There Is No Real Boehner Counteroffer

Looking back on what I wrote yesterday about John Boehner’s “counteroffer” to the White House’s fiscal cliff proposal and what else is out there in the press, I thought I should clarify that this isn’t really a counteroffer.

What the Obama administration put on the table was a moderately detailed proposal that included specific tax measures and specific reductions in Medicare spending. Boehner didn’t counter that with an equivalent proposal that contains different details. He rejected some of the details, and countered with a proposal that contains different quantitative goals. It’s not quite an apples-and-oranges comparison but it’s maybe like comparing apples to pears or lemons to limes. Obama’s offer was more or less something you could say “yes” to if you wanted to, whereas even if Obama agreed to Boehner’s framework you’d still have huge scope for everything to just fall apart over specifics.