT wrote:
Ok. No tax increases across the board. Just cut all spending. 50% cut in defense spending (of course our economy will take a hit, but that was going to happen anyway); cut the federal funding for rail; cut funding to address the Mexico-Arizona border/immigration issue, and so on. We need to contract the economy across the board, but leave money in the hands of the people. Just need to make sure State's don't increase taxes to fill the federal vacuum.
on December 31,2012 | 01:23PM
AdmrVT wrote:
Yes. A good friend once said it's gotta get worse for it to get better. Let's increase our homeless on the beach, and foreclosure rates as our residents need to pay more taxes and cannot pay their mortgages. Great idea. Better yet. No one pays their taxes this year. Force IRS to go after 200,000 taxpayers for not paying their taxes.
on December 31,2012 | 11:56AM
AdmrVT wrote:
How much belt tightening? Can you pay an additional $4000 - $14,000 in taxes?
on December 31,2012 | 01:16PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
You did before Bush, did you thank him?
on December 31,2012 | 06:30PM
Giligan wrote:
HawaiiMongoose has the right thinking. We will be better off in the long run, we need drastic changes, and everyone needs to suffer and sacrifice for the good of all for the future.
on January 1,2013 | 07:39AM
dlum003 wrote:
I cannot afford any more income taxes ... I'm being taxed to death. I gross very high 5 figures and only take home 60% of my earnings (tax, benefits, social entitlements). A career long professional who can't afford my kid's college tuition. What will my kids face when they grow up? More income taxes, including the bill for that stupid rail project., that's what!
on December 31,2012 | 08:04AM
Pacej001 wrote:
So much idiocy, so little time. This whole fiscal cliff things boils down to one thing. One side wants to control spending, the other doesn't. Sadly, the current debate just muddies the big picture of our oncoming fiscal disaster which Mort Zuckerman explains in his US News article: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/mzuckerman/articles/2012/12/28/mort-zuckerman-brace-for-an-avalanche-of-unfunded-debt
on December 31,2012 | 08:04AM
HLOEWEN wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 31,2012 | 08:50AM
AhiPoke wrote:
I look at it as, the industrious get richer and the lazy get poorer. I believe there's opportunity for those who strive to achieve. Unfortunately, our country rewards those who choose to rely on entitlements.
on December 31,2012 | 10:21AM
Giligan wrote:
"The lazy get poorer", that may be the solution to our problems. Unfortunately the current thinking is BUCKS FOR LOLOS!
on January 1,2013 | 07:44AM
ichiban wrote:
Thought of a political cartoon-- We, the taxpayers of Hawaii are passengers on the "rail" going over the fiscal cliff. Looks funny, but with this fiscal cliff. we may not get funded for the remainder left for the rail project.
on December 31,2012 | 10:20AM
Giligan wrote:
And to get on the rail, you need to buy a $5 rail ticket, not to mention the .5% GET people on most of the island not even near the rail are paying. But don't feel so bad, the union members have jobs, all the way to the cliff.
on January 1,2013 | 07:49AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
If the Federal government is in such bad financial shape, why give away $1.55 billion for a Crazy Train half the people in Hawaii don't even want, that does not reduce traffic congestion, that destroys view planes, that doesn't go where it could do the most and which uses outdated, noisy and intrusive technology? Truly, these "leaders" are lost souls.
on December 31,2012 | 10:51AM
Eagle156 wrote:
Well said Maneki. The wasteful $1.55 billion dollars is part of the problem. Fortunately the train will never be finished as it will bankrupt our city with change orders long before it reaches Ala Moana Center.
on December 31,2012 | 12:41PM
Giligan wrote:
The rail will be great, we will be retired and can go from the Kroc Center to Ala Moana McDonalds, for the price of a Big Mac, even if a Big MAc will cost $15 in 2019.
on January 1,2013 | 07:53AM
AhiPoke wrote:
If you really look at it, all governments were set up to spend money. Although it may not have started that way (after all this country was started to avoid taxes) that is what it has become. With no accountability and "penalties" for not spending all of its budget, governments have become very "good" at wasting the revenue it brings in. In addition politicians have learned that giving away things gets them elected. Now when we've reached the point of economic crisis those political bozos have no clue about how to solve our problems. As I stated earlier, they only know how to spend. Our system is broken, perhaps going over the fiscal cliff is the only way to fix it.
on December 31,2012 | 02:22PM
retire wrote:
We, the American voting public are the fools for placing these incompetent, self-serving career politicians back in office and expecting improved performance as a result. It's like hitting yourself with a hammer repeatedly and telling yourself, " well, maybe it won't hurt this time". We have gotten the government we deserve.
on December 31,2012 | 10:51AM
HLOEWEN wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 31,2012 | 11:05AM
Giligan wrote:
God is Liberterian, spread the good word.
on January 1,2013 | 07:54AM
SteveToo wrote:
"Now, if Republicans think that I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone — and you hear that sometimes coming from them ... then they've got another thing coming. ... That's not how it's going to work at least as long as I'm President," he said. The man is an idiot. The max money collected if they went w/the $250,000 a year is something ike the amount the government spends in 10 day. THERE HAS TO BE SPENDING CUT! You CAN'T raise the money he/we are spending by raising taxes.
on December 31,2012 | 11:16AM
SteveToo wrote:
All you liberal Democrats are the FOOLS. There is not enough money in the economy to pay for the spending. You could tax EVERYONE 100% and there would still NOT be enough money to cover the spending. The only answer is spending CUTS! Simple as that.
on December 31,2012 | 11:19AM
RichardCory wrote:
People have been arguing about this for decades, the debt grows bigger, and yet there are no ramifications for anyone. Fun Fact: Nothing will change without pain. You can all bicker all you want, but nothing will ever be done, so why cry about it? Just wait for the system to collapse and build yourself a nice little nest in the mean time--you'll need it.
