What will it take for the payroll tax conference committee to arrive at a deal?
One Washington, D.C., tax expert predicts a full 2012 extension of the employee payroll tax cut (and unemployment benefits and the doctors' Medicare payment fix) will come only when the Republican and Democratic negotiators go behind closed doors, join hands and jump.
The conferees' eventual compromise won't please hardliners in either party.
And we taxpayers will likely not get any advance warning that a deal is done.
"We'll realize they are joining hands and jumping when they fall on us," said Mel Schwarz, partner in Grant Thornton's Washington, D.C., National Tax Office.
Schwarz, who was with the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation when I worked on Capitol Hill, made his prediction during a 2012 legislative update webcast this afternoon.
I'll share some more tax insider insight from Mel and Dustin Stamper, manager of Grant Thornton's National Tax Office, later, but I loved the visual picture Mel conjured and wanted to share it.
In my mind's eye, I'm adding a soundtrack of the linked lawmakers singing Kumbaya as they head earthward.
And I'm glad I'm not in D.C. so I won't have to provide cushion for their landing, although I suspect it's really all of our eventual tax payments that the Representatives and Senators will count on for padding.
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