Dems gone wild.
Harry put it for voting, and Republicans in the Senate blocked the vote, for now. Barack and Harry's plan would have passed by a simple majority (51), which Democrats have in the Senate, to give Barack the executive power to unilaterally raise the debt limit.
Combine that with Ben's unilateral unlimited QE. (Move over, Abe.)
In the US Senate, there are 51 Democrats and 47 Republicans.
From Reuters (12/6/2012):
Senate Republican leader blocks debt limit vote
(Reuters) - Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday prevented a simple majority vote on a proposal to give Democratic President Barack Obama unilateral power to raise the debt limit.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brought the measure to the floor for consideration at the request of McConnell. But McConnell refused to permit a vote after Reid said it could pass with 51 votes in the 100-member Senate. McConnell demanded 60 votes needed for passage.
The jockeying played out as Democrats and Republicans seek to end a stalemate on how to resolve spending and tax issues by year's end.
In the meantime, during his appearance in a TV show (CNBC), Treasury Secretary Timmy "Turbotax" Geithner said Obama would be "absolutely" willing to go over the fiscal cliff.
As Bruce Krasting at Zero Hedge says in his piece today (emphasis is mine),
Given that Geithner will be out of his job running Treasury soon, I’m sure that he went on TV with the blessings of Obama, and he had a scripted message from the President. There will be no negotiations on tax rates, the top rate is going to 40%, or we will be sailing off the cliff. What an idiotic bargaining position.
At this point, I don’t think there is any significant opposition to increasing tax revenue from America’s wealthiest folks; the question is how to achieve it. Raising marginal rates is one option; cutting deductions can accomplish exactly the same thing. Geithner and Obama will not consider adjusting deductions; the reasons are a mystery to me. It appears that the President wants to “punish” some folks rather than to find a compromise that achieves the desired results.
So I agree with Bartiromo, unless the President backs off, we are going cliff diving in 20 days.
I believe the President has started a war, No real bullets or sabers in this war, but there will be casualties none-the-less. The question is, “Who is going to get hurt?” The thinking by all of the pundits is that a fall of the cliff will fall squarely on the shoulders of Republicans. If they stand up to the Administration on tax rates, the Republicans will get slaughtered in the Congressional elections two years from now.
The facts force me to conclude that Obama is, in fact, using the cliff negotiations to bend Republicans over and force them into submission. The goal is to destroy the Republicans, and have the House, Senate and the White House all Democratically controlled in twenty-two months. Harry Reid would be in charge of the Senate, Nancy Pelosi would be running the House, and the President would have the last two years of his administration with the government controlled by “friendly” hands. A disaster in the making.
Mr. Krasting has said he voted for Mr. Obama in 2008. I don't know if he voted at all in 2012.
And if you think it will be only the so-called "rich" (household earning more than $250,000 a year), former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean has a better idea. From Real Clear Politics (emphasis is mine):
The only problem is -- and this is initially going to seem like heresy from a progressive is -- the truth is everybody needs to pay more taxes, not just the rich. And it's a good start. But we're not going to get out of this deficit problem unless we raise taxes across the board, to go back to what Bill Clinton had and his taxes. And if we don't do that, the problem is the pressure is going to be on spending even more.
If Mr. Dean and his party are proposing the cutback of the Federal bureaucracy to the level last seen in the Clinton Era, that's one thing. Mr. Dean of course does not offer that, and instead threatens us with even more spending by the Obama administration. Which they will do anyway, as Obama's "cut" (for that matter, Republicans' "cut", with the exception of Ron Paul's) is nothing but decreasing the rate of debt increase. Instead of debt growing at 5% a year, for example, Obama would cut the growth rate to, say 3% a year, and call 2% a "cut".
Again, from Bruce Krasting (emphasis is mine):
I think the Republicans should call the President’s bluff. Lets take a walk over the cliff; see what happens when we get to the other side. It can’t be much worse than 50%+ tax rates in the most productive states in the Union. Will Republicans get hammered in the bi-elections as a result? Maybe. But one thing is sure, if the President gets his way on tax rates today, and we also have the Republicans lose the House in two years, it sets up the possibility for a return to a more conservative frame of mind for the country when the next Presidential election comes around. If Obama gets his way, the economy will pay the price. In the process, any legacy that Obama might have had will have been converted into something like Herbert Hoover’s. So who is bluffing whom?