President Obama knows a mandate when he gets one. He’s not taking the Republicans’ obstruction laying down and now they’re going to pay. The President started off the Grand Bargain “negotiations” this time around by doubling the tax revenue he wants, from $800 billion to $1.6 trillion.
This might be a prudent time for Republicans to review the Grand Bargain they turned their noses up at in the summer of 2011, because chances are, they’re not going to see such broad offers anytime soon from this President.
Last year, Obama was willing to play loophole and tax deductions name games (aka: “tax reform”) with Republicans who signed a pledge not to raise taxes, while keeping the Bush tax cuts in place. Not so much this time around. The Bush tax cuts on the rich must go and Obama will not allow Republicans to hide letting them expire in fancy loophole language about “tax reform.”
The President is going to hold on till he gets tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, promising that the Bush tax cuts on the richest 2% will expire. The White House called this “non-negotiable” yesterday. The President has said over and over again that tax cuts for the middle class are something everyone agrees on, so there’s no reason for them to be linked to tax cuts for the rich. In other words, Republicans need to stop holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage in order to protect the über rich.
On Meet the Press Sunday, Bob Woodward described the last offer the President made to Speaker Boehner last year:
“This is a confidential document, last offer the president — the White House made last year to Speaker Boehner to try to reach this $4 trillion grand bargain. And it’s long and it’s tedious and it’s got budget jargon in it. But what it shows is a willingness to cut all kinds of things, like TRICARE, which is the sacred health insurance program for the military, for military retirees; to cut Social Security; to cut Medicare. And there are some lines in there about, “We want to get tax rates down, not only for individuals but for businesses.” So Obama and the White House were willing to go quite far.”
The CBO report agrees that we need to keep taxes low on the middle class while raising revenue on the wealthy who will continue to spend even if they are taxed a bit more. So there’s no logical argument left for Republicans. Nothing but their naked ambition to destroy this President and reveal themselves as the empty, craven puppets of the 1%.
Are Republicans smart enough to regret their obstructionism? How will they wipe the egg off of their faces/records now, given what was on the table in 2011, before Obama got a mandate from the people to raise taxes on the rich?
Read it and weep, Republicans:
Click to enlarge details of the Grand Bargain from 2011 (via NBC Press Pass):
What’s most ironic about this is math. Once again, Republicans refuse to do what is necessary to deal with that deficit they kept telling us was the reason babies needed to starve in America. Turns out, just as Dick Cheney told us during Bush’s administration, Republicans don’t care about deficits. They don’t care about the math.
Republicans only care about giving the rich their tax cuts and cutting regulation for their corporate masters. So much for Republicans taking refuge in being “conservatives.”
Maybe John Boehner and Mitch McConnell should have taken the President’s phone call after he won re-election with a mandate, instead of playing petulant by claiming to be “asleep.” But then, if they were capable acting like grown ups, they wouldn’t be longingly looking at what their “ideology” (aka: Norquist pledges and Tea Party craziness) forced them to reject.
If Republicans can’t get it together, everyone’s tax rates will go up because this President means what he says. The President is not interested in “tax reform” only, because the math doesn’t work. The White House wants the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.