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OBAMA DEBT COMMISSION REPORT: Balance Budget On The Back Of The Poor And The Middle Class; White House Caves On Bush Tax Cuts For The Super-Rich

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FROOMKIN: The two deficit-hawk extremists President Obama put in charge of his fiscal commission released their personal suggestions for cutting the federal budget deficit on Wednesday. And while it’s quite possible that not a one of them will make it into the commission’s official recommendations, which require the approval of 14 of the 18 commissioners (not just two), the document will inevitably be welcomed as a “serious” contribution to the debate – at least by Republicans and conservative Democrats. But taken as a whole, the plan authored by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson would have devastating effects on the government and its ability to help the most vulnerable in our society, and it would put the squeeze on the middle class, veterans, the elderly and the sick – all in the name of an abstract goal that ultimately only a bond-trader could love. MORE

RELATED: But the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has also come under attack for its unusual approach to http://www.wvwnews.net/images/teaser/obama_nope.jpgstaffing: Many of its employees aren’t employed by the panel at all. Instead, about one in four commission staffers is paid by outside entities, many of which have strong ideological points of view about how to tackle the deficit. […] The outsourcing has come under sharp criticism from seniors’ organizations and liberal activists, who say the strategy is part of a broader conservative bias favoring painful entitlement cuts over other solutions. The fears of some liberal groups appeared to come true on Wednesday, when the commission’s two leaders recommended significant reductions for Social Security and other social-welfare programs.[…] Kennelly and other liberal-leaning critics say they are particularly troubled by the influence of Peterson, a billionaire and former investment banker who began a $6 million campaign this week urging lawmakers to cut the deficit. Peterson, co-founder of the Blackstone Group investment fund, paid for a series of town hall meetings this year that included participation by deficit commission members. He also funds the Fiscal Times, a digital news organization that focuses on federal debt issues. MORE

FINEMAN: President Barack Obama’s top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers. That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week’s electoral defeat. MORE

RELATED: And that, in a nutshell, is how one loses at the negotiating table. Republicans have said they were prepared to kill the entire tax-cut package to get what they want, and Democrats have said they’re not. Axelrod doesn’t want to “trade away” what the administration http://www.wvwnews.net/images/teaser/obama_nope.jpgwants, and Republicans were prepared to “trade away” everything to ensure their success. The GOP pretended to negotiate from a position of strength and that, it appears, was enough. “We have to deal with the world as we find it”? Well, this world features a Democratic president with a fair and popular tax-cut package, working with a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, going up against a Republican minority that says it has no qualms about raising everyone’s taxes. Dems could have brought the package to the floor and dared the GOP to vote against tax cuts. I was actually looking forward to the headline: “Republicans kill tax cut compromise; higher rates kick in Jan. 1.” Apparently, that’s not to be. MORE

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