U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented the president's fiscal cliff proposal to GOP Congressional leaders yesterday (Thursday).
It would raise $1.6 trillion via taxes, primarily on those making $250,000 a year and up, while delaying talks about spending cuts until later this year. The plan also proposes about $50 billion of assorted stimulus spending, which would include another extension of unemployment benefits, infrastructure, and mortgage relief.
Republican leaders were said to have literally laughed during Geithner's presentation.
"We can't move any closer to them because they're not even on our planet," one GOP aide told Reuters. "It was not a serious proposal."
No Compromise in Obama Fiscal Cliff PlanThe fiscal cliff is political shorthand for the combination of spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to hit Jan. 1, 2013. It's the result of the expiration of the President Bush-era tax cuts combined with $1.2 trillion in automatic reductions in federal spending made last summer as part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling.
Republicans and Democratic leaders have both acknowledged the importance of dealing with the fiscal cliff, and even made some statements in recent weeks hinting that they were moving toward compromise.
That ended abruptly on Thursday.
The president's fiscal cliff proposal did not change even slightly since it was initially pitched to Republicans several weeks ago.
"The day after the White House meeting, we gave them our framework," a GOP aide told the Huffington Post. "It took them 10 days for them to give us theirs, and it didn't reflect any of the conversations we've had since then."
Even many economic experts were startled by the one-sidedness of the proposal.
"What's been put forward is insulting in terms of its arrogance," said Money Morning Capital Waves Strategist Shah Gilani. "More unmarked stimulus spending? No accountability as to which sinkhole it will fall into, is an abomination. Where are the other cuts? Where is the spending discipline now and into the future? Oh, we're supposed to believe it's going to get here? Santa's coming too, right?"