Republicans have suggested a willingness to put revenue on the table, but except for some mumbling about eliminating deductions for the rich, a plan shown ineffectual during the campaign, without having the middle class carry the majority of the burden, they won’t say what they mean. They claim they want to protect the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, but refuse to extend them without bonus tax cuts for the rich. If their only reason is not to protect millionaires and billionaires, why not are they holding 98% of Americans hostage?
President Obama surrounded himself with taxpayers on Wednesday to pitch his plan to preserve current rates for the middle class and raise them for the wealthy. A day before, he met with small-business owners for the same purpose. On Friday, he plans to fly to Pennsylvania to tour a factory to make the same point…
…Mr. Obama has embraced specific cuts to the federal budget in the past and has committed to an agreement with Congress that will include deep reductions in spending. But it would be easy for those who listen to his public pronouncements lately to miss it. In public statements since his re-election, he has barely discussed how he would pare back federal spending, focusing instead on the aspect of his plan that plays to his liberal base and involves all gain and no pain for 98 percent of taxpayers.
Republicans and even some Democrats have expressed frustration that Mr. Obama has avoided a serious public discussion on spending with barely a month until deep automatic budget cuts and tax increases are scheduled to take effect… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <NY Times>
There’s no mystery here. When Obama discussed spending cuts in the past, Republicans were able to make the deficit the center of media attention. Now that Obama is discussing tax cuts for the middle class, Democrats have made that the center of media attention.
Rachel Maddow and Eugene Robinson discussed Obama’s latest tactics, and the Republican response to them.
I have already been contacted, and am taking action as requested.
If both Bought Bitch Mitch and the Republican Ministry of Propaganda are screaming, Obama must be on the right track. In addition, he has history on his side.
…Since 1944, the United States has only raised taxes on the rich twice—in 1992 and 1994. What followed those tax increases was one of the greatest economic booms in American history. Though Clinton’s decision to raise the top rate didn’t build the World Wide Web or spark global trade, it certainly didn’t hurt the economy either — despite Republican predictions that hiking taxes on the wealthy would drive America into recession or worse. Well before the end of the decade, tax revenues had increased sufficiently to transform the Reagan-Bush deficits into a surplus, and the Treasury was looking forward to paying off the national debt.
Then the Bush tax cuts drove the budget into unprecedented deficits and the national debt to stratospheric levels (along with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). Still, Republicans are promoting policies that echo George W. Bush’s belief that tax cuts can solve the nation’s fiscal problems — and they are ridiculing President Clinton’s strategy of asking the rich to pay more.
Former Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett points out that people just don’t buy that argument. “Even without looking up government statistics, they know that the 1990s were a time when the economy boomed, while the 2000s were a period of economic stagnation,” he wrote.
So if Speaker Boehner is insisting that tax cuts will increase revenues, President Obama should be just as confident in insisting that carefully targeted tax increases will not only pay for themselves, they’ll make other spending cuts unnecessary.
At least he has the 1990s to back him up. [emphasis added]
Inserted from <The National Memo>
Keeping the tax cuts for the middle class gives them more money to spend, and that creates jobs. Raising taxes for the rich gives government money to decrease the debt and stimulate the economy. That creates more jobs. That also increases tax revenue, which can then be used to reduce the debt.