Geithner strikes back, says administration prepared to go over the fiscal cliff

It's hard for outside observers to look at the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations and see anything but bad news coming for the U.S. economy. In the past week and a half Americans have seen several frameworks proposed and rejected, heard House Speaker John Boehner call U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's plan "laughable" and watched global stock and equity markets tremble as a result. Recent comments from Geithner, however, have cast a whole new level of gloom over the talks.

Speaking with CNBC's Steve Liesman, the treasury secretary reiterated President Barack Obama's demands for higher taxes as part of any final fiscal cliff deal. He added, in no uncertain terms, that any plan that leaves out that critical component would be deemed dead on arrival in the eyes of the White House.

"We don't see any way of doing it that makes sense or has any political viability without rates going up as part of that deal," Geithner was quoted as saying. "Again, the size of the problem in some sense is so large it can't be solved without rates going up as part of it. And, again, I think there's a broad recognition of that reality now."

Describing the ideal framework as "comprehensive," the treasury secretary went on to highlight some of the specific proposals that the Obama administration has laid out for consideration. Among these ideas include allowing the top income tax bracket to rise to 39.6 percent, the level it was during President Bill Clinton's tenure, and a limitation on the number of deductions wealthy Americans are allowed to file each year. Geithner pointed to these and other forthcoming components of a final deal as necessary to get the the nation's fiscal house in order.

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