on December 31,2012 | 11:35AM
thatsashame_0723 wrote:
Yup....personally, I wanted the country to go over the cliff full speed ahead. Enact all tax increases and all cuts. Opportunity lost....
on December 31,2012 | 01:20PM
AdmrVT wrote:
Cut the entire defense budget. We can go back and stick our heads in the sand and hope the terrorists don't notice. Repeal Social Security and use those moneys to reduce the deficit. Without FICA, take home pay will increase.
on December 31,2012 | 11:54AM
AdmrVT wrote:
Not enough money in my "economy" to pay for more taxes too. I guess you do.
on December 31,2012 | 01:17PM
samigurl wrote:
All those stupid question marks in the article was irritating the s*** out of me!
on December 31,2012 | 12:59PM
AhiPoke wrote:
"Now, if Republicans think that I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone ? "And I'm going to be President for the next four years, I think," At the rate the president plans to "finish the job", it'll take a lot more than four years. This guy is a great politician and a poor president. He lacks any semblance of leadership skills.
on December 31,2012 | 01:37PM
gari wrote:
Going foward the congress 's main job should be be Prudent choices ".please," interest groups , under the guise of helping the country . the "BIlls" gets too much press How to pay for it is just as inportant as it and should be evaluated . Prudent.
on December 31,2012 | 01:56PM
LogicMan wrote:
For american workers lucky enough to have a job, you work day and night to meet a project deadline. If not, your position is OUTSOURCED to a foreign country and you get laid off. Time to outsource our elected officials. What's so hard about coorporating with each other and come to a compromise? Don't we teach kids to coorporate when they don't get along?
on December 31,2012 | 03:16PM
hikine wrote:
Why is Obama blaming the Republicans when he himself is reneging the promises he made during his campaign? Obama wants to spend more trillions just like he did during his first four years in office and lowering the cap on raising the tax for families doesn't sit well and only gives him more dollars to spend. The Republicans wants him to stop his run-away spending and Obama is not about to give in on that!
on December 31,2012 | 03:19PM
Kuniarr wrote:
We have a president who is a master speaker. But that's all he is. Our economy is in a mess because of the two Free Trade treaties that Clinton entered into with China and North American countries resulting in the flight of US factories from the US to take advantage of huge savings in labor cost. And we have yet to hear what Obama promised to do during the presidential debate on how to bring those factories back to the US.

His vision of luring those factories back with tax incentives does not make business sense - for why would any company bring a factory back to earn tax incentives that are just a drop in the bucket of what these companies rake in having products made in China and shipped back to the US.
on December 31,2012 | 03:20PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Then as an American, buy American made products not china stuff. Stop bitching. Boycott Walmart, sears etc.etc.
on December 31,2012 | 08:37PM
kainalu wrote:
Has anyone told the Repubicans that a deal has been reach? Just making sure everyone knows. lol
on December 31,2012 | 03:45PM
CriticalReader wrote:
GOP House could still nix the deal, and cut their own throats.
on December 31,2012 | 04:19PM
jussayin wrote:
Well, can someone advise Obama to just be quiet. He already won the re-election so stop poking at the republicans to the public. That's not how you negotiate. As CBS said, "President Obama today seemingly spiked the football before crossing the goal line, applauding a deal that hasn't been finalized ... To top things off, he took the opportunity to rib Congress for their dysfunction - a curious move at a time when it's their votes the president should be seeking, not their criticism." Congrats to the VP and McConnell for working TOGETHER. Maybe the Pres and Congress should get a pay cut for poor performance. Oh well. Same story from the Hill and likely to be continued for the next several more years. Ugh.
on December 31,2012 | 07:34PM
jussayin wrote:
BTW, I'm not saying the republicans have done well. All on the hill have done an awful job. And as CriticalReader said, the deal is not done until it gets voted on and passed by the Senate and House, then signed by the pres. So we're close to the end of the 'game', but there's still minutes left on the clock. Pres should not celebrate and tease the 'opponents' since he needs their votes and the bill has yet to pass.
on December 31,2012 | 07:41PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Barry leads from behind and Congress kicks the can down the road. Sick
on December 31,2012 | 05:42PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Ok, bottom line 99% of folks keep Bush tax cuts - shall we all thank him? Bush, not Barry. Barry will keep spending until all Bush tax cuts are gone. Just wait, he wants us over the cliff, butts up folks.
on December 31,2012 | 06:33PM
GeoDiva wrote:
Thanks for the paycut!
on December 31,2012 | 10:22PM
jussayin wrote:
As an aside, we the taxpayers own a lot of shares of GM as well as other companies from the bailouts. Just read that the federal government will liquidate the shares of GM over the next 15 months. Sounds good? "Under the best case scenario, the public will wind up shelling out more than $13 billion by the close of this unfortunate episode."
on December 31,2012 | 10:41PM
Hawaii_Libertarian wrote:
The actual bill is 157 pages, larded down with pork and spending. This whole thing is a fraud and a sham and only 8 senators had the integrity to vote no. I wonder how many Senators actually bothered to read the bill? This clearly illustrates that most Democrats and Republicans in Congress don't have any backbone or courage to actually make meaningful cuts. We don't have a tax problem, we have a spending problem.
on December 31,2012 | 11:27PM
Giligan wrote:
Well said, we have a SPENDING PROBLEM. At least Hawaii now has four porkers in Congress.
on January 1,2013 | 07:59AM
Giligan wrote:
Keep kicking the can down the road! One day it will be solid lead, and we will suffer like Europe has found out. More taxes, more spending, does not do anything for our long term health. Start with cutting unemployment benefits that are a disincentive to be productive.
on January 1,2013 | 07:34AM
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