A Christmas compromise tradition. Let's get creative!

A Christmas compromise tradition. Let's get creative!

by digby

Greg Sargent says the local media around he country are pounding on the expiration of Unemployment Insurance and that Republicans are feeling the pressure. He notes that GOP leaders we a little bit tepid in their defense of the expiration:
Will any of this matter to Republicans? It’s hard to say, since so many are cosseted away in such safe districts that tough headlines may not matter to them. But the public statements from GOP leaders on the extension have seemed tepid, suggesting their opposition isn’t really visceral. It seems like they’d love for this issue to go away. Boehner has said he’s willing to look at an extension if the White House offers a “plan,” which seems like he’s open to some kind of trade. Of course, conservatives who are already scorching GOP leaders over the deal will only get more outraged if they agree to a UI extension, making it that much harder.

Still, the coverage could get a lot worse, once the deadline looms and human interest stories multiply about folks facing the loss of benefits during the holiday season, at a time when reporters have little else to write about. I wouldn’t give up on Republicans agreeing to the extension just yet.
They will, at the very least, require that UI be paid for in some way. Ryan's entire pitch to his caucus is that this is still a deficit reduction budget that slashes spending in deliciously painful ways. It's possible they could agree to require the cuts beyond ten years as they did with some of the other spending restorations (which would probably be best since anything that goes out 10 years might as well not exist.) But it's probably a good idea to think about what pound of flesh these GOPers might demand --- and what the centrists and moderates might think is a fairly good idea as well. The whole point of these UI extension battles in the past few years has been to use the threat of throwing people out in the street to blackmail progressives into signing on to something awful. Now that the Bush tax cuts have been permanently dealt with it's not as obvious a ploy as it used to be.

So what do the New Dems and the conservatives really want these days that could conceivably fall under the heading of deficit reduction? Lord knows the Democrats can talk of little other than raising taxes these days (just don't call them tax n' spend liberals) so maybe a tax on the poor would be nice compromise. There must be something they can do to stick it to liberals for Christmas. Debtors prison? Mandatory, random drug testing for federal workers? Let's get creative!