On Tuesday, December 4, with less than a month before United States taxpayers are hit with harsh cuts coupled with tax hikes on all Americans, President Obama again vowed there would be no fiscal cliff bargain unless Republicans bend to his demand for top rate tax increases. His statement had all the markings of a “take it or shove it” ultimatum. Obama included himself in his challenge, firmly asserting, “Folks like me can afford to pay a little higher rate.”
Defining the issue to Bloomberg’s Juliana Goldman, Obama said:
“If we’re going to raise revenues that are sufficient to balance with the very tough cuts that we’ve already made, and the further reforms in entitlements that I’m prepared to make, that we’re going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up; and, we’re not going to be able to get a deal without it.”
Since Obama’s reelection, deficit reduction has been the topic of a many a meeting; however, any pretense of negotiation appears to have skidded to a halt because both parties seem to have dug in their heels to preserve their priorities amid a mutual quest to raise revenue. Speaker of the House John Boehner recently alleged discussions were “going nowhere.” Apparently, the nude gay activists who popped into Boehner’s office to protest cuts in AIDs funds haven’t influenced the conversation.
Party proposals have not yet reached the point of offer, counteroffer, adjustment and compromise. Instead, Boehner has put forth a Republican plan which was instantly rejected by Democrats; and Obama and the Democrats have offered their plan, which was equally unacceptable to Republicans. Currently, even though President Obama had his former presidential rival, Mitt Romney over to the White House for lunch, the fiscal crisis exchanges remain at a stand-off.
The president has requested $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years with neither Medicare nor Social Security cuts to beneficiaries. According to Bloomberg, Boehner wants to cut “800 billion in new revenues without raising rates, raising the Medicare eligibility age, and also changing the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security.”
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