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1.) Fiscal cliff averted! America still headed off a fiscal cliff — It wasn’t pretty, but the fiscal cliff was averted late Tuesday night when the House — led by Democrats — passed the Senate bill put together by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. TheDC’s Alexis Levinson reports:
“Republican concerns over insufficient spending cuts prompted talk of amending the bill and sending it back to the Senate, but support for that plan collapsed after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made clear that he would not bring his chamber back to consider an amended version of the bill. When a Republican whip count in the early evening failed to come up with the requisite votes to pass the amended bill, Speaker of the House John Boehner brought the bill to the floor unamended. The bill passed 257-167, with just 16 Democrats voting no, and only 85 Republicans voting yes.”
At the end of the day, the Republicans who voted for the bill were — probably — in the right. It staves off a potential market crisis and locks in most of George W. Bush’s tax rates. But let no one delude themselves that anything was solved with the bill, at least in regard to our long-term fiscal situation. Our long-term fiscal picture is just as precarious as before — and it will remain so unless America’s entitlement programs, particularly Medicare, are seriously reformed. Period. End of sentence.
2.) And Obama still wants the rich to pay more — President Barack Obama didn’t exactly project leadership during the fiscal cliff debates, though he could always be counted on to give campaign-style speeches using “middle-class” voters as props. But after getting through a bill in the Senate (and ultimately the House) that does effectively nothing to fix our long-term fiscal problems, President Obama was quick to promote more of the same. TheDC’s Neil Munro reports:
“President Barack Obama is demanding yet more tax increases, shortly after using his clout to win Senate approval of $620 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years. ‘Tonight’s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans,’ he said in a 2:30 a.m. ‘victory’ statement, following the Senate vote in the wee hours of New Year’s Day.”
Isn’t there a limit to soaking the rich? The answer is yes. In fact, even if you taxed all the earnings of all the richies you could find at 100%, you wouldn’t go very far to fixing our long-term debt problem. For that, you have to tackle entitlements (see above). If we had a media that didn’t adopt the White House line on this issue, they would be pointing out that the president is not a serious man by perpetually proposing taxing the rich as his go to budget solution.
3.) Business as usual — In case you were worried that the fiscal cliff deal was rushed through too quickly for our elected officials to add irrelevant provisions to it, have no fear. There was plenty of time to load the bill up with nonsense. The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Michael Bastasch reports on one such provision:
“The wind power industry may have just won another year of taxpayer support, as the fiscal cliff deal being negotiated between congressional Republicans and President Obama includes a one-year extension of the wind Production Tax Credit. ‘Extending the wind Production Tax Credit is a long-overdue dose of certainty for manufacturers who employ more than 5,000 Coloradans and 60,000 workers across America,’ said Colorado Democrat Sen. Mark Udall, one of the main proponents of extending the tax credit.”
4.) Hugh ties the knot — Sorry, ladies. Hugh Hefner is off the market. TheDC’s Taylor Bigler reports:
“Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner, 86, married a woman young enough to be his granddaughter on New Year’s Eve at (where else?) the Playboy mansion. Hefner was previously engaged to Crystal Harris, 26, but she bailed days before their scheduled 2011 nuptials. Harris couldn’t turn down all that fame and fortune despite the thought of marrying her grandfather, so the two were re-engaged this year.”
Actually, she’s young enough to be his great-granddaughter, not just his granddaughter.
6.) Today in North Korean News — BREAKING: Congratulatory Message to Kim Jong Un from Mexican Party Leader