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Obama and Boehner Diverge Sharply on Fiscal Plan (NYT)
Boy, that escalated quickly! Boehner threw a trident. Jackie Calmes and Jonathan Weisman report that with talks breaking down, the House GOP will vote on the Speaker's "Plan B" to show that they won't compromise any futher until they get everything they want.
John Boehner's Plan B would raise taxes on the poor (WaPo)
Dylan Matthews notes that while Boehner's plan extends the Bush tax cuts for anyone making under $1 million, the working poor will pay about $1,500 more due to the expiration of credits from the stimulus. But at least they won't have to worry about their estate taxes.
Rich Make Out Like Bandits in Fiscal-Cliff Negotiations (Daily Beast)
Daniel Gross writes that America's long-suffering-if-you-ask-them 1 percenters had braced for the worst after President Obama's reelection, but judging from his proposal in the fiscal cliff negotiations, his version of the worst is better for them than if he did nothing at all.
Compromise or betrayal? (Salon)
Joan Walsh argues that if Obama agrees to cut Social Security, it won't just be bad policy -- he'll be directly contradicting promises made by Joe Biden, Jay Carney, and his allies in Congress. Ironically, the obstinance of the GOP may be the only thing keeping him honest.
In Fiscal Cliff Deal, Don't Chain Grandma to Smaller Social Security Checks (The Nation)
NND Editor Bryce Covert points out that switching to chained CPI would have the worst impact on elderly women, many of who receive the vast majority of their income from Social Security. If these guys saw a little old lady crossing the street, they'd report her for jaywalking.
Are Democrats Reverting to Wimps? (TNR)
Timothy Noah writes that Democrats have such a big advantage on taxes that even Grover Norquist has momentarily stopped filling up the proverbial bath tub, but they seem ready to settle for less for no good reason except that winning would be a new and scary experience.
Last-Ditch Attempt to Derail Volcker Rule (NYT)
Simon Johnson notes that as regulators prepare to implement the long-delayed Volcker Rule, the Dodd-Frank limit on prop trading, banks are going for the Hail Mary pass by arguing that its distinction between U.S. debt and foreign debt would hurt other countries' feelings.
Cheat Sheet: BofA Supplied Default Answers for 'Independent' Foreclosure Claims Reviewers (ProPublica)
Paul Kiel reports that the Independent Foreclosure Review is proving to be a bit of a misnomer thanks to banks hiring and paying consultants to conduct the review and, at least in one case, providing some friendly advice on what their totally unbiased findings should be.
Temps: America's Throwaway Workers (MoJo)
Jim Morris and Chip Mitchell explore what the death of a temp worker at a chemical factory tells us about employers' lack of accountability for the safety of their workers under U.S. law, which has harsher penalties for killing an endangered bird than it does for killing an employee.
Corporations are the people of the year, my friend (Quartz)
Time has settled on Barack Obama as its Person of the Year, but Tim Fernholz argues that a more open-minded selection committee would have seen that between soaring profits and political influence, corporations had the kind of year we mere mortals could only dream of.