During the well-known, political tour of the Sunday morning talk show circuit, a meeting between Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and CNN’s Candy Crowley on the show State of the Union aired on December 2, 2012; as they discussed the blueprint presentation that he presented to members of Congress concerning the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
According to Geithner, the proposal that he offered was everything that a balanced approach should be—which involved a strong combination of a significant amount in tax increases and spending cuts all designed to avert the looming, politically labeled “fiscal cliff.”
Now in light of Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s statement that this very plan that was presented by Geithner was “not serious,” but instead some kind of Democratic wishful thinking, Candy Crowley pressed Geithner to respond to the criticisms of the House Speaker and other Republicans like Senator Mitch McConnell, who called Geithner’s plan “a serious blow to his credibility.”
But, Geithner defended his plan by calling it a “very good plan for the country” that “gives 98 percent of Americans the certainty that their taxes are not going to go up.” He also characterized it as being a chance to protect Medicare and “lock in a set of carefully designed reforms” to restore a path to fiscal balance.
Geithner then challenged the Republicans to “come back” with some kind of a plan illustrating what they believe will be best for the country—a counteroffer that Republicans have often seemed reluctant to put forth based on the talking point based stands on taxes from wedge-pledges that have been recklessly made to narcissistic bullies like Grover Norquist.
But, the most important exchange of the entire interview happened when Crowley told Geithner that the Republicans, in all likelihood, will not go for increasing the tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, and what will happen if they don’t?
In fact, Crowley took it a step further as she asked Geithner if he and the Democrats would be willing to let the country go over the “fiscal cliff” if Republicans will not break their no-increased-taxes pledge. Crowley then asked Geithner: “Is there some responsibility for you all” (Democrats and the Obama administration) since the country will have to pay for it?
Geithner responded by saying: “There is not going to be an agreement without rates going up,” and “If Republicans are not willing to let rates go back up to the Clinton levels” when the economy was doing well, there will be no agreement. And when Crowley asked Geithner if he was willing to just let the agreement fail if the Republicans won’t budge on their position, he said:
If they (Republicans) are going to force higher rates on virtually all Americans, because they are unwilling to let tax rates go up on 2 percent of Americans, then that’s a choice they’re going to have to make, but they will own the responsibility for the damage to the American economy! What we are trying to do is to get them (Republicans) to come in and join us.”
Now whether Crowley intended to do this or not, her question to Geithner about his and the Democrat’s responsibility to react to the Republican’s political steadfastness with some politically moral duty to appease their opposition, was just a fancy way of suggesting that it is quite possible that the Democrats and the Obama administration have an obligation to cave to the conservative bully on the block with a big bark and a self-appointed big bite!
In other words, you can put the lipstick of compromise on a capitulating pig, but the capitulating pig is still a capitulating pig. Just because an ideological/political group stands strongly stubborn in its unyieldingness, it certainly does not make it the harbinger of truth, genuineness, common sense, fairness, or some unwritten rule that says the illusion of embodying all of these attributes gives that group the right to say no compromise on our part—only on yours.
Maybe Candy Crowley should also ask John Boehner if he is willing to let the country go over the “fiscal cliff” just to save one of Mitt Romney’s yachts or one of Ann Romney’s Cadillacs! Instead of worrying about what the Republicans won’t agree to, maybe Crowley and the Republicans should be concerned over what the Obama administration won’t agree to, seeing as how the Obama administration did win the election.
To watch Tim Geithner on State of the Union, you may see it here: