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Kent Conrad ready to give away the farm on the fiscal cliff

Here's as good a reason as any to just go over the damned fiscal cliff curb: Waiting until we have a new Congress to resolve it would mean retiring Sen. Kent Conrad won't be around to screw it up. Here's what he proposed on Fox News Sunday. “My own belief,” Conrad said, “is what we ought to do is take Speaker Boehner’s last offer, the president’s last offer, split the difference, and that would be a package of about $2.6 trillion.” [...] This in an amazing offer for a Democrat to make. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has already accepted that “a balanced deal,” by his definition, would include a ratio of 1:1 spending cuts to tax increases. Indeed, his second offer included $1 trillion in tax increases in return for $1 trillion in spending cuts ($1.3 trillion if you count interest). By averaging Boehner’s second offer with Obama’s third offer—that is to say, by starting from a baseline that includes more rounds of Democratic concessions than Republican concessions—Conrad is proposing a more lopsided deal than Boehner is currently asking for. As Ezra Klein points out, Conrad is one of a handful of Democrats whose response to Republican intransigence is to reward their temper tantrums with more concessions. And the response from Republicans? No compromise. To which these Senate Democrats will say, "okay, here's just a little bit more of a tax cut." Conrad isn't the only problem Democrat, just the most vocal and annoying one. They would give up all the leverage the White House has in this fight, and Republicans know it. Stepping off the curb could be the best possible solution to making sure the ConservaDems in the Senate don't screw this up any further.


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