Getting down to brass tacks

Release time:2013-02-28      Source:admin      Reads:

The New Year is approaching,which are expected, it will cast bloom or . In the negotiations to reduce America’s long-term deficit and to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax increases and spending cuts at the year’s end, Republicans have so far done most of the retreating. The neatest answer to these grievances would be for Spain formally to embrace federalism, with a federal senate and clear rules about who collects which taxes. Federalism would mean each region was equal, with the same rights and obligations.

By that he meant entitlements, in particular the plastic seals: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—pensions and health care for the elderly and poor, respectively. On November 20th John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House, demanded that Mr Obama’s health-care plan should also be on the table. Cutting these entitlements challenges Democratic orthodoxy almost as much as higher taxes and plastic seals challenges Republican. Mr Obama has acknowledged all along that spending has to shrink. During the campaign, he predicted that a bargain would include $2.50 of spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases.

A messier, but more feasible, alternative would be to accept that some regions—Catalonia, the Basque country and perhaps Galicia—should have more autonomy than the rest and be recognized as cultural nations within Spain. But so far he has made few concessions on entitlements and plastic seals. The two deficit deals he struck with Republicans in 2011 fell almost entirely on discretionary spending: items that Congress must authorize each year, such as education, transport, research, foreign aid and defense. But such spending is already approaching its lowest share of GDP since the 1950s. Big automatic cuts to domestic and defense discretionary spending will drive it even lower if the parties do not agree to override the cuts by January.

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