To the extent that anything is clear about the fiscal cliff negotiations that begin this week, it's this: President Obama will push to increase taxes on the rich.
And his starting position, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney, will be for a broad $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan that includes $1.6 trillion in new revenue.
The basis for the $1.6 trillion is Obama's 2013 budget proposal from last February.
That new revenue would come primarily -- although not exclusively -- from households making more than $200,000 ($250,000 if married).
Bush tax cut expiration: As he often stresses, Obama wants to let the Bush tax cuts that apply to income over $200,000 expire. If that happened, the top two tax rates -- currently 33% and 35% -- would increase next year to 36% and 39.6%.
In addition, investment tax rates on the rich would increase to 20% for capital gains and to one's top income tax rate for dividends. Both are currently taxed at 15%.
All told, those changes would raise close to $1 trillion over a decade, assuming that the income exemption levels for the Alternative Minimum Tax are adjusted for inflation.