Leaked details of Obama's third attempt to compromise with Republicans on solutions for the fiscal cliff made headlines on Monday night, mainly the bit about increasing the earnings threshold to $400,000 for higher tax rates. The move shouldn't come as a terrible surprise. President Obama's last offer included raising taxes on households with incomes greater than $200,000 a year, whereas House Speaker John Boeher wanted to draw the line at $1 million. While some people think that the president is selling out middle class Americans, $400,000 is certainly an assertive middle ground for Obama to take between $200,000 and $1 million. That said, one administration official said that this was not Obama's "final offer," so critics might want to save their energy until the deadline gets closer.
The rest of the details of the $2.4 trillion proposal aren't quite as clear cut as Obama's raising the earnings threshold. The president also lowered his revenue expectations from $1.4 trillion to $1.2 trillion, while offering an additional $1.2 trillion worth of spending cuts. The drop in revenue, again, has some people screaming sell out, though The Huffington Post's Sam Stein argues that "few would have imagined the White House scoring such a victory just one year ago." Liberals will also be happy to hear that the new plan has "protections for most-vulnerable populations" built into it and finds a way to save $400 billion on healthcare without raising the Medicare age from 65 to 67.
No matter what side of the aisle you come from, Obama's latest offer and the fact that the White House suggests he's willing to compromise more is good news for everybody. We all know that it would be very very bad if we fell off the fiscal cliff, and for most of last week, it seemed like everyone was just getting their harnesses ready for the plunge. But then Boehner started to bend by agreeing to some tax hikes for the wealthy, and the president is clearly trying to find some middle ground on exactly how wealthy those folks need to be.
The fight is hardly over, though. One unnamed Boehner aide is already pushing back a bit, saying that the latest offer "cannot be considered balanced." The aide added, however, that it was a "step in the right direction."