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Why is the White House's Council of Economic Advisers Helping the Republicans?

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Why is the White House trying to scare average people about the consequences of the "fiscal cliff?"

If the President's strategy is to hold his ground and demand from Republicans tax increases on the wealthy, presumably his strongest bargaining position would be to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on schedule come January -- causing taxes to rise automatically, especially on the wealthy.

So you'd think part of that strategy would be reassure the rest of the public that the fiscal cliff isn't so bad or so steep, and that at the start of January Democrats will introduce in Congress a middle-class tax cut whose effect is to prevent taxes from rising for most people (thereby forcing Republicans to vote for a tax cut for the middle class or hold it hostage to a tax cut for the wealthy as well).

But today (Monday) the White House's Council of Economic Advisers issued a report warning that if Congress allows the Bush tax cuts to expire January 1 and the Alternative Minimum Tax to kick in, the middle class will face sharply-rising taxes.

The result, says the Council of Economic Advisers, could slow consumer spending by 1.7 percent next year, and slow overall economic growth by 1.4 percent. The loss of $200 billion in consumer spending is just about what American families spent on all the new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. in the last year, according to the report. About $36 billion less would be spent for housing and utilities, $32 billion less for healthcare, and $26 billion less for groceries and at restaurants.

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This kind of fear-mongering plays into Republican hands.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at

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Because if Reich is suggesting that Obama is a fis... by PCM on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 4:26:13 PM
Prof Reich isn't doing his share either.However, t... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 2:05:29 PM
Because they are and it's not the side of the 99%.... by frang on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 11:47:45 PM
Let's not pretend to be so naive. The White House'... by Rico D. on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 11:54:09 PM
This is but another example of our One Party "Good... by Dennis Kaiser on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 6:44:59 AM
Completely agree, it's historical fact. Just becau... by Rico D. on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 11:20:31 AM
Straight from the Rainbow Stew category.In fact I'... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 9:50:43 AM
Yep....just like he should know the true character... by Rico D. on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 11:29:03 AM