West side view of the United States Capitol building.House Speaker John Boehner held a press conference earlier this morning in which he declared that no progress has been made in budget talks between House Republicans and the Obama administration. Boehner accused the President of taking a "my way or the highway" approach to the talks.

A little later, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the stage and said that House Republicans should approve a bill that has already passed the Senate to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the 98% of U.S. households with annual income less than $250,000. Pelosi said the separation of the tax cut proposal is "central to solving our fiscal-cliff challenge."

This is high-stakes game to see who will blink first - Republicans who have steadfastly resisted any tax hike at all for anybody or Democrats who want to extend the current income tax breaks for most Americans. This extended battle of the nation's fiscal woes is probably why today's report on consumer sentiment took such a severe dip. Most Americans reckon that neither side will budge from long-held positions and that they will have to take more lumps after the first of the year before Washington acts.

Paul Ausick


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy, Politics

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