Critical Issues Ahead

January 4, 2013 02:44 AM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Boehner's real strategy ahead | Debt limit hike battle | Supreme Court | More Social Security payroll tax hikes ahead? | Farm bill linked to coming spending cut battle | Crop insurance cuts ahead

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Get ready for a tumultuous 60 to 90 days of sparring, fighting and more cliff-hanging events in Washington that will make the most recent one look like a jump across a puddle of water. Here are four of my insights:

-- The coming 90 days will determine the eventual fate of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). He said he will no longer negotiate with Pres. Obama. Now we're going to see Boehner's real strategy – and the House GOP Caucus is going to be a lot more together on spending reductions than on what just occurred on revenues. House Republicans will insist on a one-for-one spending cut vs increase in the debt limit. True cuts. If not, they won't go along. If so, Obama will try executive power to announce a deb limit hike. Then that will be thrown into the courts, eventually reaching the Supreme Court. Another test for so-called conservative Supreme Courter John Roberts. Get ready. 

-- Obama and Democratic lawmakers will continue to push for more tax HIKES. One such area will be an increase, perhaps a big one, in Social Security payroll taxes. Not in the rate (that already went up two percentage points this year), but in the maximum salary that it applies to.

-- The new farm bill will be linked to what's coming in the next 90 days, despite a denial mode by Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). House Ag Chair Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) knows full well that the Ag panels will eventually be given a budget-cutting number and timeframe. Some farm-state members on the Senate Ag panel have told Stabenow they want the House to go first on the farm bill this time. Will Stabenow overreach, again?

-- Not this year but means testing will come to the crop insurance program. Anytime taxpayers pay 62 cents out of every dollar buy-up, that program will be on the list of items to be reduced. Count on it. I just don't know when and how much.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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