A Republican proposal that would prevent the country from reaching the fiscal cliff but also cut Social Security benefits has been withdrawn, and now negotiations are back where they started, because Life is just a glorious, idle, game.

The Times reports that Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this afternoon that he was "concerned about the lack of urgency" after not hearing back about his offer to the Democrats proffered last night. But that offer included a provision for "chained C.P.I.," a concession that the president had made when he was directly negotiating with Speaker Boehner weeks before, but would never accept under a short-term deal like the one needed to prevent an immediate payroll tax increase and the cessation of unemployment benefits to 2 million Americans.

The term "Chained C.P.I." was designed to be too terrible for regular people to actually think about for more than five minutes before wanting to bash their heads in with a hammer, but the Center for Economic and Policy Research explains what it actually means, and why people were angry that the president and agreed to the concession early on.

The new formula would lower the adjustment by approximately 0.3 percentage points each year. This means that a retiree would be receiving 3 percent lower benefits after 10 years, 6 percent lower benefits after 20 years and 9 percent lower benefits after 30 years. If a typical retiree collects benefits for 20 years then the average reduction in benefits would be about 3.0 percent.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he refused to accept such a concession, and the president has since made similar vows. Some might argue that Senator McConnell and the Senate Republicans were merely offering the noxious deal so as to give an alternative that the Democrats would refuse, thus giving Republicans the chance to appear as the responsible, conciliatory party, but surely no one would do such a thing less than 48 hours before 2 million people lose their federal unemployment checks, right?

In short, it doesn't appear that we'll be seeing a deal struck tonight. The cryptic back-and-forth between Reid and McConnell and GOP denials that they had chosen to touch Social Security has frayed the nerves of the people who are paid to deal with the Most August Legislative Body's bullshit on an hourly basis.

See? Make sense? Oh and while all this was happening, the teensy Speedo that has acted as your Fourth Amendment rights since 2001 just got downgraded to a thong.