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Today's Three Stories To Read About The 'Fiscal Cliff'

The White House and congressional leaders continue to talk about taxes, spending cuts and how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that arrives at midnight Dec. 31 — when Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect.

As NPR and others cover the story, we'll try to to point to interesting reports and analyses. Here are three of the latest.

-- "Obama To GOP: I'm Done Negotiating With Myself," by Ezra Klein on The Washington Post's Wonkblog. Klein writes that:

"We're seeing two things here. One is that the negotiations aren't going well. When one side begins leaking the other side's proposals, that's typically a bad sign. The other is that Republicans are frustrated at the new Obama they're facing: The Obama who refuses to negotiate with himself.

"That's what you're really seeing in this 'proposal.' Previously, Obama's pattern had been to offer plans that roughly tracked where he thought the compromise should end up. The White House's belief was that by being solicitous in their policy proposals, they would win goodwill on the other side, and even if they didn't, the media would side with them, realizing they'd sought compromise and been rebuffed. They don't believe that anymore."

-- "McConnell 'Burst Into Laughter' as Geithner Outlined Obama's Plan," by Fred Barnes for The Weekly Standard. He reports that:

"Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, says he 'burst into laughter' Thursday when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined the administration proposal for averting the fiscal cliff. He wasn't trying to embarrass Geithner, McConnell says, only responding candidly to his one-sided plan, explicit on tax increases, vague on spending cuts."

-- "How Much Income Taxes Could Rise: A Breakdown Of The Options," by NPR's John Ydstie on our It's All Politics blog. In the negotiations, John writes:

"Perhaps the most important sticking point is over income tax rates. The outcome of the negotiations will determine how many Americans will face higher tax rates — and how much of a hike it will be."

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