President Obama let Republicans know that he is in charge by telling House Republicans to give him a deal that includes tax hikes on the wealthy, or the country will go off the fiscal cliff.
Here is the video from NBC:
During his press conference today, Speaker of the House John Boehner rejected the idea that taxes have to be raised, “On Wednesday, I outlined a responsible path forward to avert the fiscal cliff without raising tax rates. About 24 hours after I spoke, the Congressional Budget Office released a report showing that the most harmful consequences of the fiscal cliff come from increasing tax rates. According to Ernst & Young, raising the top rates would destroy nearly 700,000 jobs in our country.”
After discussing how he has invited the leaders of both parties to the White House next week to build consensus for action, President Obama said that he refuses to accept any approach that doesn’t include new revenue. He specifically called for taxes to be raised on the wealthy by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the rich. President Obama then said that the country is waiting for action from House Republicans. While pointing out that he was encouraged that Boehner put revenue on the table Obama reminded House Republicans that if they don’t cut a deal with him, everyone’s taxes will go up on January 1. The president told Republicans that they could avoid this fate by extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class right now. The president reminded Republicans that they could avoid raising taxes on 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses right now if they wanted to.
The president’s message to House Republicans was that the pressure is all on them. He holds all the cards. If House Republicans try to play hardball with him, he’ll let them raise taxes on every American. The tone of Obama’s remarks stressed that he would be happy to compromise, but he isn’t playing around with House Republicans anymore.
If a compromise is struck, it will be on his terms. Any deal has to include raising taxes on the rich, or it is a non-starter. House Republicans can bluster all they want about refusing to raise taxes, but they really don’t have a choice. If they don’t strike a deal with the president that raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans, everyone’s taxes will go up.
Either way, Obama will get what he wants. The Bush tax cuts for the rich are destined to die. The only thing left to be determined is whether House Republicans are smart enough to get out before the burning building that they created collapses on them on January 1, 2013.