No More Mr. Nice Speaker! Its time for the Congressional Republicans to fight back. Yesterday’s counter-offer made by House leadership and the almost immediate rejection by President Obama shows the GOP willing to compromise and the President glued to his position.
The Bohener offer called for $800 billion in new revenue via tax-code reform along with spending cuts and entitlement reforms that would trim a little over $2 trillion dollars off the deficit. The $800 in revenue created by the GOP plan is equivalent to the funds generated by eliminating the “Bush tax cuts for families making more than $250K (individuals making more than $200K). Since it is the more upscale taxpayers taking advantage of “loopholes” (and the loopholes closed will be directed toward the rich) the GOP plan accomplishes the same thing as the President’s plan without raising the tax rates.
If raising $800 billion in revenue from the rich was the president’s goal, he would have accepted the plan, or at least said it was the framework for discussions—but the White House rejected it out of hand.
White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer says the GOP proposal would lower tax rates for the wealthy and stick the middle class with the bill. He says the plan includes nothing new and provides no details on how it would achieve higher revenues.
The White House is basically saying it will not accept a plan that does not raise tax RATES on the wealthy. Its not a matter of raising x amount of dollars from the rich, its a matter of Obama being able to start his second term by breaking the back of the GOP with a huge political victory—and its time for the GOP leadership to point out exactly what this administration is doing.
Josh Barro of Bloomberg points to the tweeted Tapper report as an example of ” The White House’s Fiscal Cliff Irresponsibility.”
I suspect that is where Obama will end up, and that he is talking up the tax increase for political and tactical reasons. Appearing to be inflexible on the tax issue will motivate Republicans to give up more in order to gain his acquiescence, and tax increases on the rich are more popular than the anti-austerity policies needed to support the recovery in 2013.
But if that senior official [the one Tapper spoke to] isn’t bluffing — if the White House really is willing to risk an austerity crisis unless it gets its way on an unrelated policy matter — then the Obama Administration is as irresponsible as it often accuses Republicans of being.
A recent CNN poll showed that Republicans would be blamed if policymakers fail to reach a deal by the end of this month. The survey found that 45 percent would find fault with the GOP, while 34 percent would blame Obama.
Its time for the GOP to wage an all-out media assault on the President, pointing out his obstinate decision to put politics in front of the needs of the country. They will receive little help from the mainstream media who are all too willing to find fault with anything the GOP proposes.
The President and his staff play Chicago-style politics and they play for keeps. With out a strong effort taking this issue directly to the public, the GOP might find itself in a deep hole with no way to get out.