Fiscal cliff update Nov. 30

32 days and counting.  As the weekend approaches, the news will undoubtedly stay focused on the Obama administration plan for the fiscal cliff unleashed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Thursday.  According to the Weekly Standard, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell  (R-Ky.) laughed out loud as Geithner presented his “one-sided plan, explicit on tax increases, vague on spending cuts.”  It certainly is laughable that the White House offers to extend an olive branch in its negotiations, only to basically say: Here are the tax hikes we want in exchange for some cuts — what those cuts are, we won’t say.

Expect Thursday’s meeting to dominate the conversation into Sunday’s talk shows.

Interestingly, the Washington Post has published what appears to be the basic framework of the Democrats’ plan.  It is worth a look, especially since it is just a laundry list of revenue raisers and spending requests, with the following point — at the end — for entitlement reform: Entitlement policies from President???s FY13 budget that could total $400 billion in savings.  The president was not joking when he said “everything” is on the table.

Something else worth a look is this post by Human Events contributor Tim Cavanaugh, in which he asks: If Grover Norquist’s star is fading, why is everyone writing about him?  In it, Cavanaugh has the video (produced in cooperation with the Onion) of Norquist admitting to multiple extra-marital affairs with many different taxes — something humorous during these bleak times.

Stay calm and carry on, but stay up to date with the latest on the black gates of the fiscal cliff with the stories below:

National Journal: Insiders: Fiscal Cliff Likely To Be Averted
???At least I hope so. But Grover Norquist still calls the shots for a majority of Republicans.??? ???But not a permanent deal, just something to kick it down the road a bit.??? ???I expect a postponement on sequestration, but not a total solution. Not as sure on the tax expirations.??? ???Although it might slip into January.??? ???As we get closer to year???s end, we???re more likely to get a deal.???

Fox News: Gingrich: The fiscal cliff is an ‘artificial invention’ of Washington, GOP should do what’s right
I think we ought to recognize this entire fiscal cliff is an artificial invention of Washington, created by people in the Congress and the presidency. And it can be broken down by them into a series of steps that can be taken without having to be rushed into one gigantic, last- minute, little understood, with no hearings, one vote up or down — I think it’s a terrible way to govern the United States.

Wall Street Journal: Falling over the fiscal cliff
See some scenarios for how different groups of people may be affected by the tax changes that will take place if the fiscal cliff isn’t resolved by the Jan. 1., 2013, deadline.

Reuters: Obama’s opening “fiscal cliff” bid seeks debt limit hike, stimulus
The Obama administration’s opening bid on Thursday in negotiations to avert a year-end fiscal crunch included a demand for new stimulus spending and authority to unilaterally raise the U.S. borrowing ceiling, a Republican congressional aide said.

New York Times: White House Offers New Fiscal Plan, Prodding G.O.P.
WASHINGTON ??? House Republicans said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, an immediate new round of stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits. The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, was likely to meet strong Republican resistance.