J Pod explains why the Republicans have no cards to play as we race towards the fiscal cliff.
OTOH, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer says that entitements should be on the table, which is something. And Obama told Bloomberg Television that he wanted higher rates on "the rich", but did not insist on the Clinton-era rates:
“We have the potential of getting a deal done,” Obama said in the Bloomberg interview. “We’re going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up, and we’re not going to be able to get a deal without it.”
Even as he insisted on higher tax rates, Obama left room for compromise with Republicans in end-game talks.
He sidestepped a question about whether he would accept a measure that increased the top rate from 35 percent to 37 percent or 38 percent -- short of the 39.6 percent marginal rate when the current levels went into effect. Obama didn’t flatly rule out entitlement cuts, including changing the annual cost- of-living adjustment for Medicare, the government health-care program for the elderly and disabled.
Finally, and this is deep in the FWIW file, the stock market is surprisingly bouyant with the cdeath of the US economy less than for weeks away (DJIA 13,070; SPX 1414); even more baffling, the VIX volatility index (16.41%) is nowhere near the levels reached during earlier dramas such as the Greek/Italian/Spanish swoon of the summer of 2011.