Saturday, July 22, 2017

Asymmetric Cliff-fare

John Bel is changing tactics
Gov. John Bel Edwards told House Speaker Taylor Barras Thursday (July 20) that the governor won't call a special lawmaking session to address a looming billion-dollar hole in Louisiana's finances unless he is confident that a plan to replace expiring taxes would pass the House.

"I am hesitant to convene another special session without meaningful input from, and a concerted effort by, House leadership to identify a viable path forward. Specifically, I need a good faith commitment to remove the partisan barriers and solve this problem," wrote Edwards, a Democrat, in a letter to Barras, a Republican from New Iberia.

"Accordingly, at this point, I do not intend to call the legislature back for a special session prior to next year's regular session," the governor wrote to Barras.

Rather than threaten House Republicans with more special sessions, he's now threatening no special session ahead of next year's "fiscal cliff" manufactured emergency unless he gets...  *sigh*... "a good faith commitment to remove the partisan barriers."  Yeah, that's not happening for a whole host of reasons.

But most importantly right now if you're going to play chicken with the radical right over a "fiscal cliff" you're going to lose every time.  They don't actually care about solving the problem as you perceive it. To them, the problem is rich people pay too much in taxes. The only way to "remove the partisan barrier" is to just give them that. Otherwise, it's off the cliff everybody goes.

This is why Grace, I think, makes an error when she compares this cliff with the "replace later" strategy Senate Republicans are considering with health care right now. As far as McConnell is concerned, "replace later" can mean "replace never" so long as the big tax cut passes.  That's all they're really after anyway. So it doesn't do any good to seek "bi-partisan solutions" in hopes of avoiding a cliff.  Not when your opponent is indifferent to the cliff either way.

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