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Timothy Geithner, John Boehner edge toward the 'fiscal cliff'

With less than a month before the 'fiscal cliff' imposes automatic tax increases and spending cuts, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and House Speaker John Boehner dueled rhetorically on the Sunday TV news programs.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Banking Committee in July. On Sunday, Mr. Geithner appeared on five news programs to explain the Obama administration's plan for avoiding the 'fiscal cliff.'

Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

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The political game of chicken continued Sunday as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and House Speaker John Boehner offered no signs of give, no hints of deceleration as official Washington barreled toward the Jan. 1 “fiscal cliff,” when automatic tax hikes and spending cuts kick in absent action by Congress and the White House.

(Why does this scene from “Rebel Without a Cause” come to mind?)

Mr. Geithner was all over the Sunday morning news shows, appearing on five programs.

The essence of his message: Our proposal – including higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans – is serious, and we’re sticking to it.

“We think we have a very good plan, a very good mix of tax reforms that raise a modest amount of revenue on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, combined with very comprehensive, very well designed, very detailed savings that get us back to the point where our debt is stable and sustainable,” Geithner said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Those rates are going to have to go up,” he said. “That’s an essential part of a deal.”

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